Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wine-Glazed Mushrooms

A splash of wine and a few other simple ingredients turn a pile of mushrooms into a delicious and elegant vegetable dish. It's healthy and low-calorie, too!

I like to use a combination of white and brown mushrooms. However, you can use all of one kind or the other, as you prefer.


1 pound white or brown (crimini) mushrooms, or a combination
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
Generous pinch of dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf parsley), divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Clean the mushrooms. Cut larger mushrooms into quarters and cut smaller mushrooms in half. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute for 1-2 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Do not let the shallot or garlic burn.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet, along with the thyme, 1/2 tablespoon of the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until the mushrooms are lightly golden, approximately 6-8 minutes.

Add the white wine, along with additional salt and pepper as needed. Raise heat to medium-high, and saute until most of the wine has evaporated.

Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and serve.

-- 4 servings

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fettuccine and Walnuts with Creamy Gorgonzola Wine Sauce

Since I try to eat healthy most of the time, I don't often make recipes with cream sauces. However, I will indulge on special occasions - like Valentine's Day - as I believe that moderation is better than total deprivation. And when I occasionally indulge, this is one of my favorite recipes to serve.

Add a green salad or a green vegetable to balance it out.


8 ounces dried fettuccine
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup(s) heavy whipping cream
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (approx. 4-6 ounces), divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry white wine (plus additional as needed)
Pinch of dried chives (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf parsley)

Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring, until the walnuts are lightly toasted. (The walnuts can turn too brown very quickly, so watch them carefully.) Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the cream over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to thicken. Add 1/2 cup of the gorgonzola cheese, the Parmesan, and the wine, and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until the gorgonzola is melted.

Add the fettuccine to the cream mixture, along with the remaining 1/2 cup of gorgonzola, the wine, the toasted walnuts, the chives (if using), and salt and pepper to taste. (Go easy on the salt, as the cheese is quite salty.) Toss lightly over medium to medium-low heat for a 2-3 minutes to combine all the flavors. If the sauce seems too thick, add more white wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, to desired consistency.

Toss in the parsley, and serve immediately.

-- 4 servings

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Moroccan-Style Split Pea Soup

For this recipe, I started with a basic split pea soup and added a Moroccan-style spice combination to give it a subtly exotic flair.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth
1 cup dried split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and saute for 3-5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.

Add the vegetable broth, split peas, coriander, cumin, paprika, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or longer as needed, stirring occasionally, until the split peas have broken down and the vegetables are tender.

Uncover. Raise heat to medium or medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 more minutes, or as needed, to reduce the liquid as desired to a thick soup consistency.

Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving. Garnish each portion with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, as desired.

-- 2-3 servings