French Onion Soup Made Easy

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Don’t tell me that you skip over the crock of french onion soup whenever it is on the menu. I have a hard time not getting it! The cheese that oozes over the top of the crock, the delicious piece of bread in the middle, does it really matter what the broth tastes like at that point? But still, even the broth of french onion soup beats out most soups. Then there are the strategies in eating it. Some people mix the cheese in and eat throughout, others save the cheese for last, even others dive right into the bread. No matter what way you eat it – it is indeed tasty.

So one of those cold winter days (feels literally like yesterday), my wife took out the dutch oven and asked “what do you think of french onion soup tonight?” To which my response was, “well, do we have enough cheese?” Hells yes we did. Hours later, we had nice hot bowls (sorry, we don’t have crocks yet) of french onion soup oozing with cheese over the top. This was a success that went straight into the recipe book. Here you go.

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Mushroom Mania : Oyster-Shitake Alfredo

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Do you smell that? Yup…mushrooms again. We just can’t get enough! Still working on the large box of shitake and oyster mushrooms, the wife and I were faced with a decision: how do we finish all of these?! We already did flatbread and stroganoff, but wait – I married an Italian…PASTA! Done and done. While any mushrooms will do, I will say that the shitake and oyster mushrooms provided a distinct taste that went really with a cream sauce. Anyway, get out your favorite pasta and have at it, hoss!

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“A Fungus Among Us” Flatbread

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The wife and I live in a geographic location very famous for mushrooms. It has its pros and cons. We have grown used to the fresh smell of manure on any day at any time. However, we have also come accustomed to cheap-ass mushrooms that have great flavor. We are so spoiled. Or so we thought.

We heard a random knock on our door this weekend and I opened it to one of my wife’s former co-workers with a box full of shitake and oyster mushrooms. We thought we were mushroom snobs before with our $2.50 5 pound bags of white, portabella, and crimini mushrooms. But this took it to a new level. “Just let me know when you run out,” she says. Oh…we will. Clearly, you’ll be hearing more about mushrooms in the coming weeks. Tonight was an easy one – a quick yet sophisticated flatbread.

“A Fungus Among Us” Mushroom-Balsamic Flatbread

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Ingredients

  • Shitake and Oyster Mushrooms (any will do – but these do have great flavor w/the balsamic)
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Flatbread (homemade or store bought)
  • Julienned Red Onion (to your tasted and amount of flatbreads)
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Romano Cheese
  • Roasted Garlic

Cooking

Preheat oven to 375 or directed temp.

  1. Put freshly roasted garlic down on the flatbread (spread if you wish) and top with the onion
  2. Sprinkle fungus throughout the flatbread evenly.
  3. Sprinkled mozzarella and romano evenly on top
  4. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes or directed time
  5. Drizzle balsamic glaze on top like a damn pro

If you really like it crispy, pre-bake the flatbread before putting all the toppings on and then bake again. Goes well with a nice big glass of your favorite red wine. This meal is an EASY way to make a nice dinner after work in little time. One flatbread was actually pretty filling for me and I would definitely have it again. Reheats well for the next day’s lunch as well.

Farro Pilaf with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

Farro with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

Farro is one of my favorite fall/winter grains to cook with, and in my opinion it is vastly underused. It’s hearty, nutty, toothsome, and is packed with fiber and iron, and boasts a good serving of protein as well. Way better than rice, as far as I’m concerned! And because it’s so hearty, it’s the perfect grain to stand up to robust cold-weather flavors and textures. Nuts, meats, gourds, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens… oh and let’s not forget cheese. Mmm.

Awhile back, I had some leftover pork ragu from my tasty Pork and Mushroom Ragu over Polenta recipe, and I obviously wasn’t going to let it go to waste. Wanting to mix it up from my polenta, I grabbed a bag of quick-cooking farro and got to work. The ragu, made from Smithfield Slow Roasted Golden Rotisserie Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin, was so flavorful thanks to the pre-marinated pork and worked beautifully with my farro. All I had to do was toss the ragu with the warm grain and some roasted butternut squash, wilt in some kale and shaved parmesan, and dinner was served! And if you don’t have leftover ragu? It was so easy to make it in the crock pot, just set it in the morning and it will be ready for this recipe by the time you’re ready to prep dinner.

Looking for a quick yet deeeelicious meal to get you through the holiday hustle and bustle? This simple farro pilaf has you covered, my friend.

Farro with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

Farro Pilaf with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

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Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

4th of July weekend is upon us! As the most highly anticipated summer cooking holiday of the year (sorry Memorial Day and Labor Day, but you know it’s true…) it’s imperative to have your menu game on point. And I’m not talking just the expected hot dogs and hamburgers. You need some winning sides ready if you’re going to impress at that neighborhood BBQ or block party!

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorites appetizers or sides any time of year, because you can make them as heavy or light as you’d like them to be, depending on what you choose to fill them with. Plus, in the summer, you can even cook ’em on the grill! The cow-loving folks at the Texas Beef Council recently reached out to us with an especially inspired idea… next time you’re debating between making burgers or stuffed mushrooms, why not treat yourself to the best of both worlds and stuff a mushroom full of beefy, blue cheesy goodness?

 

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

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Mom’s Breakfast in Bed: Cheesy Corn Muffins with Nut Pesto

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In need of a last-minute momma’s day idea? Here’s a quick and easy bake-up that will have your house smelling cheesy and warm, and brings the flavor with a creative savory pesto in lieu of butter and jam.

CORN MUFFINS

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup plain flour

1 1/3  cups cornmeal

1 tbsp. sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 pinch white pepper

4 tbsp. softened butter

1/2 cup Jarlsberg® cheese

 

NUT PESTO

5 tbsp. olive oil

1 pack fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup cashew nuts

salt and pepper

MAKES 4 PORTIONS

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This Exists: Indian Poutine

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We love every kind of poutine here at ES, from poutine potato skins to poutine tater tots, the poutine burger and the poutine cronut (OK, I made that last one up, but if someone wants to make a pou-ronut I am 100% on board).

Here’s a new one: Desi Galli restaurant in NYC is now serving Indian poutine, made with Tikka Masala gravy and grated paneer cheese. Yes, please.