Friday, July 30, 2010

Greek Stuffed Mushrooms

18 – 20 large white button mushrooms
1 pound ground lamb
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbles or chopped
1 egg
¼ c. bread crumbs
1½ tsp. Greek seasoning
½ tsp. dried mint, crushed
Olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

Heat grill to about 325º to 350º. (If using a gas grill, heat up the entire grill; if using a charcoal grill, put briquettes on only one side.) Spray a grill topper with non-stick spray (unless topper is a non-stick). Once grill or coals are hot place grill topper on grill rack to heat.

Clean and pull out stems from mushrooms. (Can discard or save for later use.) Brush outside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix remaining ingredients together. Press about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture in hollow of each mushroom cap and flatten slightly on top.

Place stuffed mushrooms meat side down on grill topper and cook over heat for 10 minutes. Either turn off gas units under topper or move topper to side without coals. Turn mushrooms so meat is up. Cook 15 – 20 minutes until done. Serves 4 – 5. (I think you could bake these at 325º if you wanted to do them when grilling is not a good option.)

This has got to be one of the best recipes I ever threw together. Luckily, I decided to write down ingredients and how much of each one. I bought my Greek seasoning from a vendor at the Jeffersonville Farmer's Market (sorry, don't remember name of vendor), but I think you can find it in the stores, or even through Penzey's Spices catalog. The inspiration came when I purchased some large button mushrooms that had been marked down at Kroger. I remembered I had some ground lamb in the freezer, had Feta cheese, and the Greek seasoning. And that's a lot for me to remember! Oh, and I also had some pita's that had gotten a little hard, plus the hummus. Then remembered the zucchini our friend Howard had given us from his garden. Thus a delicious dinner was created and really very easy. Below are the directions for the Zucchini and pita chips. Enjoy!

Marinated Zucchini: Cut Zucchini in quarters lengthwise. Marinate in Italian dressing for 30-60 minutes. Grill about 2-3 minutes on each of the 3 sides (2 cut, one with peel).

Baked Pita Chips: Preheat oven to 425º. Cut pita rounds into 8 wedges, leaving the wedges double. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground pepper (or experiment with other spices/herbs, such as cumin or cinnamon/sugar). Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake an additional 5 until crispy and brown. Serve with hummus. (My favorite is Kroger’s Private Selection Roasted Red Pepper.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken (NYR- YYYYY)

¼ c. low-fat buttermilk (I used low fat sour cream)
2 T. Dijon mustard
4 (6 ounce) chicken cutlets
1/3 c. panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/3 c. finely chopped walnuts
2 T. grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¾ tsp minced fresh rosemary
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray (I used olive oil spray)
Rosemary leaves (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425º.

2. Combine buttermilk (sour cream) and mustard in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to mixture, turning to coat.

3. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko to pan, cook about 3 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Combine panko, nuts, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; discard any remaining mixture. Dredge chicken in panko mixture.

4. Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat check with cooking spray. Bake at 425º for 13 - 18 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet).

I finally got to look at my June 2010 Cooking Light Magazine this week. I saw this recipe and was pretty sure I had everything needed for the recipe, so decided to give it a try. (I was especially excited to have to use some of the rosemary growing out on our patio!) Well, as it turned out, when I went to make it, I discovered I did not have any buttermilk, so figured I'd give low fat sour cream a try and that worked just fine! I also had to flatten my thawed chicken breasts to cutlets, by pounding with my small iron skillet - that was kind of fun. In the magazine this was served over a "Toasted Garlic Escarole" salad. I was going to try that using romaine instead of escarole, but found I had no garlic. So I served it atop romaine salad greens dressed with Ken's Steakhouse Lite Caesar dressing into which I had mixed a little minced rosemary, some grated parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts. Gary and I thought this combination was a definite winner.

I'll go ahead and give you the Toasted Garlic Escarole recipe, even though I haven't tried it.

Toasted Garlic Escarole: Cut a 1½-pound escarole head crosswise into 1-inch strips; place in a large bowl. Heat 1 ½ T. olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat; add 1 ½ T. fresh lemon juice, ¼ tsp. kosher salt, and ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle dressing over escarole and toss to coat.

And in case you've forgotten, or haven't looked at any other recipes on my blog: NYR means New Year's Resolution and YYYYY is the highest Yummy rating I assign to new recipes I try.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Asparagus and Ham Mornay

24 asparagus spears, about 2 pounds
3 T. butter or margarine
4 T. flour
1½ c. milk
1 c. grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1 egg yolk
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 – 2.5 oz. pkg. wafer sliced ham or turkey

Place the asparagus spears on a flat surface. Break off the tough bottoms where they naturally break; it doesn't matter if the spears are not exactly the same length, but they'll be about 7 inches long. Bring enough water to a boil in a skillet to cover the spears. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook about 1 – 2 minutes or until crisp tender. Cooking time will depend on your taste and how thick the spears are. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring with a whisk. Add the milk, stirring rapidly with the whisk. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat. Add ¾ c. of the shredded cheese, stirring rapidly with the whisk. Add egg yolk, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne and beat to blend.

Preheat broiler to high. Select a baking dish large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer, slightly overlapping. Wrap 1 – 2 slices of ham or turkey compactly around each spear. (If spears are very thin, wrap two – three spears in the slices of ham.) Arrange spears touching in baking dish. Spoon the sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining ¼ c. cheese. Broil 5 inches from heat until bubbling and golden brown on top, 3 – 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Great with crusty rolls. Serves 4.

This recipe came from an article in the paper years ago that featured recipes from The New York Times 60 Minute Gourmet. It was a hit the first time I made it. It actually called for prosciutto instead of the wafer sliced ham. However, when I searched for that in our area I could only find it at a specialty shop for $9.99 per pound. Now I love my family, but that just seemed a little steep to me, so I substituted Carl Buddig wafer sliced ham, Perhaps if I tried it with prosciutto (now available at my local grocery) I would see and taste a big difference, but hey, why mess with a favorite? Elizabeth would ask for this on her birthday and the first time we invited Toby's parents, Jerry and Betty Jo, over for dinner, Elizabeth requested this as the entree. It really is not difficult and makes for a lovely presentation. Timing is is probably the thing that seems the trickiest, but have all your ingredients measured out and ready to go, you'll find it does not even take 60 minutes to prepare.

By the way, I have made half the recipe just for the 2 of us "empty nesters" and just not added the egg yolk. The sauce is not quite as rich, but still yummy, although I guess it's not truly a Mornay Sauce then. However we have also found that leftovers reheat well in the microwave as long as you don't overdue it. I use 80% power for 1 minute in my 1350 watt microwave.
Hope this becomes one of your favorites, too. Enjoy!