Monday, August 18, 2014

Portobello Mushrooms: Grill, Bake, Saute, or Stuff

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Portobello mushrooms are those large, dark firm mushrooms with a meaty flavor. They can be served alone or as a side dish. Some cooks simply oil, season, and bake; others grill or saute using them as "burgers" by placing them on buns with all the fixings used for a traditional hamburger.

They're great for a low-carb diet, or vegan dish. A large one is a meal by itself, so I like to oil, stuff and bake them, then serve with a salad.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
4 large (4- inch wide) Portobello mushrooms
8 oz. seasoned breakfast or Italian sausage
3 to 4 Tabs. olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 clove finely diced garlic
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup bread crumbs
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1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms by wiping with a damp clean cloth or paper towel.  Twist and pull, or scoop out stems and gills using a teaspoon or melon ball gadget to hollow out cap. Finely chop and set aside.

Over medium-high heat, crumble and brown sausage, add diced onions and garlic and cook a few minutes until onions are soft, then add diced mushroom pieces. Saute a few minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.

Set aside to cool. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise,  Stir in Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, then add cooled sausage mixture. With a spoon, smear mixture into of each mushroom cap, making a mound on top.  Drizzle with oil.

Bake at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving or keep warm until ready to serve. Makes 4 stuffed mushrooms.

Estimated cost: $6.00 or less.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tomato Time is Caprese Salad Time

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It's that time of year for fresh garden tomatoes! This recipe offers a quick, attractive salad or appetizer.  Caprese (salad style of Capri) is a simple mozzarellatomatoes and basil combination which is then seasoned with salt and olive oil

In Italy it's usually served as an 
antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish). 
For the two of us, I slice one large tomato and arrange in a layered circle on a salad plate. 

Next I sprinkle with small balls or cubes of mozzarella, and shredded basil.  Then I drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  I'm done in under 5 minutes!  

This recipe serves more than two and would be attractive for entertaining guests and/or making a nice display on a buffet table.  Some recipes call for a balsamic vinegar reduction (boiling to reduce it to a syrup), but I just drizzle the vinegar, as is.

 photo null_zpsc4ec9278.jpgCaprese Salad
3 medium to large tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves of fresh basil
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper
can also drizzle with balsamic vinegar or reduced balsamic vinegar (optional)

On a large shallow platter, alternate layers of sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each. Or arrange on individual salad plates. 

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.
Estimated cost: $4.00 or less.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green TomatoI've heard about fried green tomatoes all my life, so growing a garden again this year with an abundance of tomatoes, tried them - what a treat!

They make a tasty side dish with fish, pork chops or chicken, or can be a meal by themselves served with a green salad or bowls of soup.

Fried Green Tomatoes

4 medium to large green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup  flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp.black pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
vegetable oil for frying
HorseRadish Crusted Fish
Green Tomatoes Served with Tilapia

Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl.  Prepare dredging plates: flour on one plate and mixed cornmeal, bread crumbs and seasoning on another.  Dip tomatoes into flour to coat,  then dip into milk and egg mixture, finally dredge in breadcrumbs.

In a large skillet, pour 1/2 inch vegetable oil and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into frying pan in batches of 4 or 5. Don't crowd, they shouldn't touch each other. When browned flip and fry on the other side. Drain on paper towels.Serves 4-6.


Estimated cost $1.50 or less; .30 cents a serving or less