If you asked me a couple of years ago if I would be creating recipes to enter into cooking contests where I could win trips to Culinary School in Napa Valley, I would have laughed and said … whatever. I’m a competitive gal, but when it comes to cooking…well, I just love to cook, not necessarily to win anything, but just because I enjoy it. But here I am…sharing with you my creation for the Everyday Chef Challenge.
Here’s the scoop for the Everyday Chef Challenge:
I am one of 5 Featured Bloggers chosen to part of a cooking challenge where a secret ingredient plus a Pacific Natural Foods staple item are revealed. We have one week to create, cook and then share a recipe for voting. There are two Challenges in total, and winner of each Challenge moves on the the Final Round where voting starts over and the competition is really on for the Grand Prize – all expense paid culinary bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.
Now…I don’t have to be the only one having this much fun! There is a totally separate Challenge going on here too…that includes YOU. YOU can enter a recipe using those same “secret ingredients” and compete for the same prize! Don’t you want to go to Cooking School with me??? I’ve already recruited a blogger friend, Merry, to enter…I put the idea in her head and 24 hours later her recipe is entered!
Okay…so do you want to know about my recipe? Challenge 1′s secret ingredients were Mushrooms and any Pacific Natural Foods broth. After thinking about it for a couple of days, I was pretty much stuck on the idea of Mushroom Marsala. But how to serve it was my challenge…
The Mushroom Marsala is definitely where the flavor of this dish is…but the Garlic Herb Quinoa Pilaf is no joke either. I wanted to keep the dish meatless, so I bulked up the veggies by adding fresh spinach leaves and sundried tomatoes to the baby portobellas. I seasoned and floured the mushrooms before sauteeing them to add a little more texture too. The marsala wine and Pacific Mushroom broth combo made an awesome sauce for it.
As for the quinoa…I wanted to kick it up a bit and cook it in a way I hadn’t before. I looked up the term “pilaf” on Wikipedia (culinary research!) and it says:
Pilaf … is a dish in which a grain, such as rice or cracked wheat is browned in oil, and then cooked in a seasoned broth.
So that’s what I did. I started the quinoa with a quick saute of minced garlic and onion in a little olive oil, then added the quinoa and toasted it till fragrant and slightly brown. Instead of water I used vegetable broth and then added toasted pine nuts at the end. Wow is all I have to say. If you’ve tried quinoa and haven’t been impressed, give it another try cooked this way.
If you think this sounds delicious (I assure you, it was.) then I would love to have your vote! You can vote one time a day everyday until next Wednesday so you may get a friendly reminder or two from me! Thanks so much!
Mushroom Marsala with Garlic Herb Quinoa Pilaf
Recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen
(makes approximately 4 servings)
For Quinoa Pilaf:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups Pacific Vegetable Broth
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
For Mushroom Marsala:
1 and 1/2 8oz packages of sliced portobella mushrooms (total 12 oz)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup Pacific Mushroom Broth
1 3oz package of sundried tomato halves (not in oil)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
additional toasted pinenuts, optional
Pre-rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear. Let water drain and let quinoa dry for a few minutes prior to cooking. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add minced shallots and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add quinoa to pan and stir frequently for about 5 minutes. This will toast and enhance the flavor of the quinoa. Once quinoa is fragrant and a light golden brown, add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce down to slow simmer and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper to quinoa and gently stir to combine. Cover and set aside.
In a large shallow dish, combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano and thyme. Gently toss sliced mushrooms in flour mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sliced shallots and minced garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Gently dust excess flour off sliced mushrooms and add to pan. While mushrooms are cooking, add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and continue to saute. Cook mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of Marsala wine to pan and bring to a quick boil. Add mushroom broth along with sundried tomatoes and spinach leaves and bring to a quick simmer. Gently stir together as spinach leaves and sauce cook down. Season lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve over quinoa pilaf and with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and additional toasted pine nuts (optional).