April 24, 2010

Egg tart with ramps and wild mushrooms

This is one of the dishes I've made so far with the GIANT pile of fresh ramps (or wild leeks) that my husband dug up in the woods the other day. Ramps are delicious and taste like a cross between an onion and garlic. Plus, they are quite pretty (look at the photo below - lovely green, purple, and white). I served this quiche/tart for dinner with a side salad, but it would certainly make a wonderful breakfast, brunch, or lunch as well (and the leftovers are great served at room temperature). You can use a store-bought crust if you want, but I like to make a quick, easy olive oil based crust. You can check out the recipe here.

Egg tart with ramps and wild mushrooms 

1 crust
Press the dough into your 9-inch tart pan and then place the pan in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Then bake the crust in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the crust and set aside until you are ready to fill it.

4 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cups fresh mushrooms (I used oyster), cleaned and roughly chopped
about 12-15 small ramps
about 5-6 slices of Prosciutto
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
olive oil for cooking

Lay the Prosciutto in an even layer over the bottom of the crust. In a saute pan, warm your olive oil and cook your mushrooms until they are soft and browned. Place the mushrooms in the crust as the next layer. If there's excess moisture in the pan, use a slotted spoon or drain them first so as to not get the crust too wet. In the same pan, saute the ramps for just 2-3 minutes so they soften. In a medium bowl, add the eggs, milk, paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper and whisk together. Stir in the cheese. Pour the mixture into the tart pan. Arrange the ramps on top. Bake on a baking sheet for another 10-15 minutes, until the eggs are set and lightly browned. Let cool for a few minutes and then cut into wedges and serve.

April 16, 2010

Shepherd's pie

During the recent cold snap, I found myself craving something warm and comforting for dinner. I know this Shepherd's is not an authentic version, but it's really good none-the-less. Plus, we recently acquired a whole bunch of parsnips and I like to add them to this dish. It takes a bit of time to make, but it's worth it -- especially on a chilly day. This recipe will serve four to six people, depending on hunger level and if you have any sides with it like a nice green salad.

Shepherd's pie
1 lb lean ground beef
4-5 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 rib celery, finely chopped.
2-3 medium carrots, chopped
2-3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons paprika, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup frozen peas
about 1/3-1/2 cup milk or cream
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for cooking)
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with water and the potatoes and cook over medium heat, covered, until it boils and the potatoes become soft (begin the next steps below while you are waiting for the potatoes to cook). Then drain the potatoes, add milk/cream, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Mash with a potato masher until your preferred texture. Set aside covered.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large pan, heat some extra virgin olive oil. When it's warm, add the onions and celery and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the carrots, parsnips, and garlic along with some salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Once the onions are translucent and the vegetables are beginning to soften, add the ground beef. Break it apart and cook until it is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Once it is browned, add the flour and stir. Let the flour cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock and stir (making sure to de-glaze all the good bits off the bottom of the pan). Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the thyme and paprika. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering until the vegetables are soft and the gravy has thickened. If you want more gravy, add a bit more stock. Add the peas and stir.

Pour the meat/vegetable/gravy mixture into a large baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, spreading them over the top until they evenly coat the bottom layer. Sprinkle the top with some paprika. Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to brown and the gravy is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let sit for a couple of minutes before digging in.

April 11, 2010

Baked eggs in portobello mushroom caps

I like baked eggs and I usually make baked eggs in the form of a frittata, quiche, or in ramekins. Our grocery store has had the most beautiful portobello mushroom caps lately. I thought that they would make a great base for a baked egg -- and, I was correct. I tried to find two caps that looked the most cup-like (versus rather flat ones) so that they would hold the eggs and any other goodies I wanted to put in there. I baked the mushrooms for a bit first to make sure they were soft and the get rid of a lot of the juices before adding the eggs. I made two (one of each of us) and served them with some whole grain toast. You can make just the eggs with the mushrooms, or you can add other veggies, cheese, herbs, etc. in between the mushroom and the egg for some extra fun.

Baked eggs in portobello mushroom caps
2 large portobello mushroom caps
2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
about two tablespoons diced onion
about 1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 grilled piquillo pepper, chopped (you can find them in jars in water) or any pepper you like
about 1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
paprika for garnishing
olive oil for cooking

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and drizzle a bit of olive oil in small baking dish. Wipe the dirt off your mushroom caps with a damp towel. Gently scrape the gills out from the underside of the mushrooms with a spoon. Place in the baking pan and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the mushrooms and a bit of black pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the begin to get soft and shrink up a little. While they are baking, heat some olive oil in a small pan and saute the garlic and onions for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the spinach and cook until it's wilted. Add some salt and pepper. Set aside. If you are using fresh peppers, you can saute them with the onions, garlic, and spinach (or any other fresh veggies you are using).

Remove from the oven and dump all juice off the mushrooms. Dump all of the juice out of the baking dish. Take a towel and gently press the inside of the mushrooms to get out any excess juice. Place the mushrooms (bottom facing up) back into the baking dish. Put half of the spinach mixture into each mushroom. Then place the peppers into each mushroom followed by some cheese. Try to leave a "hole" in the center so there is room for the egg yolk. Crack an eggs on top of each mushroom (carefully!). Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, paprika, and some extra cheese. Carefully place the baking dish back into the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are cooked and the yolk is set.