Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The most amazing stuffed mushrooms ever

One of my favorite cooking activities is to perfect a recipe that I've tried making several times, but can't get quite right. [See: every attempt at garlic bread I've ever made, ever.]

My most recent project was stuffed mushrooms. I tried a recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs and it came out just.... blah. The flavor was off, it tasted bland, and I wasn't impressed. I tried it again over Christmas, this time with my own variations, and holy wow... those suckers were freaking fantastic! I made them again for a family get-together at home of Rad Boyfriend's Dad and they were ever better than last time. I impressed even myself, which is pretty difficult to do. Here's the recipe, if anyone is interested in the most fantastic stuffed mushrooms ever. Note: it looks long and complicated, but it's not. I just like giving detailed directions =)  

Goat Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms 
24 oz. (3 packages) white mushrooms 
10 oz. goat cheese 
2-3 oz.cream cheese
(or 12 oz. goat cheese and no cream cheese) 
2-3 oz. Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping 
1 egg 
3/4 lb. bacon, diced
2 large shallots, finely diced  
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or zested 
3 tbsp. of finely chopped fresh parsley 
olive oil to grease the baking sheets
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the egg and all of the cheeses from the fridge and let sit for 20-30 minutes. 
  2. Rinse the mushrooms and pat them dry. Remove the stems and set them aside. Carve out the inside of the mushrooms with a butter knife to make room for the stuffing. Discard the insides. Finely chop about 2/3 of the mushrooms stems and set aside. Discard the rest.
  3. Stack 3 slices of bacon at a time and trim the fat. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Repeat until all of the bacon is chopped. Set aside. 
  4. Finely dice the shallots and set aside.
  5. Cook the bacon in an un-greased frying pan until it just starts to turn brown. Don't let it get too crispy, as the texture won't meld with the rest of the stuffing. 
  6. Remove the bacon from the frying pan using a slotted spoon, leaving the grease in the pan. 
  7. Throw the shallots in the bacon grease and cook on medium-high for about 3 minutes, or until they start to turn clear. Add the chopped mushroom stems and stir until the mushrooms start to soften and turn brown. 
  8. Zest 3 gloves of garlic into the frying pan and stir for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is soft. (You can also finely dice the garlic instead of zesting it.) 
  9. Empty the entire contents of the frying pan into a medium-sized bowl, grease and all. Stir in the softened goat cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Add the bacon and stir. *If the mixture is too salty for your taste, add some more goat cheese or cream cheese to cut the salt.
  10. Add the parsley at the very end and stir. 
  11. Generously fill each mushroom top with a tablespoon.*There will likely be some leftover stuffing. The amount left over will depend on how deep you carve out the mushrooms. You can fill as many mushrooms as you have with the leftover stuffing, or fill one giant Portobello mushroom with the remainder. 
  12. Grease 2 baking sheets with olive oil. 
  13. Place the stuffed mushrooms on the greased baking sheets and generously sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. 
  14. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until the desired consistency of the Parmesan cheese topping is reached. Some people like it to be crispy, other like it melty. For crispy tops, turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes or until the tops are brown.
    *Another way to achieve a little crispiness is to add panko breadcrumbs to the stuffing mixture. I would recommend about 1/2 cup. Follow the rest of the recipe as written, then make sure to turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes for a crispy top.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things things things!

Why hello there, Internet! It's been a while, hasn't it?

There are THINGS! going on over here in The City of Awesome, THINGS! that shouldn't be discussed in such a public forum, other THINGS! that are still too premature to even be considered THINGS! No, I'm not with child, and no, I'm not getting married. These are THINGS! that have to do with work and family, aka stuff that shouldn't be broadcast on the internet. I know, I know, BORING. But such is my life =)

What I can discuss is the fact that the Rad Boyfriend and I are moving in together in June! We decided to do this a long time ago, but now that it's almost April (holy crap, where did the time go?) and we'll start to look for apartments soon, I figured it was a good time to let the cat out of the bag.* What does this mean for our relationship? Having all of our contact lens cases and toothbrushes in one place. Also, lots and lots of home cooked meals. You should see Rad Boyfriend in an apron... ;-)

I will eventually explain these other THINGS! to which I allude, but not yet. Certain other, smaller things must happen before these more important THINGS! can be discussed. And that's all I have to say about that.

In the meantime, be well! Be healthy! Love each other, and most importantly, be happy!

*Speaking of cats, we may or may not be adopting one. I really, really want a kitteh, and I know RB does, too. But right now, our priority is finding a livable dwelling out of which he can work and I will get plenty of sunlight. If that place happens to allow cats, fantastic! If not, we'll just have to wait until the next place. And mark my words, that next place will absolutely, positively allow these little guys.