Roasted Zaatar Mushrooms; Creamed Kale with Garlic and Goat Cheese; and Faro

There is a stand at the farmers market in Ballard that has all sorts of wonderful mushrooms and treasures from the local woods and marshy areas. The people from this stand forged and find varieties of mushrooms I sometimes never heard of. Each week I love walking by their booth to see what they found - even if I’m not planning on getting any; they are beautiful to look at and admire. Lately among their finds they have had gorgeous wild chanterelles and huge porcini mushrooms. I picked a bunch of chanterelles and went home thinking of how great they would taste roasted. Roasted chanterelles, some kale and goat cheese from the farmer’s markets are all in the making of a lovely meal that feels and tastes like fall. Not to mention with as chilly and overcast as it has been a cozy meal like this on the couch while watching a movie is perfection.

I mixed the chanterelles with some other mushrooms I had on hand and tossed them in some Zaatar spice. (Thanks to my cousin Judy who created a dish using this spice mix and mushrooms a couple of years ago I have been in love with the combo.) Roasting the mushrooms while simmering some creamed kale with garlic and goat cheese the kitchen along the rest of our apartment began to smell so good. I served it all with some faro. I really like the taste of the faro grain and its texture; accompanied with the other components in this dish to me is what autumn really tastes like. Earthy, rich, warm…I couldn’t ask for anything else on a cool fall day like this. It made the movie that much more enjoyable.

Roasted Zaatar Mushrooms; Creamed Kale with Garlic and Goat Cheese; and Faro

Roasted Zaatar Mushrooms; Creamed Kale with Garlic and Goat Cheese; and Faro (serves 4)

**any array of mushrooms can work in this dish, and can also bring forth a deeper depth of flavor depending on what you use. Be aware that mushrooms can be dirty and gritty, they need to be washed well and dried real well before cooking. They also decrease in size as they cook so do not be surprised by the amount suggested, they will cook down to about half that.

6 cups of Mushrooms, washed and dried well; and chopped into bite size pieces

¼ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp of Zaatar spice

2 bunches of kale, washed and thick stems trimmed; and chopped small

4 cloves of garlic, chopped small

2 tbsp of butter

¾ cup of cream

4 oz of fresh goat cheese

Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

1 ½ cups of faro

2 bay leaves

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil and set aside. Place your prepped mushrooms in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil toss well and then sprinkle with the Zaatar spice and toss again. Place the mushrooms on your prepared sheet tray and sprinkle with some sea salt and fresh black pepper. Place in the center of your preheated oven to roast.

Meanwhile, place your faro in a pot with the bay leaves and some sea salt and black pepper. Cover it all with enough water (at least covered by an inch or two) and place over medium to high heat and simmer away. Keeping an eye on it. You are looking for the faro to be tender and plump up in size. It will likely use up the majority of the water in the pot.  Test your faro for its “doneness”, when it is chewy but not hard you can remove it from the heat, drain, and set aside until ready to plate.

Next, place a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt your butter. When butter is melted place your kale over it and gently stir it all until your kale begins to soften and wilt.  Once your kale is bright green and wilted sprinkle the garlic over it all and stir. You are looking for the garlic to be fragrant and simmer with it all, but not to brown it. (If so, lower your heat.)

Then, checking on your mushrooms; give them a stir to rotate tem all while they are roasting. Sometimes mushrooms give off a lot of moisture while cooking. Do not be concerned if when it looks watery. It will cook off and the mushrooms will continue to roast.

Finally, when your mushrooms are caramelized you can remove them from the oven to cool a bit. Place your cream over your kale and then crumble the goat cheese over it all. Gently stir it all so that the goat cheese starts to melt and the cream coats it all. When the cheese is melted and the cream begins to simmer season it with sea salt and black pepper and remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaves from faro and it is all ready to serve.