Friday, January 21, 2011

remember when i told you about the thinkfood cookbook?

i was honored to be asked to submit a recipe for a new cookbook called thinkfood, recipes for brain health.  i wrote about it last year and conducted a cookbook giveaway contest. (congratulations connie!)

Thinkfood is a cookbook sponsored and published by posit science ...the leader in brain training interactive software programs which help people think faster, focus better and remember more. (i am so signing up!!) posit science takes an integrated approach to brain health that includes brain training and now brain healthy eating...check them out, they are doing some really cool things. so the company decided to create a cookbook, Thinkfood, which features 50 brain-healthy recipes from bloggers around the globe. the cookbook has snacks, appetizers, sides and salads, main courses and desserts all featuring a "brain healthy" ingredient.

for me...the coolest part of the project is the "recipe of the week" component, which is an email campaign that runs for 50 consecutive weeks. if you sign up you get one recipe from the ThinkFood cookbook emailed to you each wednesday...and, best of all, the recipes are free!

well it is the 32nd week of the "recipe of the week" and it is my week.  they published my recipe for "beans & greens"...full of pinto beans, kale & other vegetables and a ton of spices.  the beautiful photograph from the cookbook of the finished dish is courtesy of posit science...thank you!

you can view the recipe by clicking just need to sign up (this is free) and you will receive a recipe from the book emailed to you each wednesday... you can also go back and view the ones you have missed (it is week 32 after all).  the cookbook is for sale on the site...i have a copy, it is beautiful and full of delicious recipes.

check it out and please let me know what you think of the beans and greens recipe.  i'm thinking it may be perfect for superbowl sunday...thoughts?


diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style™ "

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

have you ever grown mushrooms? and a recipe for mushroom ragout

wow, i have to publicly thank my family and friends for the incredibly thoughtful gifts i received this year for christmas.  people went above and beyond selecting or making gifts that they knew i would love...everything from a massive ice chest on wheels from one sister, because she knows i love to entertain poolside all summer, to the 75th anniversary boxed set of nancy drew mysteries because my other sister remembers how much i loved them as a child.  cookies cutters, an antique candy dish, beautiful handmade ornaments, the coolest ever uggs boots, food, food, food and wine, wine, wine...i could go on and on.  i loved everything!

one of my favorites...and a perfect example of gifts given with a lot of thought about my interests, hobbies and life is the shiitake mushroom garden from my aunt karen and uncle don.  they know how much i love to cook using fresh local ingredients doesn't get any more local than growing it yourself!

so, this was one of the most unusual gifts ever.  when i opened the box, i pulled out what look like a log about a foot long.  the instructions include soaking the "log" in a big plastic bag for eight hours, draining, placing it on a raised platform, covering with a perforated bag (included) and leaving alone for two weeks. how hard could that be?  but i am a natural skeptic and must admit that i did not have high hopes this would actually work. wrong i was.  within a couple of days, baby mushrooms began appearing.  after two weeks, the log was covered with mushrooms.  i actually harvested more than a pound of shiitakes.  the instructions tell me there will be two additional harvests (woo hoo!) and then crumble and use in the garden as mulch.  love that...

so...a pound of mushrooms...what else but a delicious mushroom ragout? a ragout is a thick, slow cooked stew...usually meat based.  because this is a vegetarian dish using mushrooms, the cooking time is much shorter.  try the ragout over pasta, garlic rubbed bruschetta, polenta, rice, potatoes or as a sauce for chicken or steak.

thank you don and karen...i love this gift!

mushroom ragout
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (i used shiitake but use your favorite)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot shredded using large holes of box grater
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
pinch aglio, olio, peperoncino (or red pepper flakes)
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped/divided

in a large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. add onion & carrot and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. add garlic and cook until garlic just not let brown...about 2 minutes. add mushrooms, a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of pepper. cover and cook until mushrooms release their liquid...about 10 minutes.

remove cover and increase heat to high. cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are caramelized . add stock, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, aglio (or red pepper flakes) and 1/4 cup parsley. stir and reduce heat to low. cook 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce has reduced by 1/2.  taste and adjust seasonings adding more salt, pepper and...if you want a bit more heat,...aglio, if necessary.  serve over rice, polenta, pasta, potatoes etc, sprinkling the remaining parsley over each dish.

what was you favorite gift this year given or received?

best and happy 2011,

diane padoven
"live a green life of style™ "

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