Friday, May 13, 2011

Fresh In The Market

Somehow magically this post got deleted! Reposting..

Tuesday = Farmer’s Market = Happy me! The sun is shining high in the sky and the crop is bountiful. Yesterday’s market was teeming with more vendors and shoppers than ever and I didn’t forget to load my wallet with cash this time around. I skipped the usual avocado, tomato, squash tables and added a yellow zucchini plant, roasted ground nuts (whole), macadamia nuts, shiitake mushrooms and a large bag of navel oranges to the cart. I can’t wait to reap the zucchini my hubby safely planted next to the tomatoes and jalapeno in the garden!
I bought a gigantic bag of oranges from a lady who let me taste one first. Don’t you wish your local grocery store let you sample before buying any produce? Although I would rather have a glass of water than the canned orange juice, the fresh OJ from Jamba Juice is growing on me. A little bit of effort, and I have a pitcherful in the fridge avoiding the detour early morning to work. A healthy breakfast full of vitamin C is just an added bonus :D.  I used the food processor gifted by my parents to squeeze out every ounce of the juice within no time. What a life saver! Freshly squeezed frothy orange juice with pulp = sweet!

Sweet, juicy naval oranges

Tropicana...what?? Freshly squeezed OJ is the thing!
2-in-1 Food processor and mixer from India!
For a fan of mushrooms, I've surprised myself by not cooking any wild mushrooms before. Not that it was a mystery item from one of those 'Chopped' baskets, but I still felt a little bold buying Shiitake mushrooms. Having tasted White wine braised mushrooms with risotto in SFO, it was a no brainer what I was going to make with these babies. I had orzo at home, so out went the risotto and in went the orzo along with some pearl onions I had bought last week. The Spring Medley Orzo from Seattle's Pike's Place Market was flavored with lemon peel, lemon pepper, cilantro and other herbs sparing me from adding much seasoning. With all those citrusy flavors, this was refreshingly light for a pasta dish.

Ready for a bath in some white wine

Orzo with Shiitake mushrooms & Pearl onions braised in White Wine

Orzo with White Wine Braised Shiitake Mushrooms & Pearl Onions

1 Cup Orzo - Flavored would be the best but go with the regular and season it up
1 Cup Shiitake mushrooms
8-10 Pearl onions
Generous pouring of White Wine - I went with Chardonnay
2 Cloves of garlic
1-2 Teaspoons olive oil
1/2 Teaspoon dried oregano - use 1 spring of fresh if you have it
Red chili flakes - optional
Lemon pepper - optional
Salt to taste
3 Cups of water

Clean mushrooms and chop them however you like. You can leave them whole as well.
Peel peal onions and cut them in half. These little fellas will make you work. I found it easier to peel them whole instead of cutting off the ends. Crush and chop garlic cloves. I know some people have an aversion to garlic. Use just one clove if you are in that category.
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add a pinch of salt and a little bit of oil so the orzo doesn't stick. Cook pasta in boiling water al dente (6-8 minutes). Drain and keep it back in the hot pot so any remaining water evaporates (a trick I learned from Rachael Ray).
Heat OO in a saucepan and add garlic. Once the garlic gives out aroma, add onions and mushrooms to the pot and stir.
Pour some white wine generously covering the mushrooms. I used Chardonnay since that's what I had at home and the sweetness of it paired nicely with slightly sweet onions and citrusy orzo. Add dried oregano or a spring of fresh oregano (take the spring out after cooking if you use fresh) and salt to taste. Let it cook on low heat for 15 minutes or so until the mushrooms are plum and soft and some of the wine has evaporated.
Add orzo to the mushrooms and mix well.
Serve hot with some cilantro garnishing.

Biting into a wine soaked mushroom = happiness!

On the side, I was prepping for the upcoming bake sale for which I'm making semolina cake and mango-cardamom cupcakes. Here's a sneak peak at the cupcakes. Recipe and pictures coming soon :).

Mango-Cardamom cupcakes!

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