Mushroom-Stuffed Mushrooms

July 24th, 2019 · 44 Comments

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love stuffed mushrooms?  Vegetarians love them.  Meat eaters love them.  And frankly, I love them more than anyone.

That being said, bathing suit- and sundress-season is coming up very, very quickly, if this weekend is any indication, and the usual breadcrumb and cheese-filled stuffed mushroom recipes don’t seem to fit particularly well into my current diet.  This version, which “stuffs” the mushroom caps with sautéed shallots, chives, parmesan, and chopped mushroom stems, is my low-cal, no-guilt, and just-as-incredibly-delicious version of stuffed mushrooms.

And easier too!  These don’t have to be baked twice — since the filling is sautéed by itself, you can just pile it on the mushroom bottoms, and serve them warm or at room temperature!

I want to say a few things about cooking mushrooms.  Have you ever tried to microwave button mushrooms?  You end up with a bowl of water and no idea where it came from.  Where some vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers) look and taste as though they’re juicy and full of liquid, mushrooms are so stealthy that you don’t realize at first how full of water they are.

At the same time, they’re like little sponges.  You drizzle olive oil on some mushrooms, and within about 20 seconds, they’ve soaked it up.  So, if you try to sauté raw mushrooms in olive oil, they soak up the oil right away and pretty soon you have a dry, ungreased pan.

But here is my mushroom-cooking technique that I’ve found is basically foolproof.  When you first put the mushrooms in the pan, add about 2 tbsp of water or stock.  This stops the dry mushrooms from sticking to the bottom of the pan, and by the time the liquid has cooked off, the mushrooms have rendered the liquid that they were hanging on to.  So, once all the liquid cooks off, you’re left with cooked mushrooms — at that point, add the olive oil, and it will distribute evenly, rather than be absorbed only in a few contact places.

Now, are you ready for this?  Here’s why that technique is extra perfect in this recipe.  Once the mushroom caps are roasted, you will pull out your pan and find your mushroom caps sitting in a little pool of mushroom liquid.  Guess what you are going to use that liquid for?  Yes, you guessed correctly (I hope).  You’re going to use it to start cooking the filling for your stuffed mushrooms, giving an extra mushroom-y layer of flavor.

Last, and somewhat unrelated, but definitely not least, Earth Day falls on Tuesday of this week!  What better motivation to visit a local farmer’s market, carry a reusable bag to the grocery store, or ride your bike to work?

Mushroom-Stuffed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS:
20 large button mushrooms, rubbed clean with a damp cloth
4 shallots, sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for garnishing
Salt

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Detach the stems from the mushroom caps and set aside (they should pop right out when you pull them).  Brush the mushrooms caps with olive oil and salt lightly.  Place the mushroom caps on a baking sheet and roast for about 10-12 minutes.
3.  While the mushroom caps are roasting, chop the mushroom stems into small pieces.
4.  When the mushroom caps come out of the oven, drain off the liquid and reserve it.  Remove the mushroom caps and set aside.
5.  Place the mushroom liquid, chopped mushroom stems, shallots and garlic in a saute pan and sauté on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.  After liquid has cooked off, add chives, olive oil and parmesan, and sauté on low heat for about 3 more minutes.
6.  Spoon the sauteed mushroom mixture into the roasted mushroom caps.  Garnish with grated parmesan cheese, and serve.

Makes 20 stuffed mushrooms.

Tags: appetizers · food

roasted portobellos and red peppers

July 19th, 2019 · 17 Comments

So… yum.

Maybe it’s because I was a vegetarian for such a long time, but appetizers like this honestly make me swoon.  I love portobello mushrooms in a seriously intense way — and mix in some veggies, garlic and a generous topping of blue cheese?  I could eat this for breakfast.

Do you guys have those weekends where you discover some amazing show on Netflix on demand, and then suddenly it’s Sunday night and you haven’t left your apartment in 72 hours?  It happens to us every few months and, I admit, I kind of love it.

This time about a week ago, on the recommendation of a few friends, we finally discovered Friday Night Lights — and now we’ve watched the first four seasons and are seriously sleep-deprived.  I can’t believe we have to wait a month for the last season!

Also, I am basically a curse on television shows.  Why do I always seem to discover these amazing shows right as they get canceled?  So frustrating!

But I digress.  During one of those lazy days, I happened to have the ingredients for this dish sitting in our fridge.  You know what makes for a totally delicious brunch?  Not having to leave your apartment.  🙂 Oh, and some portobello mushrooms, blue cheese and roasted peppers.

Don’t forget to enter the COVERGIRL giveaway by Friday! 

Mushroom and Roasted Peppers from Sugarlaws

INGREDIENTS

2 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, minced
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil.

Brush the mushroom on both sides with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place gill-side up onto the baking sheet.  Roast in the preheated oven until the mushroom is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan, cook the red pepper, shallot and garlic in the other tablespoon of olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the garlic and shallot are fragrant and the pepper is tender. 

Spoon the pepper mixture over the roasted portobellos and sprinkle with blue cheese.  Serve warm.

Serves two.

Tags: appetizers · food

strawberry tomato salad

July 10th, 2019 · 29 Comments

A long time ago, I read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, where he said there were three things that made all the difference between restaurant kitchens and home kitchens.  Those things, if you can’t guess, are fresh herbs, squeeze bottles, and pastry rings.

Those three items, at least to me, were a bit of a revelation.  Fortunately, I live fairly close to a kitchen supply store, so within a few weeks, I’d picked up squeeze bottles and pastry rings.  The squeeze bottles led to lovely dishes like this and this, and fresh herbs had always been a staple of my kitchen.  But those pastry rings — for some reason, I remained a little terrified of them. 

I mean, I used them for desserts fairly regularly.  But here, where I wanted to take a simple summer salad and make it into something special-looking, I had a feeling it was time to get over my fears. 

And wow, they sure did.  Anthony Bourdain knows his stuff!  This was so pretty and elegant, I only wished we had company to serve it to!  So if you’re looking for something to add a little ‘wow’ factor to an everyday dinner (and a really healthy one, at that!), all you need is this little restaurant trick.  Get them on Amazon here, or at your local cooking supply store!

strawberry tomato salad recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced into very small cubes (about 1/4″ per side)
1 cup small strawberries, trimmed and diced into very small strips (about 1/4″ per side)
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

In small mixing bowl, toss together tomatoes, strawberries, oil, vinegar, and salt. Let marinate at room temperature 10 minutes.

To serve, place the mixture into a 3″ diameter pastry ring on individual plates, pressed to pack lightly.  Remove the rings delicately, top each salad with goat cheese, and serve.

Serves four.

Tags: appetizers · food