Fungi are My Favorite: Spaghetti al Funghi Recipe

Hey, everyone! This week, I wanted to share something that I like to make at home on a fairly regular basis and a recipe to use it in. Mushrooms are one of my all-time favorite foods, and I think that they make a great substitute for meat. They’re packed full of protein, fiber, and an immune-boosting antioxidant called selenium. I love the flavor that each different type of mushroom has, and they’re all different! Some of my favorites include shimeji, morel, maitake, oyster, and enoki. When caramelized, they have an incredibly nutty and rich flavor that adds depth to any dish. They’re pretty much one of the best foods ever, spoken by a completely unbiased individual… 😉

I think that mushrooms are also beautiful to look at, and for this reason and a few others, I like them to be recognizable in a dish. I rarely cut mushrooms unless they are of the larger variety and cannot be torn. I always tear the mushrooms previously mentioned, and I always save the ends for stock and soup! Because mushrooms are so incredibly versatile, I really like to keep some already cooked off in my fridge for salads, pasta, or whatever we’ve got a hankering for. One of my favorite preparations for these fungi is to caramelize them in brown butter. They turn out to be incredible little flavor bombs that you can add to any dish. You could absolutely substitute out butter for a preferred cooking fat to get the same lovely color. This is as simple as cutting a few knobs of butter onto a sheet pan, browning the butter in the oven, and mixing your cut mushrooms with some salt for seasoning into the brown butter. Once they’re all coated, roast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they’re well fragrant and golden brown.

One recipe that I’ve developed to use these in is my take on spaghetti ai funghi. Mushrooms that have been browned lend themselves nicely to a cream sauce or something that will push the rich flavor forward. The recipe is very simple, but in the video I have included, I used a red wine jus I made from chicken stock (not necessary, but it’s what I had). Using regular chicken stock works perfectly well for this recipe and is usually what I do. It is also perfectly fine in this recipe to brown the mushrooms in a pan first and then build your sauce from there.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ lb. enoki mushrooms
  • ¼ lb. shimeji mushrooms
  • ¼ lb. oyster mushrooms
  • 8 oz. dry spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parsley (I toasted mine for a little texture)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 egg yolk

Procedure:

  • Salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Prepare your mushrooms by tearing them apart.
  • Brown the butter in a sauté pan and add the mushrooms.
  • Once the mushrooms are tender and caramelized, deglaze with chicken stock.
  • Reduce the chicken stock down until it becomes syrupy and add the heavy cream.
  • Reduce the heavy cream until it just starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Cook your spaghetti to al dente and add to the cream sauce with a splash of pasta water.
  • Separate one egg, store the whites, and keep the yolk out.
  • Once the pasta is coated with sauce, season to taste with salt, cracked black pepper, and parsley.
  • Finish the dish while still hot by stirring in an egg yolk. (The residual heat cooks the yolk without turning it solid.)

When I first started making this recipe, I was in love. It’s a fairly simple dish to make and it tastes so luxurious. You really don’t need a lot of it to fill you up, and it has an outstanding roasted mushroom flavor. I like to go heavy on the cracked black pepper because it adds a nice spice to the very rich dish. I hope that this has inspired you to cook with mushrooms more and maybe even try them as a substitute in your favorite meat dish. I guarantee you’ll be surprised at just how flavorful they are! Thank you for reading and happy cooking!


Game Day BBQ Chicken Dip

Hey, everyone! This week’s blog post is the first collaboration post we’ve done on here! A fellow student leader, Meghan Young, wrote a piece that I think totally captures the idea of what this blog is all about. What better way to kick off a collaboration than with a gameday post? It’s always fun having people over to watch sports, whether it’s football, basketball, soccer, you name it! Once you’ve gotten everyone together, the question of what to eat and drink always arises. Planning can really elevate the gameday experience, and in this post, we’re going to share some recipes that are perfect for groups of people!

One recipe that I’ll often make at home is chicken dip. It is so incredibly easy to put together and is usually a hit once it’s done. Buffalo chicken dip is a classic, but I like to put my own twist on chicken dip. I recently discovered a barbeque sauce that goes beautifully with chicken and thought, why not make dip with this? Thus, my barbeque chicken dip was born. Something fun about this recipe is that you can really substitute in any favorite sauce for barbeque and it will work just as well. I find that sweeter sauce doesn’t work as well for this dip based solely on the fact that I don’t like my savory foods to be too sweet. There really aren’t a ton of ingredients in this dip, which makes it very user friendly.

Barbeque Chicken Dip Ready for Game Day Action!

Ingredients:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups barbeque sauce
  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup spring onion

Procedure:

  • Shred rotisserie chicken with hands or forks.
  • Warm barbeque sauce in a pan, and add softened cream cheese and sour cream.
  • Mix in chicken and three fourths of the shredded cheese and spring onions.
  • Once combined, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  • Spoon into a 10-inch skillet, and top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake in a low oven until heated through and bubbling.
  • *OPTIONAL* Broil on high until cheese gets bubbly and brown on top.
  • Garnish with remaining spring onions, and serve with chips.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Whenever it’s movie night or I know people will be coming over, I throw this together and it’s always a hit. Remember that you can really make any kind of chicken dip, and you should definitely experiment with flavors! Thank you for reading!


5 Best Food and Gin Pairings to Enjoy This Valentine’s Day

By Heidi Jones

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you may be wondering what to do to bring a smile on your other half’s face. Why not go for a meal? A romantic one. Pairing food with liquor has been always one of the most celebrated activities to honor this day. Today, people are matching food and gin to achieve a perfect combination and this is slowly gaining popularity in many countries. People are finding ways through which they can enjoy their favorite gin and tonic drinks with their best meals. You should, however, know that there are skills needed for you to achieve a perfect match. Just like wine and food pairings, you need to know the taste profiles of both the food and drink you are about to pair. That is so that you don’t end up ruining the taste or making it too harsh to drink. For starters, below is a list of the best gin and food pairings that should help you have an idea of what the pairing process is all about. All you have to do is to figure out which other foods can pair well with gin.

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McQueen Sweet Citrus Gin with Smoked Salmon

There is no better gin and food pairing than McQueen citrus gin with smoked salmon. First, if you have a look at the taste profile of McQueen gin, from a glance, you will see citrus written all over it. The drink contains kaffir lime, grapefruit, and lemongrass. As expected, lemongrass dominates the drink’s taste and so be ready for a little bit of savory feel on the tongue. The sweetness of the gin pairs well with the lime taste to bring forth an incredible flavor. What better would it be to enjoy this pairing on your first date?

The idea that salmon tastes slightly different from other fish makes it a perfect candidate for this type of pairing. You should, however, focus more on the spices. To make an excellent match, make sure that the salmon is not too spiced. That is going to give you a hard time consuming the dish. Ensure you use few spices and salt it a little. That way, it will blend nicely with the McQueen sweet citrus gin. This pairing is definitely going to light up your partner’s mood.

Tandoori Scallops with Tanqueray

The taste profile of tandoori scallops depends on the spices you use. In most cases, you will find the dish having a spicy palate. That means coming up with a perfect pairing will give you a challenge, especially if you are a starter. But worry not, with patience you will be able to achieve an incredible match that will see people smack their lips. To build up the taste just enough to make it better and not unbearable, try pairing your tandoori scallops with a glass of Tanqueray. So sit back and relish on this amazing combination with your valentine.

It is among the ultimate gin and food pairings that go well together. That is because of the spicy flavor of tandoori scallops will complement the sharp lemon as well as the orange marmalade. The spices of both tandoori scallops and Sipsmith dry gin harmonious to achieve a great taste. You get to enjoy a spicy finish that will leave you completely refreshed. It is a pairing that anyone who loves spicy foods will adore.

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Crispy Chicken Wings with Plymouth Dry Gin

Everybody loves chicken wings, but not everybody can pair them with the right gin. Chicken wings that come with a crispy feel and some bit of spice are easy to pair. What you have to do is contrast the crispiness and the spicy flavor, and you will have yourself one of the best matches. Your number one choice when it comes to pairing chicken wings with gin should be Plymouth Dry Gin.

The drink comes with incredible notes, and pairs well with crispy chicken wings. At first, the gin is soft and incredible. You can then feel a buildup of cardamom, sweet orange, juniper, and lemon zest. It then finishes up with delicate citrus and mild earthy taste. Those are the things that make the two best gin and food pairing options. The sweet taste will contrast the spiciness of the fish, and the citrus will add a savory flavor from afar. No doubt, it is one of those experiences that a couple must give a shot.

Meatballs with Beefeater 24

Meatballs prepared with honey tends to have a sweet taste that leaves you yearning for more. One thing that you should be sure of is that the sweetness will mask the spices, and that is why pairing sometimes, is not as easy as it seems. But then, you can consider Beefeater 24 as the gin to use for this kind of pairing or something much more savory with a tinge of sweetness like beefeater 24.

The combination will see the tastes of licorice roots and citrus blend well with the sweetness of the meatballs. You thus end up getting a harmonious finish that is not only incredible but delectable. You can also pair it with Courvoisier to end up with a much better taste. In most cases, the best way to match a sweet dish is to pick something savory or bitter.

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Spiced Roast Beef with Monkey 47

Juicy and spicy roast beef is one of the best barbecues that you can ever ask for. The spices make it incredibly delicious, and smearing a bit of citrus juice can make it even much better. But then, how do you end up pairing such a dish without ruining the delectable flavor? The only way to avoid making the spice too intense for your palate is to contrast it with a gin like Monkey 47.

The gin comes with great flavors and floral notes. It features sweet licorice, cardamom, juicy lingonberry, and Jupiter. The sweetness of licorice is going to cut through the spices and balance them incredibly well. The citrus hint will then complement the citrus juice to make the taste much bearable. The combination ensures the flavors blend and unleashes a refreshing feel that is great for your tongue. What will impress you is how the meal will turn out to be impressive.

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These are some of the best pairings that you can achieve without fear of ruining the taste of the dish and the flavor of the gin. The combinations depend on two primary aspects, and that is they either complement each other or contrast each other to come up with a delightful feel and delectable finish. Whichever combination you make, make sure you analyze the flavor profiles of both the gin and the main dish so that you end up with an excellent match.

References

http://www.ginandtonicjuly.com/food.html

https://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Article/2016/05/17/How-to-pair-gin-with-food

https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/articles/ginstronomy-how-to-pair-gin-with-food.amp


Pita Bread Persistence

Hey, everyone! This week, I wanted to share something that I have been making quite a lot of recently. Ever since I was younger, I have absolutely loved pita bread. Whether it’s stuffed full of falafel or dipped in hummus, I can’t get enough. Ever since I stumbled upon a great recipe developed by Paul Hollywood, I’ve been making it all the time! I make quite a lot of hummus at home, and it’s fantastic to have a scratch-made lunch of pita, hummus, and salad. I think that working with this recipe has taught me a lot about proving dough and the process of making flatbread. I also learned a lot from a friend of mine here at school, who is incredible at making Mediterranean food. I’m still trying to perfect my pita, but I’ve had a ton of fun with the process of making it and learning how to get the perfect pocket.

I have tried a few different ways of making pita bread, but I have definitely found that the oven works best. When first making pitas in class, I tried making them on the back of a very hot cast iron pan. I would flip them halfway through, and the results were pretty decent. However, the pitas were never evenly colored, even though they had nice pockets. After doing some research, I found that my only other option really was an oven. A deck oven would definitely be the best choice for this, but sadly, I don’t have one of those at home. To simulate this, however, I cranked my oven up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and preheated my baking trays to somewhat mimic the effect of heat from the top and bottom evenly. As this is essentially the same as heat cleaning your oven, please make sure that your oven is already clean if you’re going to try this. Greasy ovens at a high heat billow smoke and smell horrible. This proved to work very well but needs constant monitoring, seeing as though the pitas bake very quickly. That being said, I still achieved some good pockets and nice color!

This was another one of those projects that felt good to work on and get better at. I tried making a preferment for my dough to get some extra flavor out of it, and I really liked the way it turned out. I find that homemade food tastes better and is much more rewarding if you have the time and patience. I always have fun making recipes like this, because it becomes part of a hearty meal later on. For the sake of people who would like to try making this pita recipe, I have included it here. I hope this has inspired some of you to go out there and bake! I’ve definitely caught the bug and am looking forward to more fun bakes. Thank you for reading!