Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Baked Baby Bella Mushrooms

Do you ever play around in the kitchen and come up with something that's a riff on another recipe but you like your rendition a lot better?

Did that sentence even make sense?
I have a recipe for Garlic Baked Mushrooms that I love, but this rendition, OMG good, as well.  

I found some Baby Bella Mushrooms on sale last week, bought them, then realized that the menu plan for the week, really didn't lend itself to having mushrooms added to it.

But...

I did have Tapas, so I pulled the mushrooms out, washed, and halved some and quartered some others and decided that they might make a nice addition to Tapas.

I think I was right, cause they disappeared in short order.

All I did was put them, down, turn my back for a couple of minutes and the plate was empty!

I love it when that happens.

Not really a recipe here, just a how to.
 Melted about 3-4 tablespoons of butter, and added three crushed, chopped cloves of garlic and one shallot cut into very thin slices.   Warmed the garlic/shallot mixture up
and then poured it over the mushrooms, tossed them up a little and baked them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Had to take a picture before I put them out.
And I did snag one before all the other people ate them.
These would be so good as a side to a steak or ...
I bought some more mushrooms before the sale ended.   I have plans for them.  'giggle'.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Apple Crostata for Secret Recipe Club

I was sweating it a little.   My Secret Recipe Club reveal was coming up and I'd been so busy I'd only glanced at my assigned blog for this month.   My assigned blog was Baking and Creating with Avril.
sigh...

Never mind actually making stuff from it.
But...

I done did it.  Found 'the recipe', and ended up not only completing my assignment, but also made dessert for the Senior Lunch this week.
 

I'd already planned on some kind of slab Apple Pie, and then I found Avril's recipe for Apple Crostata.  And pardon me Avril, I did modify it a tad.   After all, I'm cooking for upwards of a 100 people at a time.
Avril has a lot of great sweet recipes on her blog as well.  I've got a couple bookmarked that I want to try my hand at, later on. 

What is the Secret Recipe Club you ask?   Well, we're a bunch of bloggers, divided up into 4 groups, A, B, C and D.  And once a month we're assigned a blog to make and post a recipe from.   I used to be in Group B, but am now in Group A and am having fun getting to know the bloggers in this group.     You never know who got your blog until the REVEAL DAY!!!, which for Group A is today, or the first Monday of the month.

So, without further ado, and no drum roll either...


I had already planned on making a slab apple pie,  which I did, but I also doubled the recipe and made two large crostata's, along with the apple pie.   I figured since we were peeling apples anyway, I'd use them in as many ways as possible.
I got lots of positive comments, well, actually, compliments on the Crostata's.   The crust was easy to pull together and was lovely and flaky.   I did modify it just a tad though.  I mixed it by hand instead of in the food processor.   And I used a mixture of Crisco and Margarine because that's what I had on hand to use.
Here's Avril's recipe,  I did double it. 

Pastry:

1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt  (I omitted the salt as there was salt in the margarine already)
1 stick unsalted butter, diced, and cold  (I didn't have real butter, but used a mixture of crisco and margarine instead).
2 Tablespoons ice cold water

Mix pastry ingredients together until it resembles peas, using either your hands or a food processor.  Form into a disk and place in the fridge to rest for a few minutes, well, more like an hour or so if you can before rolling out.  My dough only had a chance to rest for as long as it took us to peel 10 pounds of apples.    Hint:  If you are peeling that amount of apples, place them in some acidulated water so they don't brown.  Won't hurt the taste, but they do tend to look yucky. 

Filling:

3-4 medium baking apples, or a good tart apple.
1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar + 2 Tbsp.
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg  (I didn't have any nutmeg but did have some whole allspice so I smashed them and added them to the filling.)
4 Tbsp. cold butter, diced

Peel and chunk up the apples, sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of sugar and zest and set aside.  I also added a little of cinnamon here as well as the allspice.

Make the crumb topping by combining the flour, salt and sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (if using nutmeg) by 'cutting' the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees,
Take the dough out of the oven and roll it out into roughly an 11 or 12 inch circle.  (My circles weren't all that great cause I was running against the clock at this point and needed to get them into the oven NOW!)  Mound the apples in the center, leaving a border of about an inch or two.   Place the topping on top of the apples, and fold the crust in around the apples.  (Don't do like I did, and not seal it up.)
Bake for around 25 minutes until the apples are done and it's lovely and brown.
Serve with some ice cream or whipped topping.

I have to say that the two I made for the lunch disappeared fast.  I also went home and made one for myself cause I didn't get a chance to taste more than just a bit of the crust.    And Avril is right, this also makes a nice breakfast. 
I will probably make this again, it wasn't all that hard and made a lovely change for desserts for our lunch.  




Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chicken Fajitas for Senior Lunch

I've been having way too much fun in the kitchen at the Senior Center and not taking enough pictures...

I'm in charge of the menus and have been having fun trying to make interesting, good tasting food for our people.

This week I decided to make Chicken Fajitas.   A friend and his wife introduced me to them some years ago and I make them for myself from time to time.    And thought that they might be a nice change of pace for lunch.

I had so many green peppers that came to us through Farmshare and we had Stuffed Green Peppers a couple of weeks ago, and since we had so many, I thought that Fajitas might be a nice choice.

So, with that in mind we prepped a lot of peppers, and on Thursday we made and served them.

And I fell down on the job, I forgot to take a picture of one of the final plates with the chicken, but I did get a shot of a take home plate with the vegetarian option.
Not all people eat meat you know.

At any rate, thanks to Jarrett( who now runs and owns Twisted River Cafe and Grill in California), I learned how to make a great tasting Fajita.    His secret was Montreal Steak Seasoning on the Chicken.   And while I didn't put the chicken on the grill to cook it, I did get some awesome flavour on it anyway because of the seasoning.
First off I prepped the Chicken Breasts the way Ina Garten says to do it.   And believe you me, you get a lovely moist chicken breast this way.
Just oil the chicken breasts a little.  I actually used a paper towel as a swab and swabbed them with some oil, and believe it or not, used just over 1/4 cup of oil for all these breasts.
I then sprinkled the Montreal Steak Seasoning over them and baked them in a 375 degree oven until the thermometer reached 165 degrees, some of them were actually 175 degrees, but they were still moist and tender.








We then cut them up and placed them into a warming pan.

However, while they were cooking, we prepped the onions and some more peppers.
Do you have any idea how many tears you can cry when you're slicing a lot of onions?
And I also had a few red and yellow peppers we cut up as well.
Needed to have some color in there.

As I said before we also had a vegetarian option available.   We made up the pepper/onion mixture and added some sauteed mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli from Farmshare.  
All in all a good, healthy meal.   

And we had a lot of dessert and I forgot to take a picture of them.   There was a luscious chocolate pudding bundt cake, as well as a yummy lemon cake. 

I want to also give a shout out to Lisa, Geri and Jon who helped me out.

And to all the wonderful people who processed the green beans, broccoli and okra we now have in our freezer for future meals.    We got a lot of produce from Farmshare this week. 

Next week the menu is:
Deviled Eggs
Potato Salad
Oven Fried Chicken
Tomatoes cooked with some Okra   (both of which we got from Farmshare)
and of course desserts. 

Gotta go finish resting up now.  



Friday, February 27, 2015

Baked Brie with Red Current Jelly and Candied Nuts

I think I watch way too much Chopped on the Food Network sometimes.

Well, I would watch it way too much, if it weren't on so darned late at night. 

I'm not exactly a night owl these days.   And 10 pm qualifies as such.

But...

I wanted to make some Baked Brie for Tapas this past week, and I had some lovely Brie I'd bought a Trader Joe's recently.  It is sliceable.  In other words, it looks a little like a log, a little squared off log, that is.

So...  I decided to see what else I had in the freezer and pantry I could use with the Brie.

I pulled out some puff pastry from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge for a little while.
Took the brie cheese, placed it in the center of the pastry.


Added some Red Current Jelly and some crushed Candied Nuts I had hanging around in the fridge, minding their own business. 
Then decided I'd cut slits in the sides and try making something fun looking.
Took turns folding them over, and brushed them with lightly beaten eggs.


See.

I love my mini pastry brush, I can just pop off the silicone head and into the dishwasher it goes.







Put the brie log into my mini baking pan, and sprinkled some more crushed candied nuts on the top.











I did bake this at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, which might have been almost 5 minutes too long.

Either that or I just didn't seal the pastry well enough.
Cause some of the Brie escaped.

But it still tasted good.   And I will make it again and again and again.

Just so long as I have some or all of the ingredients hanging around.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tapas Night for February

One of the things I love about Tapas Nights is that not only do I get to cook, lots of fun stuff, I get to, sometimes, enjoy what others bring.

Let me explain...

I get so caught up in visiting that, while I may get to take pictures of the food, sometimes that's as close as I get to it, cause I'm too busy visiting. 

But I do appreciate all the various dishes that are brought...

 We had some vegetarian dishes.

These beans looked so good.     And they also disappeared, rapidly. 

 I did make some sauteed Bok Choy in honor of Chinese New Years.

Consuming green vegetables is considered lucky.


I also made some Vegetarian Potstickers, and they disappeared in short order.




There were also these Thai Eggplant's, and they were OMG good.  The sauce is one I need to get the recipe for.  
HINT!
There was a quiche, which I managed to get a shot of, but it was gone fast.

We had a hungry buncha people here last night.












There was also this pea salad, so simple and so good.  
I wish I'd gotten a better shot of these.
Bacon Wrapped Duck Breast along with some BBQ Pork bites.

I did get to taste one of the Duck Bites.

I do love duck...

Maybe I should make one, one of these days.








Sorry for the blurry picture, but I didn't get a back up shot, so this is it.
An interesting dish.   I did get to taste a small smear of it.
It was another of those offerings that disappeared rapidly.













As did this, pile of sliders.   And you can see some of the other dishes around the table here as well.









There was also a taco dip, which is always a popular item.












I also made some Seeded Crackers along with this awesome Buffalo Ranch Dip  


I think it would be great with some Potato Chips for a take along, last minute dish. 

So many possibilities...
I do love a versatile dip.






 I also made a Baked Brie with some Red Current Jelly and Candied Nuts.

Too sinfully rich and good.


I think I'll need to do this again.  But next time, I don't think I'll bake it quite that long cause the Brie tried to escape.


You can see it there, oozing out, trying to get off of the plate.

It didn't work though, it was all eaten.

And in the background some mushrooms I'd made up, so simple and good.  


I have to say, I LOVE Mushrooms.   And the local store had some Crimini mushrooms on sale, so I had to buy them.
And I'll share how I made them in another post.  








Now, let see what else was brought and shared...

Lots and lots of Desserts...









As you can see we had a lot of great food, wonderful companionship and best of all, Fun.