Posts Tagged ‘Local food’

From Dish Gwen:

Recently two events came together in my life, leading me to make mushroom soup. The first was that I got a new blender, after six months of having a busted old useless one taking up valuable shelf space in my kitchen. The second was that I started growing oyster mushrooms. I’ve been making this soup for years but I don’t make it often. Now that I’ve made it for my 20 month old son and he loved it, I have a feeling it will become part of our regular household menu. Plus it takes less than a half hour to make so it’s kind of a perfect dish.

– ½ lb oyster mushrooms, chopped (you can also use shiitakes, buttons, portabellos, whatever!)
– ½ cup chopped white onion
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– ½ teaspoon salt
– ¼ teaspoon white pepper
– 2 cups whole milk
– fresh parsley, chopped


In a deep sauce pan, simmer the olive oil, garlic and onion on medium/high heat until they begin to brown, then throw in the mushrooms. Toss everything together with the salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add about ½ cup of water to loosen any brown bits or caramelized coating from the bottom of the pan, and turn off the heat. Carefully pour all of the contents into your blender, cover, and blend until you get a smooth puree (takes about 1 minute). Pour the puree back into the pot on medium/low heat, and add the milk, stirring so everything combines into a smooth, creamy mixture. Add additional salt as desired, and once it’s steamy hot serve in bowls with crusty bread. Serves 4, and this soup freezes well so got ahead and stash some away for later in a tupperware!

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From Dish Danielle:

This is a fabulously quick & snappy recipe, easy to whip up in a matter of moments. I must give attribution where it’s due, as this recipe was passed on to me from Dish Amelia, (Thanks ATC!). I’ve made these zucchini pancakes countless times for my private clients (they LOVE them!) and for myself (of course!) when in need of a low maintenance appetizer/side dish. Now that the semester has started and work is busier than ever, super speedy recipes are once again becoming my go-to’s… Enjoy!

3 6-8” zucchinis, grated, salted, and set in a colander in the sink to drain
½ c flour
1 egg
4 thinly sliced scallions (more or less to your liking)
fresh chopped dill
freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
8 oz plain greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
a little more dill & scallions

Let your zucchinis drain for about 30 minutes or so. While they’re drying out, prepare the rest of your ingredients: zest your lemon and chop your fresh herbs. Squeeze the grated zucchini in your hand to get the last bit of moisture out and toss into a medium bowl. Add the flour, egg, dill, pepper, & lemon zest to the bowl and stir with a fork to mix thoroughly. It’s almost time to fry these babies.

Now, fill a cast iron up about 1’’ deep with oil. I like to use grapeseed but veggie or canola will also do. Place the pan over a medium-high flame and wait for the oil to get hot.

While waiting, mix the garlic & lemon juice into the yogurt. Toss a bit of leftover herbs in there as well and stir. The pancakes are delicious with a bit of this yogurt on top — kind of a slap-dash version of tzatziki, (heck, if you have a cucumber around toss that into the yogurt too and then you’re a little more authentic…) 😉

Scoop a small bit of mixture out and set it into the oil — if it starts frying, you’re good to start your first batch. If it doesn’t bubble/make frying sounds, increase the heat a bit and wait a few more moments. I use a medium sized spoon to scoop the mixture into the oil. These are free form, so don’t worry about them all being the same size/shape. Fry them off in batches, you want a deep golden color.

Set the finished pancakes on a paper towel to drain. Once you’re finished serve immediately!

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From Dish Gwen:

My husband and I recently signed up for a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) program, meaning every week we get to pick up a little package of fresh-caught seafood. So far we’ve gotten Long Island Oysters and clams, fresh Atlantic cod, a whole fish (which we grilled) and some really nice filets of striped bass. This week we received a golden tilefish filet, and although it was my first time cooking tilefish it was instantly clear to me where it gets its name (check out that coloration!).

Aside from being beautiful, tilefish is delicious. It’s a flaky white fish with fatty skin that reminds me of cod or halibut. Ours was caught the day we ate it off of Montauk, in Long Island. Here’s how I cooked it:

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
– 1-2 lb tilefish filet (skin-on, scales-off)
– 2 tablespoons honey
– 2-3 large shallots, sliced into rings
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 2 cups white wine
– salt
– white pepper
– olive oil

Simmer some butter in a small sauce pan on medium heat and add your sliced shallots. While they’re browning, heat up a larger skillet on high and grease it lightly with olive oil. When it is good and hot, place your filets skin-side-down on the skillet and let them cook for a few minutes (you want that fatty skin to get nice and crispy so don’t move or flip the filets – leave them alone!). Toss the shallots so they brown all over and then add the white wine and butter, as well as a pinch of salt, and stir on low heat.

Once the flesh of the fish is white nearly all the way through, take a spatula and scrape the filets off the pan and flip them over.

Turn off the heat, and quickly drizzle a spoonful of honey on the crispy brown skin of the filets, then spread the honey evenly across the surface of each filet. Sprinkle the fish with a pinch of salt and white pepper, then serve the filets over a bed of rice, pasta, polenta or another grain of your choice. Spoon the shallots and wine/butter sauce over the fish and enjoy!

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From Dish Gwen:

I’ve never been much of an eggplant fan. The texture is mushy, the flavor isn’t really there, and my sister claims it makes her mouth itch. But last summer I happened to eat dinner at an excellent Italian place (Emilio’s on Houston) and had one of the best pasta dishes ever, and it just happened to have lots of eggplant in it. And it’s pretty simple to make!

– 1 lb eggplant, cubed or sliced into small rounds (no more than 1.5” across)
– ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, diced
– salt
– olive oil
– thin spaghetti, cooked al dente


Slice up your eggplant and toss it in a bowl with lots of salt (enough salt to coat each piece of eggplant completely). The salt serves two functions: 1. It makes the eggplant salty and delicious; and 2. It draws the water out of the fruit, which improves its texture. Let the salty eggplant sit for about 15 minutes, then dab it off in a towel to remove the excess water and salt.

On medium/high, heat a sauce pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and then toss in the garlic and eggplant. The eggplant should sizzle and once it’s golden brown on all sides, toss in the spaghetti and mint. Turn off the heat and toss everything together gently, then serve! A delicious, easy summer dish!

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From Dish Gwen:

I’ve always loved shrimp, but I don’t eat it much because in general it’s a seafood that is farmed and fished in ways that are terrible for the environment. But when I come across some nice domestic Gulf Coast shrimp at the fish store it’s hard to resist. Usually I get them in the summer and put them on the grill with skewers, but since it’s February I cooked them up on the stove this time.


1 lb jumbo shrimp, heads off, shells on
1/2 head garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon crushed chili pepper flake
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white wine


In a large bowl, toss together the shrimp, garlic, honey, salt and spices, making sure all of the shrimp are well-coated with everything. Get a skillet nice and hot (on high) on the stove, and melt the butter in there. When the butter starts smoking (or ideally just before then), toss in the shrimp and whatever juices and garlic bits are in the bottom of the bowl. Cook for about 3 minutes, making sure all the shrimp are laying flat on the bottom of the pan, then flip them all over (you can toss them all up in the pan to spread the garlic and whatnot around too). Cook the shrimp for 3 minutes on that side, then take one out and taste it to make sure that they’re cooked enough. It’s better to under-cook your shrimp than to over-cook it (because the meat gets rubbery if they’re too well done). Give them another minute if you think the one you tasted is too raw.

Turn off the heat and serve over rice and vegetables (I steamed up some bok choi). Serves three.

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From Dish Gwen:

Every August my saucy little family goes up to the coast of Maine for a week or two, and aside from swimming and boating and generally enjoying the outdoors, we do a lot of cooking and eating. Maine is well known for its lobsters, and we always have a lobster dinner when we’re there, but as delicious as lobsters are, they’re not terribly fun to cook. My favorite dish to make when we’re in Maine is mussels. Myself and a couple of friends will scramble out onto some rocks at low tide and dig around in the seaweed and pick mussels directly out of the salty water. Then we bring them home, clean them, and cook them up. Yum.

Cleaning Fresh Mussels
There’s one great thing about store-bought mussels, and that’s the fact that they’ve already been cleaned. Mussels have barnacles and beards, and they’re not particularly fun to clean, but it’s totally worth it because they’re delicious. There are two main steps in cleaning them:

1. De-beard them. The “beard” is the hairy-looking part that sticks out of the side of the mussel’s shell, and it needs to be pulled off. Sometimes the beards are easy to yank off, but occasionally you’ll get a stubborn one and in that case you should pinch the beards off using a damp dish towel to improve your grip.

2. Scrape of the barnacles. Barnacles are little white crustaceans that stick to the shells of the mussels, and you don’t want them to end up in your meal so you have to scrape them off. Take a dull butter knife and scrape them while holding the mussel under the water. The little buggers pop right off.

Ok, so once your mussels are clean you can just give them a rinse with fresh water and then get on with the show.

– 50-75 mussels, cleaned and rinsed
– 2 red or green peppers, chopped
– 3 large tomatoes, chopped and de-seeded
– 1 large zucchini, chopped into ½ inch pieces
– ½ head of garlic, minced
– ½ bottle dry white wine
– 2 table spoons olive oil
– 1 lb thin spaghetti
– salt

Get your spaghetti cooking, and once it’s done al-dente, rinse it and prepare it with light salt and olive oil. In a large pot, simmer the olive oil on medium-high, and toss in the garlic and zucchini with about a teaspoon of salt. Once they’re lightly browned, add the peppers and tomatoes, and keep simmering until they too begin to brown and stick to the pan. Add the wine and stir, making sure that all the brown glaze from the vegetables comes loose into the liquid.

Simmer everything for about two minutes until the contents are sizzling and steaming, then drop the mussels into the pot and cover. Steam the mussels until the shells open (should take 10-15 mins), and mix the mussels and veggies together once or twice with a large spoon, gently churning everything together with broad strokes so you don’t break any of the shells.

Place the spaghetti into a large bowl and then pour out the mussels, veggies, and all the broth on top. Serve with some crusty bread and butter for sopping up that broth, and don’t forget to put out bowls for the empty shells. Serves 4 to 5 hungry beach-goers.

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Saucy Little Dish welcomes Guest Dish Linda Lou, aka The Cheeky Chef! We first met Linda when she helped to execute the stunning L-Train Dinner alongside friends of SLD A Razor, A Shiny Knife (a team that includes one of our very own Spicy Sides of Meatball). Very soon, Linda will embark on a cooking adventure in Sicily, but before she goes she has made time to share an original recipe with our lucky readers:

I’m Guest Dishing this month and wanted to make a real simple summer meal…paired with a cocktail, of course. I am a firm believer in using local seasonal ingredients to create my version of “travel-inspired food”. With my plans to head to Sicily for a few months this fall, I’ve been experimenting with some classic Italian dishes like this Cheeky Chef recipe for a carbonara dish. Carbonaro is the Italian word for “coal burner” so I’m picturing myself serving this dish to my tall, dark, and handsome Italian coal miner boyfriend after a long day of work. Obviously, this is how it all plays out in my mind. In reality, it’s a meal I can whip up quickly without too much use of the stove on a 90-degree day in Brooklyn.

Here is my version of an Italian carbonara made with fresh summer vegetables and a Strawberry Limoncellade bevvie.

Recipe makes 4 servings

1/2 lb. Orzo Pasta
1 large Zucchini
2 small Yellow Squash
4 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Milk
1 T. Olive Oil
3 strips of Bacon
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Lemon Basil (or regular basil)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add enough salt so it tastes like seawater. Prep the vegetables while the water comes to a boil. Slice the yellow squash and zucchini then scoop out the seeds from the inside and discard. Chop the veg on an angle into pieces about the same size as the pasta you’re using. Feel free to sub out the orzo and use penne, gemelli, or any other adorably shaped dried pasta.

When the water comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to the timing on the package. For orzo, it takes approximately 8 minutes. Slice the bacon into small pieces. Heat a saute pan with a tablespoon of oil and saute the bacon until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel until needed. After the bacon comes out of the pan, saute the zucchini, squash, basil and thyme in the oil until the veg are lightly softened.

In a small bowl, combine 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of milk (or cream), and about a half cup of Parmesan cheese. In my case, I was planning on using heavy cream and when I brought home my half-pint from the Spanish bodega on my corner, it had spoiled and I was forced to use milk instead. Guess what? It tasted just fine. You can use milk or cream to add to the egg mixture. Maybe adjust to use slightly less milk so it doesn’t become too runny. With a fork, mix together the egg yolks, cheese, and milk then season with salt and cracked black pepper. I like to use a lot of pepper in my carbonara but it’s up to you.

When the pasta is cooked, strain into a colander and add immediately to the vegetables, while hot. Save a little bit of pasta water to add to the carbonara if it gets too thick later. Mix the vegetables, pasta, and reserved bacon, then add in the egg mixture. Keep stirring to combine and cook over low heat until the eggs thicken the sauce. Not too high or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. Add another handful of Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional fresh herbs.

While enjoying your Orzo Carbonara prepare yourself a nice little cocktail. Since I’m new to Saucy Little Dish, you might not know yet that “Where there is a Linda, there is a cocktail”. I made a delicious strawberry lemonade with TriStar Strawberries from the greenmarket and froze some in ice cube trays with bite-sized strawberries inside.

To make the Strawberry Limoncellade: place two lemonade cubes in a glass, add a little bit of chilled Limoncello, top with additional strawberry lemonade and a splash of sparkling water. Give it a stir, and enjoy with your pasta.

Buon Appetito!

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