Thursday, May 20, 2010

Portobello Stroganoff

Fortunately, I have just the kind of delicious recipe that makes you consider going veggie more frequently. I absolutely love using portobello mushroom as a meat substitute. They are dense, chewy and they play well with others.

I have to be truthful with you and say that most of this recipe came from my fading memory. It was, of course, a beef stroganoff recipe that they described as extra-special. The specialness came from some additional flavor ingredients outside of the traditional onion and sour cream.

Adding flavor to this recipe is important because the mushrooms are fat-free and so they need a boost. The technique is also important for flavor and so you need to follow the preparation instructions as well. You don't want your mushrooms to be soggy.


4 large portobellos, gills removed, and sliced not too thinly

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 cup butter or olive oil

1 pint sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable base (Superior Touch - Better Than Bouillon -Vegetable Base) QFC-Redmond

1/4 cup ketchup (oh Yes!)

2 T Worchestire sauce

salt and pepper

fresh parsley

White or Brown Rice

Heat half of butter or olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, lay flat and walk away - try and keep from over-stirring the mushrooms because you want them to get nice and brown and not to release all that moisture - when brown turn over and repeat. When mushrooms done (you might have to do them in batches) remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the rest of the butter and olive oil, add onion and cook until slightly browned, add garlic and cook for another minute. Add mushrooms back to the pan, lower heat to medium low, then add vegetable base, ketchup and worchestire sauce. Taste the base of your stroganoff at this point and add additional vegetable base and salt and pepper as needed. (Remember the sour cream will soften the flavor considerably). When heated through add sour cream. Cook until just hot and serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and enjoy.

Meatless Mondays start to catch on

There is a movement in this country that has begun to pick up some speed according to a story in the Washington Post yesterday. It is the Meatless Monday campaign that is a "movement backed by a broad array of public-health advocates, animal welfare advocates and environmentalists that asks carnivores to give up meat one day a week." This is the perfect place to start for those of you who've started thinking about reducing the amount of meat you consume.

Meatless Mondays were first introduced during the second world war when it was all about giving things up for the cause. With so many of our young men and women fighting overseas it wasn't a hard sell and, in general, Americans hadn't yet come to feel quite so entitled to meat 3 times a day. I guess that partially explains why we weren't so fat in those days.

Needless to say the meat industry didn't like it then and they don't like it now. They are combating the argument by saying that their scientists suggest that eating meat often is actually the best possible thing for you. That would explain the Hormel commercial with the little boy holding a "meat" sandwich as big as his what is wrong with that picture? In our culture that seems normal but in other cultures the meat on that little boy's sandwich would feed a family for a week.

But since this movement was brought back alive by a non-profit organization called Health Monday in association with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2003 it has really begun to take off. Recently the chef Mario Batali has joined the movement and incorporated it into his fourteen usually very-meaty restaurants by offering a vegetarian selection with the moniker (MM). Also the Baltimore public schools, 32 US Hospitals (that seems like a good fit), and the city of Ghent in Belgium to name a few.

If you'd like a good recipe to start with you should check out my Portobello Stroganoff. It's delicious and you won't feel like you're missing a thing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fresh Rockfish with Red Onion -Lemon Vinaigrette

In order to eliminate factory farmed meat from our families diet I have been incorporating a lot more fish in my weekly menu planning. But like most people I am not always perfectly satisfied with the freshness of the fish that I am purchasing. Supermarkets, even Whole Foods and PCC Natural Markets, are not always as fresh as I prefer.

I refuse to purchase fish from Fred Meyer or Safeway because they've sold me some of the worst fish I've ever tasted. QFC is not much better but if you get there on the right day you might get lucky. The best way to get fish in Redmond is to develop a relationship with the people in charge of fish at PCC and Whole Foods and get them to tell you when their shipments usually come in.

If you are able you should take a pleasant drive around Lake Washington to arrive at the town on the other side; Issaquah. A new fresh fish store called Gemini Fish Market has opened on Gilman Boulevard and so far they've been fantastic. Sign up for their weekly e-mail to get the latest and the greatest that he has to offer.

An example of his last offerings will make your mouth water:

Fresh Columbia River Salmon (from a small tribal fishery - DELICIOUS)
Fresh Alaskan Troll Caught King Salmon both Red & White
26 Live Maine Lobsters
Fresh Dungeness Crab Fry Legs

That should give you an idea and they have lots of wonderful oyster choices and other shellfish. Not long ago he received some fresh rockfish and raved about the flavor so I picked some up and prepared this dish. The vinaigrette recipe is from the cookbook Wildwood, Cooking from the source in the Pacific Northwest.

Rockfish with Red Onion-Lemon Vinaigrette

1 pound rockfish fillets
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Red Onion-Lemon Vinaigrette

2 T Extra Virgin Olive oil
Grated zest of 2 lemons
4 lemons, peeled and segmented
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

To make the vinaigrette just combine all ingredients and mix until well combined in small bowl. Set aside.

To cook the rockfish place 1 T olive oil in ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the fish and cook until the edges begin to turn up. Turn over fillets in skillet and then place pan in center of preheated 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until fish is done. Place on plate and spoon vinaigrette over the top.