Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

Friday’s dinner selection brought to you courtesy of a use-it-or-lose-it round of clean out the refrigerator.  Riding bikes down to the Civic Center Farmers Market on Sunday afternoons has become a favorite habit — we get to use fresh, local ingredients that are in season, and we get a little exercise in the process.  This past week, birthday celebrations and <cough> even a little nightlife interrupted our culinary intentions and left last week’s bounty wilting in the fridge.  A little emergency cleaning, chopping and baking and Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms were born.  I adapted Ina Garten’s Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms recipe to the ingredients we had.  Cleaning out the fridge has never tasted so good.

Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 3 links of spicy italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 6 baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed and reserved
  • 2 tbsp marsala wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup pecorino cheese, grated
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Arrange mushroom caps in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and marsala wine.
  3. In a non-stick pan, bring 1/3 cup water to a boil and add finely chopped broccoli.  Cover and steam until broccoli is very tender.  Add more water as necessary.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick skillet until shimmering, add sausage and brown, breaking up with spatula.  Cook about 8 minutes until completely brown.
  5. Stir in garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add broccoli and bread crumbs and stir until all ingredients are well-mixed.  Stir in ricotta, milk and a pinch of pecorino and cook until mixture is creamy.
  6. Generously fill each mushroom cap with sausage mixture and top with remaining pecorino.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes

We served the stuffed mushrooms with a simple arugula salad tossed with diced roma tomatoes and a simple white balsamic vinaigrette.  Pairs very nicely with Zinfandel.

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Apple Brie Quesadillas

Apple Brie Quesadilla

Apple Brie Quesadillas

Apple Brie Quesadillas

I found this recipe over at Taste of Home while scouring the internets a few weeks ago and kept meaning to come back to it.  It’s definitely worth making.

I knew it would go together really quickly so I decided to pause ahead of making dinner and get the knives good and sharp.  Feeling proud of myself for having snuck in an accomplishment, I smugly began removing the rind from the Brie.  That’s when the knife slipped and my finger screamed out in pain (it was my finger — it wasn’t me).  Thankfully, the cheese was safe.  Whatever horrible kitchen disasters befall you, no matter how much personal peril you’re in, you must always, at all costs, protect the cheese.

The quesadillas are really light and tasty.  We served them with asparagus.  I blanched the asparagus (making sure to get it off the heat while it was still crunch) and then served it cold with a drizzle of olive oil and some crushed red pepper flakes.  It complimented the quesadilla very well.  Add Chardonnay and you’ve got a nice lunch or light dinner.

  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 flour tortillas (10 inches) – I used whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 medium tart apples, sliced
  • 1 round (8 ounces) Brie cheese, rind removed and quartered (watch your fingers!)
  • In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the onions, vinegar, sugar, thyme and rosemary in oil for 10 minutes or until onions are golden brown.
  • Spoon the mixture over half of each tortilla; top with apples and cheese. Fold over. Cook on a griddle over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted. Yield: 4 servings.

 

Cauliflower Bacon Quiche

Cauliflower Bacon Quiche

Cauliflower Bacon Quiche

Cauliflower Bacon Quiche

Given the amount of food we consumed on Saturday night, it doesn’t seem possible that I’d even be thinking about eating for at least a few days.  In some instances, however, I am an over-achiever.  After a bike ride through the City to watch the Bay to Breakers, we got home in need of sustenance.  My  (somewhat involuntary) resolution to be more frugally minded reared it’s abstemious head and all hopes of lunch-on-the-town ran right on by like a pack of drunk, half-naked smurfs on their way to Ocean Beach.

As I opened the fridge, I felt various disapproving vegetables looking down their slightly drooping stalks at me — challenging my resolve to thrift.  Vegetables, like most of us, get crankier with age; their disdain is tedious to endure.  I recommend avoiding it at all cost.  Happily, the combination of farmers market and Trader Joe’s remnants fit nicely into the extra pie crust I had to move to find them.  The result was unexpected and delicious.  Quiche, like pizza, doesn’t discriminate against any ingredient, which may be a great lesson of life: with cheese, harmonious coexistence is possible.

Cauliflower Bacon Quiche

Servings: 8, Weight Watchers Points Plus Value: 7

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped in half
  • 10 Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for greasing the pie pan
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 cup grated skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 9″ pie crust
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Toss cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Cook bacon over high heat until cripsy, blot excess grease and crumble.
  3. Place pie dough into a greased pie pan.  Crimp edges into whichever aesthetically pleasing form you prefer.  Line bottom of pie dough with bacon and half of the mozzarella.  Add roasted vegetables.
  4. Whisk eggs, half and half, salt, pepper and thyme in a bowl and pour over vegetables.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  5. Reduce heat to 375 and bake quiche for 45 minutes.  Add pecorino to top of quiche and broil for two minutes until it starts to brown.
Italy Dinner

Culinary Travel Party: Italy

Slow-grilled Pork Ribs, Homemade Pasta with Sugo, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Fava Beans and Braised White Beans

Slow-grilled Pork Ribs, Homemade Pasta with Sugo, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Fava Beans and Braised White Beans

One of my most anxiously-awaitited evenings on an ongoing basis, is our Culinary Travel dinner party.  Cass, Darlene, Monica, Brian and I get together periodically and choose a cultural theme for dinner.  Our collective love for travel and food would have us globe-trotting non-stop.  Unfortunately, the pesky day-to-day concerns like employment and financial reality keep us from being our true selves, but somehow we manage .

There will ultimately be recipes posted, but in the meantime while I gather them, here is the menu:

Aperitivo
Cara Cara Triple Sec (which Darlene made), Vodka, Meyer Lemon juice and soda

Antipasto
Garlic Fava Bean Crostini
Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe
Primo
Homemade Papardelle with Sugo
Secondo
Slow Cooked Italian Rub Pork Ribs
Contorno
Sherry Braised White Beans with Onions and Fresh Thyme
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
Dolce
Cannoli
Digestivo
Limoncello