A talented, rather shy, German food blogger named Andrea Mohr, aka The Kitchen Lioness, is inspiring an international array of cooks (including this Iowa-born-and-bred woman) to veg-ify their palates. Every month she tosses ten recipes from Hugh Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg on the table and says, make your picks. At the end of that month, we post about our choices on a link, The Cottage Cooking Club. Oh, forgot to mention, she cooks all ten.
Of the many food bloggers I admire and aspire to becoming, Andrea rises to the top. Although I’ve never possessed an Envy chromosome, there is much to learn from The Lioness. She not only serves delicious and beautifully plated food to her family of six, but her food staging and photographs are exquisite. After reading her posted results (all ten) and then glancing back at mine (my two, maybe three choices), I’m already thinking, “How did she pull that off?” “Why didn’t I think of that?” and “Back to the cutting board, Mary.”
Then, again, what does Envy feel like?
Today’s Post is more photo album than commentary. You can make Whittingstall’s recipes primarily from these pictures and my short explanations. While I do love cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Deborah Madison’s vegetarian cookbooks, their recipes are often involved, complicated and require prep, prep, prep. With Whittingstall, you receive get-those-veggies-on-the-table fare.
You’ll like my choices this month: Big Baked Mushrooms, Artichoke & White Bean Dip and Curried Bubble & Squeak (Heck, I first thought Bubble & Squeak was a dance.). Bonus Time: Hugh showed me the path to poached eggs perfection. I share.
I used Portobello mushrooms for my BIG BAKED MUSHROOMS entrée although any sized fungi will work. As the saying goes, choose your poison. Oops, perhaps not a good word choice when speaking about mushrooms. This is delicious without the added cheese but scrumptious with it. Your calorie preference. Since I wasn’t serving to guests, I left some stem intact.
ARTICHOKE & WHITE BEAN DIP, Hugh explains is ‘a rich, creamy savory dip, wonderful with crudities, dolloped onto warm flat bread and works well served on crisp lettuce as a salad.’ To me this is what you hurriedly make when hummus or store-bought dips aren’t nearby. Serve warm or cold with roasted walnuts scattered on top.
Grab a jar of marinated artichoke hearts and a can of cannellini beans. Drain and coarsely chop the hearts. Drain and rinse the beans. Sauté an onion and garlic in olive oil before adding them and oregano to the pan. Pour these heated ingredients into a processor with lemon juice, chili flakes and enough yogurt for a chunky puree. Do your salt/pepper jig before adding that leftover artichoke marinated oil for any needed texture.
BUBBLE & SQUEAK is a classic English dish first created in 1806 by thrift conscious Maria Rundell. It’s perfect for leftover cooked veggies and potatoes and was extremely popular in World War II during rationing and food scarcity. To me, it’s a frittata cloaked in a quirky name. During the cooking process this recipe is supposed to make bubbling and squeaking sounds. Thus the name. Not a peep out of mine.
Whittingstall holds the eggs but later adds a poached topping. He throws a healthy dollop of curry powder into the sautéed onion and garlic before adding the cooked potatoes and leftover vegetables which have now been shredded. After seasoning to taste and, if desired, add a poached egg.
Now, Readers, in your Life have you ever seen such a perfectly poached egg? Modestly speaking, that’s an Alice-Waters-eat-your-heart-out poached egg. Here’s the tip. Carefully break an egg into a small bowl. Bring 2” of water to a rolling boil. At that point ‘stir it fast in one direction with a wooden spoon to create a vortex or whirlpool on the center.’ I admit hearing bubbling and squeaking during this process. But, I digress. When you see a distinct vortex, pull the spoon out and slide the egg into the center. Turn off the heat, lid the pan, and leave for exactly 2 1/2 minutes. Then, using a slotted spoon, carefully scoop up the egg, drain any excess drips and serve.
Hugh’s a genius. Buy his books.
The Cottage Cooking Club is an international group of food bloggers cooking its way through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg, 200 inspired vegetable recipes. To see what Andrea and my colleagues made this week, go to this Link and this Link.