3.16.2008

15 Minutes

The funny thing is I've been a subscriber to Bon Appetit Magazine since I was 15 years old, let's see that's _____years ago! Too many to count. The March issue with the beautiful corned beef sandwiches held an emotional moment for me. In the R S V P section there it was.... Zinnia Cafe in very large, bold letters and the cutest line drawing/ cartoon of a Portobello Mushroom sandwich. Apparently someone in West Virginia thought enough of my food to write a letter to Bon Appetit looking for this sandwich recipe of the now closed Zinnia Cafe.
To tell you the truth, I had forgotten I had submitted the recipe. I think it was late 2004 when I received an official looking letter from Bon Appetit requesting this recipe at the beckoning of several requests they received. I was beside myself with excitement then. I submitted and waited, and waited, scouring every issue for nearly a year. Then, when I closed up shop in 2005, I had moved on, life had taken me many different directions, until.....
Thank you Mr. West Virginia! As I imagine you taking the time out of your busy life, (it must be busy if you travel to Medford, OR for business) to pen a request for a sandwich you enjoyed so much you could not forget about it. Thank you for resurrecting my dream one last time.
OK... it's been 26 years of subscriptions and one moment I'll be forever grateful for.


Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Roasted Garlic and Basil Mayonnaise
Makes 6
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Olive oil - for drizzling
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup minced fresh Basil leaves
1 tsp plus 3 tblsp Balsamic vinegar
6 tblsp butter- divided
1 lb Portobello mushrooms (about 5 large) stems trimmed, cut into 3/4" thick slices
1 -1lb loaf of pain rustique, ciabatta, or focaccia, halved horizontally
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lg tomato -thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place garlic in a small ovenproof dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cover tightly and with foil and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Cool; peel and mash garlic.
Mix mayonnaise, basil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and mashed roasted garlic in a small bowl.
(Can be made ahead- cover and chill)
Melt 4 tblsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Drizzle remaining 3 tblsp balsamic vinegar over and cook until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
(Can be made 2 hours ahead, let stand at room temp-reheat before using)
Preheat broiler. Spread remaining 2 tblsp butter over cut sides of bread. Broil bread, buttered side up, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning. Spread desired amount of basil mayonnaise over toasted sides of bread. Arrange mushrooms in an even layer over bottom half of bread. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer over the cheese. Cover with top of bread, cut into 6 sandwiches and serve immediately....................BON APPETIT!

Cooking Class- Portuguese Kale Soup

I had the honor of being guest chef at The Last Bite Cooking School in Eagle Point, Oregon.
The class was based on recipes that were favorites at my cafe "Zinnia Cafe" circa 2002-2005.
The intimate class was on March 2 and we focused on the soups and bread that were the cornerstones of my menu at the cafe.

If you live in the Rogue Valley don't pass up a chance to attend one of Denise Marshall's classes. They are outstanding, informative, and fun.

Go to http://www.thelastbite.com/ to see a class schedule.



This is one of the recipes we covered in the class.

If you go to the Azores there is a version of this soup to be found in every household. Classic Portuguese ingredients include Linguicia, Kale and Beans. The oxtails can be used, but I prefer beef marrow bones slowly simmered until the marrow dissolves into the soup.
The moment I smell this soup I am transported. For those of you who have seen the movie Ratatouille, it is a similar experience to that of Anton Ego's as he tastes the rustic ratatouille presented to him. The familiarity of this soup reminds me of Sunday afternoons centered around food and family. Of course, like everyone else, my childhood was not idyllic, but this soup forces me to remember only the good times, when everyone was too busy eating to yell at each other.

Portuguese Kale Soup
1 med size sweet onion- diced
4 ribs celery-diced
4 cloves garlic- minced
3 tblsp olive oil
3 tblsp butter
1 lb beef oxtails
1 lb beef stew meat
1 lb Linguicia sausage- sliced
3 large white or yellow potatoes- peeled and cubed 1 inch
1 (15oz) can small white beans- do not drain
1 (15oz) can dark red kidney beans-do not drain
2 (32oz) cartons beef broth
1 bunch fresh kale, curly or flat leaf
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 tblsp honey

Sauté onion, celery and garlic, in butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Add oxtails, beef stew meat, and Linguicia. Brown all meats, add beef broth, lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Skim accumulated fat from top of simmering soup. Remove oxtails from soup and set aside.
Add peeled, cubed potatoes, simmer until potatoes are tender. Add canned beans, including liquid from beans.
Simmer for another 15 minutes.
Remove meat from oxtails, chop if necessary and add back to soup.
Wash kale, remove stem from entire leaf, finely chop kale and add to soup, simmer for 5 minutes.
Add honey. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.


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Cincinnati, OH, United States
A dedicated foodie, with a passion for the best food. Favorite food crushes include; Cheese, Wine, Breads, Seafood, anything made with eggs, ...there's actually no point in a list, there isn't much out there I don't have a crush on. Transplanted from the Northeast at age 18, a whole new frontier of food was opened up to me. I have fished for Salmon, hunted for mushrooms, cracked open fresh oysters from the sea and devoured them on the spot. Figs, pears, peaches, so many indigenous jewels! I dedicate this BLOG to the endless variety this region provides. My hope is to live here for a very long time & continue to discover and experience it's unique bounty! Alas, my life has now taken me to Cincinnati, OH where the food culture is like none I have ever experienced.

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