Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup (for Zola)

A friend of mine is an amazing aesthetician. Sometimes when she has an appointment she leaves her 7 year old daughter with me. Zola and I have amazing chats during these visits...boys, school, friends...I am constantly amazed that she is only 7. The other day we were talking about her favorite and least favorite foods. Mushrooms made both lists. She said, "I don't like mushrooms but I love mushroom soup. Is that weird?"

Actually, it is not weird at all. Personally, I adore mushrooms. But many people, adults and kids, are put off by this item. I think it has more to do with the texture than the taste. So introducing children to mushrooms via a delicious, creamy and velvety soup seems like a perfect plan.

This recipe uses three types of mushrooms but you could use just one, feel free to swap out the ones in the ingredients list for your favorites. This almost vegan version (I use a bit of sweet butter) can be totally vegan by using all olive oil. I use coconut milk instead of cream because I like the lighter taste and I think most kids do too. The point is this is a very forgiving recipe so use what you like (or what you think your children will eat), pair with a big salad and some good bread and dinner (or lunch) is served.

Cream of Mushroom Soup (for Zola)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cleaned
5 oz. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned
5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, cleaned
4 cups mushroom broth (or vegetable) I like the Imagine organic brand
1/2 cup sherry (or white wine)
1 cup coconut milk (from dairy case, not canned)
paprika
1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
sea salt
black pepper
1 tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sweet (unsalted) butter
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Add olive oil, shallot and garlic to large stock pot set over medium high heat. Saute for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add mushroom broth, sherry, coconut milk, 1 tsp paprika, thyme and 1 tsp each salt and pepper to pot. Bring to a soft boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Pour back into pot and keep heat at simmer. Add flour to a small bowl. Top with a ladleful of soup and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk flour mixture into soup and stir until combined. Stir in butter. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve in bowls topped with parsley.

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Other Kid Friendly Recipes you may like:


It is "Kid Friendly" week at Food Network's Sensational Sides roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite kid friendly recipe? Feel free to share in the comments section or link to your blog if you have one. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Crust
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Chocolate Milk with Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Bacon and Souffle: Kid-Friendly No-Boil Quick and Easy Mac and Cheese
Weelicious: Italian Asparagus Sticks
Devour: 5 Kid-Friendly Cupcakes
Cooking With Elise: 6 Kid-Friendly Sensational Sides
Dishin & Dishes: Mini Carrot Cake Cookie Cups 
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cream of Mushroom Soup (for Zola)
Red or Green: Busy Mom's Chicken Tacos
Domesticate Me: Cheesy Baked Penne with Chicken and Broccoli
The Sensitive Epicure: PB&J and Apples Rice Paper Roll-Up (Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: Side Dishes Your Kids Will Love


best,
diane
napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spaghetti & Meatballs


I know, I know...does the world need another recipe for spaghetti and meatballs?  Google alone had over 1,880,000 results when I checked this morning. But I really, really like my version...a combination of my Mom's recipe with my tweaks. And it occurred to me that, after six years of blogging, I have never shared this beloved, comfort-food-at-its-best, dish at Napa Farmhouse 1885.

My mom's meatballs are very similar to mine but she cooks her sauce all day. She starts in the morning...lets it simmer all day...and she does not finish the meatballs in the sauce. She uses the oven method. She cooks the pasta, adds meatballs (she makes really big ones so people normally need just 1 or 2) and she then ladles the sauce over everything. I like the fresher tasting, quicker version sauce to balance out the "meatiness" of the meatballs and I really like finishing the pasta in the tomato sauce. When I make my mom's sauce (will share one day) I either keep it vegetarian or make it a meat sauce by adding ground sirloin at the beginning and let it simmer all day with the rest of the ingredients. My grandmother's sauce was different from both my mom's and mine. I love the way the generations adapt but honor the family recipes.

My grandmother's, my mom's and my sauce recipes are all a little bit different...but equally delicious. Give my version a try and please let me know what you think in the comments section of this post. And, while you are at it, tell me how you make spaghetti & meatballs?

Spaghetti & Meatballs
(serves 4- 6)

1 recipe meatballs (recipe follows)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 26.4 oz box chopped Pomi tomatoes
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 lb spaghetti or perciatelli pasta
sea salt
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated or shredded, for topping pasta

For the sauce
Use the skillet from making the meatballs...You want all the flavor from the oil and bits of meat. Add the additional tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for an additional minute (do not let garlic brown). Add the tomatoes, parsley, wine, pinch of salt and cooked meatballs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with small handful of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than package directs. Drain the pasta and add to the cooked sauce. Stir in and cook an additional minute. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately with plenty of parmigiano-reggiano for topping the pasta.

For the Meatballs
(makes 28)

1 lb ground chuck
3/4 lb Italian sausage (I use hot but you can use mild if you prefer a less spicy meatball) casings removed
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients to large bowl and, using your hands, mix just until incorporated. Do not over mix. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to create 28 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll lightly between your hands to form the balls.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the meatballs and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Turn and cook an additional 5 minutes. If you are making the Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe stop cooking at this point. If you want the meatballs without sauce, place the browned meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 15- 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees when pierced with a meat thermometer. (do not clean the skillet if you are making the red sauce!)

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Other pasta dishes you may enjoy:
Visit the Recipe Index page for the full list of pasta recipes

It is "Clean Out the Pantry Night" week at Food Network's Sensational Sides roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite pantry recipe? Feel free to share in the comments section or link to your blog if you have one. Recipes will be posted at noon on Thursday.

Here is the full schedule for #SensationalSides:
April
3: Clean out the pantry night
10: Kid-Friendly
17: Easy Easter Side
24: Something mashed

May
1: Salad (Lettuces)
8: Cheesy
15: No-cook

Feed Me Phoebe: Artichoke Hummus
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Red or Green: Sea Bass with Spicy Asian Ginger Sauce
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Quinoa Citrus Mango Avocado Black Bean Salad
The Heritage Cook: Chile Tortilla Soup
Cooking With Elise: Glorious Greek Salad Dressing
Devour: Clean Out the Pantry Night
Weelicious: Greek Nachos
Virtually Homemade: Garlic Rosemary Pizza Crust Bites
Domesticate Me: Fiesta Baked Eggs with Farro and Black Beans
Taste With The Eyes: Mom's Vintage Potato Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Rice and Beans Casserole
The Sensitive Epicure: Salmon and Brown Rice Casserole (Gluten-Free)
Daily*Dishin: Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pasta with Crunchy Roasted Black Beans
FN Dish: Pantry Clean-Out Sides


best,
diane
napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thai Red Curry & Peanut Vegetable Stew

We have had such a mild winter in Taos. Many days in February and early March had temperatures in the 50s!  But Saturday was cold...wind with gusts of 35 to 40 MPH made it feel very chilly. Cloudy skies threatened snow. I craved a big fire and an even bigger pot of warm, comforting soup.

This Thai Red Curry & Peanut Vegetable Stew was exactly what I needed. Spicy, savory, chock full of vegetables, thickened with coconut milk; heat from Thai red curry paste and creamy from the peanut butter. Served with gluten-free coconut biscuits (will be shared in an upcoming post), this made a perfect Saturday night meal. Enjoy!
(oh, btw...I heated up leftover stew for lunch on Monday. Two days later and still delicious!)

Thai Red Curry & Peanut Vegetable Stew
(serves 4-6)

1 medium eggplant, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1 inch slices
1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, washed
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen)
1 32 oz box organic vegetable broth
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup canned coconut milk
juice from 1/2 fresh lime
2 green onions, chopped (white & green parts)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
zest from one lime
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Add eggplant to large colander. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp salt and let sit 30 minutes.

Heat large stockpot over medium high heat. Add olive oil and eggplant. Saute for 15 minutes until eggplant is soft and brown on all sides.  Add onion, bell pepper, cauliflower and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and curry paste, cook for 1 minute.

Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in peanut butter. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, 1/2 green onions, 1/2 of the cilantro, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve with remaining green onions, cilantro and lime zest topping each bowl of stew.


It is "most comforting peanut butter recipes" week at Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends.  Have a favorite peanut butter recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section of this posts. (links o.k.) 
Feed Me Phoebe: Thia Peanut Chia Pudding

best,
diane
napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Warm Pan Fried Potato & Greens Salad


What a perfect dish for a cool end-of-winter night. Pan fried Yukon Gold potatoes; golden brown and crispy on the outside, creamy deliciousness on the inside, poured over a green salad tossed with a balsamic vinegar & mustard vinaigrette.



I sauteed sliced onions and garlic in the olive oil left from frying the potatoes and added the caramelized onions and garlic, plus the oil, to the salad. The warm potatoes mixed with the cool salad makes a wonderful contrast. I serve this salad with simple roast chicken or grilled pork chops for an easy weeknight dinner but it is impressive enough to include when entertaining. This also makes a nice light lunch. Enjoy!


Warm Pan Fried Potato & Greens Salad
(serves 4)

3/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 handfuls mixed greens (combination of spinach, various lettuces, kale, frisée, baby beet greens, whatever you like)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cut potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. When hot add 2 tbsp olive oil and the potatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch each salt and pepper. Pan fry until one side of cut potatoes is deep golden brown. Turn to another side and pan fry until deep golden brown. Repeat until each side is golden and tender when pierced with a knife. Remove potatoes and keep warm. Add onion to pan and cook until just beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and potatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is softened and the potatoes are warm. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and a small pinch each salt and pepper to large mixing bowl.. Whisk until emulsified. Add greens and bell pepper and toss with wooden spoons to dress ensuring all leaves are coated. Pour in potato mixture and all the pan oil. Toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve immediately.

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Other potato recipes you may enjoy:


It is "Potatoes" week at Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends.  Have a favorite potato recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section of this posts. (links o.k.) 

The Heritage Cook: Potato, Bacon, Green Chiles and Cheese Casserole 
Feed Me Phoebe: Bangers and Spinach Mash with Cider Onions
Dishin & Dishes: Sweet and Savory Potato Stacks
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Potato-Chickpea Masala with Cilantro Chutney
Weelicious: Potato Fans
Haute Apple Pie: Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Taste With The Eyes: Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus and Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle and Potato Stack
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Warm Pan Fried Potatoes and Greens Salad
Red or Green: Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle
In Jennie's Kitchen: Crispy Oven Fries
The Sensitive Epicure: Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins
Elephants and the Coconut Tress: Indian Spiced Potatoes
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Healthy Bacon Egg Potato Breakfast Casserole  ‎
Virtually Homemade: 
Bacon Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes
Devour: 
Mashed Potatoes, Reinvented
FN Dish: 
10 Potato Picks (Recipes)

best,
diane
napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pizza with Sundried Tomatoes, Red Pepper & Corn

I make pizza year round. One of my favorites tops a delicious cornmeal crust with fresh corn cut off the cob, fresh tomatoes lightly marinated in olive oil, vinegar and garlic, mounds of fresh basil and a little buffalo mozzarella. Of course this only works at the height of summer when corn, tomatoes and basil are at their peak. Take a hot August night, throw the pizza dough on the grill, add the toppings and dinner is served. I decided I wanted to make a pizza with similar ingredients...but appropriate for the rest of the year. Introducing my "winter" pizza.


The pizza  is "sauce less"  just extra virgin olive oil.  I made it winter friendly by using  jarred red bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes, frozen corn, pickled garlic and fresh buffalo mozzarella. I use torn spinach leaves or similar mild tasting greens instead of the basil.  The most important tip is to use the best quality organic ingredients available. This is key since you are using jarred and frozen items. I love the cornmeal crust...wonderful texture with just a hint of sweetness from the honey.  Don't be intimidated by the thought of making homemade pizza dough. This recipe is simple and very forgiving.   Homemade pizza...fast, easy fresh. Pair with a green salad and dinner is served! 



Pizza with Sundried Tomatoes, Red Pepper & Corn
(makes 4 seven inch individual pizzas)
Ingredients

cornmeal pizza crust (recipe follows)
1 jar red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2 inch strips1 small jar sun dried tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, sliced into 1/2 inch strips (keep the oil)
1 package organic frozen corn, drained
pickled garlic (from your favorite olive bar)
fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces
extra virgin olive oil
coarse grey salt
dried red pepper flakes
handful fresh spinach or basil, torn


cornmeal pizza crust

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 cup cornmeal, fine grind
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
extra virgin olive oil

coarse grind cornmeal for baking sheets

Add water to bowl of upright mixer and sprinkle yeast over top. Using the paddle attachment, mix until yeast has dissolved. Add salt, olive oil and honey and mix to combine. Add  flour and process just until incorporated. Add the cornmeal and process until incorporated. Process an additional minute until the dough has formed into a ball. Do not over mix. Remove dough from bowl,  form into 4 smooth balls of equal size and place in an oiled bowl. Turn balls a few times to ensure they are totally covered in oil, cover bowl with Saran wrap and place in a warm area. Allow to rise until doubled in size  45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough into free form circles. Each pizza crust should be about 1/2 inch thick. Place on pizza stone or baking sheet which has been lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with coarse cornmeal. (the cornmeal adds a delicious flavor and helps ensure the pizza dough will not stick to pan.) 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Drizzle pizza rounds with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with coarse grey salt.  Sprinkle marinated peppers, corn kernels, pickled garlic, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella over pizza....customize the amount of each topping to your liking. Drizzle oil from the sun dried tomatoes over pizza, including the "naked" crust edges. Use a pastry brush to cover the naked crust with oil. Place in preheated oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven and sprinkle red pepper flakes and spinach over top. Slice and serve immediately.


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It is "Pizza" week at Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends.  Have a favorite pizza recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section of this posts (links ok)

The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Pizza Crust and Homemade Pizza Sauce
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Easy Turkey Taco Pizza
Devour: Top 5 Pizzas Without Sauce
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
Weelicious: Pizza Balls
Dishin & Dishes: Iron Skillet Chicken Pesto Pizza
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Pepper and Corn
Red or Green: Pizza with Green Chile, Chicken and Cheese (Gluten-Free)
Virtually Homemade: Individual Cheese Quesadilla Pizzas
Domesticate Me: Grilled Pita Pizza with Prosciutto, Chanterelles, Arugula and a Fried Egg
Food for 7 Stages of Life: No Yeast Pizza Dough
In Jennie's Kitchen: Easy, Homemade Pizza Dough
The Blue Apron Blog: Our Favorite Pizza Toppings
The Sensitive Epicure: Mini Deep Dish Polenta Pizzas (Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: Homemade Pizza Comfort by the Slice


best,
diane
napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.