Pairing You Up

Four days, four very different dishes. That's what you've gotten if you've been reading this week. Asiago cheese puffs, feta leek stuffed tomatoes, chocolate tapioca pudding and mushroom mascarpone naan pizza. So what did I do with that extra Asiago cheese, those spare leeks, the excess wild mushrooms or the remaining chocolate? I made four other (and often simpler) dishes with those secret ingredients to maximize creative use of these ingredients. So after 4 recipes in 4 days, now you get 4 mini-recipes in 1 day!

Asiago, jalapeno scrambled eggs: I added some grated Asiago cheese, half of a finely diced jalapeño and a little chipotle powder to my scrambled eggs about three quarters through cooking them. What I got was a tangy, nutty and kicked-up version of ye good old scrambled eggs, and it certainly made for a delicious brunch with a little awesome whole wheat sourdough bread Julia bought from the Foggy Bottom farmer's market.

Truffle butter leek linguine: I accidentally cooked too many leeks when I made my stuffed tomatoes. I had just purchased a small container of black truffle butter, since I wanted to try something new, and at $6 thought it was worth it. So I put some fresh linguine in some boiling water for 2 minutes. In the mean time I just warmed up the leeks in a pan with just a couple teaspoons of the butter. I mixed the drained pasta with the leeks and butter so that everything was incorporated. That was all – simple as that. And despite its simplicity, it was a wonderfully tasty dish, thanks in large part to the richness and earthiness of the truffle butter.

Mexican drinking chocolate: Remember when I was melting chocolate for the Tapicocoa? Well I found it to be so fun and easy to melt chocolate in the double boiler that I did the exact thing a few days later. Almost. This time there was no pudding. When the chocolate got to thick drinking consistency, I added a few dashes each of cinnamon, and chipotle powder. After mixing it in, I poured it carefully into a few mugs and garnished with some optional coconut on top. Let me just say one word: luxuriouslydelicious!

Wild mushroom soup: With my extra wild mushrooms, I decided to make a lighter “cream” soup along with some diced white onion and some of the chopped and crisped bacon/facon. I heated three cups of low fat milk over medium heat, with dashes of salt, pepper, cumin, celery seed and sage mixed in. Okay, well more than just dashes of the salt and pepper. I needed a solid pinch of salt at least, since I wasn't working from a stock. When the stock was warm, I added my sautéed diced onions, my sautéed chopped mushrooms and my chopped crisped facon. I let all of the ingredients cook together for a good 10 minutes. At that point I tasted it to see if it needed more salt or more spice and adjusted slightly the seasonings and let it cook another 2 minutes. Now I folded in about a quarter cup of nonfat Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of mascarpone. These added just a little more richness and thickness at the end. I found the texture to be just fine at this point. I removed it from the heat and served it. The taste was very complete in my opinion, and I was very glad that I added the richness at the end, as it was really a noticeably nice additive to the taste profile. The soup was a very pleasant use of the mushrooms, and also allowed me to work on my soups.

So there you have it – 4 ingredients, 2 dishes each this week. That’s four pairs! And hopefully a diversely different smorgasbord of food covering your table and, more importantly, you palette.

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