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Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘morels

Monica Bhide’s Morel Pulao with Cashews

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Morel Pulao with Cashews.

I don’t cook Indian often at home, but it’s not for lack of love of the cuisine, and especially, its fragrant spices. I reviewed Ragavan Iyer’s tome while at The Sun and just met this Indian chef extraordinaire at the recent IACP conference in Portland. But lately I’ve been most fascinated by the fusion recipes of Monica Bhide, who regularly writes for The Post‘s food section and NPR’s Kitchen Window. And her newish Modern Spice cookbook is a gem. Mark Bittman wrote the introduction.

Because morels are the most tempting wild mushroom now in season, Bhide’s Morel Pulao with Cashews grabbed me. I’ve made it twice now, both times without the exact ingredients on hand. I substituted sauteed chanterelle duxelles for the morels the first time and used fresh ones this second time. Didn’t have paneer on hand to use either time, and I had trouble “stuffing” the morels without causing them to crumble. Still, this aromatic, flexible basmati rice dish makes an excellent side or even main dish with a salad. Sauteeing the cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, grated onion and ground cashews together creates quite a comforting perfume. This is delicate Indian comfort food. The recipe is also less complicated than it sounds. Maybe next I’ll tackle South Indian masala dosas, with their fermented crepe batter. But for now, a rice pulao is a nice place to start. Click below for the recipe.

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Written by baltimoregon

May 31, 2010 at 1:36 am

Greek Avgolemono (Egg and Lemon) Soup with Sorrel and Morels

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Creamy, lemony goodness, with some sauteed earthy rings of morels.

Some random seasonal ingredients I sprang for through Corvallis Local Foods came together in my souped up version of the Greek avgolemono (Lemon and Egg) soup Monday night. I fell in love with this simple soup while waiting tables the summer after my sophomore year of college at the now defunct Konsta’s Restaurant in Richmond. That soup was the one thing we were allowed to eat on the house.

Purchasing some tart sorrel leaves inspired my recipe. I had never heard of this cool weather spring green until chancing upon it at the market last year. Related to astringent rhubarb, sorrel is high in potassium and Vitamin C, but also oxalic acid, so it should be eaten in moderation, especially if you’re prone to kidney stones. I also just put one scrappy sorrel plant in my garden and look forward to harvesting the perennial next spring. Chefs seem to use it in salads, sauces and pestos and soups. It seems my impulse to pair lemony sorrel with creamy eggs was right.

What "moral" mushrooms.

Then I had homemade chicken stock in the fridge, after roasting a whole bird. Plus farm fresh eggs and plenty of lemons. So avgolemono, or to be exact, an adaptation of Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood “Mediterranean Lemon Soup” it would be. In a separate pan, I caramelized onions and then sauteed some cross-section circles of the morels I finally got my hands on from the Mushroomery and added that to the finished soup. I had plenty of mint and other herbs in the garden for garnish. Instead of rice, I added my favorite “Harvest Grains” blend of Israeli couscous, quinoa, orzo and split baby garbanzo beans to the mix.

The resulting soup was creamy and light but still heartier than such lemon-egg soups usually are. We had stuffed artichokes to round out the meal. More on artichokes TK in another post.

Written by baltimoregon

May 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm

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