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Monday, August 29, 2011

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Here is a really easy recipe that tastes delicious and looks way fancier than it is!

This is the perfect recipe to impress someone with your cooking skills. Lucky for me, I was planning on making this when I unexpectedly ran into someone I knew. So I invited him over for lunch with us. We got to enjoy his company and he left thinking I was some fancy-schmancy cook. Win-win.

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
3 large portabella mushrooms
3 pieces bacon
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper to taste

First cook your bacon up:

Mmm, bacon.

Once your bacon is done, you can saute the garlic in the grease for a minute or so. Usually I like to add some vegetables to these too, like shredded zucchini, carrot, or spinach. But I didn't have any of that, so I skipped that this time. But if you want to do that (and you should), you can add it in with the garlic for a few minutes.

Then, add the ricotta to a mixing bowl:

Add the chives, bacon, and garlic to the mixing bowl:

Doesn't that look delicious?

Mix it all together. Before you can stuff the mushrooms, you have to cut off the fins. Is that what they're called? I'm not sure. And I don't have a picture, so you will just have to figure that out for yourself.

Then, just load up the mushrooms and top 'em with some shredded cheese if you so desire:

Now, usually I cook these in the oven, but this time I decided to do them on the grill. Don't do that. The grill was too hot (even though it was on low heat) and cheese got really hot and they kind of melted everywhere. They were still good. Just messy.

So, just cook them up in the oven (maybe 350*?) until they are heated through.

Enjoy!



(Notice how it kind of fell apart. But it was still delicious.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Farmer's Market Vegetable Soup

I love soup. It's so yummy that it warms both my stomach and my heart (snicker). Not canned soup though - that is pretty much crap in a can (though I admit to eating it in a pinch). But homemade soup....mmmm. It doesn't get better than that.

Last summer when I had a much more abundant garden, I didn't know what to do with my all my tomatoes. So my dear, practical, creative, wonderfully homemade (I could go on with the adjectives here) friend Lindsey suggested that I use them to make soup. So that's where this soup comes from.

Now, you might be wondering why in the world I am making soup in the middle of August (although today was a little cooler with a high of a chilly 71*). The short answer is because, duh, it's good. But actually, the real reason is because all the vegetables are in season!! So I snatched all these vegetables up from the farmer's market this past weekend and am making soup for the winter.

My husband told me I was squirrel, collecting all my food in the summer and storing it for the winter. He's funny.


Anyway, because I kind of just threw this together, I don't really have exact amounts of the ingredients I used, so I will try to estimate for you. Here is a picture of everything I used so you can have a visual of the amounts you might need:

I ended up only using two potatoes. But really, you do it as you go and you can use whatever amount of veggies you want. Add more of the veggies you like or less of the ones you don't like. It's all up to you - whatever looks good to you!

Vegetable Soup
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. (or less) onion, diced teeny tiny
About 4 medium/large tomatoes
3 sprigs parsley
1 ear corn
About 1/2 - 3/4 c. trimmed and snapped green beans
About 1/2 c. zucchini
2 small potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Water

First, peel the tomatoes. Now, there is a technical way to do this that I believe involves immersing them in boiling water then submerging them in cold water (consult Google if you need more details) but I am too lazy for that because I don't like extra dishes. So I just peeled the skin off with my fingers. It's much easier than it sounds. Enjoy the delicious aroma of tomatoes as you peel them. Here's what they look like after they are peeled:

Now these little buggers are pretty slippery after you peel 'em, so be careful not to drop them. Having these wonderful farmer's market treats fall to the floor would be an absolute tragedy.

Now, nothing bad will happen if you don't peel them. You will just have pieces of skin in your soup, as the skin naturally peels in the heat. For some reason this grosses me out, even though it's not really gross at all. So, if you are even lazier than me, you don't have to peel if you don't want.

Cook the onions and garlic in the pan for a hot minute (pun intended). While you're doing this, chop the tomatoes and process them until they are liquid in the food processor:

If you have a small food processor like me, you might have to puree the tomatoes in a few batches. Once you're done add the liquid to the pan.

It was at this point that I had to clean up my huge tomato mess:


Anyway, after you add this to the pan, you add some water to thin it out and make it the broth. I started out by adding about 2 cups, but you can add more as necessary once it starts cooking. I ended up adding around 1/2 c. - 1 c. more throughout the process:

Then add salt and pepper to taste. Keep tasting throughout the entire process and continue adding as needed:

Pepper is good. Add lots of that.

Let this heat up and then let it simmer while you cut up the rest of the vegetables. This is what it looks like after you add the parsley while it's simmering:

Add the vegetables that take longer to cook (like potatoes and carrots) first so they have longer to cook. It's starting to come together:

In case you are wondering, this is about how much corn comes off one ear. You can get more or less depending on what you like:

After all the vegetables are added, let it simmer until all of them are done, probably about 45 minutes-1 hour. Keep tasting and adding salt or pepper if it needs it or water if it's too thick or not brothy enough:

Once it was done, I stuck it in some Ball freezer jars and it's ready for winter!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chipotle-Lime Pork Chops

Tonight for dinner we made chipotle-lime pork chops using half this recipe for marinade.

This marinade was really simple and the pork chops ended up being so, so yummy.

Chipotle-Lime Pork Chops
1 lime, zest and juice
About 1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp chipotle chili pepper
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
About 1 1/2 lbs meat of your choice

Step 1: Zest the lime. There is a lot of concentration of flavor in the peel, so make sure you don't skip this step! I don't have a zester, so I just used this nifty little thing that also doubles as a juicer:

Then juice the lime. If you roll it around like so before juicing, it will be a little juicier:

Juice the lime:

I'm not really sure what chipotle chili pepper is, but I used this:

Measure out the olive oil then add the chipotle, salt, and garlic powder:

This would be better with real garlic, but alas, I was too lazy and in a hurry. Pour the marinade over the meat and refrigerate for a few hours:

When you're ready to cook them, grill them for about 10 mins on each side or until they are done. Eat and enjoy all the deliciousness!