Roasted Matsutake Mushrooms

Biting into a thick piece of matsutake is on the same magnitude as the first time you tasted into a perfectly grilled Filet.  Actually, it’s even better.

Here’s how to cook them to perfection.

Ingredients

  • As many Matsutake Mushrooms as you can afford (or find growing under Pine Trees)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (this dish warrants a good one!)
  • Lemon (Meyer if available)
  • A dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

Since Matsutakes are wild mushrooms, they’re going to have some dirt on them.  Do NOT rinse them off with water unless you want a big soggy mess.  Instead, brush the dirt off of the caps with your fingers or a light brush.  The outside of the stalks will have a layer of tough flesh, which can be lightly peeled off with a vegetable peeler.  You’re probably not going to get all of the dirt off, but a little dirt never hurt anyone.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Break up the matsutake into 1-2″ pieces.  Take a large piece of tinfoil and fold it into the shape of a bowl.  Place the matsutake chunks into the tinfoil.

Drizzle with olive oil, juice of a lemon, and 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup of white wine and some salt and pepper.  Fold the foil over so that the mushroom are completely sealed.

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, and which time you should check on it.  Once the mushrooms are soft, they’re done, and you’re in for the biggest treat of your life.

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Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan (AKA best you’ve ever had)

I used to think that BBQing asparagus was the best way to prepare it, up until I concocted this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Asparagus
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • freshly grated Parmisiano-reggianio
  • salt

Directions

I prefer thinner asparagus spears, and I bend them until they break naturally, rather than chopping off the ends.  If you like meatier spears, peel the skin at the base with a potato peeler.

In a skillet over medium heat add 1-2tbsp olive oil and asparagus.  Cook until tender.  Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon, salt, and garnish with fresh parmensan.

Potato Soup with Kale and Bacon Recipe

This is a great soup to make during the winter with either Collard Greens or Kale.  Use a high quality, applewood smoked bacon to give the soup a nice smoky flavor.  If you don’t have leeks, onions are a fine substitution (I often use both).

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 big leeks, chopped (or onions)
  • 2 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1lb thin skinned potatoes (Yukon Gold), chopped into 3/4″ sized chunks.
  • 1 bunch Kale or Collard Greens, destemmed and choped into 1-2″ sized pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 slices Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

Add the olive oil to a dutch oven or heavy soup pan over medium heat, and add the chopped leeks (or onions) and garlic.  Sautee for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the bacon in a separate pan and remove just before it browns.  Slice into small, bite sized pieces.

When the leeks have softened, add the carrots and kale, sautee for a few minutes until coated with olive oil, and then add the chicken broth, potatoes and bacon.

Add some salt, thyme, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes until the greens and potatoes are soft.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Chili con Carne

I bought a Dutch Oven last night (Tramontina, on par with a Le Creuset, but $45 instead of $250), and decided to break it in with some Chili.  A dutch oven is perfect for chili because it allows you to slow cook over low heat for hours without burning the bottom of the chili.

Ingredients

  • 3lbs Chuck Roast
  • 1lb Ground Chuck
  • 3oz bag of dried Pasilla Pepper pods, de-stemmed and de-seeded
  • 3oz bag of dried Ancho Peppers, de-stemmed and de-seeded
  • 2oz bag of dried Guajilla, de-stemmed and de-seeded
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • (Optional: fresh pasillas, fresh anaheims, or any other scrumptious pepper)
  • 2 large Red Onions, chopped
  • 4 medium sized garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cans (14oz) diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes during the summer months)
  • Olive Oil
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Oregano (Fresh is optimal, but I used dried mexican)
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lime
  • Salt

Cut open the chili pods and discard of the seeds.  I used Pasilla, Ancho, and Guajilla, but you may use whichever you like.  Mexican Markets are great for these, as you’ll pay $1.50 vs. $5 at Whole Foods.  For a smokier chili, you can use some Chipotle peppers.

After discarding the seeds, cook the Chilis over low heat in 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Do this for 10 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Next, combine the chilis, half a cup of water (more or less, depending how many peppers you have), 1 – 1.5tbsp of oregano, 2-3tsp of cumin, 1tsp paprika, 1/2tsp coriander and cayenne pepper (to taste) in a Food Processor.  Blend until It is a coarse paste.  Experiment with the amount of spices and herbs until it you like the taste of it.

Cut the chuck into 3/4-1″ sized pieces, cutting away the fat (there will be a lot of fat).  Brown the cubes of beef in olive oil and some salt, and set aside.

Sautee the onion, garlic until the onion begins to soften.  Add the fresh, chopped peppers and sautee for another few minutes.  Add the pepper paste, stir until the onions and peppers are well coated, and sautee for another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, return the beef, and simmer over low heat for a couple of hours, or longer if you have patience!

About an hour before you’re ready to eat, brown the ground beef, and add it to the mix.

You may optionally add some Kidney beans at this stage as well (add them at the beginning, and they’ll be mush by the time the chili is done).

Salt to taste.

Squeeze one fresh lime into the chili, serve hot, and garnish with cilantro and Tillamook cheddar cheese.