Tag Archives: food

Recipe: Wild Mushroom Bisque

A spectacular winter dish, this simple wild mushroom bisque is rich yet elegant.

Slow roasting intensifies the flavor of mushrooms, giving this soup a rich, earthy flavor. Madeira is a sweet wine made in Portugal. Sherry makes an excellent substitute.

Wild Mushroom Bisque

wild mushroom bisque. sourdough croutons, applewood smoked bacon

Ingredients:  (serves 6-8)

  • 1 pound fresh portabellos- stemmed, dark gills removed, caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms stemmed, caps cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Madeira or Sherry wine
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole organic milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup organic whipping cream
  • 1/4 sourdough croutons, crushed
  • garnish option: chopped cooked bacon

To prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the mushrooms between prepared baking sheets. Drizzle the mushrooms with the olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the mushrooms are tender and still moist, about 15 minutes longer. Cool slightly. Reserve any liquid from the roasted mushrooms

2. In a food processor or blender, combine half of the mushrooms with 2 cups of the broth and process until smooth.

3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the sherry wine and simmer until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

4. Add the remaining 3 1/4 cups of broth, organic milk, and fresh thyme. Stir in the remaining cooked mushroom pieces and the mushroom purée. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and ladle into serving bowls or demi-tasse coffee cups. Top with a little dollop of the whipped cream, sourdough croutons and some porcini powder (or any dried mushroom ground in a spice mill or coffee grinder) and the bacon.

Additional Notes:
• Almost all mushroom varieties are very absorbent and will soak up any moisture that’s available. Moisture causes mushrooms to decay rapidly, so the single most important aspect when cleaning them is not to soak them in water.

• Before you clean mushrooms, trim off the ends of the stems and any clumps of dirt that may be clinging. A soft-bristled brush or damp cloth can usually clean most of the dirt off of mushrooms. If the mushrooms are a little damp, use a clean cloth to dry them.

• Don’t discard the stems of fresh mushrooms like shiitake and Portobello. Use them to flavor stocks, soups, and stews. Wrap them in a square of cheesecloth and add them to a simmering liquid. The stems will release their flavor in about 20 to 30 minutes, then discard the cheesecloth bundle.

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Huevos Rancheros, A Fiesta Of Flavors

Huevos rancheros is a popular breakfast dish consisting of eggs served in the style of the traditional large mid-morning fare on rural Mexican farms.

The basic dish consists of fried eggs served upon lightly fried corn tortillas topped with a tomato-chili sauce. Refried beans, Mexican-style rice, slices of avocado, or guacamole are common accompaniments. Share your version of this classic dish with us!

Back Road Journal

The classic Mexican dish, Huevos Rancheros,  Is A Fiesta Of Flavors.  Fried eggs sitting on top of corn tortillas and served with a rustic tomato chili ranchero sauce can be found all over Mexico. If you travel there on vacation, you will find this dish at a simple  cantina as well as at famous beachside resorts. It is a delicious way to start your day.

What is especially nice about this classic egg dish is that it doesn’t have to be relegated to just an early morning breakfast although it is quick and easy to prepare. Countless people celebrating Cinco de Mayo with friends love serving this dish as part of a Mexican themed brunch along with pitchers of Margaritas. But we also know that eggs aren’t just for breakfast any more, and I like preparing huevos rancheros for an evening meal.

Ask a hundred cooks or chefs how…

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jun-aug13 292wmCrispy seared sea bass, Spanish saffron basmati rice, organic spring peas, locally produced chorizo, chardonnay butter, organic parsnip & carrot chips

While a pinot gris or chardonnay seem like a natural pairing choice, this wonderful end of summer seafood dish would actually pair perfectly with a wide array of interesting wines. The combination of rich, lightly acidic chardonnay butter and aromatic saffron basmati offer a powerful counterpoint when paired with a California Pinot noir. Alternatively, the richness and fat content of the sea bass seem to pair very well with a luscious syrah and even stood up nicely to an Argentine malbec. Unusual yet delicious! What would you pair with this dish to go with some of the other components like salty-savory chorizo, spiced parsnip-carrot chips or the sea bass itself?

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Recipe: Mango Salsa

The mango is a very common tropical fruit usually found in Southern Asia, especially in Eastern India, Philippines, China, Burma, Andaman Islands and Central America. It is cultivated and grown vastly in many tropical regions and widely distributed in the world.

Mango is one of the most extensively used fruit for food, juices, flavor and coloring making it as the most functional fruit. The ripe fruit is variable in size and color, and may be yellow, orange, red or green when ripe, depending on the cultivar. When it is ripe refreshingly sweet taste that varies from every variety. Its flesh has its fibrous and some are soft and pulpy texture.

One of my favorite uses for mango is fresh salsa. It makes a great accompaniment to all sorts of grilled fish and chicken recipes.

Ripe Mango

cubed Mango for salsa

Ingredients for Mango Salsa:
  • 2 peeled, pitted and diced small
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 Tbsp medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 /2 small european cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp chopeed scallion
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted mustard seed
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions:
  1. Chop mango, red pepper, cucumber, scallion and red onion and combine in a bowl.
  2. Mix lime juice, olive oil, sugar mustard seeds & salt and pepper in a small bowl, whisk together.
  3. Mix into salsa.
  4. Add chopped cilantro and stir until combined.
  5. Enjoy with fresh tortilla chips, on grilled fish or chicken or as an accompaniment to a fresh green salad

mango salsa

History of Mango:

Native to southern Asia, especially eastern India, Burma, and the Andaman Islands, the mango has been cultivated, praised and even revered in its homeland since Ancient times. Buddhist monks are believed to have taken the mango on voyages to Malaya and eastern Asia in the 4th and 5th Centuries B.C.

The Persians are said to have carried it to East Africa about the 10th Century A.D. It was commonly grown in the East Indies before the earliest visits of the Portuguese who apparently introduced it to West Africa early in the 16th Century and also into Brazil. After becoming established in Brazil, the mango was carried to the West Indies, being first planted in Barbados about 1742 and later in the Dominican Republic. It reached Jamaica about 1782 and, early in the 19th Century, reached Mexico from the Philippines and the West Indies.

Ripe Mango on the vine

Source: Julia F. Morton’s “Fruits of Warm Climates”: Mango

Note: There are a few vari­eties of mango that are com­monly found in Amer­i­can gro­ceries stores. The most com­mon are the Haden, Tommy Atkins, and  Kent vari­eties, all of which have yel­low or green skins with a red­dish blush to them. If you do find an Ataulfo or Cham­pagne mango, it will have a smaller, kidney-like shape, yel­low skin, and small pit, so use 5 or 6 for this recipe. To choose a ripe but firm (com­mon) mango make sure it has a red­dish blush and firm skin. The mango should give slightly when squeezed and be fra­grant. If you acci­den­tally peel a mango that is too green, no wor­ries, cut it into small slices, sea­son with lime juice and sprin­kle with salt. You’ve just made man­goviche! Deli­cious!

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Photo Gallery: Safety Harbor Food Truck Rally

So wow! I had the opportunity to attend the 1st annual Safety Harbor Food Truck Rally today and it was fantastic! Among some of the delicious foods I tried were: 3 Suns Organic Bistro, Sweet Ida Mae’s Bakery, Stinky Bunz, Just Smokin’ BBQ, Keep’n It Reel, Fire Monkey Food Truck, Tasty Stacy Food Truck, This ‘n’ That Mini Doughnuts, Mr. Empanada, Whatever Pops and The pizza Guy.

Okay, so yeah, I ate everything in sight and loved it! All the food was totally delicious and the service was quick and friendly. Add to that the beautiful weather, good live music and a whole bunch of great friends and it made for a pretty awesome day!

Thanks to all the great vendors who came out to feed us today and also to the city of Safety Harbor for putting on this great event…lots of happy faces out on Main Street today, can’t wait for the next one! Enjoy the gallery!

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I used to write here, didn’t I?

Time to get back to that. So many superb meals have passed through my kitchen in the last few years…most have been left unblogged, undocumented & forgotten. For some of them that may be for the best, but a lot of these meals should have been shared. So here we are again.

Where to begin? I guess with the now. Honestly, too much has occurred both personally and professionally over the past few years for me to try to recap it all here and now. Some good, some bad, some great, some sad…so I’ll just pick up with the glorious present.

I’m working on getting past my obsession with overly complicated meals, trying to do things a little more simply. Not that I’m abandoning the ridiculous feasts, I’m just realizing that I can cook a whole lot more really great stuff if I just simplify some of it. In preparation for the super bowl on Sunday, I made a batch of chili on Saturday without spending 3 days preparing for it. I stuck to the true spirit of the dish this time.

A good friend of mine, who had the misfortune of leaving his freezer door ajar overnight, bestowed upon me a large chuck roast on Friday. I thought to myself, “questionable chunk of meat? Hmmm…chili!!”

I trimmed it up, got rid of the more questionable parts, and cut it into bite-size chunks. After browning those in a pan with some oil and salt, working in batches and transferring the browned ones to a pot, I sautéed a medium-sized diced red onion in the leftover “meaty-ness”… dumped that in the pot, deglazed the whole thing with a bottle of decent craft beer, then added a can of tomatillos (run through the blender first), a few cans of crushed tomato and some Mexican spice rub that had been given to me by a friends parents down the street. Salt, pepper, chipotle ketchup, smoked paprika, coriander, masa harina and toasted cumin went in, then I let it simmer for a little while.

After some time, it became apparent that the chili needed more veggies in it, so I started digging in the fridge. I found a little container of salsa that someone had brought the night before, along with half a can of chipotle en adobo, so in it went along with some fresh yellow corn. It was still lacking though. Around the same time, I received a fortuitous phone call from someone on their way over to the house, and I asked them to pick me up another jar of salsa, some kidney beans and a six-pack of some decent beer (to drink of course).

**Side note**

OK, I know how a lot of people feel about beans when it comes to chili…some love it, some hate it. Honestly, I could care less. I make chili with them, without them, whatever…it just depends on my mood and the ingredients on hand.

**End of side note**

Once my buddy arrived, I threw in the beans and salsa and let it simmer a little longer. We made some jalapeño/cheddar cornbread muffins and grated up some sharp cheddar cheese, and I was pleasantly surprised! Not quite the same flavor impact of most of the chilli I’ve made, but the ratio of effort : flavor was remarkable. I think that there may be something to the “lazy chili”. . .but I do advise using caution when selecting the meat itself. That can still make or break any pot of chili, no matter how lazy you feel.

Well…it feels good to get the old ball rolling again. I’ll try to keep you all posted more this time around…really. Stop looking at me like that.

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chili

lazy chili

Tampa Food Truck Rally will be held on Main Street in Safety Harbor!

The next Tampa Food Truck Rally will be held on Main Street in Safety Harbor on February 11th from 11 AM – 3 PM!

But wait it gets better, we will be shutting down Main Street! We are all very excited to have our city host this awesome event!!

Safety Harbor Food truck Rally

Join us at 777 Main Street Safety Harbor, FL 34695 on February 11th from 11 AM – 3 PM!