Geek Chef

I cook, I talk, I geek

Battle Mushroom May 5, 2010

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 3:17 pm
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My friend Crunchy Potato threw her second annual competitive potluck recently. This time the theme ingredient was mushrooms. My entry was beer battered shitake poppers with truffle aioli. It went over very well. Here’s the recipe, sorry for the funky photo.

Beer Battered Shitake Poppers with Truffle Aioli

1lbs shitake mushrooms
1 12 oz can beer
2 cups flour
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup truffle oil

For the ailoi:

Crush garlic and mix with lemon juice and spices. Mix yolks and olive oil with a blender, slowly add lemon mixture. Mixture will start to fluff and become yellowish white, add truffle oil and mix for another minute. Refidgerate.

Heat vegatable oil in a large deep fry pan while making batter. Temp should be about 260 degrees when ready.

Mix flour and spices until blended, then add add egg whites (leftover from aioli) and beer (of your choosing). Blend well, mixture should be light and fluffy.

Rinse and dry mushrooms, dip in batter – giving a little swirl to make sure its fully covered and drop gently into the oil. Depending on the size of your pan, you can do about 6-8 at a time, be careful not to overload your pan. Putting in too many at a time will lower the temp of the oil and leave the poppers greasy. Remove the poppers when they start to turn golden brown, place on some paper towels and then transfer to a rack to cool.


Juxtaposition Soup July 15, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 1:28 pm
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In celebration of Bastille Day, I had a few friends over for some French inspired cuisine. The hit of the meal was my Nasturtium soup.

Nasturtium is a flower that grows pretty wild, often regarded just higher than a weed.

Growing up, we had them in the yard and my mother would throw them into salads every once in a while. So I was familiar with the taste (strong, peppery) but never thought much of them until I read the biography of Alice Waters. I had to try the soup she mentions in her interview. The trick was, I couldn’t just walk into a market and buy a pound of leaves and flowers… I had to find it. Foraged food is exotic and free 🙂

Then there is the juxtaposition I mentioned. Truffles, of the mushroom persuasion. The highly coveted and very expensive little buggers that you only find in the best of markets and restaurants. When I first tasted my soup I liked it, but felt something was missing, so I drizzled a little white truffle oil on it and BAM! I wanted to bathe in it. It was simple yet rich and really yummy.

Here is the recipe, I hope you like it as much as I do.

nasturtium soup

Nasturtium Soup with Truffle Oil

2 leeks
5-6 cloves of garlic
6 cups chicken stock (make it from sratch with mirepoix if you can, belive me     it makes a huge difference! See bottom for stock recipie)
4 cups fresh nasturtium leaves and flowers
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 Tablespoons truffle oil (preferably white truffle)

In a large pot, pour in chicken stock and set heat to medium. Rinse nasturtium leaves and remove stems and seeds and add to chicken stock.  Slice leeks thinly (reserving a small handful for garnish if desired) and chop garlic, add to pot. Let cook for about a half hour. While soup is cooking, pluck the petals from the flowers, the whole thing is edible but for presentation purposes I’d recommend just the petals. Strain the soup and return the broth to the stove, set heat to high and gently stir while adding cream and pepper, add salt if you feel necessary. Do not let the soup boil, it will curdle the cream.

Pour into bowls, drizzle a little truffle oil and sprinkle the petals.


look at all that mirpoix

look at all that mirepoix

Basic Chicken Stock

3-4lbs Chicken pieces, preferably with skin and bones – leftover chicken carcasses work too, if you happen to have one leftover.
1 large onion
2-3 carrots
3-4 stems of celery
3 cloves garlic
1 Scarborough Faire (1 tsp each: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme) hehe

Place chicken in pot and fill with just enough water to cover. Clean and chop the rest of the ingredients and let cook for at least an hour, the longer the better. Strain and let cool, overnight works best, then skim the fat off the top.

I didn’t mention salt and pepper because I assume this will be added to something else, if serving as is – go ahead and season to taste. 🙂