Posts Tagged With: food

Grilled Portobellos Caprese

I am a mushroom fan. I realize not everyone is but, if you are, you have undoubtedly had some version of grilled portobellos. At one point, they were the hot new restaurant item and gradually became pretty ubiquitous. Sometimes grilled portobellos are sublime and sometimes they are mushy and tasteless. It’s all in how you cook them, season them and, in most cases, what you stuff inside them. This is an easy recipe you can whip up and serve as an appetizer and then move onto more serious grilling. Or, if you are like me, it makes a nice, light weeknight meal.

Grilled Portobellos Caprese

from Grill This, Not That

Ingredients

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (I used garlic olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 oz ball fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • 2 tbsp prepared pesto

Caprese ingredients

Directions

Preheat grill over medium-low heat. (I wasn’t cooking anything else, so I just used my gas grill to keep things fast.) Use a spoon to scrape away some of the gills on the underside of the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms in a shallow baking dish and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Season with salt & pepper.

Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto in a mixing bowl.

Caprese ingredients

It was all I could do not to just eat the filling straight out of the bowl — resist, my friends. The end result it worth it.

Grill the portobellos, gill side down, for 2 minutes.

Grilled Portobellos Caprese

Flip each and fill the cap with the caprese mixture. (I did this off the grill in my original baking dish to make things easier and then moved them back to the grill.)

Grilled Portobellos Caprese

Close the grill and leave them be for 8-10 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and lightly charred and the mozzarella has melted.

Grilled Portobellos Caprese

Those look gooey good, don’t they? While they are probably best with summer tomatoes, I could see mixing in some quality sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and getting good results, also. I may go have a leftover portobello now…

Categories: Appetizer, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Beef Stew (and Brews)

When the temperature dips below 60 degrees and you are a Texan, you are apt to declare it the first day of winter, dig out your favorite sweater, and make some beef stew. Or at least you might if you are me. I have maligned my poor mother’s cooking repeatedly on this blog so let me offer some counter-balance: my mom makes a mean beef stew. It is one of those dishes that has a lot of memories attached to it for me, like when I was a kid waiting impatiently for it to be done or the first time I made it in my own in my apartment (1,500 miles from home and lonely.) Some were more memorable than others but they all ended with a happy, full belly and a sense that all was right in the world. For many years, I made do with cooking my beloved stew in various dutch ovens but then sometime back I came into possession of this beauty:

Beef Stew

Yep, that’s a Le Crueset . It is one fine piece of French manufacturing. I lucked into this 7.25-quart stunner for free and it has certainly made me want to save my pennies for another pot or two. Okay, enough drooling over the implements — let’s talk about what you will need to make your stew. You can scale down the recipe below but I encourage you not to underestimate how great it is as a leftover treat for the week.

Beef Stew (serves 8-10 as a main dish)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 — 2 lbs stew meat (I favor more veggies in my stew but, if you are a carnivore, go for 2 lbs)
  • 4 good size russet potatoes
  • 1 lb carrots (I used baby carrots because peeling is not my favorite activity)
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 32 oz beef broth (I like reduced sodium because you can always put more salt in if you need to later)
  • 1-2 cups water (more on this in a bit)
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 cups salsa (medium spicy)
  • salt & pepper

Directions

Start by peeling your potatoes. Then dice potatoes, onions, and carrots to roughly the same size. I prefer them to be on the smaller side so you have a better chance of getting a little bit of everything in one bite. Throw them all in a bowl like so:

Beef Stew

Next, cut your stew meat into similar bite-size pieces. I know, I know — why do more work when stew meat comes already cut up? Well, those pieces vary quite a bit in size and some of them are rather large. I don’t like to feel like I am fishing giant hunks of beef out of my stew and I’m wagering neither will you. When you’re done, it will all look like this:

Beef Stew

Now you just heat up your large (7 qt or so) pot over medium heat and add a bit of oil. (I used some garlic olive oil I got at my favorite specialty food store but you could go with straight olive or canola oil.) Once it is hot, add your meat and let it cook just a bit.

Beef Stew

Some people like to sear the meat before you add everything else. If you are one of those people, then add the meat in small batches at higher heat. This goes against my philosophy that beef stew should be as easy as possible so I just get mine browned up a little before I add in all of the veggies.

Beef Stew

You can see that pot is pretty full. Luckily, all we need is to add enough liquid to cover everything. Start by emptying your beef broth in the pot.

Beef Stew

Then add enough filtered water to cover everything. When you are done, it should look like this:

Beef Stew

Bring it up to a good simmer and then lower the heat a bit and cover. Leave it be for about 45 minutes to an hour over low heat. Then add your tomato sauce.

Beef Stew

Stir it up and leave it for another 30-45 minutes on low heat. Then add your salsa.

Beef Stew

Don’t skip the salsa — it is the shortcut that gives you nice flavor and spice. My dad and I used so much salsa back in the day that my mom would buy the giant bottle of Pace Picante Medium. Today my favorite go-to bottled salsa is Mateo’s Medium. (Costco size — somethings do not change.) Stir that up and let the flavors meld for another 20 minutes. While that is happening you can whip up some cornbread.

Now cornbread is kind of like relish or pickles — some like it sweet and some do not. Some people feel very strongly on this issue. I do, too — in that I believe classic Jiffy cornbread to be the best on the planet. Can you really go wrong with America’s Favorite?

Cornbread

Whatever you are using, follow the directions on the box. I like to use buttermilk instead of milk in my cornbread — you might give it a try and see if you like it. Once the cornbread is done, serve up some stew in a big bowl and put a slice on the side like so…

Beef Stew

Now the only thing left to decide is what beverage to serve with your lovely stew. I’m partial to a good beer. Since we were having a cozy Saturday night at home, I picked up a mixed six-pack of beer so the hubby and I could do a little tasting.

Beer

We sipped and slurped while we enjoyed the warm fire in our fireplace and watched The Avengers on DVD. Does life really get any better? I think not.

Categories: Beef, Recipes, Soup | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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