Sautéed Mushrooms with Polenta

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A savory appetizer or main dish full with of flavorful mushrooms sautéed in herbs and a rich balsamic vinegar sauce, spooned over creamy polenta with melted  smoked gouda cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the  mushrooms:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Baby Bella  mushrooms, sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt, to taste

For the  polenta  (See Cook’s Notes):
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups instant polenta
8 ounces  smoked gouda  cheese, shredded (See Cook’s Notes)
Salt, to taste

Directions:

For  the mushrooms:Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add mushrooms; and cook stirring occasionally for 7 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, pepper and garlic; continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in balsamic vinegar, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan, stirring constantly about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, reduce to low. Stir in butter.  Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Keep warm.

For polenta: In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups milk and 2 1/4 cups chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; gradually stir in polenta; cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add more liquid (broth, milk or water) as needed to achieve desired consistency. Remove from heat. Add shredded cheese; stir to combine until smooth. Salt to taste. Serve polenta warm topped with mushrooms.

*Cook’s Notes:
Other cheeses may be substituted. A few recommendations: Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Fontina,  or Cheddar.

For a homemade polenta, follow the link here: Creamy Polenta

 

 

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Spiral Carrot Noodle Salad with Ginger Lime Peanut Dressing

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Spring time brings and abundance of fresh produce in the local supermarkets and farmer’s markets .
I am always looking for meals that take less cooking in the kitchen, and mostly raw if possible.Such is the case with spring vegetables, which are perfect for leaving raw, keeping the nutritional value intact.

Using a spiral vegetable slicer. It gives good noodle.This handy little gadget is  much easier to use than a mandoline or vegetable peeler. You can purchase a GEFU SpirelliSpiral Slicer or a Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer, which is another incredible kitchen gadget perfect for  spiralizing all sorts of hearty  vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets and butternut squash into noodles.

But if  you don’t have a spiral slicer, you can simply grate the carrots with a box grater to make this recipe.

You can even spiral carrots. Carrots remotely taste like pasta, but as a vegetable, it can offer a vegetarian,  paleo option for those looking for something off the beaten path.The carrot noodles are crisp and fresh and the ginger-lime peanut sauce makes your taste buds  spin. And the bonus is  that recipe is ever so simple and requires zero cooking, because let’s face it, who wants to spend time over a hot stove during this time of year. Also, this is  the perfect dish for “Meatless Mondays”.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Carrot Pasta:
5 large carrots, peeled and spiraled into noodles
1/3 cup roasted cashews or peanuts
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

For the Ginger-Lime Peanut Sauce:
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 Tablespoons coconut milk
A pinch cayenne pepper
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tablespoon lime juice
Kosher salt,  to taste
Sliced scallions, for garnish

Directions:
To Prepare the Ginger-Lime Peanut Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together until smooth and
creamy.

To Prepare the Carrot Pasta:
Wash carrots well, peel them, and pat them dry.Using your spiral slicer, make noodles out of all of the carrots. It will be more difficult to make the noodles once there is only a few inches of carrot left, so you can grate what’s left of the carrot.

To serve, place the carrot noodles into a large serving bowl. Pour the Ginger-Lime Sauce over the noodles and gently toss together. Garnish with roasted cashews or peanuts, scallions and freshly chopped cilantro.

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