Friday, January 30, 2009

Creamed Mushrooms on Cornmeal Waffles

From Jenny Also Cooks

As a new transplant to the south, I feel like I need to educate myself in southern cuisine! I got this amazing cookbook, the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, written by two southern expatriates now living in NYC. There aren't as many options for vegetarians, but the idea of savory waffles has always intrigued me. On a road trip through the south, I can guarantee you will count more Waffle Houses than anything else, after all.

Creamed Mushrooms on Cornmeal Waffles
from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

For the creamed mushrooms:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped (about 2 cups) - I subbed white mushrooms
6 oz portobello mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or tarragon
2 tbsp Madeira or dry sherry (optional)
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream

For the cornmeal waffles:
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cups whole or low-fat buttermilk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs

1. Start by preparing the mushrooms. In a 12-inch skillet or saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the flour, whisking to break down any lumps, and when the flour is well incorporated, add the onion. Cook the onion until soft and translucent but not yet browning, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, thyme, Madeira, and salt and cook until the mushroms have darkened and released some of their liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and stir to distribute it throughout the pan. Once the cream begins to simmer gently, cook until it takes on some of the mushrooms' color - a rich beige hue - about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. While the mushrooms are cooking, preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place a rack in the middle.

3. Sift the dry waffle ingredients together into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet waffle ingredients together. Add them to the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.

4. Ladle the batter onto a hot buttered waffle iron (a 4x4 inch iron will require 1/2 cup batter) and cook 8 minutes, or until the outside is crisp and golden brown. As the waffles come off the iron, place them in a single layer on the oven rack so they stay warm and crisp.

5. When creamed mushrooms are cooked and the waffles are ready, ladle the mushrooms over the waffles and serve immediately.

For 4 people

This is delicious, and I would definitely make it again!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Black Bean Chili with Cilantro Pesto

From Jenny Also Cooks

It is cold outside, and what is better than a nice bowl of something hearty and warm? I have made many recipes from Vegan Planet, which is still my favorite vegan cookbook, but I was stuck on the backyard barbecue chili because it has become such a favorite in our household. I decided to try one of the other chili recipes in the book and was not disappointed!

This chili is flavorful without the cilantro pesto, but I would urge you to take the extra two minutes it takes to make the pesto - it perks up every bite of the chili, and adds such depth of flavor. I also served it with sour cream which would make it no longer vegan, in case you're keeping track.

Black Bean Chili with Cilantro Pesto
from Vegan Planet

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
One 6-oz can tomato paste
One 14.5-oz can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups cooked or two 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup Cilantro Pesto (recipe follows)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add the lemon juice and beans and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Just before serving, swirl in the pesto.

Serves 6

Cilantro Pesto

1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup raw almonds (I used cashews)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine the cilantro, almonds, garlic, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil through the feed tube and process into a smooth paste. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator with a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent discoloration.

Makes about 1 cup (hmm, not hardly, but enough for the chili)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Undecided blogger

Welcome to my newest cooking blog! I am still trying to post weekly in JennyBakes, have finished the challenge for Nathaniel Sauce, and abandoned 52 Veggie several years ago.

I was torn. Part of me wanted to do all vegan, because I like to cook vegan and have a bunch of vegan cookbooks that I've made little out of. Another part of me wanted to blog my southern cooking adventures, but there are already blogs that do that. So this is just for me. Whatever I experiment with that isn't baking goes here. Tada!