Pie, Sweet Savory Pie

I had an all-butter frozen pie crust sitting in my freezer for longer than I care to admit.  Really, it’s astonishing that a pie crust lasted that long without being used around here at all.  But, I digress.  While I love sweet pies and have a father whose favorite food on earth is apple pie, I really really enjoy a good savory pie.  There’s something about a slightly sweet and buttery crust with a slightly salty and savory filling that hits me just right, especially in cooler weather like we’re having now.  Below is a super easy recipe for a cheese and mushroom pie which I served with some panko-crusted white fish recently.

1lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2tbsp. unsalted butter

1tsp. kosher salt

1/2tsp. fresh black pepper

2 cloves garlic minced

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar

4 beaten eggs

9″ deep-dish frozen or homemade butter pie crust

Sauté mushrooms and garlic in butter with salt and pepper over medium heat.  In the meantime, mix cheeses and eggs well in a medium bowl.  Once mushrooms are soft, add mushrooms and garlic to cheese mixture and mix well.  Be sure to avoid adding any excess liquid from the mushrooms to the cheese mixture.  Spoon mixture into pie crust and bake at 375 degrees until center is set and top is golden (30-40 minutes).



Simple Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Tried this one out tonight and I think it passed the test kitchen approval process.  Granted, we really love mushrooms at our house.  It’s a pretty simple recipe, especially considering the store-bought add-ins.  (This recipe is kosher-dairy.)

What you need:

1lb rough chopped mushrooms (at least some of these should be a meatier variety like Baby Bellas)

3 tbsp kosher olive oil

1tsp kosher sea salt

1/2tsp black pepper

1/2tsp garlic powder

1tsp red pepper flakes

15oz jar of good Alfredo sauce (kosher or not)

12oz. package of lasagna noodles

10oz. chopped spinach, drained well

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses (save time by buying the pre-shredded blend)

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.  Next, parboil your lasagna noodles.  I’ve found that even the ones that say “oven ready” really aren’t, so I would recommend throwing them in some boiling water just for a few minutes (don’t completely cook them).  Drain your noodles when they’re done and set aside to cool so you can handle them in a minute.  In a large skillet, heat your olive oil and then add all of your rough-chopped mushrooms.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Let the mushrooms soften.  It should take about 15 minutes.  Once softened, add the Alfredo sauce and lower the heat just to keep the mixture warm.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, and red pepper flakes.  Be sure to stir well in order to evenly distribute the spinach throughout the cheese.

Time to assemble!  I used a 7×11″ glass baking dish, but I think this is probably flexible depending on how deep you want your lasagna and what you have handy (the glass does seem to keep the cheese from sticking better).  In the bottom of the pan, make your first layer of lasagna noodles (a 7×11″ pan will take 3 noodles laid length-wise for each layer).  Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles carefully.  Top with 1 cup of your shredded cheese blend.  Add your next layer of noodles.  Spread half of the mushroom and sauce mixture over this and top with another layer of noodles.  Repeat the cheese layer, add another layer of noodles, and spread on the remaining mushroom mixture.  Top with the final 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

I already snagged my piece…yum!

Bake for approximately 45 minutes.  I like the cheese on top crusty so I didn’t cover it, but if you wanted it less brown on top, you can cover the lasagna with aluminium foil for 30 minutes and remove it for the last 15.  Serve with garlic bread and a crisp white wine!

Pinot Grigio, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna, and a 1/2 Bolillo roll turned into garlic bread


Vegetarian (Kosher!) Enchiladas

I love Tex-Mex food.  When I was growing up in California, it wasn’t a real party unless there was guacamole and enchiladas.  Birthday? Enchiladas.  Family reunion?  Enchiladas.  I have what you might call a family recipe since it began with my grandmother, was adapted by my mother, and now has been adapted here by me.  No matter what you call it, your guests will call it, “Mmmmm!”

What you need:

1 large casserole dish, sprayed lightly with cooking spray

8 large flour tortillas (burrito size)(you could use corn but the consistency will be different)

1 28oz can of mild green chile Old El Paso® enchilada sauce (trust me, get the green stuff)

1 cup shredded “fiesta” blend cheese (Monterrey jack, cheddar, queso fresco, etc.)

1 cup cremini mushroom caps cut into large chunks

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1 cup red and/or green bell peppers sliced thin

1/2 cup salsa (I use a medium salsa, but you could use mild or hot)

1tbsp olive oil

Okay, now prepare yourself.  These are probably the easiest enchiladas you will ever make and everyone will love them.  First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Then, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and then add the mushrooms.  Let them soften slightly and then add the sliced peppers.  Once everything has softened, add the salsa and cook down until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from the heat.  Next, get a work space ready and spread a few tablespoons (just enough to coat) of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of your casserole dish.  Take a tortilla and make a line of the mushroom/pepper filling slightly to one side.  Add a few olives (you could slice or chop these, but I love biting into whole olives).  Sprinkle with some of the cheese (not too much).  Roll up beginning with the side with filling.  No need to tuck the sides while rolling unless you are using a narrow casserole dish.  Repeat for all 8 tortillas placing each one in the casserole dish perpendicular to the longer sides.  If it seems like they won’t all fit, cram them in.  Smashing them together actually makes them better.  Once all of the enchiladas are in the pan, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top (you may not use it all depending on the size of your pan, the dryness of your tortillas, etc…use your judgment).  Sprinkle liberally with remaining cheese and put in the oven.  All of the ingredients are cooked so you’re just waiting for the sauce to warm and the cheese to melt.  Twenty minutes should be fine unless you like your cheese a bit more brown.  Serve with sour cream, guacamole, black beans, and rice.

Old-World Veal with Mushroom Gravy and Egg Noodles

As someone of German and Czech ancestry who lived in the Midwest for a good portion of my formative years, I have a special love for meat smothered in gravy.  This recipe is my kosher adaptation of one of my favourite ‘Old-World’ recipes.  If you don’t do veal or if you’re trying to be healthier, I occasionally substitute kosher boneless skinless chicken breasts in for the veal.

What you need:

2lbs. veal chops (kosher or not)

1lb package of wide egg noodles, boiled and drained

2 cups mushroom broth (kosher or not)(if you can’t find mushroom broth, you can use beef stock)

3tbsp flour

1/2tsp kosher sea salt

1/2tsp black pepper

1/2-1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms (depending on how mushroom-y you like things)

3tbsp olive oil (kosher or not)

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet.  Season all sides of your veal chops with the salt and pepper.  Add to skillet and brown on both sides (depending on the thickness of your chops, about 2-3 minutes per side).  Remove the chops.  Add the remaining 2tbsp of oil to the pan and then add the mushrooms.  Allow the mushrooms to soften.  Once the mushrooms have softened, add the flour and stir to coat everything.  Next, add the mushroom broth and whisk vigorously to prevent any lumps.  Allow the broth to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer while continuing to whisk.  The broth will begin to thicken.  Once it begins to thicken, add the chops back in and simmer until gravy is thick and the chops are cooked through (time varies based on thickness of chops, but about 10 minutes should do it for average chops since you don’t want to overcook them).  Serve chops and gravy over egg noodles.

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