Friday, June 7, 2013

some of this and some of that

Last weekend, Vance and I celebrated our two year anniversary! We had a great dinner Saturday night at Sardinia and went to the driving range on Sunday (a little bit of something for everyone). Vance made us some delicious Planter's Punch. He made the drinks and I did the cookin'.
Wild Mushroom Ragoût on Crispy Polenta with Gruyere Cheese via Bon Appetite
2 cups whole milk
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
Mushroom Ragout
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini, and stemmed shiitake), thickly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Generously butter 13x9x1- inch baking sheet. Bring milk, broth, and bay leaf to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat; cover and let steep 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Discard bay leaf. Bring liquid to boil. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in cheese and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer polenta to prepared 13x9x1-inch baking sheet. Using wet hands, press polenta evenly over sheet to edges. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours. Cut polenta into 20 squares. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms and sauté until tender and browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and balsamic vinegar; sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm mushrooms in large skillet over medium-high heat until heated through. Add broth and simmer 1 minute. Stir in heavy cream and half of parsley. Season mushroom ragout to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add polenta squares to skillet and cook until browned, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven while cooking remaining polenta squares. Arrange 2 polenta squares on each plate. Top each with warm mushroom ragout; sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese and remaining parsley and serve. This dish was a touch labor intensive for an appetizer, but would be great paired with salad for dinner.
Eggplant with Roasted Bell Pepper, Quinoa & Goat Cheese
3 tablespoons oil, divided
½ onion, diced
1 large eggplant, quartered lengthwise and then chopped ½-1 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, diced, divided
1 small jalapeno, diced (seeds removed)
1 splash balsamic vinegar
½ cup sliced roasted red peppers
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
In a pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add quinoa and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Add broth, turn heat to high until it comes to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. In a pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for a few minutes then add eggplant. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic, balsamic vinegar, roasted pepper, and the jalapeno. Cook for a few minutes, then remove from heat. Serve over quinoa with goat cheese.

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