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Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini over Spinach and Mushroom Salad

24 Jan

Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini with Spinach and Mushroom Salad

This is a simple and easy salad with a really big impact in terms of flavor.  The rich, caramelized mushrooms in both their simple sautéed form and inside of the arancini create a meatiness that contrasts really well with the freshness of the baby spinach and simple lemon juice dressing.  The arancini adds great texture, acting almost as a warm crouton on the outside and a creamy, cheese-y bite on the inside.

This serves either as a lovely light entrée or an excellent starter salad.  By increasing or decreasing the size of the arancini, you can make this more or less filling.  This makes an excellent weeknight meal because it comes together so quickly and uses up leftovers.

Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini over Spinach and Mushroom Salad

1 1/2 cups leftover red wine and mushroom risotto

2 1/8″ thin slices fresh mozzarella

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

3-4 tbs. canola oil

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced

2  tbs. olive oil

6-8 cups fresh baby spinach

1 lemon, juiced

Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Using your hands, combine risotto and the egg.  Season risotto mixture with salt and pepper.  Take about 1/2 cup of risotto mixture and form into a patty with your hands.  Place mozzarella slice on the patty and press into patty.  Top with another 1/4 cup or so of risotto mixture.  Coat evenly with bread crumbs.  Repeat one time with remaining risotto, cheese, and bread crumbs.

In a frying pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add mushrooms to olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, for about 8-10 minutes.

As onions are cooking, add risotto patties to the frying pan with canola oil.  Cook 5-7 minutes per side until deep golden brown and heated through.

As mushrooms and risotto patties are cooking, place spinach greens in a bowl.

Top spinach greens with mushrooms and then arancini.  Top with lemon juice and serve immediately.

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

3 Aug

Thanks to a suggestion in the comments, I remembered I had this recipe bookmarked in my “To Try” list.  I had every ingredient for this except the cilantro (because, hey, fresh herbs do not last that long) and exactly the right amount of ears of corn.  Kismet!  And I am so glad I had that reminder, because this was ridiculously good.

We ate this side dish alongside some simple black bean burritos, eating it as-is and also as a sort of warm “salsa” on the burrito.  Both were extremely good.  The sharp feta contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of the warm caramelized corn, and the mayonnaise creates a creamy sauce that is to die for.  The heat from the jalapeños and crushed red pepper flakes works well with the sweet corn and creamy feta and mayonnaise, bolstered by the bright, fresh cilantro, lime, and scallions.  I will definitely be making this again the next time we receive corn in our CSA with no changes other than the fact that I want to double or even triple the recipe.

As an update, I just wanted to acknowledge that I made this dish again with ingredients from Week Four of the CSA.  Because we were bringing it as a side dish to a friend’s house, I decided to serve it cold.  And it was frickin’ delicious both room temperature and cold.  I also added about half a cup of halved cherry tomatoes, which was a great addition that added both color and flavor.

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

From Serious Eats

2 tbs. vegetable oil

4 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed

Kosher salt

2 tbs. mayonnaise

2 oz. feta cheese, finely crumbled

1/2 cup scallion greens, finely sliced

1/2 cup cilantro greens, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 lime, juiced

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat until shimmering.  Add corn kernels and season to taste with salt.  Toss once or twice and cook, without moving, until charred on one side, about 2 minutes.

Toss corn, stir, and cook, again without moving, until charred on second side, another 2 minutes.  Continue tossing and charring until well charred all over, for a total of about 8-10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.  Serve immediately.

Duck Confit Summer Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

5 Jul

There’s a great Asian market right around the corner from Zak’s office, so from time to time he stops to pick up a few things on his lunch hour.  Last week, he came home bearing some really awesome gifts – duck wings!  After some Googling around, I settled on using my new Le Creuset french oven to confit them.  Because I didn’t have any duck fat laying around and didn’t feel like traveling from store to store in search of some, I decided to use olive oil.  I followed Michael Ruhlman‘s recipe because, well, he’s awesome and a fellow Clevelander.  I stuck to it pretty much to a tee, and ended up with flavorful and crispy duck wings that stood up beautifully to the bold flavors of this salad.  Duck, cherries and blue cheese tossed with some mixed greens and drizzled with a tart pomegranate vinaigrette.  Seriously, yum.  I ate this exact same salad twice in a row and was craving it again.

Be aware that the duck wings do not yield a whole heck of a lot of meat.  I used these six wings to make two hearty salads and didn’t have any left over because it only yielded about a cup and a half of meat and skins, max (though I will be making a duck stock with the bones!).

Duck Confit Summer Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Duck Confit:

From Michael Ruhlman  (yay Clevelanders!)

6 duck wings

Kosher salt, as needed

3 whole cloves

6 peppercorns

3 cloves garlic

3 bay leaves, broken into pieces

Olive as needed (several cups)

Sprinkle the duck pieces all over with salt.  Use a generous amount – 2 tbs. or so – as though you are salting a roast chicken or thick steak.

Roughly chop cloves, peppercorns, and garlic.

Place half of clove/peppercorn/garlic mixture on a large sheet of saran wrap.  Lay duck pieces over top.  Place a small piece of bay leaf on each duck wing.  Sprinkle remainder of clove mixture over the duck.  Wrap very tightly in saran wrap and then place in a plastic bag.

Refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours.

Heat oven to 180º.

Place legs in an oven safe pot or dutch oven.  Cover with olive oil (several cups).  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Immediately transfer (CAREFULLY) uncovered to the low oven.  Cook for 6-10 hours until the legs are completely tender, the fat clear, and the legs resting on the bottom of the pan.

Remove from the oven.  Cool, submerged in olive oil, to room temperate.  Transfer to refrigerator and refrigerate for up to one month (or perhaps longer, depending on where you get your information).

When you desire to serve, remove the container from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

Heat oven to 425º.

Transfer wings to a tinfoil lined baking sheet.  Bake in oven, turning once, for 15-25 minutes  until the meat is warmed through and the skin is crispy.

Remove from oven and remove the meat and skin from the bones of the duck.  Shred and serve warm, keeping warm in an oven if necessary.


Shredded duck confit, see above

4-5 cups salad greens (I used spring mix)

3-4 tbs. pomegranate vinaigrette, see below

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

Toss together cherries, crumbled blue cheese, and lettuce.  Top with duck and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette:

3 tbs. pomegranate juice

2 tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 tbs. canola oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. sugar

Whisk together ingredients until well combined.

Wild Rice and Tofu Salad with Miso Dressing

9 Mar

I love Cleveland.  There’s nothing like an incredibly unexpected spring day.  I decided to make something that wouldn’t require the use of the oven when the temperatures rose near 70 degrees the other day (only to sink back into the 30s just in time for spring break).  This wild rice salad has an excellent balance of flavors and textures – creamy tofu, nutty rice, earthy tahini, salty miso, bright citrus, and crunchy carrots and edamame.

If you want to make this vegan, simply swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock or water.  I enjoyed the extra depth of savory flavor the chicken stock provided, but I’m sure this would be absolutely delicious with just water.  This is an excellent week night meal because it comes together quite quickly – especially because you can make the rice ahead of time.

Wild Rice and Tofu Salad with Miso Dressing

Loosely adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Wild Rice and Tofu Salad:

1 cup wild rice (any rice works, I used a mixture of medium grained black and mahogany rice)

2 cups homemade chicken stock

1/3 cup baby carrots

14 oz. silken tofu, roughly chopped

2 tsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. tahini

1 tsp. rice wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cooked, shelled edamame

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tbs. sesame seeds

1 cup mixed greens or arugula

Miso dressing, see below

Add rice, chicken stock, and baby carrots to a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes or as long as your package instructs.

Meanwhile, whisk together tahini, soy sauce, vinegar and freshly ground black pepper.  Toss with tofu and let marinate as rice cooks.

As tofu is marinating, heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.  Add sesame seeds and cook, tossing frequently, until lightly toasted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Once rice is cooked, toss together all ingredients, including miso dressing (see below).

Miso Dressing:

2 tbs. white miso

2 tbs. honey

1 tbs. sesame oil

2 1/2 tbs. rice vinegar

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup orange juice, preferably with pulp or freshly squeezed

Whisk together all ingredients.

Ginger-Soy Steamed Whole Black Bass with Red Cabbage Coleslaw

7 Dec

This meal was incredibly simple, delicious, flavorful, and healthy.  The succulent and moist flesh of the fish absorbed the subtle flavors of ginger, soy and lemongrass.  The coleslaw was a lovely mix of bright and fresh ingredients, playing well with the fish.  I served the fish along with the drippings that accumulated at the bottom of the pan for a delicious, subtle-flavored dipping sauce.

Between the fish and the coleslaw, this dish had about fifteen minutes of hands-on time – making it one of the easiest and fastest dinners I can think of.  It’s also absolutely gorgeous – the coleslaw is especially striking when you see it next to the whole fish.

Ginger-Soy Steamed Whole Black Bass with Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Ginger-Soy Steamed Whole Black Bass:

1 1 lb. whole black bass, scales removed and gutted

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tbs.)

1 heaping tbs. lemongrass, divided

2 tbs. low sodium soy sauce

2 tbs. rice wine vinegar

2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 400º.

Pat fish dry with towels and cut two shallow slices in each side of the fish.

Season both sides of fish and cavity of fish lightly with kosher salt.  Stuff half of lemon grass and half of ginger into the cavity of the fish.

Place the fish in a baking dish large enough to hold it.  Make sure the dish can fit into your roasting pan.

Mix together half of the soy sauce and half of the rice wine vinegar.  Pour over fish.  Sprinkle remaining half of ginger and lemongrass on top of the fish.

Fill up the roasting pan with enough water to come halfway up to the baking dish.  Transfer water to a sauce pan and bring to a boil with remaining half of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and whole black peppercorns.  Transfer boiling water back to the roasting pan.

Add baking dish to the roasting pan.  Oil a piece of tinfoil.  Cover roasting pan snugly with the tinfoil, oiled side down.  Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until flesh of fish flakes easily with a fork and is opaque or 145º.

[Note:  Check out a picture of the whole fish after the break.]

Red Cabbage Coleslaw:

2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded

2 medium carrots, finely shredded

1/3 cup pickled daikon radish, cut into matchsticks

2 tbs. rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tbs. soy sauce

Freshly cracked black pepper

Toss together vegetables.

Whisk together vinegar, oil, and soy sauce.  Season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Add to vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.  Let sit 6-8 hours, refrigerated, to allow flavors to meld.

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