Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for December, 2011

Roasted Mushrooms in Garlic Butter Sauce

Posted by fourclankitchen on December 22, 2011

These mushrooms are wonderful as an appetizer, or as a side to round out a big dinner menu.  This dish involves very little chopping and comes together very quickly.  It can be prepared ahead of time and microwaved just before serving.  This is only slightly adapted from Gourmet via Smitten Kitchen.  At the end of the roasting step,  I found that I had more liquid at the bottom of the pan than desirable.  So I thickened it with cornstarch as described below.


1 pound mushrooms halved lengthwise if large (any type will do,  I used baby bellas),

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, cilantro or basil (optional)


Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt  shallow baking dish. I had slightly more than a pound and used a 9×13″ glass baking dish.  I think the main thing here is to have the mushrooms in more or less 1 layer.

Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes.

I went to 20 min.  and found that the mushrooms released their juices and got liquidy.  If this happens to you, do the following optional step. Mix about 2 tsp of cornstarch with a 1/4 cup of water (the quantities will depend upon how much liquid you need absorved.

Heat 1 tsp of butter in a large saucepan.  Add the mushrooms and all of the liquid back to the pan.

Add the cornstarch mix to the mushrooms and stir on medium heat, till all of the liquid is absorbed into a nice thick sauce.

Stir in lemon juice and parsley, if using. Serve immediately, with crusty bread on the side for swiping up the juices.

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Pumpkin-Pecan Soup

Posted by fourclankitchen on December 9, 2011

I came back from my weekly grocery shopping foray craving pumpkin soup, something rich and nutty and rib sticking.  I found this recipe for pumpkin soup on Simply Recipes. As written,  this is a rich soup, and it wants to be this way.  So just don’t take out the butter and half and half.  Just don’t eat too much of it, ok?

I made a few changes to the original recipe.  These include substituting half and half for the heavy cream and adding some ground up toasted pecans as a thickener.   I tried a garnish with chives and cilantro, but the flavors were discordant with the creamy mellowness of the soup.  What was lovely instead was a generous garnish of toasted pecans and cracked black pepper.  Because I loaded the soup up with cracked pepper, I omitted the red pepper called for in the original recipe.


4 tbs butter

1 large red onion, diced

3 large cloves garlic, minced (more if desired)

1 1/2 ”  ginger, peeled and minced (don’t reduce this)

1/2 cut pecans toasted (about 1/4 cup ground, the rest coarsely chopped)

2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cans pumpkin puree (not pie mix)

1 1/2 cups 2% milk

1/2 cup half and half

2 tbs.  “Better than Bouillon” vegetable soup base (substitute 3-4 cup chicken stock if desired, add more if you want a thinner soup)

3-4 cup water (if using the soup base and not the chicken stock)

Fresh ground cracked pepper (1-2 tsp)


1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the ground pecan, coriander and curry powder and stir for a minute.

2 Add pumpkin puree  and the soup base and water (or chicken stock) and blend well. Bring to a boil.

3 Add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add the half and half . Adjust seasonings, salt and sugar to taste. If a little too spicy, add more milk or water.

4 Ladle into bowls and sprinkle the top of each with toasted pecans and a generous pinch (upto 1/2 tsp) of cracked pepper.   The soup is wonderful with a nutty bread: we ate it with a cranberry walnut bread for lunch.

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Persimmon Bread

Posted by fourclankitchen on December 3, 2011

James Beard’s “Beard on Bread” is an incredible book.  I bought it maybe 15 years ago and it is still my favorite go to bread book.  Even now, I can go to it and  find something new in it as I did recently with this persimmon bread.  In the breakfast bread/muffin category (made with apples, bananas, zucchini  etc), this bread holds its own.  It is really worth having in ones’ repertoire.

For those that don’t usually use persimmons, it is a mild flavored fruit that comes in several varieties, some of which can be eaten firm while the others have to be softened to the point that they feel over-ripe or even rotten.  I can’t keep the two categories apart, so for the purpose of this bread, I just allow whatever  persimmons I buy to go to the super-ripe state prior to use.

For this version,  I made 2-3 substitutions in the Beard recipe.  I used a combination of grated apples and persimmons, simply because I didn’t buy enough persimmons.  I’ve also made it with just persimmons and both breads taste excellent.  I  replaced the mace with cinnamon and cloves (for convenience) and the 2/3 cup cognac with 1/4 cup of apple cider (the lesser amount figuring that it would not evaporate as much as the cognac).  I am giving you both the original and my substitutions below.


3½ cups sifted flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon grated mace (I substituted with 2 tsp. ground cinnamon and 1/8th tsp ground cloves)
2 to 2½ cups sugar (I used 2 1/2)
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac (I used 1/4 cup apple cider, you may be able to add a little more if you use the larger amounts of nuts and raisins as below)
2 cups persimmon puree from super-ripe persimms (I used eureka, but Hachiya persimmons would be fine as well).
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (I used 1 cup)
2 cups raisins (1 used 1 cup)


1. Butter 2 9″x 5″ loaf pans,   dust with flour and tap out any excess.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Mix the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Stir in the butter, eggs, liquor/cider, persimmon puree, mix well,  then add the nuts and raisins.

5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6.  Eat cake for breakfast with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.

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