Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mushroom Stuffing

Random!  Why Mushroom Stuffing you say?  It's not Thanksgiving.  It's 100 degrees outside.  What brings about heating up a casserole-style dish today?  Simple.  Too many mushrooms in the fridge.  Maw admitted to being smitten by a large container of beautiful, round mushrooms.  A large container.  Almost two weeks ago.  All I needed to know, to begin the fretting about something going bad or going to waste on these premises.  And I don't always want sautéed mushrooms, which was one option we talked about.  We just had them recently and I don't even have anything in mind this week yet that might go with them.  So, into my head pops "stuffing."  Of course there's stuffing-stuffed mushrooms, but that wasn't my intention.  So I went looking around the internet for a recipe.  The first one I came across sounded pretty good, and I surprisingly had all of the ingredients.  Now I would publish the recipe from where I got it, but I did alter some measurements, so I'm only going to publish my version.  I was suspicious about one amount in particular (12 cups of bread crumbs!) and after reading the reviews, I think I agree with many who commented that that was a huge typo-style mistake.  Unfortunately, some of the folks who tried it in its original form were quite disappointed and had disastrous results.  Sometimes, you gotta go with your gut. Now I did cut the recipe in half, but still, 6 cups of bread crumbs?  No.
But all that being said, many did figure it out before it was too late and saved the dish.  A wonderfully savory, nutty comfort food dish.

Mushroom Stuffing

Half pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
3 T. butter/and another 3 T. butter
1/2 C. diced onion
1/2 C. diced celery
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2-3 C. bread crumbs
1.5 C. chicken broth
1 beaten egg
1 C. peeled and diced apple
1/8 C. chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oven to 375º and butter a 9x9 inch casserole dish.
Clean mushrooms and chop; melt 3 T. butter in a large skillet, then add the mushrooms, chopped onion and chopped celery.  Sauté 5-8 minutes and remove from heat.  Stir in the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the bread crumbs, broth and beaten egg.  Add the mushroom mixture, chopped apple and parsley.  Mix well.  If it's really soupy, add more breadcrumbs till not quite so.  Remember, dressing is usually pretty moist when you first put it in the dish, and for a good reason.

Put the mixture in the casserole dish, cut up and dollop the remaining 3 T. butter in several places on top and cover with foil.  Bake at 375º for about 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes longer to brown the top.

As with most things, let it sit for a few minutes before you dig in.  Really good.  A great one-pot-wonder version would be to add about a cup of chopped, roasted chicken for a full-meal-deal.  But this is great without it too.

A little comfort food in the heat of the summer.

Happy eating!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cast Iron, Love it.

I do.  I love cast iron.  I love the look of it, the feel of it, everything about it.  I get excited when I see a shelf of it at a sporting goods store.  And I've amassed a pretty good collection of cast iron cookware - dutch ovens, both stove top and campfire style; skillets in various sizes, a turtle, and a couple of griddles.  By far, the skillets get the most use, now that we've retired from Scouting.  In those days, we never left for a campout without at least two dutch ovens on board.  But I think I also love my skillets the best.  I have a huge Lodge that I can't even pick up by the handle when it's full of fried chicken.  I have several smaller ones (mostly old Griswolds that my mom or I have picked up at estate sales), and they're all seasoned well and very useful.  I use them all the time out on the grill, but my dirty little secret is - I use them all the time on my glass stovetop.  I know, voiding the warranty.  I promise you, my warranty was out a long time ago.  And I can attest to the fact that I've never scratched the surface with cast iron.  I'm thinking of cast iron right now because we used it a bunch this weekend.  When I got home from work Friday night, Don and David were manning the grill making three different types of street tacos.  Beef fajita, chicken and picadillo meat.  All the toppings, lots of chips and white corn tortillas.  My beautiful, large lodge was cooking up the sweet caramelized onions, while two others were frying the picadillo meat and warming the fajita meats.  It was a beautifully proud moment to see it all out there on the grill waiting for me.  I know, food nerd!  So fast forward past that lovely evening of goodies (plus swimming and campfire by the pool with s'mores), and then you have...the clean up.  No, WAIT!  It's cast iron, remember?  It cleans up wonderfully!  Once you get these puppies seasoned, it doesn't take much to get them clean; and then just rubbed down with a little oil.  I don't like to put mine away immediately, so I usually leave them out overnight on the stove (yes, the glass top!)  And when I got up Saturday morning, well, there they were again, begging to be used and not filed away in the cabinet.  So what else to do, but make a batch of chilaquilas from the leftovers.  Fried up another onion, added eggs and some cheese, a few crushed up tortilla chips - voila!  Of course, I only needed one, so the rest did get put away.  But again, cleaned the breakfast skillet up, and again, left on the stove to "cure."
I know this is getting long, but bear with me.  So now for today.  I found some beautiful beef filets at Sam's this morning, so I decided I'd replicate a dish I had just seen on Chuck's Day Off (Cooking Channel) where he pan seared some ribeyes (in a cast iron skillet, of course) and then roasted them in the oven to finish.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

A little ciabatta bread sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and toasted in the oven; fresh asparagus lightly sautéed in olive oil and a splash of balsamic, a fresh green salad and oh yeah, a few sautéed mushrooms thrown in over the steak - and you've got a great Sunday night meal.

The Scallops?  well, that was my indulgence.  They were beautiful.

So go get that cast iron off the shelf in the garage.  Dust it off and give it a good seasoning.  And get busy.  It'll make your food world rock.

Happy eating!