Thursday, March 29, 2012

get in on it

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Well, it’s almost the end of March and I feel like Roasted Vegetable Season is practically over without so much as one giant snowstorm. I should say that whispering, under my basement stairs and then instantly turn around three times, mark an X on a dead frog and spit on it to prevent a jinx. We are, after all, still in New England.

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But last week we had temperatures in the 70s and 80s as a sort of terrifyingly odd stretch of unseasonably warm March weather. All I heard around me all day was people wondering if we would “pay for it.” We are such a bunch of cynics here, especially when it comes to brutal weather, so I guess until we’ve gotten through August without a summer snow squall, we’ll be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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Weather aside, I’m still roasting vegetables, because well, it’s easy and it usually means I only have to clean one pan. I had some girlfriends over for lunch a few weeks ago and I made a simple salad that was remarkably delicious thanks to these mustard roasted mushrooms. I also made some fresh baked scones that we had with butter and honey and cinnamon tea. This is the kind of thing I make me ladies for lunch when I have Tuesdays off. You should quit your job and get in on this.

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MUSTARD ROASTED MUSHROOMS

1 lb. cremini, shitake or button mushrooms (or a mix)
1-2 tbs. whole grain mustard
2 tbs. Sherry vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. honey

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To clean mushrooms, wipe any dirt off with a damp kitchen towel. Cut into quarters or strips. In a large bowl combine mustard, honey, and vinegar; whisk in the oil to combine thoroughly. Toss the mushrooms in the marinade and refrigerate for 1 hour, or several; tossing every so often if you think of it.

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Heat oven to 400. Pour mushrooms and marinade onto a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, for 45 minutes. Mushrooms tend to purge a lot of liquid and because they are mixed with a marinade here, mine were a little too wet. About halfway through cooking, I took the pan out and drained off just a bit of the liquid and sent them back into the oven.

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When the mushrooms are finished, toss them- still warm- with arugula, chopped pistachios and crumbled goat cheese for a dynamite salad. For the dressing, I used a roasted shallot vinaigrette, using my standard formula for salad dressing, I used a split roasted shallot as the basis for the dressing.

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ROASTED SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

One large shallot, split and peeled
Walnut oil (or olive oil)

2 tbs. sherry vinegar
½ tsp. honey
½ tsp. whole grain mustard
4 tbs. olive oil

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Split shallot down the middle, leaving the root end intact. Peel the skin off and drizzle a bit of oil over, toss to coat. Because I was nearly out of olive oil I had to use some walnut oil and it was one of those cases where the substitution was a really happy accident. Roast the shallot in a small baking dish for an hour, until it’s falling apart.

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In a blender or food processor combine the roasted shallot with the mustard, honey and vinegar. Blend to combine completely and then stream in olive oil to complete the dressing.

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Season to taste with salt, pepper and if needed, a pinch of sugar.

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This dressing would be great on a salad with marinated peaches or ripe slices or pear. And it would also make a great marinade for chicken or steak.

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