Greek Summer Salad

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Vegetables can be a struggle for me. I know, I run a healthy food blog — coming up with creative ways to use veggies and seasonal produce should be second nature to me, right?

Wrong. The vegetables we actually eat in my house are pretty repetitive. Brussels sprouts, sometimes with bacon. Kale. A salad. Sometimes chard, if my garden is going gangbusters. Zucchini on the grill, if my husband feels like taking that on. Asparagus.

I got sick of salads the other day and needed to find something new. A quick flip through my Gourmet cookbook was disappointing. Really? No vegetables section? But a more detailed look revealed that a lot of the “Salad” recipes were not just lettuce at all, but a variety of vegetables thrown in a bowl with dressing, which was exactly what I was looking for.  Continue reading

Garlic Butter Mushrooms with Creamy Polenta

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Sometimes, I can’t just sit down and write a recipe as I’m cooking. The process of writing a draft recipe, then following it and making notes and changes along the way is fine for the weekends, but when I’m hungry and dinner needs to be on the table, it’ s better to make now, write down what happened later.

And so it was with this mushroom dish. It’s mostly inspired by a wonderful meal I had at Redfish Lake Lodge near Stanley, Idaho — fresh, homemade pasta all tangled up with herbs and mushrooms and amazingness, served with a great red wine. But of course, as this is a gluten-free blog, I needed to pair those mushrooms with something a little easier on the tummy. 

I’d made this creamy Italian-style polenta last week to serve under a lamb ragu, hoping it would taste like a lamb bolognese I’d had at our local sheep festival. The sauce was fine, but not a hit. The polenta, on the other hand? Killer. Smooth, rich and creamy in a way that only cooks who are not afraid of butter can accomplish. 

Overall, though, this dish is not as guilt-inducing as it tastes. There’s butter and cheese, but a reasonable amount, and the difference they make to this dish is well worth it. Otherwise, the flavor comes from fresh herbs, lots of garlic, white wine and a touch of balsamic vinegar. And it only happened because I put down my pen and started adding a little of this, a little of that, until it was perfect. I encourage you to do the same.

(Note: If you desperately need this to be vegan, use olive oil instead of butter and skip the cheese. It won’t be the same, but it will be vegan.)

Garlic Butter Mushrooms with Creamy Polenta
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4 servings
Oh man. If mushrooms could talk, they’d tell you they want to be slowly cooked in wine and herbs and garlic, then spooned over this polenta. Amazing. Gluten-free and meatless, vegan option.
Ingredients
  • I cup polenta (or medium-grind grits)
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • I cup white wine
  • 3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms (the brown kind), thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a simmer over medium heat. Add polenta in a steady stream and whisk. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbling. Lower heat to low. Add broth, 2 Tbsp butter and 2 cloves of garlic. Stir, cover, and allow to simmer while the mushrooms are cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until soft — about six minutes. Add remaining garlic and stir, then add wine and allow to simmer until wine has mostly reduced.
  3. Add mushrooms, herbs and broth. Cook until mushrooms are soft and have given up juices, and sauce is mostly reduced. Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Cook for about 3 more minutes, or until the super-sharp vinegar bite has mellowed.
  4. Stir Parmesan cheese into the polenta until melted. Spoon onto plates. Ladle mushrooms over; garnish with extra thyme and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
 

 

Summer Corn Salad (meatless, gluten-free, vegan option)

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It’s summertime. We all know that all you want to eat is a giant bowl of vegetables, and those vegetables better not have touched a heat source at any point (apart from maybe a grill). They should be in season, full of flavor and taste basically like sunshine.

In other words, the standards are high. Luckily, I have just the salad for you.

Are you ready for a confession?

This was not going to be a blog post. Originally, this was something I just made with leftovers from the fridge. I had tomatoes. I had a microwaved ear of corn, half an avocado and basil. And, best of all, I had a brand-new ball of smoked mozzarella that I picked up for another recipe that I was suddenly to hot and tired to make.

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Superfood Summer Salad (gluten-free, meatless)

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I am really, really bad at themed food. The second I try to come up with something to fit a certain holiday or season, every idea I might have had flies straight out of my head. Then, I come up with tangential ideas that only kind of fit the theme and try to make them fit, usually with disastrous results.

But every once in a while, a recipe comes beautifully and gloriously together and happens to fit a perfectly appropriate theme. This salad is a perfect example. The recipe reads like I just threw every superfood at my disposal into a salad bowl and mixed thoroughly; the reality is that the flavors all meld deliciously together, complementing each other in complex and satisfying ways.

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Beet Salad with Parsley Pesto (gluten-free, meatless)

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This weekend, I spent a lot of time preparing to garden. You see, up until late last week, our area was still under a frost warning. As a result, I’d been putting off the actual planting and had somehow come up with a dream garden that was far beyond the capacity of any of my current beds (most of which, sadly, are in shade).

So, I built a raised garden bed that I hope our landlord won’t notice and installed a cold frame along the side of the house and started to dream about what I’d fill them with. The raised bed is at the side of our yard, ideally positioned to catch the maximum amount of sunlight possible. As soon as I can find someplace that will sell me a truckload of soil, I am filling that baby up with tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and bell peppers.

And, of course, beets. Continue reading

Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms (meatless, gluten-free)

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It’s not the season for Caprese salad. There are no good tomatoes out, I am pretty sure basil’s not in season, and who even knows about mushrooms. In Idaho, the local greens are just starting to come out in the stores, thanks to our geothermal greenhouses, but everything else is kind of…well. The tomatoes are still a little faded.

My body didn’t care this week, though. It was craving Caprese salad. Well, actually, it was craving pizza, and while I sometimes indulge, I was not going to this week. Instead, I heavily modified Foodie Crush’s recipe for Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms and called it a day. Continue reading