Tuesday’s Taste Tempters

Tuesday’s Taste Tempters

Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:02 pm

Today’s recipes come from the cookbook “The Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Over 200 Delicious Recipes” by Judith Finlayson.
Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Crostini
8 cloves roasted garlic
1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed
2 large French shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth (see tips)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons heavy or whipping (35 percent) cream, optional
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
28 crostini
Crumbled soft goat cheese
 
To make crostini:
Preheat broiler. Brush baguette slices on both sides with olive oil and toast under broiler, turning once.
In slow cooker stoneware, combine garlic, mushrooms, shallots, oil and wine. Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours, until mushrooms are soft. Drain off liquid.
Place mushroom mixture and parsley in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until ingredients are very finely chopped but not puréed. Add cream, if using, vinegar, salt and black pepper to taste and pulse two or three times to combine.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread mushroom mixture over crostini. Sprinkle goat cheese on top. Place on baking sheet and bake until cheese begins to brown and melt. Serve hot.
Tips:
If you haven’t planned ahead and roasted your garlic in the slow cooker, you can do it in the oven. Simply peel the cloves, remove the pith (the center part that often sprouts), then place the cloves on a piece of foil. Drizzle about 1⁄2 tsp. olive oil over the garlic, and then fold up the foil to make a tight packet. Bake in 400 degrees oven for 20 minutes.
Leave small mushrooms whole. Cut larger ones into halves or quarters.
Keep a bottle of dry white vermouth on hand as it makes a satisfactory substitute for dry white wine. That way, you don’t have to open a bottle of wine when you need only a small quantity.
Cover and refrigerate the mushroom cooking liquid. It is a great addition to soups, stews and gravies, along with or instead of broth.
If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (1 1⁄2 to 2 quart) slow cooker.
Make Ahead:
Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate mixture for up to two days. When you’re ready to make the crostini, heat mushroom mixture almost to boiling point on the stovetop before spreading on crostini.
 
Turkish-Style Barley Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 leeks, white part with just a bit of green, cleaned and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 piece (two inches) cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup barley
6 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons sweet paprika, dissolved in 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 long green or red chiles, minced
3⁄4 cup full-fat yogurt or vegan alternative
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
 
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about four minutes. Add garlic, salt, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add barley and toss to coat. Add two cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
Stir in remaining four cups of broth. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours, until barley is tender. Discard cinnamon stick.
Add paprika solution to slow cooker along with chile peppers, yogurt and mint. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes to meld flavors.
Tips:
After adding the yogurt, cooking on low ensures that the soup doesn’t boil, in which case the yogurt would curdle. Use the type of barley you prefer — pearled, pot or whole. Whole (also known as hulled) barley is the most nutritious form of the grain. Barley, like all whole grains, really soaks up liquid. If you’ve refrigerated this soup and are reheating it, you’ll need to add water to ensure an appropriate consistency.
If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approximtely two quart) slow cooker.
Make Ahead:
Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe. Because the barley soaks up liquid on sitting, add an extra 1⁄2 cup of broth or water before cooking.

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