Vegetarianism usually makes my skin crawl…usually. I don’t feel full or complete unless there is some sort of protein with my dinner. Alas this blog has proven me wrong yet again. I always knew mushrooms were a good meat substitute because of their heartiness, but never truly was convinced. Makes no sense why I didn’t agree, they are earthy and filling. However, this dish is the first time in which I was sold on how I can eat a meal and not miss the protein. Especially because I love poblano peppers. So to test this puppy out was no hard sell. (Side note to my adoration of poblano sauce: One of my old co-worker’s grandmother would make poblano mac & cheese. It was her comfort food, a Guatemalan twist on an American classic. Ever since her sweet granny fed us all one day at work, its been my fav pepper to use). Speaking of comfort foods, polenta is the ultimate Italian comfort food so this meal will just make you feel all kinds of love. (Even if you don’t have a warm & fuzzy about poblano sauce like I do).For those of you unfamiliar with polenta, its a mashed potato-y consistency, but made with cornmeal so its healthier for you. I will say that the original recipe calls for one to make their own polenta and I will be damned if I don’t find a short cut. Shock, my good old favorite Trader Joe’s has a pre-made organic polenta they sell for a whopping $1.99 and its just so yum and low calorie! Oh, don’t worry my recipe trashes it up pretty well so that it doesn’t stay low cal for long. Guys, comfort food wouldn’t be so yummy without some butter and love. The nights are getting cooler and its time to grab your favorite hoodie and bowl of this and eat on your deck, patio, porch, backyard…you won’t be disappointed. Plus after a summer of burgers & dogs, you won’t even miss the meat!
For the Poblano Sauce:
2 poblano peppers (make sure you char them long enough, oyi that smell is so good! I had my handyman ask me what smelled so good)
¾ cup light sour cream
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sliced green onions
For the Mushrooms
1 tablespoon salted butter
16 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used baby bella and white button mushrooms)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
1 scant tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water (optional, I just sprinkled in some all-purpose flour to thicken)
For the Polenta:
Trader Joe’s tube of polenta
1 tbsp. of salted butter
Cut up the polenta and microwave on high at 2-3 minutes with the butter. Just to soften and mix. Then you can, roast the poblano peppers over an open flame or in the oven until the outside is slightly charred. Cut into pieces and set aside. Puree the sour cream, water, oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Add the green onions and poblano peppers and puree until desired consistency is reached. I like to leave a little bit of texture in the sauce. In a separate pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over high heat. Add the garlic and the mushrooms; saute until golden brown. Add the sauce and the cornstarch dissolved in water. Bring to a simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened. Serve the mushrooms and sauce over the polenta. YUM-O!!
First of all, if you’ve never seen the movie Slammin’ Salmon with Michael Clark Duncan, please rent it! You’ll die laughing. Now back to the recipe – there’s this little shack of a place in Sag Harbor called The Dock House. Every summer we make a special trip there just for the salmon burgers. They have plenty of other seafood too, but there’s something about those burgers. This summer we haven’t been able to make the trip, so I tried to recreate them myself in the last week we have of this wonderful season. I’m sure The Dock House has a special seasoning they’ll never reveal, but these burgers are damn close.
In a food processor, puree the salmon until smooth. Add in the onion, eggs, mustard, lemon juice, bread crumbs, and the rub. Grill the burgers on each side for about 10 minutes or until brown. You can also pan sear them, or broil them for 15 minutes. While they’re grilling, whip up some homemade tartar sauce for a dollop on top.
This past weekend I was in East Hampton visiting family, and I heard through a PureWow email (I’m obsessed with PW) that Martha Stewart would be making an appearance at Guild Hall -“A Conversation with Martha Stewart”. Who was I to pass up this opportunity with the one and only Martha Stewart? And for $15?! Yeah…
My friend and I snuck in a couple minutes late (don’t get me started on parking) and although we only snagged seats in the back, we could still see her clear as day.
Florence Fabricant, a critic for the NY Times, was casually talking to Martha over a cup of coffee as if 200 eyes weren’t hanging on each tip she gave. I whipped out my phone so I wouldn’t miss any of it, and could share it first hand with all of you. In fact, she gave so much information I didn’t want to overload you with it. The second post on Martha’s holiday tips will be coming out in a couple of weeks. But now, to get you through the last few weeks of summer…
Martha’s seafood tips
The best lobster: The best time to buy and cook a lobster is right after they molt (shed their shell). You can tell when the time is right because they are a much brighter red than the rest. This is when the shells are the softest and the meat is the sweetest.
Cooking clams: Forget about boiling water, it’s much simpler than that. Get a big skillet and spread the clams in one layer on the bottom. Grind some black pepper over the top of them and cover. Cook on medium heat until they open, anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Want to make some crab meat salad? Peking crab meat is the sweetest, and in her opinion, the best.
Her favorite pasta dish to make includes bottarga (salted fish ro from mullet or tuna). Buy the bottarga pressed so you can shave it over the pasta noodle of your choice. For the sauce, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, chopped onions, and capers.
Her favorite kind food is Japanese. (Fun fact: Although it may seem simple to prep, the ingredients take years to cure. Seafood for instance can take up to 24 months to dry.) If you’re ever in the NYC area, her favorite sushi restaurants are Sushi Nakazawa and Ichimura.
Her favorite dish, however, is her mother’s perogies.
On health: sadly her sister recently passed away from a brain aneurysm. Martha was adamant about taking care of yourself, no matter how hectic your schedule. “Exercise everyday, get regular doctor check ups, and drink green juice.”
I always admired Martha Stewart because she was “Martha Stewart!”. However during this conversation, you could see she’s more than just the brand. She exudes passion for everything she does; from sustainable farming, family recipes, to living a healthy lifestyle.
The sun is shining, breeze is blowing, I’m grilling salmon burgers…but I forgot the sauce. S**t. I know this has happened to all of you at least once (me, more than I’d like to admit). I’m not one to just up and run to the store, so what did I do? Made my own of course!
I never gave a second thought as to what goes in to tartar sauce, but it’s a lot easier than you think. I’m almost positive you already have all of the ingredients.Plus, I don’t know about you, but I could never use a whole bottle of the stuff before it expires. So the next time you’re cooking and have an “oh, s**t” moment, don’t panic!
1/2 cup mayo (Miracle Whip if you like it really tangy, Hellmann’s if you like it creamier)
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsps minced onion (if you don’t have it, don’t worry about it)
2 tsps lemon juice
Mix it all together, and I mean really blend it. Put a dollop on your salmon burger (or fish tacos) and you’ve officially saved yourself a trip to the store.
Can I just tell you, I freaking LOVE LOVE LOVE the Morrocan chicken salad at CPK (You know California Pizza Kitchen, yes food blog people DO go to chains) Anyway, I am obsessed with it, BUT its SOOO expensive! Literally, I spend $16-$18 on the salad (the range is because the tax/tip usually makes it $17) which is totally cray to spend on a salad and yet I do. A) because of the convenience of grabbing it after work en route to my night MBA class B) because it is beyond delish! It has all the taste bud pleasing elements you can think of: sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy, etc! Anyway work was slow this week and I have an online class this semester so I am not running around as much and I figured its time to replicate this salad. Especially because I need to save my money for pedicures. Oyi my feet are looking rough! woof! Ok back to the tasty salad prep. As always this is going to reuse ingredients from other recipes. At CPK they use a champagne vinaigrette, so I grabbed a bottle of the Trader Joe’s pear champagne vinaigrette used in one of our salad recipes and a chicken dish to toss my greens with. Then the beets were in the last salad recipe as well-ha can you tell I really like them?! Might be the new truffle, lol just kidding that would never happen.
1/3 cup Dates (Sliced in halves or quarters depending on how big yours are, I did mejdool dates)
1/3-1/2 cup Toasted almonds (I tossed them in a pan to toast when I was boiling the eggs)
6 oz. Beets (Drain all the water if using the canned stuff and chop vs. slice)
10 oz. Roasted butternut squash (I just did it with salt, pepper, and paprika)
1/2 cup Cranberries (I bought dried packaged ones from the store)
3 Grilled chicken breasts (I just did it with cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin, & paprika)
1 Avocado (dice into cubes)
1 medium Red bell pepper (try for the same sizes as the beets and avocado).
1 package or 8-10 oz. Mixed greens (tossed w 1/3 cup of the bottled dressing)
Chopped up boiled eggs (I did 2, but 3 without the yellow of the 3rd would be good too)
Heat up a nonstick pan (I used my grill pan since it was washed & ready from the last time I made burgers) with some olive oil and sear the chicken breasts (I had them coated & rubbed in with the spices on both sides of the breasts) until cooked through about 5-7 minutes on each side. Let the meat rest before slicing and adding to salad. While you are cooking the chicken you can toss the squash with some oil & spices as well and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. While the chicken and squash cools, chop the other veggies and eggs and mix well. This is how pretty the colors look:
I called this recipe the pseudo salad because its a knock off of the one from the restaurant and its much more filling than a regular old salad. This is meant to be an entrée and that’s why there is a bit more cooking involved than most salad recipes. Anyway its yummy, don’t worry about what the title means, just devour.