Wild Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

I love when the weather starts to get colder and I can start cooking hardy meals again. The cold weather and the autumn ingredients are coming together right now and I decided to make one of my favorite dishes: Mushroom Risotto. Making risotto for me is second nature because I have done it so many times and it is such a satisfying all in one dish.

Autumn Mushrooms

For this dish I made a classic risotto with Chanterelles Mushrooms cooked with the rice and a roasted Manzanita Bolete Mushroom on top. The Manzanita Bolete Mushroom is similar to the Porcini Mushroom but has a sweeter flavor and is big and meaty like the Porcini.

Fried Soft Shell Crab

When I was in New Orleans recently I saw soft shell crabs on a lot of menus. It is a hard dish to create at home because the best way to prepare them is by battering and deep frying and not over cooking the precious crustaceans. Soft shell crabs are difficult to find in retail stores because they really need to be alive so you know they are fresh and you have to know how to clean them. I won’t get into how to clean them here, but I will say that it probably isn’t the most humane. Soft shell crabs are a delicacy and if you aren’t up to the task of cooking them at home, look for them on restaurant menus while they are in their short season.

Lemonade Lemon

Guaje Bean

If you know me then you know I have a lot of unique ingredients laying around that I have photographed for the preppings.com website. The crabs themselves needed to be photographed so I took this opportunity to create a dish with a simple fresh salsa and an aïoli with ingredients I had. I fried the soft shell crabs with an egg wash and then a flour and cornmeal mixture. The aïoli was made with Lemonade Lemons and Guaje Seeds (pictured above). For the salsa I used Mandurian Cucumbers and Zapotec Tomatoes on a bed of Flowering Spinach and topped with Corn Shoots.

Flowering SpinachZapotec TomatoMandurian CucumberPopcorn Shoots

 

Choosing The Thanksgiving Squash

Hubbard Squash

Hubbard Squash

Every year for the Thanksgiving starter I make a puréed squash soup. At my local farmers market I choose a unique and unusual heirloom winter squash that gets hand picked for the special annual squash soup. I try to use a different squash every year and this year the selection is the Hubbard Squash (pictured above).

Past squashes I have used are Red Kuri Squash, Turbin Squash, Fairytale Pumpkin Squash, and my favorite a French variety, the Galeux d’Eysines.

Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri Squash

 

Galeux d'Eysines Squash

Galeux d’Eysines Squash

For Soup

Fairytale Pumpking Squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking Instructions:

This is a simple soup to make and you can make it a day in advance. If you are using a large squash, and a lot of the winter squashes are large, cut it in half or quarters, lay onto a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, cover with foil and roast until tender. In a large pot sauté onions, celery, and carrots and add chicken or vegetable stock. As an alternative you can also add a head or two of roasted garlic. Scoop the pulp from the squash and add to the pot and purée using an immersion blender or food processor. Garnish the soup with herbs, olive oil, bacon, or crab.

 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

 

Grilled Peach Salad

Grilled Peach Salad

We are in the midst of the changing seasons. I’m always sad to see the summer produce leave as we start transitioning into the chillier days. I have been enjoying the last of the tomatoes, cucumber, corn, melons, and stone fruit as the summer season starts to wind down. I had some peaches that were hard and not as sweet as they were a few weeks ago so I cut them in half, brushed on some olive oil, and threw them on the grill. This adds a nice char flavor and helps bring out some sweetness. Grilled peaches make a great addition to a salad or you can use them for a dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Steak, Watercress Sauce, & Root Vegetables

Steak, Watercress Sauce, & Root Vegetables

While the summer ingredients are waning, the Autumn ingredients are starting to show up in the form of root vegetables.  Here I grilled a ribeye steak and paired it with a watercress sauce, roasted Milan White Turnips and Black Knight Carrots,  parsnip purée, and broccoli sprouts.

Food Porn

Salmon With Agretti Salsa

Salmon With Agretti Salsa

I love scouring for hard to find ingredients and then coming home and creating a new dish that brings them all together. I found most of my ingredients at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (CUESA). Fresh shelling beans are are in season right now and every year I find new varieties that are available. Fresh Tongue Of Fire beans are a variety of Fresh Cranberry Beans and if you can find the Fresh Christmas Lima Beans they are worth seeking out. Fresh Lima Beans are much different than the slimy frozen ones most people are familiar with.

Fresh Shelling Beans

Fresh Shelling Beans

Black garlic has become a pantry staple for me and my new favorite ingredient, finger limes, is available right now and can be found in Northern and Southern California. Agretti is a hard to find Italian vegetable that is grown in sea water near the coast. Agretti is salty and crunchy and If you can’t find it try substituting sea beans.

Black Garlic

Black Garlic

Finger Limes

Finger Limes

Sea Beans

Sea Beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dish

Fresh King Salmon, Three Bean Salad with a Salsa of Agretti, Black Garlic, and Finger Limes

The Ingredients

Click on the ingredient link for pictures and more information.