It’s POTLUCK week with I Heart Cooking Clubs. I seem to gravitate back to Bittman for Potlucks. [So many recipes, so little time.] This time it was for something simple again. It’s just too hot for complicated!

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Simple. Quick. Tasty.

A whole wheat tortilla {mine was spinach and herb}filled with melty cheese, mushrooms, and sage it was the perfect breakfast. YES! Breakfast. I just wasn’t in the mood for eggs or cereal.

    2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
    About 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
    Salt and black pepper
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 fresh hot chile (like jalapeno), minced, or pinch of red chile flakes, or to taste
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
    2 large whole wheat tortillas
    1/4 cup grated Mexican-style melting cheese (like cotija or Monterey Jack){I used more.}

Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet and put it in the oven for a few minutes. When it’s hot-fragrant, but not smoking-add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir. Return to the oven and check after 20 minutes or so; the mushrooms should be releasing their water.

Stir in the garlic, chile, and sage. Continue to roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are fairly dry and deeply colored; total time will be about 40 minutes. {I found, if you roast them THIS long they get very dry. I would recommend using only about 25 – 30 minutes total. They will still be moist but well roasted.}
Meanwhile, generously grease a large baking sheet and spread the tortillas on it. (It’s okay if they overlap a bit.) Sprinkle the cheese over both. When the mushrooms are done, taste and adjust the seasoning and scatter them over the top.

Bake the tortillas until the cheese begins to melt, about 10 minutes. Fold each tortilla in half and press down gently. Bake for another 5 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 3 minutes until toasted and crisp.

These were really good and well worth turning the oven on for 30 minutes or so.

What did the others choose for POTLUCK? Visit IHCC.

So many times I have finished a book long after I thought it should have ended. You know what I mean, right? You get about 4/5s through a book and are longing for it to be over. That was NOT the case with Ruth Reichl’s first novel – DELICIOUS! I did not want it to end. I was so into the characters and the duel story line that I am now ready for a sequel although I know there won’t be one.

This was the story of Wilhelmina “Billie” Breslin and her journey. Not in the physical sense but in the personal sense. Billie has an awesome gift of a fine palate and the ability to devise a dish just from the tastes and smells. But she doesn’t cook. Not any more. One of the big questions throughout the book is WHY?

After working at DELICIOUS!, a foodie magazine, for just one year the magazine goes out of business and her job flies out the window. Or at least so she thought. She is kept on to answer questions and consider refunds on complaints regarding the recipes in the ‘book’. Her daily phone calls from Mrs. Cloverly,who constantly complains about how the recipes in DELICIOUS! don’t work:

    ‘…the large sea scallops or the little bay kind?”
    “Oh, really! I would never purchase scallops. They are far too expensive. I substituted canned clams.”
    “Any other substitutions? Perhaps you used 1/2 and 1/2 in place of heavy cream?”
    “Don’t be rediculous? I never have cream in the house; it is far too rich. I always use powdered milk.”
    I don’t imagine you had any wine on hand?”
    “I used water but I did add a bit of lemon juice for zip.”
      And she wonders why the recipe was ‘simply vile’

…and her hunt for the illusive Lulu,whose wartime letters to James Beard are found in the library in a hidden room, keep her life on a constant merry-go-round..

    Dear Mr. Beard,

      So when Mother says it is wrong for us to eat better than our brave men overseas, I tell her that I don’t see how eating disgusting stuff helps them in the lest. But Mr. Beard, it is very hard to cook good food when you’re only a beginner!…I’m going to try again; I have my eye on the Peanut Butter and Lima Bean Loaf from a cookbook Mrs. Davis gave me,….

    She definitely needed help and he gave her much for several years.

Through the letters, the friendships, and her family she finally learns the truth about events in her life her entire perspective about herself, her family, and her friends change.

The story is about people but it is also about food. Food that keeps people entertained, keeps people wanting more, keeps people alive, keeps people with family and friends. There are no recipes in the book just snatches of conversations about food, people intimately connected with food, and incidents involving the food industry. It is not an expose. It is a story. A life. A meal.

The Main Characters:

    Billie Breslin, the Heroine!
    Sal and Rosalie, owners of Fontanari’s Italian Food Shop
    Mr. Complainer, the picky Customer
    Lulu, the Letter Writer
    Mrs. Cloverly, the Complainer
    Genie, the Sister

All affected her life. And helped her come to terms with her fears – including cooking.

Through out the book different dishes are mentioned: souffle, gingerbread, pumpkin ravioli, Yorkshire pudding, panettone. So many dishes I could make to ‘celebrate’ the book. I did so want to make her gingerbread but just ran out of time. It will be made.

No earthquakes now….

delicious

This is the JULY selection for The Kitchen Reader an online food related book club with members around the world.

Back in early July Gaye chose a cobbler from Donna Hay to make. I didn’t quite get to it. After reading all the very positive reviews I knew I had to make it. Full of apples, blueberries – which meant we had blue apples – coconut it was WONDERFUL!

And you will have to believe me on how wonderful it looked with the streusel topping. My pictures all seem to have gone BYE!

This was Gaye’s Pick and you can see their cobblers HERE!!It is from Donna’s book – Seasons on page 206 but you can also find it online at Hannah’s blog.

YOU need to make this NOW!!

This is one of those desserts I have been wanting to make but just haven’t. No reason. I see recipes all the time but just never have followed through. Imagine how excited I was to see if on the August list for Baking Chez Moi/Tuesdays with Dorie. FINALLY!!!

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This one, and there are a couple of more, is made with mango as the base. And it is lovely when it is all put together. Full of the sweet/tart taste of the mango puree on the bottom and the sweet vanilla panna cotta on top.

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I can see this with lots of other variations – blueberry, strawberry, lemon.

The recipe is on page 270 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi. We don’t print the recipes but if you buy her book you can join in the baking!

And check with the other Doristas for their Panna Cottas. I am sure there will be some lovely variations.

Well, he might be. But not the kind you are thinking. The food kind. Sauces!! This week’s IHCC theme!

There are five MOTHER sauces we could chose from:

    Béchamel
    Hollandaise
    Velouté
    Espagnole
    Tomato

I have made all of these at some point over the last 10 years or so and they are delicious – the creaminess of the Hollandaise and the Béchamel. The heartiness of the Espagnole and the Velouté. But I wanted something simple and light. AND I still have tons of tomatoes coming in so a nice tomato sauce seemed the best idea. Coupled with meatballs and served over pasta it was a delicious dinner.

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THE SAUCE:

    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup minced onion
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their liquid
    1/3 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, thyme, and oregano and cook over moderate heat until softened.
Add the tomatoes, cover and cook over moderate heat for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree the sauce until slightly chunky using an immersion blender. You can also use a blender or processor for this.
While the sauce is simmering chop the olives and place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat, and drain well. Add the olives to the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the meatballs and cook until meatballs are heated through.

Pepin also had a meatball recipe with the sauce which called for left over meat shredded and mixed with eggs, herbs, milk, etc. I followed his recipe for the meatballs but used some fresh ground pork and sirloin. You can find HIS meatball recipe HERE.

Which sauce did the other cooks use? Check them out at IHCC – Sauces and see.

If you need a quick and tasty side for your next meal this is the one to try. And it’s perfect for this time of the year with all the fresh veggies around.

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    Fusilli with Yellow Squash and Grape Tomatoes

Fresh Squash. Fresh tomatoes. Mixed with onions, fusilli and some fresh thyme. Good stuff.

But…it was a little dry. Hazan talks about tossing the pasta with the sauce. There really wasn’t any sauce so I added a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water. That helped quite a bit.

The recipe is on page 83 of Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta.

Check Kayte, Chaya, Glennis, and Peggy to see what pasta they made this week.

    There is just something about the texture of ricotta…

It is NOT a cheese I would pick to use for anything. But there are a lot of recipes out there that contain it and when it’s IN something it’s not bad. Like in these little puff pastry pies!

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What you have here is puff pastry filled with a ricotta, Parmesean, dill, spinach mix. And it is wonderful!

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Using puff pastry instead of Filo is genius. I love spanakopita but it is just takes so long to make with the Filo. I might make these more often just because of the Puff Pastry. Oh, and the flavor! Thanks, Donna!

You can click on over to the website and see if the other’s liked Chaya’s pick for this week.

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