Archive for July, 2012

“Risotto of the Woods” with Blueberries and Mushrooms

Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama makes a meal inspired by the bounty of the season – summer fruits and vegetables pair sweet and earthy flavors for a delightfully unexpected dish.

Seasonal. If you love food, it’s a word you can’t escape, especially in summer when a rich bounty of fruits and vegetables is readily available across the country.

When I think seasonal mushrooms in summer, I think grilling. After all, grilled mushrooms are quintessential BBQ food! But it occurred to me recently that there is another approach to cooking mushrooms in the summer: Pair them with other in-season ingredients.

This realization came to me while at my local farmers’ market. I’d already picked up a mix of mushrooms and was looking to figure out what to pair them with. Zucchini? Corn? It all felt predictable. Then my eyes landed on blueberries.

“Mushrooms and blueberries—yes!—an unexpected pair of two great summer ingredients.” 

I’ve actually eaten mushrooms and blueberries together before, but had forgotten. It was an amazing risotto del bosco, which translates “risotto of the woods,” an apt description for a dish that brings together two delicious ingredients often foraged in the wild. How had I forgotten about this dish?! As soon as I saw the blueberries, I knew that my baby bella and shiitake mushrooms had a purpose. Risotto with Blueberries and Mushrooms had to be made!

This risotto del bosco is as delicious as I remember it. Creamy risotto is the perfect way to showcase how well sweet, peak season blueberries pair with earthy mushrooms. Plus, it’s easy to make (risotto comes together in barely 30 minutes, start to finish!) and my kids love the fun twist of mixing fruit and veggies in an otherwise simple, kid-friendly dish (one of their favorites!).

As far as I’m concerned, this is a gorgeous seasonal mushroom dish. No grill necessary. Imagine that!

“Risotto of the Woods” with Blueberries and Mushrooms

Recipe by Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama

Serves 6 as a first course, 4 as a main course

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth, plus more as necessary
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1¼  cup finely chopped shallot or onion
  • 8 ounces cleaned mushrooms, sliced (I used a combo of baby bellas & shiitake)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups aborio rice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1½ cups washed, fresh blueberries

Directions

1. Heat stock to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep broth warm.

2. Melt butter with oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add shallots or onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme. Sauté until mushrooms soften, another 3-4 minutes.

3. Add rice, stir to coat all of the grains of rice and cook until for about 1 minute.

 4. Add wine. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

 5. Begin adding broth, ½ cup at a time. Stir constantly, waiting for each batch of broth to absorb before adding the next ½ cup. Risotto is done when the rice is al dente—is should be cooked through but still be a little toothsome—and the overall dish has a creamy texture.

 6. When the risotto is done, take it off of the heat and stir in the Parmesan, mascarpone, salt and pepper. Fold in blueberries last. Do this with only a few, gentle stirs—you want them to get warm, but don’t want them to break. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

Gobble the Garden

In honor of MyPlate’s first birthday celebration, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. is sharing useful and easy tips to make sure you never get bored with the veggies on your plate.

MyPlate, the government’s latest and, in my opinion, best symbol for healthy eating, just marked its first birthday. MyPlate stresses balanced meals and snacks using easy-to-understand themes, like the major message to “make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”

 

Fruits and vegetables supply similar nutrients, such as potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C and K, and folate, but most vegetables are lower in carbohydrates and calories than fruits. Vegetables are particularly nutrient-rich because they provide lots of good nutrition for relatively few calories.

How many vegetables for you?

While MyPlate puts fruits and vegetables on equal footing, it’s often more challenging to include the vegetables you need every day.

Health experts base suggestions for fruit and vegetable intake on calorie requirements.

Generally speaking, adults and teens need about five servings of fruits and vegetables a day while younger children should eat between two and three. One cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or two cups of raw leafy greens.

Amount matters, but it’s also important to vary vegetables to maximize nutrition; all vegetables are healthy, but they are not created equal. Here are some examples of the benefits vegetables have to offer:

  • Mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle. One serving of mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light provide close to two-thirds of your Daily Value for vitamin D.
  • Beans and peas are rich in protein, which most vegetables lack. They supply iron and zinc in amounts similar to seafood, meat, and poultry.
  • Tomatoes are tops for vitamin C and for lycopene, a powerful cell-protector that also provides tomatoes with their deep red hue.
  • Sweet potatoes and carrots are packed with beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that helps ward off cell damage and serves as the raw material for making vitamin A.

Delicious, Easy Vegetable Tips

You know why you should eat more vegetables, but you may not always get what you need. Or, you may not like how vegetables taste. There’s no need to eat plain produce in the name of good health. Add some healthy fats, such as olive and canola oils, a sprinkle of good-quality grated cheese, hummus, or even peanut butter to make vegetables more appealing.

Here are some suggestions for ways to include tasty vegetables:

  • Plan meals around vegetables, such as a vegetable and beef or chicken stir-fry or chili. Substitute beans or mushrooms for half the meat in your favorite recipes.
  • Grill portabella mushrooms for burgers instead of beef and turkey. Top with 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato, and serve on a whole grain bun.
  • Sip 100% no-salt added vegetable juice with a meal or as a snack.
  • Choose no-salt-added, reduced-sodium, and low-sodium canned vegetables, including tomato products.
  • Place a container of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator with low-fat dips, such as Ranch dressing, on hand for dipping.
  • Get kids involved with vegetable choices. When shopping, allow them to pick a vegetable to have at home.
  • Make veggie pizzas at home using chopped red bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, and artichokes. When ordering pizza, ask for extra vegetables.
  • Add chopped vegetables, such as green and red bell pepper, onions, and mushrooms to prepared pasta sauce or to your favorite lasagna recipe.
  • Roast vegetables, such as chopped broccoli and cauliflower, and thickly-sliced carrots. Toss with olive oil and the herbs of your choice and roast at 400˚F for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Grill vegetables, such as asparagus, eggplant and mushrooms. Brush each piece with olive oil before setting directly on the grill.

Fourth of July Recipe Round-Up

From breakfast to dinner, from Sunday to Saturday, meals are prepared every day. It can become a repetitive routine until a holiday sneaks up on you and meals turn into a celebration of the food we love.

Now that the Fourth of July has passed it would be easy to dive right back into the daily humdrum of meal prep.  However, there is no reason that with a table full of loved ones and a bounty of delicious ingredients you can’t turn a warm summer night into a celebration.

To honor summer meals, we’re sharing a roundup of some of our favorite Fourth of July mushroom recipes that make every day worth celebrating!

Mushrooms Stuffed with Leeks

Jessica Fisher from Life As Mom shares how to have a stress-free Fourth of July with easy appetizers. Her recipe for stuffed mushrooms will have your guests show up fashionably early to snag one.

I love having friends and family over for a grilled supper. There’s something so relaxing about sitting outside together, sipping cool drinks and watching the kids play while the meat cooks on the grill and flavorful smoke curls in the air. The Fourth of July is the perfect occasion to do just that.

One of my weaknesses when it comes to entertaining is that the meal often takes longer for me to get ready than I think it will. It’s a sure bet that if I say dinner is at five o’clock, that we’ll actually sit down to eat at six o’clock. Usually I’m just having too much fun chatting with friends to be super productive.

A great way to bridge the gap between your guests’ arrival and the actual meal is to serve a round of easy, yet elegant appetizers. Chips and dips are certainly tasty, but these stuffed mushrooms take it up a notch.

Make these savory bites early in the morning and stash them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Warm them up and accompany them with a round of breads and cheeses. Pour the wine, ale, or other cool drink and you’re set for a fabulous Fourth of July.

Mushrooms Stuffed with Leeks

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces Portobello stuffing mushrooms, wiped and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1/4 cup grated romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Chop finely and reserve.
  2. Place the mushroom caps on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season them generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil the mushroom caps for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and liquid starts to accumulate in the caps.
  4. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leeks and mushroom stems and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  5. Add the sherry to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Spoon this filling into the prepared mushroom caps. Distribute the cheese and bread crumbs evenly over the top of the filling. Broil for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Serve immediately.

Jessica Fisher is a busy mom to six young children, aged tot to teen. She regularly writes about parenting tips and tricks at Lifeasmom.com and shares delicious ways to act your wage at GoodCheapEats.com. Her first cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, will be released later this year.