Sunday, February 08, 2009

Smitten Kitchen's Mushroom Bourguignon

Continuing the Smitten Kitchen recipe roll, we will now discuss the mushroom bourguignon. This recipe grabbed me the second I saw it on the website.  The sauce looked luscious, the mushrooms delicious and the bed of pasta - perfection.  You can find the blogger's fantastic photos and the recipe here.  Beef Bourguignon suddenly became a dish that I didn't know I'd missed until I saw this mushroom alternative.  I believe the recipe came out on a Thursday, and I put it on Saturday's menu.  

We had company that evening, company I deemed worthy of sharing what I hoped would be mushroomy deliciousness.  M ended up making the dish (that whole baby tag-teaming effect again) and reported that the preparations were straightforward.  A little chopping, a little braising.  And the results?  Oh, the results contained the deliciousness I'd hoped for.  The sauce was rich, the mushrooms tender and winey and the bed of pasta provided the perfect compliment to the saucy stew.  M. did follow the directions on the pearl onions, but our general consensus was that they were too firm.  Next time we would parboil them before adding them to the stew, or perhaps try frozen.  Ours were fresh, and were just too firm and spicy to meld with the softness of the stew. 

Needless to say there were no leftovers that night.  I look forward to making this recipe again, perhaps on a night when M. and I are without guests so that there WILL be leftovers we can enjoy on another occasion.  In fact, we haven't planned our menu for Valentine's Day yet... 

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Smitten Kitchen Chocolate Pudding

Signs I need to post more often:

My last post was on the first day of this year (okay, it is only February but STILL).
It took me a minute to remember how to create a new post.  I went to the website first, and was puzzled for a second about how to log in and write a new post.  

Ah, lack of sleep. It boggles the mind.  

The veggie kitchen has actually been a'cookin these days.  Maybe not every day, but at least several times a week.  Still, the whole photography blogging piece has been lagging.  I'll keep working on it, but in the meantime I want to start sharing what I (we ... cooking is often a tag team event round here) have been up to.  

Starting with  ... chocolate pudding.  Yes, be very impressed.  

This week I had a crazy craving for chocolate pudding.  Homemade, of course.  This was puzzling to me as I didn't grow up with chocolate pudding in a regular dessert rotation at my house.  In fact, I don't think we EVER had chocolate pudding.  As a young adult, my only concept of chocolate pudding was the small brown JELLO box.  It would do from time to time, but nothing to get excited about.  But this week, I wanted pudding and I wanted it to be real.  I googled for a recipe, and up popped Smitten Kitchen's.  I've made several recipes off of her site lately, and figured this would be good place to start.  

I was stumped by the lack of whole milk in the house.  It isn't something we keep around, and I was afraid that if I made the pudding with skim it wouldn't set.  Several of the commenters on Smitten Kitchen seemed to have that problem.  But, I plucked up my courage, threw in a half a cup of heavy cream lying around for one half cup of the milk and held my breath.  And it worked.  Perhaps the pudding would have been richer and lusher had it been made with whole milk, or even 2%.  But it was plenty rich and chocolatey for my taste buds, and I like to think that it was perhaps a touch better for me as a result of the lighter milk.  A touch.  

M. thought the pudding was just okay.  When making the pudding, I added 3 oz from a Trader Joe's bittersweet chocolate, and planned on adding 3 oz of semisweet chocolate chips.  M. had to take over for me, and he misunderstood my directions and added 3 oz of milk chocolate chips instead.  I thought the results were tasty, perhaps milder then had we used the semisweet but still rich and silky smooth.  M. thought the quality of the chocolate could have been better and wasn't quite as impressed.  Apparently when it comes to chocolate I'm an easy sell!  

Still, the recipe came together inside of a half hour, and kept very well for several days in the fridge.  Served with a dollop of whipped cream on top, this customer was quite happy and has spent the past couple days in a chocolate cloud of anticipation of the evening's pudding dessert. 

You can find the recipe here... along with amazing photographs.