Batter Licker

April 11, 2010

sun-dried tomato-spinach sauce and pasta on broiled portobello plate and poached egg on capellini carbonara

The first time I had a giant portobello mushroom was back when I thought vegetarians were weird and the only mushrooms I had ever known were of the button variety, came presliced and packaged in plastic wrap, and didn’t really do anything for me. But then my aunt served me a grilled burger whose patty was – gasp! – a giant mushroom. The surprisingly meatiness of the mushroom, in combination with its smokey flavor, was so satisfying that I barely missed the meat.

This time around, I got a little too excited at the prospect of using a portobello mushroom as the hearty plate for a smaller pasta dish, and went a bit overboard. Essentially, I made one initially confused dish, but was able to modify it into two separate, fantastic recipes that ended up working wonderfully. Part of the initial problem was that I really wanted to pair the mushroom with a more robust and fresh sun-dried tomato and spinach sauce, while Jay was in the mood for a cabonara sauce (egg, Parmesan, and bacon – or, in our case, pancetta). But, in trying to please both of us, I just did too much.

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So please do as I say, not as I did. The sun-dried tomato and spinach sauce, unlike the carbonara, did a wonderful job of standing up to and enhancing the smokey, meaty portobello. I also liked that the sauce tasted delicious and fresh, and that the whole sauce-pasta-mushroom combination was healthy yet seemed very hearty (despite a smaller pasta serving) thanks to the mushroom.

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While I wasn’t the biggest fan of my initial carbonara-on-portobello combo because the mushroom completely overpowered the simplicity of the carbonara, I really loved how much more fun – and tasty – the carbonara became with a poached egg on top. (more…)

February 28, 2010

brunch: poached egg with truffle salt, scrambled eggs with pancetta, sweet potato hash with caramelized onions, toast with homemade jam, and citrus slices

Filed under: breakfast, brunch,eggs,potatoes — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 3:19 am

Brunch is without a doubt my favorite meal, not just because it offers an array of delicious food but also because it has a certain ad hoc quality that most meals lack. While I love a complicated recipe that requires exact measurements, there’s something almost magical about a meal that comes together without any real need for measuring spoons and cups and without a specific list of ingredients in mind.

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Growing up, I remember my dad opening the refrigerator door on weekend mornings and peering in with him to see what seemingly random assortment of leftovers could be turned into a magnificent spread for brunch. Frequently, this resulted in some sort of scrambled egg surprise, with scrambled eggs being dressed up with staple items that we always had on hand (e.g., onions and potatoes), random leftover veggies (e.g., broccoli, mushrooms, who knows) and meats (e.g., grilled steak or chicken, maybe even deli ham from the week’s sandwiches), and always loads of salsa. These were my first moments in creative culinary thinking.

All awww’s aside, I’ve never really gotten over a good scramble. But poached eggs? Now, those fluffy little pillows are purely ethereal. (more…)

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