Tag Archives: cremini mushrooms

Vegetable Croquetas with Arugula

In the summer of 2004 I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain.  It was a great summer filled with drinking boxed wine on the street, eating delicious Spanish food, traveling around the country and improving my Spanish.  I ate tapas before they were cool here in the US.  My señora was a great cook, and I wish I had learned a bit more from her.

On my first day, she prepared gazpacho and croquetas (croquettes).  Upon my first taste of the cold tomato soup, I was worried that I was going to hate the food in Spain.  But then when I first took my first bite of the croqueta- I knew I could survive.  It was warm, crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside.  Yes, I could definitely eat these.  Fortunately, I eventually fell in love with gazpacho and many other delicious recipes Macarena (my señora) prepared.

Most Spanish croquetas are made with meat, the most popular being chicken or ham and cheese.  But sometimes you just need some extra vegetables in your life.  So when I found this recipe for a vegetable croqueta- I couldn’t pass it up.

Vegetable Croquetas with Arugula
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2012)

You can serve these over any salad or eat them as an appetizer.  The cheese choices can also be swapped for something you have (such as cheddar). 

1 large or 2-3 small potatoes
8 oz cremini mushrooms, halved
1 leek, washed & roughly chopped
2 tsp thyme, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Gruyère, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 egg, yolk & white separated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil water in a small pan, then drop in the potato(es).  Allow to boil until they are cooked.  Take it out of the water, and then mash the potato into a smooth consistency.

Add the mushrooms, leeks and thyme into a food processor.  Pulse until all of the vegetables are finely chopped.

Heat a large skillet, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Once it’s warm, add the mushroom mixture and mashed potato, allow it to cook for about 5 minutes.  Turn off the burner, but while the mixture is still warm add the Gruyère, salt, pepper and egg yolk.  Stir the ingredients well.

Divide the mixture and shape each piece (of about 2-3 tbsp) into little logs or round patties.  Lay them out.

Have the flour in a shallow dish.   In another dish have the egg white.  In a third dish, combine and mix the panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Dredge each vegetable patty in the flour, then dip it in the egg white, and lastly dredge it again in the panko mixture.  Do this with all of your patties.

Heat up the skillet once more, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Then add each of the patties, cook them for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.

I topped a arugula salad with these croquetas, drizzled with a vinaigrette.

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Food Matters Project #4: Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese

I’ve had Mark Bittman’s book now for over a year, and I’m very upset I had not picked it up more often to find new and fun dishes.  As each week passes, I love this project since it’s a great way to go though a book.  And I love seeing what people pick out as their dish.

We’re in week four of the Food Matters Project.  This week’s host was Marcia and she chose a delicious dish- Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Blue Cheese.

Remember when I made the fig flatbread this past summer?  That was the day I fell in love with figs!  Once they’re in season, I might have to remake this dish- it was absolutely delicious.

Unfortunately, figs are not in season in DC at this time of the year.  So I used dried figs which I found at Whole Foods.  Although, you can use cranberries, dried cherries or any other dried fruit in this recipe.  It’ll all work well.

When making this dish, we used more brussels sprouts, and added mushrooms and onions.  We also didn’t bake the dish, but that is all preference.  This is definitely one you can impress all of your friends with, or enjoy it as an easy weeknight meal.

Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 221)

1 tsp + 1 tbsp salt
1 lb rigatoni
1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
10 dried figs, sliced
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp salt.  Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Meanwhile, mix the brussels sprouts, garlic with the olive oil and 1 tbsp salt.  Bake this mix for 20 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are tender in the middle.

Melt butter in a skillet.  Then add the mushrooms and onions.  Sauté the vegetables until the mushrooms and onions are soft.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot.  Add in the figs and blue cheese, stir together so the cheese starts to melt.  Then add in the mushroom and onion mix.  Stir well before serving.

Sam’s Summer Pasta Sauce

One of the first meals that Sam had made for me was this sauce, and I loved it!  He’s been perfecting this baby for years, so it is delicious.  I couldn’t wait until the tomatoes were in season, since this pasta is significantly better with deep red fresh tomatoes.

It’s finally tomato season!  Hopefully, my pasta sauce recipe will help you figure out how to use them.

It looks like a lot, but really, this one is pretty easy.  I developed this recipe over a couple years of trial and error.  Originally, I prepared the sauce as noted below, but then simmered it for about an hour over the stovetop.  I’ve found that omitting this last step and serving it with the tomatoes and herbs in their raw state gives the sauce a really nice, fresh-from-the-garden flavor.  I hope you like it.

Sam’s Summer Pasta Sauce

1 box, dry pasta (I recommend penne or rigatoni)
3 large, ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 zucchini, slice length-wise & chopped into chunks
2 squash, slice length-wise & chopped into chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
5 garlic cloves, minced
handful of fresh basil
6 sprigs of fresh oregano
¾ can, drained, pitted, black olives
Dry red wine (a nice Chianti works well)
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter together with the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Then add the squash, zucchini, and onion together with the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Now is a good time to start boiling your pasta.  I recommend cooking in liberally salted boiling water until al dente.  When done, drain and rinse in cold water to ensure it doesn’t continue to cook.

When the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms and garlic.  Continue to sauté until the mushrooms soften but still have a bit of a bite.  Remove from heat.

In a large food processor, add quarter of the sauté mixture together with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, olives, and a splash of wine and olive oil.  Pureé and add more salt, pepper, and olive oil as necessary.

Serve the sauce with the remainder of the squash mixture over the cooked pasta and top with a little fresh, grated parmesan (not that powdered stuff!).  Oh, and don’t forget to drink the remainder of that wine!

Buon appetito!