Mushroom, Broccoli and Lemon Cream Sauce

So, I totally haven’t posted since Christmas and I know you have all been wringing your hands saying “Ohmigosh, what is Mel doing, she is the light of my life, I can’t go on, etc.”  And I’m like, it’s okay guys, I’m back.  Basically I got back from Chile just a couple weeks ago and so since then my life has been racked with holiday parties and job hunting.  One of those things is really fun.  Guess which one.

So, for one of my New Year’s Resolutions (apart from updating my Facebook status less and watching Top Chef more) I decided that I’m going to drastically reduce my refined sugar intake.  As in, try not to eat it at all.  This is pretty challenging if you don’t like to cook because almost every premade, prepackaged food has like 40g of pure homogenated death juice or whatever that stuff is called.  BUT, if you like to cook it’s actually pretty easy, especially for people like me who really don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  Seriously, I hardly ever eat my baked goods, I just use them for bribes.

So, my parents still eat sugar (oh, I’m living with my parents) and they don’t really want to alter their diets and lifestyles to suit me, which is fair, and just means I get to cook more.  Tonight I made myself a delicious cream sauce that I plan to ladle over roasted garlic cous-cous (coming soon).  Good, right?  I know.

The recipe:

5 large shitake mushrooms (chopped)

1 head of broccoli (chopped really teeny tiny, seriously, go to town on that broccoli’s head)

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tbsp EVOO

1 tsp chili flakes (can be adjusted based on spice tolerance)

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp kosher salt

2 lemons (juiced)

8 oz heavy cream

2 tbsp flour

I took these pictures on my new iPhone.  Cool, right?  Oh, you’ve all had iPhones for like three years?  Okay, yeah I mean I was just being ironic…

Anyway.

Using a heavy saucepan, sautee the mushrooms, broccoli and garlic in the olive oil for about two minutes on medium heat.  Add chili flakes, white pepper, nutmeg, kosher salt and lemon juice.  Sautee for about five more minutes.  Then add cream and stir for about a minute.  Add flour and stir vigorously and immediately so the flour doesn’t clump.  Continuing stirring over heat for about seven more minutes.  Then you’re done!  Serve over something with a cool name, like cous-cous or…panna cotta.  No, don’t do that.  Cous-cous is good.  Or just normal pasta.  You’ll figure it out.

get it.

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Aloo Palak

If I’m being totally honest with you, readers, I woke up this morning thinking that I would try to make Giada DeLaurentis’s Sausage, Peppers and Onions.  Then, I noticed that I had a giant bag of spinach in the fridge that I bought to make a salad.  I never made the salad.  Apparently, in Chile, spinach only comes in extreme bulk and looking at the spinach I realized that it was not long for this world so I thought “Well, I should use this spinach.”

this spinach.

From there I Googled “spinach recipes” to be confronted mostly with spinach and artichoke dip recipes and as much as I love the stuff I was looking for something a little healthier and more along the lines of a meal.  I came across a recipe for Aloo Palak, an Indian dish with spinach and potatoes that I’ve enjoyed before and thought it sounded splendid.  So, I wrote out a grocery list with the ingredients for both the sausage and peppers and the aloo palak thinking that I would make one today and one tomorrow.

The thing about sausage and peppers is that it requires peppers, so naturally I put “2 red bell peppers” on my grocery list and then promptly and completely overlooked and forgot about that ingredient (this is while I’m actually thinking “I can’t wait to make sausage and peppers!) and didn’t manage to buy them.  There was even a fruit and veggie stand on my walk home but they were sadly lacking in peppers.

Here is the point.  Today, I made aloo palak.  I’ll make the sausage and peppers this weekend.

Wasn’t that interesting???

Okay, so the recipe I found actually contained some spices that I’ve never seen in Chile and that they definitely didn’t have at my local little grocery store.  So instead of turmeric, coriander and garam masala I used some other familiar Indian flavors, namely cardamom and curry powder.  It actually turned out really great, but I’ll post the real recipe as well as my replacements if you have access to those particular spices.

Here we go:

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach (this isn’t super exact but when the spinach cooks down it needs to measure a little more than a cup)

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped

2 onions, diced

1-2 green chiles, chopped with seeds

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 tsp turmeric (I used cardamom)

4 tbl butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala (I used curry powder)

1 tsp cumin

Sour cream to taste

Salt

Oil

First, cook the spinach, garlic, ginger, chiles and onion in a pan with a little water and a little oil for about 5-10 minutes until the spinach is a deep, bright green and the other ingredients are soft.  Remove all ingredients from the pan and puree until very smooth.  I used a hand mixer and it worked wonderfully with hardly any mess.  I have a hand mixer, who knew?  Set the puree aside.

Boil the potatoes with a pinch of salt and the cardamom until soft, about 10 minutes at a full boil.  Drain and set aside.

In a large frying pan heat up the butter, cumin seeds and puree.  Bring to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes.  Add the potatoes, cumin and curry powder and stir.  Cook for about five more minutes, allowing the potatoes to soak up all the flavors.  You can add a little water if the mixture is too thick.

Serve with sour cream.

I served mine with some white rice steamed in water with a chicken bouillon cube.  The bouillon spices the rice up a little bit.  You can also serve it with naan, which is a flat Indian bread.  This dish is filling and totally vegetarian.  And super delicious.

aaaw yeah.

See you soon for sausage and peppers!

(Original recipe found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/aloo-palak-indian-potatoes-spinach-108787)