Fancy (but easy) Mushroom Nest

This week-end I went to Blanc de Gris which is an urban farm specialized in oyster mushrooms. How fun! I was so excited I actually did a cooking test before cooking the whole batch to make sure I would do it right… Well, I’m glad I did because this looked really nice, and it was delicious!

IMG_2865

Look at all these colors! This dish was fresh, savoury, filling and really let the mushrooms be the stars of the show. The grapefruit and clementine salad was so flavourful and brings a really nice texture to the entire plate. It could really make a meal of its own. As for the purple potato mash, well, I’m completely biased about purple sweet potatoes, so let’s just say it was amazing.

IMG_2866.JPG

But really, the mushrooms were incredible! So firm, tender and so not mushy. Unlike any mushrooms I have bought before these have a flavour of their own and are not watery at all.

Here is what you need for the strawberry-grapefruit dressing:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit flesh
  • 3 strawberries
  • 3 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (adjust to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the dressing:

  1. Just put everything in your blender and blend until the strawberries are completely pureed.
  2. Keep this is an air-tight container in the fridge. This will stay fresh for about a week.

Here is what I put in the salad:

  • romaine and butter lettuce
  • grapefruit flesh
  • clementine chunks
  • capers
  • avocado
  • shredded carrots

Here is what you need for the purple mash:

  • 2 normal white potatoes (I really need to pay more attention to varieties of potatoes…), about 4 cups once diced
  • 2-3 purple sweet potatoes, about 4 cups once diced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the mash:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them in small chunks.
  2. Boil in water with the laurel leaf until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
  3. Strain and transfer to a big bowl. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes. Add the milk a little at a time until you get the consistency you like.
  4. Add the dried herbs, give a good mix and season to your own taste.

Here is what you need for the mushrooms:

  • 350g fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Crush and mince the garlic and set aside. Separate and cut the mushrooms if they are not bite-sized.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and stir well until cooked through.

To assemble the plate, add lettuce first then all the other salad ingredients around the plate. Add a few spoonfuls of mash in the center and flatten it with the back of a spoon. Arrange the mushrooms in the center and add some dressing on the salad before serving.

IMG_2867.JPG

Be ready to impress anyone you are serving this too, including yourself! This is such a fancy-looking plate, so why not try it out?

Let me know what you think and if you try it out!

Easy Jicama Pasta

I really like jicama! It is great raw in salads: crunchy and fresh, it really adds a lot of texture to any salad. Guess what? It’s also great cooked!

IMG_2579

Paired up with asparagus and pasta, it creates a very easy and fresh recipe for spring, while still being filling and deliciously flavourful! Cooked jicama has a really nice peppery taste that greatly complements pastas.

Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 jicama, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 asparagus bunch, sliced bite size
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • Cooked pasta to serve

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan, sauté the tomato until some juice comes out. Add the onion and garlic. Stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the asparagus and stir around until tender. Add the jicama and mix well.
  3. Add the spices and season to your taste. Add the pasta and give it a quick stir.

This is very simple, but so flavourful!

IMG_2578.JPG

The asparagus adds a lot of flavour, but the jicama really brings it to another level and is perfect with the herbs.

Let me know if you try this out!

Stonehouse spice, a review

During the Christmas break, we went to San Francisco. One of the things I wanted to see was the Ferry Building as it was describe as a “paradise for foodies”.

IMG_2099.JPG

Over there, we were quickly drawn to the Stonehouse Olive Oil shop where you can taste a variety of olive oils and spices with fresh bread.

DSCF2391.JPG

After tasting many- okay, we tasted all of them- spices and oils blends, I settled for the Napa Valley Spice Blend which is a blend of lemon peel, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, fennel and salt. Yum!

IMG_2095.JPG

I was a little bit anxious about using this because I did not want to waste any. So, I waited until I couldn’t resist anymore and used it yesterday to bring some life and sun to some mashed sweet potatoes.

IMG_2094.JPG

Bam! This blend is so refreshing because of the lemon peel and rosemary! It was a perfect match for sweet potatoes, and I think it would go great with roasted potatoes as well. I also want to try it on soups, in salads, on some avocado toasts, and maybe with some rice? I’ll really have to control myself and not pour this allover the place!

I served the sweet potatoes with some stir fried oyster mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, tempeh bacon bits and chickpeas. The whole thing had a very forestry feel, while still being interesting and comforting. A success!

IMG_2093.JPG

I still have one other product to test from Stonehouse, and I am really excited. Let me know if you have any favourite products from them, or if I should try any other spice blends.

 

 

DIY easy fragrant face cream!

For the last few weeks, I have been looking for a simple way of making my own face cream. I really loved Kariderm’s protective face cream, but I wanted to make my own with simple ingredients. I also like the idea of making a flexible product that I could adapt to my skin’s needs, the season and my mood.

With colder temperatures, I started using pure coconut oil as a night moisturizer and have been reasonably happy with the results. However, I wanted something more unctuous. I also really liked using Shea butter, and so I wanted to incorporate that.

Shea butter has many amazing benefits for the skin. First, it is a great moisturizer. It also contains a lot of vitamin A, E and D and acts as an anti-inflammatory… and it smells amazing!

As I searched the perfect recipe, I noticed that most DIY face cream recipes used beeswax. From what I know, I understood that this was, first, to make the cream thicker and help the cream set to a solid form at room temperature. Beeswax is also known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Also, this product helps keep the moisture in the skin while still letting it breath. Sounds great!

Another thing I wanted to consider is the fact that I have oily, acne-prone skin. To manage this, I decided to include some essential oils: lavender and rosemary. These two essential oils are easy to find, and also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are great against acne. They also smell great together and help relax, which is great as I will use this cream everyday.

Here is a mix I recently put together which combines my need for moisture, and acne fighting properties:

– 2 tablespoons solid organic unrefined coconut oil

– 2 tablespoons solid organic unrefined Shea butter

– 1/2 teaspoon solid beeswax

– 2-5 drops lavender essential oil (as usual with essential oil, don’t put too much or they will burn your skin)

– 2-5 drops rosemary essential oil

– a small glass container with lid.

 

Here is what you need to do:

– In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and sterilize the container you are going to use to store your cream. You can do so by submerging the container for 5 minutes.

– Empty and dry the container, and put it back in the saucepan (you don’t want any water to get into it however).

– Put all the ingredients except the essential oils in the glass container and mix with a wooden spoon as they start melting.

– When all the ingredients are melted, take the container out of the water and add the essential oils. Mix well.

– Put the lid on and wait for the cream to set. You can put it in the fridge, or just let it out.

The feeling of this cream on my face is simply glorious: the smell is relaxing and sweet, the feeling is moisturizing but not clogging, and the moisturizing effect is great for wintertime. This cream is also quickly absorbed by the skin, which makes it a good day cream.

Give it a try!