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Cottage Cooking Club: October

squash-mushroom salad

I felt ambitious this month and chose 3 different recipes to make for Cottage Cooking Club, a cook-along group for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall´s “River Cottage Veg”. Started in May 2014 by the talented German blogger, Andrea, of Kitchen Lioness, this group is collectively making all the recipes in this book in one year.

The first recipe I tried was for Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Paprika. Cauliflower and broccoli are two vegetables that I’ve only recently started to enjoy. I like them best roasted. I’d never tried this seasoning combination before: roasted lemon wedges and smoked paprika. The flavors were delicious, but I mistakenly chose to roast the cauliflower in a high-sided roasting pan because it came out more steamed than what I expect for roasted. I might try this again, but if I do, I’d use a baking sheet with the hopes the cauliflower would caramelize.

roasted cauliflower

The other two recipes were salads with warm interesting toppings.

One was topped with white beans with artichokes. This comes from the Pantry Suppers chapter. If your pantry is stock with a can of white beans and a jar of marinated artichokes you can whip this up whenever you wish. The beans and artichokes are sautéed together with garlic. This simple combination tops mixed greens for a light lunch.

sarm artichoke-bean salad

Finally, what’s not to love about roasted squash and sautéed mushrooms on top of salad greens? I think this was my favorite of the three, so it’s pictured at the top of the post. The sweet roasted squash and the earthy mushroom were the perfect pairing. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette tied this hearty salad together. (This recipe called for blue cheese, I skipped it completely.)

After three months cooking along, I have to say that I’m really enjoying this book. The recipes are straightforward and delicious, offering flavor combinations that are sometimes familiar and sometimes new. I also value Andrea’s seasonal selections, allowing me to make the most of the best vegetables around each month. I wonder what November will bring?

If you are interested in reviews of other recipes selected this month, follow participant links here.

The Cottage Cooking Club: September

Mushroom Risoniotto

In August, I tested out being a guest blogger with The Cottage Cooking Club. Launched in May, this group, led by Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness, is taking one year to collectively cook through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook, River Cottage Veg. I enjoyed the recipes I cooked in August and was so enticed by the ones others in the group made that I’ve decided to continue for the rest of the year.

Andrea does a great job of choosing a monthly set of recipes that match what’s in season where I live. Right now, as September is ending, we have had a mix of crisp cool sunny days with some “last-ditch effort” warm days before summer gives up. Uncharacteristically, it’s in the eighties today, more hot than warm. The USDA says our first frost date is October 15. Soon enough, the leaves will change color and fall, and the garden will take its well-deserved winter’s rest, so I’m enjoying these remnants of summer while they last.

For September, I committed to making Mushroom Risoniotto. This dish is inspired by risotto, but instead of the Arborio rice, its base is cooked orzo (also known as risoni), rice-shaped pasta. The pasta is tossed with a rich, earthy, creamy mushroom sauce.

Mushrooms Under the Rainbow!

Mushrooms Under the Rainbow!

To start, mixed mushrooms are sautéed in butter and oil. Wild mushrooms are recommended. I was hoping for some shiitake and oyster mushrooms to add to the mix, but the store I went to (not my usual market) only had white button mushrooms and cremini so I used what I found, half and half. Once the mushrooms are caramelized, garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar are added, followed by some wine. I didn’t have white wine, but the Madeira I used added a rich undertone to the sauté. Finally, a touch of cream is mixed in for a delicious sauce. To finish, the cooked pasta is stirred into the sauce and topped with chopped parsley.

It’s been a while since I’ve made a new side dish recipe I’ve enjoyed as much as this one. It was so easy to prepare, and its flavors are an invitation to the cooler weather of fall. While I served this as an accompaniment to grilled steak and salad caprese, a larger portion served with a green salad would also make a hearty meal. Risoniotto has earned a place in the cool weather rotation in my kitchen.

Delicious New Side Dish

The recipe can be found on-line here or on page 258 of River Cottage Veg. To see what the other group members made and how it turned out, check out their links here. I can’t wait to see what October brings!