Tuesday, March 19, 2024

ChezCindy: Parmesan Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

It has been years since I have made stuffed mushrooms.  I was looking for a recipe to round out an Italian menu I was planning.  This dish popped into my head, and I am glad it did.  The recipe is easy to put together and delicious.  

Like many recipes for stuff mushrooms, the stems become part of the stuffing.  Garlic gives great flavor, along with cream cheese, Parmesan and breadcrumbs to hold it all together.  The mushrooms and filling can be put together ahead of time, and then baked when ready to serve.  Great as an appetizer or added to the dinner plate.  I won't wait so many years to make it again.  

Parmesan Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

1 1/2-pounds baby bella mushrooms
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Olive oil to drizzle over the filled caps

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Wash and dry the mushrooms.  Remove the stems from the mushroom caps.  Place the caps on the baking sheet.  Roughly chop the mushroom stems.

Working with a medium size skillet, add in the butter to melt.  Once melted, add in the chopped mushroom stems, cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in the minced garlic, cooking for about 30 seconds, then add in the breadcrumbs and the salt.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes, so that the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, add in the now cooled mushroom breadcrumb mixture, Parmesan, cream cheese, parsley and thyme.  Using a rubber spatula, mix until combined.  Using a small spoon, add about a tablespoon of the filling to each mushroom cap.  Sprinkle the filled caps with additional Parmesan.  Bake in the oven until the mushrooms are soft and the tops are golden, about 20 minutes.  Serve while hot or warm.  Drizzle with additional olive oil and a sprinkle for fresh grated Parmesan.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

ChezCindy: Arugula Salad with Ribbons of Vegetables


This salad is perfect as we head into Spring.  We still have winter citrus available with clementines and mandolins, sweet little oranges.  But we are longing for the freshness of early spring vegetables.  

Arugula serves as the bed of the salad, a hearty bitter green.  The gentle ribbons of carrot, zucchini, and shaved fennel top the arugula, with the sweet orange segments to balance the bitter notes of the arugula.  I like leaving this as a composed salad, just drizzling the dressing generously over the top.  Use tongs to grab the mix of vegetables, letting the dressing cling as you pull up and plate your serving.  It is perfect alongside some plump roasted shrimp or honey-mustard glazed salmon.

Arugula Salad with Ribbons of Vegetables
1 5-ounce container of baby arugula greens
2 medium carrots, peeled and shaved into long strips
2 small zucchini, peeled and shaved into long strips
1 large fennel bulb, tough outer leaves removed, shaved into thin strips
3 clementines, peeled and sliced crosswise into thin rounds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds

To make the salad:  Place the arugula greens onto a large serving platter.  Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and zucchini into long thin strands.  Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly shave the fennel bulb into strips.  Arrange the vegetable strips and the clementine rounds over the arugula.  Scatter the sunflower seeds, and drizzle 1/3 cup of the citrus dressing over the vegetables and fruit.  Serve additional dressing on the side if desired.  

To make the citrus dressing:  
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons olive oil

Add the vinegar, orange juice, honey, Dijon mustard, and salt to a medium size bowl.  Using a whisk, mix to combine.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking while you drizzle to emulsify the ingredients into a creamy consistency. 
Alternately, place the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a small food processor.  Process to combine.  Add in 2 tablespoons of the oil, process.  Continue adding in 2 tablespoons of oil, processing each time, until all of the oil is added, and the dressing is emulsified and creamy.