The other half of my weekend in New York City consisted of spending much time in the kitchen. The thing about my family, is that we're often content to do not much of anything. Well, by most people's standards anyway. Really what I mean is that, to us, hanging out in the kitchen, eating whatever we happen to cook up, and chatting all the while (usually with a glass of good wine) can fill up an entire evening!
My sister and I decided to sample some fare from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen. We opted for the mushroom marsala pasta with artichokes. Umm, there is nothing about that I wouldn't like. Mushrooms? Check. Cooking with wine? Check. Pasta? Check. Anyway, you get the idea... It was INDESCRIBABLE. In a really amazing way. The Marsala and the mushrooms combined to create a whole new flavor that I could have licked out of the pan would I not have burnt my tongue. In fact, I think I will be making another variation of this in the coming days, it was THAT good.
Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes
(barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen & Giada DeLaurentis)
3 tbsp. olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pan)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
10 oz. mushrooms (we just bought one package, rather than the pound it called for)
1 c. dry Marsala wine
1 lb. pasta
12 oz. frozen - thawed (we overdid the artichokes to make up for the mushrooms)
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. flat leaf parsley
salt & pepper, to tastesplash of balsamic vinegar
Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for one minute. Add the mushrooms. Saute, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the mushrooms have cooked down, about 10 minutes. Add the Marsala and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes (this took us much longer).
Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions on the package, or to taste (al dente for us!). Drain the pasta and add it to the mushrooms, marsala, and onions. Add the artichoke hearts, parmesan, and cream. Cook until the artichokes are heated through. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, again to taste. EAT.
The next day the sister and I decided to try our hand at baking. After scouring several recipes we decided to try our hand at muffins with red onions and dill. We used a vegan herb bread recipe but subbed in the red onion and dill for all the herbs the recipe called for. Again -- DELICIOUS. Sister shared with friends and got rave reviews all around. I had to go back to NC, but I made more the next day.
Muffins with Red Onion and Dill
(Adapted from How It All Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sara Kramer)
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
egg substitue (to equal one egg)
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vinegar
3/4 c. soy milk
1 small to medium red onion
3 tbsp. dill, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Yes - the sifting is important. Add the dill, red onion, egg replacer, sugar, oil, vinegar, and milk. Mix together until just mixed. Do not overmix, especially in the vegan version! Spoon into muffin cups. Sprinkle kosher salt on the top. Bake for about 25 minutes. Check with a knife or toothpick to see if they are done.
I made these with one egg and 3/4 c. of milk. Beat the egg prior to adding it. It made the muffins slightly more wet so I added about 2 - 3 tbsp. of flour. It still made approximately the same number of muffins as the vegan version.