Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cremini Mushroom Ragout and Sweet Potato Cakes

The other day I tried Morel mushrooms for the first time. I am not SUPER stoked on the rubbery consistency mushrooms tend to have so I often don't find myself trying different mushrooms, especially ones that look pretty messed up. I noticed a bin of Morel's at the store for the low, low price of $25 a pound and decided to finally just try one and get it over with. I literally bought 3. I probably still paid $6 for those three tiny mushrooms but...it was worth it!
They aren't rubbery at all, they are slightly crunchy on the outside and hollow on the inside, with a slightly rough texture that can give a lot of body and weight to a meal. By far my favorite mushroom at the moment! This is exactly why I always try new things, and always more than once. If you don't like an ingredient the first time you make it, try it again a bit later and cook it completely differently. I almost always end up liking the ingredient in the end.
With that said......Morels were no longer at the store, and I am bummed. My entire intention with this dinner was to make a Morel ragout. So if you find them and can afford it, do it! If you can't then substitute with Chanterelle mushrooms or Cremini, like I did here.

Cremini Mushroom Ragout
3 tbl earth balance vegan butter
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced, tossed in 3 tbl AP flour
2 tbl chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup soy creamer
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Melt the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. The combination of butter and oil work nicely together because the oil prevents the butter from burning while still adding a beautiful flavor to the fat. Add the shallots with 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of the thyme and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have softened to tenderness and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and saute until the liquid has absorbed. Add the cream and simmer, stirring often, until just thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and season with more thyme, salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Cakes
1 lb sweet potato
2 tbl earth balance vegan butter
2 tbl organic brown sugar
2 tbl shredded coconut
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbl finely chopped cilantro
2c panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350.
Pierce sweet potato with a fork and roast in the oven until fully cooked.
Remove the skin and mash the sweet potato. Add the butter and brown sugar, jalapeno and coconut. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add cilantro.
Form into patties and coat the outsides in breadcrumbs. Lightly drizzle the patties with olive oil and bake for 45 minutes or until the patties are golden brown.

Arugula Salad with Maple Dijon dressing
Fresh arugula
1/4c extra virgin olive oil
2 tbl maple syrup
2 tbl dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Dress arugula with dressing.

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