Pan Fried Morels

Morels

This Saturday marked the first outdoor Dane County Farmer’s Market of the year. AB and I excitedly ventured to the capitol square, and joined the throngs of people jostling from stall to stall.

Breaded Morels

The highlight of this trip (as we missed out on the spicy cheese bread we consumed religiously last summer) was definitely the Morels. I don’t think we’ve had morels since we paid a ridiculously high price for them right after we moved to Maryland 6 years ago! The morels at the market weren’t cheap, but definitely worth the rare treat.
Butter

We bought a half pound, took them home, and soaked them in salt water for a few hours. Morels are mushrooms, yes, but they don’t soak up water like a button or portabella might, so soaking them is a good way to encourage any earthen or insect hangers-on to relax their grips.

Frying Morels

After soaking, AB dredged the mushrooms in egg and then flour with a bit of Lawry’s. I had a ridiculous amount of butter ready in the pan, and dropped the morels in. I turned them each a few times, to ensure full browning. I drained the butter after the second batch in the pan, as I have a tendency to increase the heat- you don’t want the butter to burn, or the taste will be off.

Fried Morels
The result is deliciously rich nutty mushroomy morsels. We don’t expect to see morels again this season, but part of the fun in eating them is the rarity, and it allows us to enjoy the decadence of butter frying- NOT something we usually do!

As a footnote, we went to the old fashioned for brunch on Saturday after the farmer’s market. AB ordered a morel scramble, but we’re pretty sure they hadn’t soaked the mushrooms long enough– there was definitely some grit in there. Soaking is key!

Pork Fried Rice

Pork Fried Rice
Last night for dinner, I made Pork Fried Rice. It was my first time making fried rice of any sort, and I think it turned out tasty! I worked partially from this recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef, although I forgot to get mushrooms, and made a few more modifications. I used leftover pork from a roast AB made earlier this week, and cooked the rice Thursday night. I used canola oil, as I have a tendency to ignore the lower smoke point of olive oil, and cooked diced carrots and green onions first, then after about 3 minutes I added ginger and peas, then shortly after the rice and pork and soy sauce. Cooking the egg in the same pan was a bit tricky, but it’s a quick process. We added sesame seeds before serving, and I wish I had toasted them

The meal was well received, and I had the leftovers today for lunch. I plan on making this more in the future!

Spinach and Shrimp Pasta

Supplies: 2 slices hard salami, oil to coat frying pan, 1 bag fresh spinach, 2 cups shrimp de-tailed, 1/2 box large shell pasta, gorgonzola cheese, optional lemon juice & minced garlic.

Dave and I saw a shell pasta salad with spinach in a local market and instead of buying some decided we could make a much better version ourselves.

salami fry! While waiting for the water to boil for the pasta, heat up oil in a large frying pan. Once hot add sliced or diced salami and a bit of garlic. This gets the flavor of the salami into the oil.

If the shrimp is frozen you should defrost it during this time by running it under warm water. Then take the tails off.

Cook the pasta and don’t burn the salami.

Adding lemon juiceAdd the bag of spinach, shrimp and juice of half a lemon to the frying pan and cover when the pasta is about 4 minutes from being cooked.

Drain the pasta and add a small handful of gorgonzola cheese. Toss with the wilted spinach, shrimp and salami.

yum!The shrimp seem to be hiding in this pic but I swear they’re in there.

If you wanna make a veg version of this I think it’d be good with halved cherry or grape tomatoes!

Challah french toast

The very best way to eat slightly old challah is to have N come to your house and use it to make french toast. She dips it in egg with a little vanilla and cooks it in a cast-iron skillet until it’s golden brown and delicious. challah.jpg The secret to delicious challah french toast is the toppings you provide. A few suggestions:  Syrup- just like pancakes, a high quality syrup makes all the difference. Remember that Grade B syrup is actually better than Grade A syrup if you like a dark, hearty flavor. Grade A is generally lighter in both color and flavor. syrup.jpgFor this morning’s creation we included cottage cheese as a topping option since it paired so well with the central topping: cranberry sauce made with brandy. It’s an N family recipe with raw or frozen cranberries cooked with brandy, sugar, and citrus zest.  If we cook a pound of cranberries we can’t eat them all at one meal. They keep in the freezer very well, although they don’t freeze solid. We heated them before adding on the french toast.  The other suggested topping is fresh fruit. Usually I like banana slices with walnuts on french toast. The week we made this challah there was a sale on mangoes at the grocery store and the co-op had some good looking kiwis available. They were cut the night before and sprinkled with lime juice before they were covered and refrigerated.fruit.jpg     A delicious combination with a little bit of powdered sugar on top:challah_eaten.jpg 

Homemade Pizza

N and I made homemade pizza a few weeks ago. The dough recipe was from the cookbook “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest” so I won’t reproduce it here. I will tell you that the recipe is dough for two pizzas and I used it all for one to get a delicious, thick crust. I upped the baking time about half an hour and it all worked out. The crust was great- done in the middle and thick as breadsticks on the outer rim. I used Muir Glen canned crushed tomatoes, which are my favorite canned tomatoes. We’re able to order cases of them from the Pocatello co-op for a very reasonable price. Cheese was mozzarella simply sliced, not shredded. You can buy better quality mozzarella whole and shred it yourself or save time and just slice it thinly. Pizza assembled but uncookedAfter it’s been cooked:cookedpizza.jpg 

chicken corn and rice

food-006.jpg This is the sauce i cooked the chicken in. First I defrosted the chicken, cut it into strips and cooked it in a pot with this sauce. After the chicken got less raw i threw in some frozen corn. I added about a cup of water to the pot. food-005.jpg

I made half of cup of rice in the micro then threw it all together in the pot until the excess water steamed out.

food-007.jpg this is it cooking.. looks soupy for awhile but the water helped spread around the sauce so I didn’t have to use as much. I had some hot peppers from dad’s garden still so i chopped up some of those and threw ‘em in too for a little extra kick.

food-008.jpg mmmmm so tasty. I added salt and pepper and ate it all. it was a really good meal and didn’t take more than 20 minutes to make.
This is andrea and her boyfriend, Dave. food-009.jpg

Andrea made some spanish rice. food-010.jpg

pork chops

can of chicken and rice soup condensed, extra rice and water, pork chops.

brown the chops first, add flour and garlic and i added some par cheese then add the rice and soup.. simmer for an hour

chopschops in the panmags eatin chops hehemuh plate

New Direction

This is changing directions, Little Sis is going to join in and we are going to do a bit of food blogging for cooking-lazy kids on a budget. I’m just starting out in life, and Wanna is just moving in to a house for college. This means that we are in a not-so-unique position of cooking for ourselves with not much time to be fancy and a desire to be somewhat healthy. Hopefully, by documenting some of our favorite recipes (or some of our flops), we’ll cook in greater diversity and healthier than otherwise.

I am going to try and post pictures of what AB and I cook, along with recipes as much as possible. To give a vague idea of budget constraints, we’re living in Maryland (way more expensive than the Midwest we’re used to), allocating about $85/week to groceries for 2 people. It was more expensive at the beginning, but as we stocked up on some of the staples, each week has gotten a little better.

I also hope this gives a little bit of insight into what my little sis is doing at college, since I can’t check up on her this year. :)