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Sunday, September 13, 2009

for the love of mushrooms

I like all kinds of mushrooms. The plain white, button mushrooms to the exotic types. I like all of them. When playing trivia with friends at a local sports bar, I tried their grilled portobello mushroom sandwich and I was hooked. Now, I purchase them all of the time. I will always put some kind of mushroom and fresh parsley in my cart when I go to the market. It's a standby. This is a recipe for something easy to make for dinner that is filling and delicious. Last night I made a simple rice dish with mushrooms. I wanted the old fashioned white rice (no whole grain tonight).

In a skillet I slowly sauteed the following:

2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

I saute4ed the mushrooms over low to medium heat until the butter was absorbed into the mushrooms and they were golden brown. Take your time on this step as it makes a difference. Plus, you don't want to burn your mushrooms. While there was still some butter in the skillet, I added a clove of garlic to give just a hint of garlic flavoring to the mushrooms. Be careful not to let the garlic brown. After the mushrooms were golden I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley. In the meantime, I made some white rice. Put rice in bowl, top with mushrooms and add freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste. Quick and easy meal.

Portobello mushrooms are delicious grilled or broiled. I wipe each mushroom with a damp paper towel to gently clean them. Put them in a large dish and put 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. Let them sit for about 15 or 20 minutes then I turn them over to get marinade on the bottom of the mushrooms.

They are best put over coals until they are evenly browned and softened. You can also broil them in the oven adding olive oil as needed. Top with freshly chopped cilantro, red onion, guacamole, swiss cheese and tomato. Delicious. I didn't have any hamburger buns, so I used toasted English muffins for the sandwich bread for my portobello. Give it a try. It's good.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Comfort food

I have a list of many things that are comfort foods. How many people have french fries, crab, and ALL Greek foods as comfort food? Last weekend, I was trying to remember the last time I made home-made french fries cooked in the deep fryer. I could not remember the last time I made them, so what was I to do, but make some. My love for french fries can pretty much be explained in the title of the blog. You may want to read the first post for more details. For me, I use Idaho baking potatoes for my fries and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, use fresh vegetable oil. I'm sure the Varsity doesn't use fresh oil (and I like their fries), but I know my grandfather (Papa) always used fresh oil. After making a huge plate of fries sprinkled with sea salt, I suddenly remembered a segment I saw on a cooking show about deep fried hot dogs. Well, I don't eat hot dogs but once or twice a year, but I thought that while the kitchen smelled of fried food, I may as well deep fry a hot dog too. I will say that a hot dog grilled over charcoal is my favorite way to cook a hot dog, this is by far a close second. It was delicious.

Given that we may have had Irish steak and kidney pie or pear-plum jam in our pantry as a kid, I'm not the usual ketchup and mustard on a hot dog person. I'm always looking for different "toppers". I always use mustard no matter the additional toppings. So my current creative hot dog topping was Swiss cheese, sliced dill pickles, fresh tomatoes, mustard, and banana peppers. After that creative mix, I realized that the possibilities are limitless! It was a good combination believe it or not. Oktoberfest is just around the corner, so I'm sure I will have a German Frankfurter with delicious sauerkraut in the next month or so. I just couldn't open the container for just one hot dog, or I would have eaten most of it by the forkful... and I already had my plate of fries. Yes, I'm sure I'll be making my own sauerkraut blend with caraway seeds, onions, etc... when the time comes for Oktoberfest. Now, finding someone to finish the Guinness after I have the one sip.

What is your favorite method of cooking a hot dog? What are your favorite condiments on a hot dog? Let me know via the comment link. I'll be sure and give it a try.


Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar