Monday, May 9, 2011

Morels in a Balsamic reduction with aged Gouda over Tricolor Israeli Couscous

I love mushrooms. I love gathering them, cleaning them, cooking them and most of all, eating them. I just returned to California after a week in Ohio. The last day there, I found myself with a free afternoon in the Columbus Area. Everyone kept telling me that there was a bumper crop of Morels in the area due to tons of rain. Morels are the king of mushrooms. They are the easiest to identify and one of the most delicious varieties that I’ve ever found with a nutty flavor and a meaty texture. Wild horses couldn’t hold me back! I headed off to the woods and after 2 hours of searching in the rain, through muddy bogs, encountering barking dogs, near fallen logs, (the rhyming there was totally unintentional ;-)) I ended up with about 3 pounds of gorgeous Yellow Morels.
After a thorough cleaning I pulled some ingredients together to make a meal. The result was sauteed Morels in a Balsamic reduction with aged Gouda over Tricolor Israeli Couscous.

  • Couscous:
  • 1¼ cup water
  • 1 cup Tricolor Israeli Couscous
  • 1 Tsb butter
Using my Fissler Solea pot I brought the water to a boil. Then I added the Tricolor Israeli Couscous butter and salt. I cooked for 8 minutes stirring occasionally. 
Then I got started on the Morels.

  • 6 Tbs butter3 cups Yellow Morels cleaned and broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup red
  • wine
  • 2 Tbs Vanilla Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded aged Gouda cheese
I melted the butter in the Fissler Solea pot then added the garlic and the mushrooms. After the mushrooms had cooked for about 4 minutes, I added the wine and the Balsamic. The mushrooms cooked for another 10 minutes, while the liquid in the pot reduced down. One great thing about mushrooms is that you can’t cook them for too long! They don’t dry out like meat does with over-cooking, nor do they fall apart over time. However, like many other varieties of mushrooms Morels are poisonous raw so cooking thoroughly is important.
I love using the Solea pot because the clear lid lets you see how cooking is progressing and it is convex so it drains the condensation back into the pot. If you want to reduce the liquid and make the sauce more condensed you can set the lid upright on the edge of the pot to allow steam to escape. I kept the lid upright for part of the time to allow some reduction to occur.

When the sauce had cooked down, I scooped the mushrooms out and laid them over the couscous then topped it with grated aged Gouda cheese.
They were delicious!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

24 Hour Restaurant Battle with Scarpetta's Scott Conant!

The Fissler Foodies visited chef Scott Conant’s Scarpetta Beverly Hills, at the gorgeous Montage hotel, for a viewing party for season two of Scott’s Food Network show 24 Hour Restaurant Battle. We had a live split-screen experience with Scott the restaurant host in his incredible Scarpetta open kitchen and Scott the TV host on the big screen. 24 Hour Restaurant Battle pits two teams of aspiring restaurateurs whose challenge is to create a menu and a restaurant from scratch in 24 hours. Because they are competing, the contestants produce some pretty interesting dishes, walking a fine line between daring, and occasionally questionable ingredient choices, and tried and true crowd pleasers. The best recipes get posted at the Food Network site, so you can try them at home. Scott’s got some of his own recipes at his site. Our favorite taste at the viewing party was Scott’s steak tartare on house-made potato chips. We thought of making it at home, but we may just go back to Scarpetta for that!