Mushroom and blueberry crostini with anise

Crostini with mushroom, blueberries, and anise

Baking sourdough bread is one of the most satisfying things I know unless my starter is messing with me. That’s why I’m trying to bake on a regular basis, at least once a week. I try to avoid my starter getting into a deeper sleep. If they are allowed to fall into a coma they can be a bit grumpy when you try to wake them up. Trust me.

But if you bake often there will be a lot of bread. And quite often my family and I don’t manage to eat everything before it gets stale.
It’s not a big deal since there are lots of things you can do with stale bread like bread crumbs, croutons, etc.

But the easiest way to take care of stale bread is perhaps to make a grilled sandwich or crostini out of it. The result is often delicious. Much better than if you had used some junk bread from the grocery store. And the best thing is that you can put almost anything on a crostini. Search your refrigerator to see what you can find. With a little imagination, you can create a fantastic lunch, at almost no cost.

This week I found some leftover brown mushrooms in the fridge. That felt like a good start. Nothing can go completely wrong with mushrooms. Now I only had to find something that goes well with mushrooms. Butter and garlic are the obvious choices. But I also found some creme cheese. That should work as well.

Portabello

 

Star anise

 

Now it was time to be a little bit more adventurous. Instead of choosing mushroom-friendly herbs like thyme or oregano I went for star anise. I also wanted a hint of sweetness, and I had already grabbed the bottle with balsamic glaze when I changed my mind. Balsamic glaze is great, but not very adventurous. Besides, it was not long ago that I published a recipe with mushrooms and balsamic glaze. Another one would feel a bit boring. But what should I choose instead?

After a moment of thinking, I chose blueberries.

Now, before you leave, thinking that my ability to pair food can be compared to that of an ape, I want to point out that anise and blueberries work excellently together. Blueberry jam with star anise is a treat.
But would blueberries and mushrooms be a good pairing? I had no idea. I have to admit that I had never read any recipe with these two ingredients together.

So I decided to see if I could find anything on Google. And to my surprise, I found lots of recipes claiming that mushrooms and blueberries were an excellent combination. A bit unexpected, but yet excellent. And don’t forget the cream cheese. Cream cheese is a good pairing to everything, so I decided to give it try.

And to my surprise, it was just as good as everybody claimed. I thought it would work, but I never expected it to be that tasty. Anise is an exceptional spice for both mushrooms and blueberries. That was perhaps not so unexpected. But mushrooms and blueberries are also a good pairing. I promise. Next time I make this crostini I will reduce the amount of creme cheese though because I think it softens the flavors a bit to much. And perhaps I will also add some muscovado sugar to enhance the taste of blueberries.

Cooking is an eternal process of experimentation. That’s what makes it so fun.

Mushroom and blueberry crostini with anise

Print Recipe
Mushroom and blueberry crostini with anise
This mushroom crostini provides a lot of exciting flavors. A slice of fried sourdough bread topped with cream cheese, mushrooms, and blueberries with a hint of licorice from star anise.
Servings
crostini
Ingredients
Servings
crostini
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Start by grinding star anise to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle. Grind the whole stars (both seed and pod) Mince the garlic clove
  2. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and fry on high temperature with half of the butter. Lower the heat and add garlic and a pinch of anise the last minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Fry the bread slice with the rest of the butter in a skillet until golden brown.
  4. Spread cream cheese on the bread slice and add the mushrooms.
  5. Mash half of the bluberries togheter wit a pinch of anise. Spread on top of the mushrooms.
  6. Garnish with the rest of the blueberries and sprinkle the rest of the anise over the crostini.
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Panna cotta with ginger, blueberries and lime syrup

Panna cotta with ginger, blueberries and lime syrup

Since I started this blog, I haven’t written one single recipe about desserts. That has to change, of course. I have to admit that I don’t eat desserts very often. If I have to choose, then I choose appetizer instead. Choose? Why do I have to choose, you may wonder. Why not choose both?

I wish I could. I used to, but not anymore. My stomach has different opinions about how much food it’s appropriate to eat at one occasion than I have. The consensus we had about this disappeared gradually as the years passed by. My stomach has become a vengeful disobliging orc that punishes me immediately if I eat too much. The revenge can also become long-term. Three to four days is nothing unusual. So I try to live in peace with my stomach as much as possible.

But sometimes I think, ah.. what the hell, and eat that dessert. And when I do I often choose some type of Panna cotta.

Panna cotta heritage from northern Italy and means cooked cream in Italien. I have read that it used to be cooked with fish bones to let the collagen set the cream. I don’t know if it’s true, but it doesn’t matter. Because I don’t think I want to try that. Today there is gelatin which does the work for us.

Panna cotta can be varied endlessly. But most versions has one thing in common. They almost always taste damn delicious. This one is no exception.

Most of you probably know that pannacotta consists of cream that is cooked along with sugar, vanilla, and gelatin. This recipe also includes dried ground ginger. It provides an exciting, slightly hot twist. I also use muscovado sugar that has a very rich and complex taste. But that’s optional. Regular sugar will do just fine.

Muscovado sugar
Muscaovado sugar

Usually, Panna cotta is served in ramekins with some kind of berries. I will use blueberry for this recipe. Blueberries are not just delicious. They are very healthy as well. They protect against aging, cancer, high blood pressure and other heart diseases. Blueberries are also full of antioxidants and good against urinary tract infections. That’s why Panna cotta with blueberries must qualify as health food, don’t you think?
No?
Strange, my stomach doesn’t think that either.

In Sweden, you can buy both grown and wild blueberries. I prefer the wild ones. They are smaller but taste more.

It might have been enough with Panna cotta and ripe, sweet blueberry. But I want to take this to another level by pouring some lime syrup over everything.
Together with the blueberries, it adds some sour freshness to all that cream. It’s easy to make. Cook sugar and some water to a light brown caramel. Add more water and bring to boil. Add lime juice and zest, and let it cool while the Panna cotta is setting in the fridge.

 

 

You can either serve the Panna cotta in the ramekins or try to turn it out on a serving plate. It’s not that hard. Just dip the ramekin in hot water for a few seconds and turn it upside down onto a serving plate. If it doesn’t fall out, you can try to insert a thin knife carefully between the Panna cotta and the ramekin. Spread some blueberries and pour some lime syrup over everything.

All that remains is to enjoy this Italien masterpiece. I certainly will. But first I have to do some negotiations with my stomach. Maybe if I offer not to drink any wine for two weeks. Or one.
What do you think?

Panna cotta with ginger, blueberries and lime syrup

Panna cotta with ginger, blueberries and lime syrup

Print Recipe
Panna cotta with ginger, blueberries and lime syrup
This Panna cotta is spiced with ginger that gives an interesting almost hot taste. Served with blueberries and lime syrup that adds freshness to this king of desserts.
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Lime syrup
Garnish
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Lime syrup
Garnish
Instructions
Panna cotta
  1. Soak gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. If you are using powder, sprinkle it over 3 tablespoons of cold water.
  2. Mix cream, muscovado sugar, vanilla sugar/extract, and ginger in a saucepan or pot. Bring to boil and set aside from heat. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved.
  3. Divide the mixture into four ramekins or coffe cups, and put them in the fridge for four hours.
Lime syrup
  1. Mix sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in a pot. Let it boil to a light brown caramel. Add 3 tablespoons of water and bring to boil. Add lime juice and zest and let it cool.
Garnish
  1. Dip the ramekins with Panna cotta in hot water and turn upside down onto serving plates, or serve them as they are. Spread blueberries and pour lime syrup over everything.
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