Friday, January 24, 2014

Thyme Polenta With Wild Mushrooms

The last suitcase is unpacked, winter cloth are stored and we are enjoying the warm summer climate in Lima.

Sunrise at Schipol Airport, Netherlands where we caught our flight to Lima

Despite of that , I still feel a bit as if my soul has not arrived yet, I suppose that this takes longer than a plane trip lasts.
The first excursion to the beach was fantastic but also literally painful as we underestimated how powerful the ultra violet sunrays can be, even with a clouded sky.

 View over the Yacht port in Lima

Enjoying Sunday at a popular beach

Anyhow now I'm sporting a new sleeping posture: prone position :)
As we had to upgrade our fridge content after a long absence( apart from a forgotten strawberry jam there was nothing else left), the dried Funghi Porcini that you can see in the picture caught my eye at the Super Market.
Since we all at home love Polenta, I though they would pair well.
And they did. The flavorful wild mushroom mix, together with the mild thyme aroma of the Polenta were a match  made in heaven and the only problem was: it all disappeared too quickly once served at the table.
You need:

For the polenta:
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (If you want to enhance the mushroom flavor replace 1/2 cup of broth with the water you soaked the dried Funghi Porcini in)
2 cups of milk
1 cup of
1 tblspoon butter
2 teaspoon of tried thyme
Salt to season

For the Mushroom stew:
2 tblspoon of oilve oil
1 tblspoon butter
80g of dried Funghi Porccini (can be replaced by 200g of fresh mushrooms like Portabello, Shitake etc.)
200g of fresh mushrooms (champignons),washed and diced
3 tomatoes. chopped
2 cloves of fresh, crushed garlic
1/2 cup of grated Grana Padano or Parmesano reggiano 
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon of chopped ,flat parsley.
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse the dried Funghi under running water to eliminate impurities.
Soak them in 1/2l warm water for about 30 minutes.
Drain the funghis and save the soaking water, squeeze them to  eliminate excess liquid and chop them roughly.
Rinse and dice the fresh mushrooms.
In a large frying pan heat the olive oil together with the butter,

 Add crushed garlic and cook until soft, be careful not to brown the garlic.
Then add chopped tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and the Funghi Porcini.

Stir carefuly and cook about 5 to 8 minutes or until fresh mushrooms are soft.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and lemon juice.
Sprinkle with chopped flat parsley.

In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth together with  milk,  thyme and butter to a boil.
Remove the pot from heat and whisk in cornmeal in a regular flow.

Continue to whisk until water comes to a boil again.

Lower the heat to low and continue to cook stirring constantly until Polenta is thickened and creamy or cook according to packet instructions.

Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
Season with salt if necessary.
You may wish to add a bit of fresh cream to this recipe. It gives extra taste and creaminess but makes the recipe also richer in calories. Up to you :))

Top Polenta with the mushroom mixture and serve immediately.

Serves about 4.
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Back To Black- Tagiatelle Nero With Herbed Shrimps

In a few days we will be traveling back to Peru, enjoying summer and the beach.
Right now it's all about packing our suitcases, heavily loaded with all the winter clothes and boots we had to bring over.
It's always a struggle not to exceed the allowed weight and as I feel always tempted to bring along some special goodies which I can't find anywhere else ,packing is all about decisions and priorities.
So many treats, so little space!
I don't know if I'm the only one who has to struggle with fitting everything in a 23kg suitcase when traveling in winter and for a long period of time but it's definitely not an easy task.
Any suggestions are most welcomed :)
But before we started our preparations, I invited family and friends over for a little fare well dinner and had fun cooking this Italian inspired dish which brings a bit of summer feeling in our cold winter.
These beautiful black Taglatielle add a touch of glamor to every table and are very easy to prepare.
Lots of flavor and little time in the kitchen is promised.
They delicate aroma of the black Tagliatelle, combined with the herbed shrimps and just a touch of lemon combines beautifully.
This gorgeous pasta is made of flower, eggs, salt and squid ink.
You can find them at gourmet super markets and /or specialty food stores.
Of course you can make the black Tagliatelle as well at home but the ink tends to stain not only your hands but  also your kitchen furniture and clothes so I prefer to buy the pasta ready made.
You need:

1/2kg (1 pound) Tagliatelle Nero
2 to 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 kg (1 pound) peeled and deveined shrimps
1 large tomato
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic,peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large pot bring bring water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and cook tagliatelle al dente according to package instructions.

Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
In a large pan heat olive oil with the butter.

Add chopped garlic and chopped tomatoes.

 After one minute add shrimps and lemon zest.

Cook until shrimps are opaque and pinkish in color, sprinkle with parsely.

Toss pasta with 1/2 cup pasta water.

Then Ttss with shrimp mixture and parsley.

 Sprinkle with olive oil and serve immediately.

Serves about 4.
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Monday, January 6, 2014

Simply Delicious:Salmon Fillets With Caper-Lemon Butter

Have you made your New Year's resolution?
Or do you think it's not worth it because you won¿t stick to it anyhow?
Maybe I'm a bit blue eyed about it, but I still think it's a great way to start the year.
Purely statistically speaking the numbers are not encouraging.
It is believed ( I can't remeber where I read this and I sincerely wonder who publishes and analizes themes like this one) that about 1 out of three of us make a New Year's resolution, and about 75% still stick to it after 1 week but less than half do so after 6 month.
So plan for bumps on the road and stay strong.
But how proud must be the other half who showed  their will power and stood by their purpose.
My husband, best husband of ALL of course :), succeeded in quitting smoking that way several years ago.
I didn't succeed in sticking to a diet last year but thank heavens there is another chance another year.
Or, as the saying goes, victories make you proud, defeats make you strong! ( I must be getting stronger year by year!)
Anyhow, this delicious Salmon recipe is a healthy, fuss-free start for this year.
And the best is, you don't have to sacrifice flavor for health benefits or stay hours in the kitchen to prepare this treat.

You need: 

2 skinless salmon fillets about 120g each
1 tbsp. good quality olive oil
2 tbsp.butter
1 1/4 tbsp. capers
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemmon juice
Salt, freshly ground pepper
400 g potatoes (waxy potatoes work best)
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsely

Season the fillets with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large non stick skillet to medium-high heat.
Place the fillets in the skillet and cook until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes), then turn the fillets over with a spatula and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 3 more minutes.

Remove the fillets from the pan and rest under foil.
Rinse the capers.
Add the butter in the pan and when foaming, add the capers and cook for only one minute.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Sprinkle with chopped parsely if desired.

Apart, wash and peel the potatoes.
Put water in a large pot, add salt and potatoes and bring water to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes until tender.
Sprinkle with a bit of butter and chopped parsely.

Pure the caper butter on top of the fillets and serve immediately together with the parsely potatoes.

Serves 2.
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