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Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net

After Spain, I figured I was finished with traveling for the year. And then an e-mail came asking if I wanted to check out St. Petersburg, Florida, and then head out to Orlando for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. How could I refuse such an offer? St. Pete has a fun, budding food scene; and what was nice to see was how supportive everyone is of other businesses, with each brewery, bartender, and chef suggesting I go to this place or that. Too many places, in fact... so another trip will have to be planned. Additionally, the city has a nice art community, with 70+ urban murals scattered around the Downtown area, as well as the Dali Museum and Chihuly Collection, both of which I was able to tour (though they were brief visits). On Monday, I made my way over to Epcot for their annual culinary festival. It's the over-the-top experience one expects from Disney, with all the sounds, smells, and whirling gizmos. What I wasn't prepared for was how delicious the dishes would all be. Each plate felt authentic and not some bastardized version of the country's food. I ate a lot, but I also walked a ton (even as an adult, Epcot felt enormous). I hadn't really seen myself making a trip to Disney World, but I would definitely return for a repeat of this event. 

And my travels aren't over. I'm now in Oregon visiting Harry and David (known for their pears, as well as their extensive catalog of products). I'm here for a few days and then I head back to Boston. And I really need to start thinking about our Friendsgiving menu. There are a few dishes on my brain, like this warm wild rice and kale salad. It's one of those creations that came to me after returning from picking up produce at our coop. The pairing of earthy mushrooms, sweet sautéed kale, and the spices and lemon zest make for a vibrant side. 

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms

Yield
4-6 servings, as a side

Ingredients

1 cup wild rice, rinsed
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves ripped into bite-size pieces
1 pound oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped
Olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Zest of a lemon
Salt

Directions
Add rice, 3 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt to a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for about 45 minutes. If there is any remaining liquid, transfer the rice to a colander. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until they are tender and lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, followed by the red pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the kale to the pan (if necessary, do this in stages to keep it from overflowing the pan) and cook until wilted. Season with salt.

Transfer rice to a serving bowl. Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl, and sprinkle the cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and lemon zest on top. Using a large spoon, mix until thoroughly combined.  Season with salt, to taste.

Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw

CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET
CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET
CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET
CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET

I plan on sharing a few dishes inspired by my recent trip to Spain, but vegetables were what I craved when I got home. I ate more meat while I was away than I had planned (I have no regrets... it was all really good and totally worth it) and when I returned I just wanted salad. We had a few heads of cabbage and kohlrabi tucked in our vegetable drawer and then I came across a recipe in Ottolenghi's Plenty that called to me. His version has dried sour cherries, but I thought some fresh cranberries would be a great substitution. I didn't quite expect this slaw to be as addictive as it is. I think it's that combination of garlic and lemon, along with the tart cranberries and the beautiful crunch of the kohlrabi that keeps you wanting to go back for another forkful. 

CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET
CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET
CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET
CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET
CABBAGE AND KOHLRABI SLAW // A THOUGHT FOR FOOD WWW.ATHOUGHTFORFOOD.NET

Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw

Source
Slightly adapted from Ottolenghi's Plenty

Yield
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 medium or 1/2 large kohlrabi
1/2 white cabbage (8 to 9 oz)
Large bunch of dill, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries, sliced in half
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt
Black pepper

Directions
1. Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thick matchsticks that are about 1/4 inch wide and 2 inches long. Slice the cabbage into 1/4-inch thick strips.

2. Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to massage everything together for about a minute so the flavors mix and the lemon can soften the cabbage and cranberries. Let the slaw sit for about 10 minutes.

3. Check for seasoning and, if necessary, add more salt. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Brown Butter Roasted Carrots with Currants

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I'm not one to plan out my recipes. They usually come to me as I'm browsing the produce section; though, more often than not, nothing formulates until I'm in the kitchen. With these roasted carrots, however, I knew exactly how I was going to prepare them. It may seem a bit over-the-top, but there's a reason everyone goes bonkers for all things "brown butter." There's a richer, deeper (often described as "nutty") flavor and it really comes out when you cook vegetables this way. But if you're worried that this dish might be too rich, don't be. The lemon juice and zest, the sweet currants and the earthiness of the carrot greens keep it balanced. With that said, these feel like special occasion carrots, best saved for the holidays. 

BROWN BUTTER ROASTED CARROTS WITH SAUTEED CARROT TOPS AND CURRANTS

Yield
6 servings

Ingredients
12 carrots, with carrot tops attached
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tsps lemon juice
1/8 cup currants
Lemon zest
Salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Remove carrot tops from carrots and thoroughly wash both in water. Dry and then coarsely chop the greens. Set aside. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut the into 2-3 inch pieces. 

3. Melt the butter in a large, oven-safe saute pan set over medium heat. Give the butter an occasional swirl and cook until it's brown and smells nutty, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots to the pan and, using a long spoon, carefully coat them with butter. Season with salt and transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, giving them a quick stir after 10 minutes. 

4. Remove carrots from the oven and, using tongs, transfer the carrots to a bowl, leaving the majority of the butter in the pan. Return the saucepan (with the butter still in it) to the stove set over medium heat. Add carrot tops and cook, tossing occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add in lemon juice and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for another 30 seconds, until greens have wilted.

5. Transfer carrot tops to a serving platter and then top with roasted carrots. Sprinkle currants over the carrots and finish the dish with lemon zest.