Thursday, February 17, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine with Spinach

I am just starting to like mushrooms. I've always wanted to like them; I really did, but I found them slimy and weird. I mean, they are fungi. They are grown in poo. I know this because one winter day my dad took me and my brother to a mushroom farm to see the 15 foot pile of steaming manure because he thought it was funny (it totally was). I have persevered, adding mushrooms to lots of different dishes, and now I can proudly say that I like mushrooms. We're not in love yet, but they are growing on me [insert joke about me being full of shit here]. Even if you think you don't like mushrooms, please try this recipe. Perhaps it will be your gateway recipe to harder mushroom dishes.

Other mushroom recipes I have bookmarked that you may want to try:
Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Squash, and Chestnut Cream (see my previous gnocchi post)
Mushroom Cheese Log with Pecans
Flank Steak Spirals with Porcini and Red Wine Sauce
Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole
Mushroom, Butternut Squash, and Gruyere Tart

Serves 2
  • 175 g (1/2 package) fettuccine- white or whole wheat
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 227 g sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped if desired
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, saute until pan is dry and mushrooms are golden brown. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and green onions, cook for 30 seconds. Sprinkle over flour, cook for 1 minute. Add milk, cream cheese and thyme. Bring to a boil while gently whisking. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened. Add sauce to drained pasta in the same pot the pasta was cooked in. Add spinach, Parmesan, lemon juice. Stir over low heat until pasta is coated with sauce and spinach is wilted. Serve with additional Parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cranberry Coffee Cake

I have had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer since the first appeared in season in the grocery store. In October. These cranberries even held up a line at the store and called the manager over (the bar code wasn't in the system and they didn't know the price, so eventually they made up a price. $1. Score!). Why did I let these hard won cranberries languish for so long in the icy depths of the freezer? I was daunted by the amount of butter in the recipe I had intended to use them in, since I would be the only one eating it as Tyler doesn't like cranberries.

Then I saw this recipe on The Hungry Housewife for Cranberry Crumb Cake from Tate's Bakery Cookbook and immediately got to work as I had all the ingredients on hand. This cake is delicious and I am now putting cranberries in everything. Remember these bran muffins? They've even better with cranberries.

The cake is amazing as is, but next time I make it I will half the crumb topping. I found there was too much of it and it overpowered the cake.


Tate's Bakery Cranberry Crumb Cake

Here are some other cranberry recipes that I have saved in my favorites to try:

Cranberry Curd Bars with Walnut Shortbread Crust
Spiced Cranberry Spice Cake
Cranberry Crumb Bars (the recipe I was originally going to make with the cranberries)
Nantucket Cranberry Pie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

It sounds like an oxymoron, right? Healthy chocolate cupcakes. And get this- they don't taste healthy. The secret ingredient is: canned beets. I can't even stand the smell of beets, but you wouldn't even know they were there. We had friends over for dinner on Saturday and had these for dessert. I told them in advance that they were no ordinary cupcakes, and when I revealed the secret ingredient they were shocked. They fell out of their chairs and put both hands to the sides of their faces Home Alone-style.

K, everything I just said about the chairs and Macaulay Culkin didn't exactly happen, but these are some seriously good, virtuous cupcakes. Aside from being low-fat, read about why they are so good for you at Chatelaine Magazine. I made a few changes to the recipe, the biggest one being doubling the cocoa powder, so the nutritional stats from Chatelaine aren't going to be accurate if you follow the recipe below, but pretty close. Also, I didn't find that the raspberry-cream cheese icing in the original recipe tasted like much other than cream cheese, so I haven't included a recipe for icing below. Feel free to use whatever icing you'd like, and eat some raspberries on the side to get the health benefits listed in the article. Or puree them in a blender to make a raspberry sauce to go with the cupcakes. Last night I just mushed up some raspberries with a fork on my plate and put the cupcake on top.

Go ahead, make some chocolate cupcakes and trick your friends and family. Or if you don't want to share (understandable), eat three at a time- they're good for you, remember?

One Year Ago: Ricotta Gnocchi

Makes 12 

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 398-ml can sliced beets, drained and patted dry
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup safflower or canola oil
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers or spray with cooking spray. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

Puree beets in a blender or food processor until smooth. In another bowl beat sugar, oil, instant coffee until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, then beets and vanilla.

With beater on low speed, mix in 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/2 of buttermilk. Repeat additions, ending with flour mixture. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake in center of oven about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in muffin tin 5 minutes, then to a rack until completely cooled.