Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oyster Mushroom Risotto and a Really Cool Giveaway Especially for Mushroom Lovers

It seems as if every food blogger and his or her cousin has a variation on a classic mushroom risotto recipe. Well, here's mine: I grew the mushrooms myself. And not in some damp forgotten corner of my basement or due to some shocking transgression in personal or domestic hygiene. I grew them in my own kitchen, on purpose! 

My little foray into urban farming is thanks to an innovative and earth-friendly company called Back to the Roots. (No, I am not being paid to say that.) Their grow-your-own mushroom kit, made out of recycled cardboard and coffee grounds, lets you grow up to 1 1/2 pounds of gourmet oyster mushrooms in your very own house. You don't usually find this type of mushroom fresh in stores because they are so perishable. Intrigued? So was I; that's why I told them I'd stop by their booth at the D.C. Fancy Foods show, only I over-scheduled myself and never made it.

I felt so bad I contacted the company to see if they'd like me to review their product on my blog, and they did me one better: They sent me one kit to review and one to giveaway. Lucky you! I'll choose one reader at random to win, and I'll tell you the rules at the end of this post.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chicken & Pork Posole with Avocado, Radish, Cilantro & Lime for the International Incident Mexican Breakfast Party

International Incident Terrine Party
Welcome to this month's  International Incident Party, hosted as ever by our plucky foundress, Penny aka Jeroxie.  Having recently posted machacado con huevos, or Mexican dried beef with egg, I felt a bit silly when I found out that the August theme is Mexican breakfast!  If only I had remembered, I would have saved that post, as that dish is one of my new favorite things. But no matter: That's why they call these things challenges, after all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Zapiekanka: A Polish Street Food Goes Gourmet, with Swiss Chard Pesto, Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms, Oven Roasted Corn, and Garlic Aioli on a Fresh Homemade Baguette for the 5 Star Pizza Makeover

Imagine my surprise when the theme for this month's 5 Star Makeover - hosted as always by the prolific Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! - was announced. Pizza. But wait a minute. I just made a pizza for last month's 5 Star farmers market challenge: the glorious Tycoon, a manly pie dripping with steak and blue cheese and potatoes and quail eggs.

No matter - if there's one thing I love it's stuff on bread, and the possibilities are endless. And it seems I tend to get inspired by the various permutations of pizza  I encounter on my travels.  Last year I recreated (and created) a few versions of langos, Hungarian deep fried pizza, after visiting Budapest. So it seemed only fitting that for this pizza challenge I would create a gourmet version of zapiekanka, a  pizza-esqe Polish street food I enjoyed in Krakow. Remember?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saffron & Cardamom Cheesecake with Rosewater Mascarpone and Pistachio Topping

Yes, kids, you read that right: I made a cheesecake. My very first. And not a savory one either. Nope, this was a bona fide sugar bomb:

Never fear -  your Trix has not been body snatched. I am still firmly in the savory camp. But recently Poppa Trix experienced an uncharacteristic desire for a homemade sweet treat. Strange times indeed! Like me, his illicit food cravings tend towards the salty, the fried, and, of course, pizza. Always pizza. We literally never eat dessert after dinner. In fact,  I only own one cake pan, which I have never used. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Borscht, Beast, & Booze: The Many Culinary Faces of Krakow, Poland (And the Wine Giveaway Winner)

A piping hot bowl of borscht from a bar mlezny (milk bar)
Wild boar tenderloins in forest sauce from Pod Baranem
Miodowka honey vodka at Wódka Cafe Bar
When it comes to food, most people tend to associate Poland with two main things: kielbasa and pierogies. There's a lot more to Polish cuisine, as I learned firsthand on my trip, but these two items are undoubtedly ubiquitous staples.  I've already talked about the many excellent sausages to be had in Krakow, and Poppa Trix and I feasted on (more than) our fair share of pierogies on our trip. My favorites came from a cute place called Pierożki u Vincenta. This bright spot had a Vincent Van Gogh theme:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sweet, Juicy, Spicy: Shrimp & Chicken Sausage Jambalaya

 Allright, everybody - show some love for Poppa Trix. He's been wanting to do another post here ever since he ate his way across Manhattan, his home town.  I could go on, but I don't want to be accused of Bogarting a post, so, without further ado ... give it up for Poppa Trix!!

About halfway through a recent spate of 100-degree days Trix declared that she was through with cooking. Hard to believe, but between the sweltering kitchen at home and the even hotter one at the cafe where she works she'd had enough. So it was decided that I would make our next blog-worthy meal and turn in one of my annual guest posts. But by the time I was ready to mise my place, Trix was back in business. It seems that even though she couldn't stand the heat you couldn't keep her out of the kitchen! So the following pile of Creole/Cajun goodness was truly a joint effort.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Machacado con Huevos: Mexican Drief Beef with Eggs ... My New Favorite Breakfast (and brunch, lunch, dinner, and snack)

Even though I freely admit that I have done it myself, I still always think it's kind of silly when food bloggers act like we've discovered some food or ingredient or dish  that's actually been around a really long time. You know what I mean : "Oh my gosh, look! It's mousse." Or "Did you know that you can actually make your own butter?" (I am guilty on both counts, by the way.)

And here I am ... about to do it again, with machacado con huevos. I discovered Mexican dried beef at the Fancy Food Show in D.C. - but not in the Christopher Columbus sense, mind you. I realize the stuff has been around long before I got to it, and I certainly don't seek to change it, colonize it, or alter its glorious essence in any way.