May 2011 COTM, PLENTY: Mushrooms, Courgettes, and Other Squash
Stuffed Courgettes, page 69 (UK)
I prepared this recipe tonight for a special dinner. It was a special dinner, but all I had for green was some beautiful zucchini I purchased at the farmer's market yesterday morning. I wanted to do something new and different, and this recipe fit the bill!
Finely chop an onion and sautee until softened in olive oil. Then add some short-grain rice, currants, pine nuts, chopped parsley, dried mint, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes on low. Short-grain rice was a bit of a puzzlement. I have two options in my pantry- aborio or Japanese. I chose the Aborio. I didn't add the currents or the dried mint. Just didn't have them. [I did add some fresh mint as a garnish before serving.]
Hollow out three medium zucchini and fill with the mixture. Previous experience with this book has taught me that our vegetables are just plain bigger. I had selected the smallest zucchini available, but I was still right. The filling was perfect for two zucchini.
Place in a cooking dish [stove-top], pour boiling water up to the level of the filling. Add lemon, sugar and salt to the water and simmer for 30-40 minutes covered. He also says that your water will be just about gone when the rice is cooked. No and No. I needed 55 minutes for the rice to be cooked, and there was plenty of water left in the pan. Let cool in pan and serve at room temperature.
So different. The first bite I loved. Second bite I thought wow, so much cinnamon. And then I settled in. It was good, just different than almost anything I have had before. I would make this again, though I might consider garnishing with a mint gremolata to perk it up just a bit. So, in conclusion, the things to like are, this is a rice/vegetable dish that you can make in advance and serve at room temperature and it really is delicious. But, I think it is prudent to ensure that this flavor profile fits into the rest of your meal.
Served with Ottolenghi Marinated Eggplant with Saffron Yogurt [but no yogurt], and Honey & Coriander Rack of Lamb. And a lovely Cote du Rhone.
Stuffed Courgettes, page 69 [UK]
How funny that i have already reviewed this recipe. I have absolutely NO recollection of making it. Tonight I made a half recipe with summer yellow squash. Since I was serving this with Indian food, I chose Basmati rice. Unlike 2011, we really liked this dish tonight. I omitted the allspice and served it warm. Maybe that made a difference?
Served with Minced lamb with mint [Jaffrey page 59], Yogurt & Cucumber Salad [Sahni page 343], sitting on fresh Boston lettuce with some diced tomatoes.
Zucchini and Hazelnut Salad, page 70
Sliced zucchini is oiled and charred in a hot grill pan, then tossed with balsamic vinegar and cooled a bit. Then basil leaves, toasted hazelnuts and parmesan cheese are added. I chose not to add the additional olive oil at the end, and I completely forgot to add the hazelnut oil. Hazelnut oil would have added an extra layer of flavor, and I will add it next time, but the dish didn't suffer much by it's absence.
We loved this. The tastes come out at room temperature, so it's easy to put together in advance of serving.
Mushroom lasagne, p59
Cheesy, mushroomy goodness! I made this for a dinner for six last night and it was a big hit.
It's quite a bit of work, but no more than any other lasagne to be honest. As well as the porcini, I used a mixture of portabellos, chestnut mushrooms (crimini?) and oyster mushrooms. I couldn't find fontina locally, so I used the suggested substitute of mozzarella. I won't describe the method in detail as the link above gives the recipe and instructions. The only thing I would change is that I wouldn't bother with the soaking in boiling water of the lasagne noodles - it was a real pain as you had to do it three at a time to stop them from sticking together, as he says (yep, had to throw away several sheets when I tried to save time by soaking half a dozen at once).
This was a pretty rich and hearty dish that everyone enjoyed. They cleared their plates and there wasn't a scrap left! I served it with the suggested rocket and tomato salad and it was perfect. You do need a light starter/appetiser though - I made the grilled (roasted) asparagus with prosciutto and mustard creme fraiche from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, which was perfect and seasonal. To finish, we had vanilla semifreddo with rhubarb compote, also from Lucques, also delicious. I'll report on those in the relevant threads.
Tamara's Ratatoiulle, Pg. 74
We loved this very full vegetable dish. Over the years I've made many variations of this theme but I think this was one of the best. The recipe first has you sauté the various vegetables almost independently then bringing them all together and roasting them for a final 30 minutes. Because of a time constraint I omitted that final step and still we thought the ratatouille was exceptional. YO does say that the vegetables should be overcooked, though. I'm not sure I'd like it that way...
On a medium high heat pour some oil into a large casserole and add chopped onions. Fry for 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, sliced green chili (I used a jalapeño), diced red peppers and fry for 5 minutes. Add diced butternut squash and diced parsnips...fry 5 minutes. Remove all to a bowl, add more oil to the pot if necessary then add trimmed French green beans, diced courgette, diced aubergine and fry these for 5 minutes. Return the reserved vegetables to the pot and add diced potatoes, tomatoes, a little sugar, a bit of tomato puree, and season well with S & P. Lastly, add some water to about half way up the veggies and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
At that point take the vegetables out of the casserole with a slotted spoon and place them in a large roasting pan. Pour the liquid from the pot over the vegetables. The roasting pan goes into a preheated 400F oven to cook for 30 or till the liquid has evaporated. Garnish with chopped cilantro...which I did.
The recommended side dish for this ratatouille is steamed rice so we steamed Basmati. Now, this would make a very good meal on its own but we roasted a boneless leg of lamb using the adobo marinade from Diana Kennedy's book "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico." My Oh My what a fantastic dinner this was!!!
Stuffed Portobellos with Melting Taleggio, Pg. 56 (English Edition)
The stuffing I use for mushrooms includes breadcrumbs so I was excited to try Ottolenghi's version and was not disappointed, although, it was difficult to find the Taleggio cheese. My favorite, well stocked salumaria does not carry it because , as the manager said, "it's very fragile and goes bad very quickly." I used Gruyère instead, another substitute could be Fontina, another good melting cheese. The mushrooms were quite large: at least 4" in diameter.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Clean the mushrooms very well then remove the stems. Place them on a baking sheet stem side up, drizzle with EVOO and season with S & P. Roast for about 15 minutes or till they're somewhat wilted.
In the meantime make the stuffing. Heat the oil in a skillet and add a finely chopped small onion and one stalk celery also finely chopped. When softened add 3.5 oz. of finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Mine were oil packed. Next add minced garlic and cook all for a few minutes. Remove from heat.
When the vegetables have cooled a bit add 1.5 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano, 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon leaves and 2 Tbsp chopped basil. Season with a pinch of salt and somewhat more of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and pile on top of the whole mushrooms, top with slice of your cheese. Place into oven and roast for about 10 minutes or till all the cheese has melted and the mushrooms are tender.
We liked these very much. The combination of flavors was perfectly matched with the full meatiness of the huge mushrooms. YO says these could be a starter to a meal but actually it was our main dish. A meal unto itself. I served the roasted parsnips and other vegetables on page 16/Roots chapter as a side along with a simple bruschetta. Terrific dinner, this.
Thanks Gio, great to know this was a hit. This is one that I'd flagged as well. I wish I could convince mr bc to have some meatless meals but that just won't happen so I suspect I'll serve this as a starter or, a lunch where he can have some cold cuts alongside if he wishes. Fortunately our cheese shop carries Taleggio so we'll see how plays out w this. We do love that cheese though so I suspect it will be a hit here as well. Looking forward to reading your other reviews. We did enjoy the Chicken w Za'atar last night by the way . . . just lovely.
I would have loved to have used Taleggio for that recipe, BC. You're lucky to have a source nearby. I've vowed to search the kingdom for it as we go out and about and be prepared to use it up immediately. G doesn't mind meatless meals, thank goodness. In fact we've been serving just such meals 3 or 4 times a week for about a year now, primarily dinners. The other meals feature the vegetables with just a small amount of meat rather than the other way round. That's how we started cutting back.
The roast vegetables I'll report on in a few minutes makes a wonderful side dish, and by changing the veggies and seasonings it becomes a completely different dish. Leftovers are delicious in a sandwich too. Our motto has become More Vegertables, Less Meat. We feel so virtuous. ^_~
Sadly, the "veggie love" movement is in its infancy here at Casa bc!! I'm having to make change in very small, baby steps. My first stage in the movement is to introduce more fish into the rotation in an attempt to wean mr bc off his meat-addiction. I've learned that veggies are more tolerable when they're described as "antipasti" vs a side dish so I'm glad to have added books like My Italian Garden to my collection as the growing season gets underway. I also plan to add legumes to his salads or antipasti options during the summer months in particular so that he'll feel more full when dinner hits the table. I'm quite happy to settle in to a meal of roast or grilled veggies so we'll just add a piece of grilled chicken or fish to mr bc's plate and see how that works out.
Roasted Butternut Squash with sweet spices, lime and green chile (US pg. 65)
I had doubts about this but I had a leftover butternut squash from the winter CSA and thought I would try this. Thankfully, we liked it a lot. The accompanying yogurt sauce but it made a lot. I ended up making this dish twice to use up all the sauce.
Then, take 2 T cardamon pods and crush them to get the seeds out. This was tedious. So, FYI, 2 T pods = @1 T seeds. Anyway, crush the seeds and mix with a 1t of allspice. Add olive oil and brush this onto the squash and roast for about 15-20 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, trim and peel two limes, cut them up and salt them. Also, whisk yogurt, tahini and lime juice and water. It's supposed to be pourable, so add a bit more water if you need to.
After the butternut squash has slightly cooled, drizzle it with the yogurt sauce, lime slices, and chili slices. Then, sprinkle cilantro on it.
The really nice thing is that this dish is supposed to be room temperature so it's really easy to do all the parts ahead of time.
Really interesting flavors in this dish.
Wow beetlebug, that looks beautiful and sounds delicious! I had one small butternut squash left from the fall but sadly, it had shrivelled when I went to check on it today. That said, the yogurt sauce sounds divine and I'm betting it would be great on grilled veggies too while I wait for my next crop of squash. Thanks for the great review.