Tuesday, November 24, 2009

quinces ( coings)

Quince is a pretty obscure fruit to most people. to find it , you will have to look for an overgrown pear like fruit with a navel tip , a wonderful slight guava scent. it might be difficult to find but in the most foodie towns of America or.... in Spain, Portugal,the East of France...
Quince is a fairly old fruit, that has been eaten for way over 4000 years. First around the caspian sea, then became a greek delicacy, baked with honey and eventually made its way west to become the quince jelly of France and the membrillo (quince paste paired with cheese) of Spain. The main requirement of quince is to cook it.A delicious way is to peel it and cook it in a vanilla syrup until soft and golden.serve with creme fraiche or ice cream.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

vegetarian cassoulet

I love this dish.It is as hearty,and tasty as the real thing.
Cassoulet comes from Western France, and it is a dish of peasant origin, done for hundreds of years , using local ingredients.The base is white beans, the protein is usually mutton and pork( sausages and bacon slab),all stewing together with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.Usually at the end bread crumbs are added and it is broiled until golden.
Now,for me, being a vegetarian, the substitution of meat by mushrooms is totally extraordinary. mushrooms hold their chewy self and give that meatiness to the bite, plus their taste is in keeping with the seasonality of that dish.It can be a great centerpiece for a vegetarian thanksgiving.

mushroom cassoulet

recipe for 2:
1tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1tsp of thyme
salt pepper
2 cups of organic canellini beans(cooked with bouquet garni, if possible)
1 cup of wild mushrooms(left in chunks)
1/2 cup of white wine

sauteed the shallot and garlic in olive oil until golden, add your mushrooms and let sit, uncrowded until slightly browned, add your fresh thyme, salt and pepper, cook for 5 minutes.
add your cooked beans, the wine and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
add a bit of olive oil if it looks dry and if you want, scatter some rustic breadcrumbs, plop it in the oven ,broil for 4 minutes.devour.

(breadcrumbs are out for us, since there is some gluten sensitivity floating around here)