Sunday, June 13, 2010

House: warmed

It doesn't matter that I'm way behind on grading and writing because I've been moving and have been sick; I still have to tell you about the delicious housewarming food we had last night!  There was:

  • whole wheat lavash bread (locally baked--yay Little Armenia!)
  • fresh veggies for dipping
  • pickled veggies and olive
  • mixed nuts
  • hummus with green goo (recipe below)
  • baba ganoush with mint (recipe below)
  • stuffed mushrooms (recipe below)
  • cardamom chocolate chip cookies
  • lots of beer

 With the cookies, I had a sugar-measuring incident.  Using more sugar than usual and baking in a new, hotter oven (which might be electric even though the burners are gas?!) meant that they came out sort of flat and toffee-like.  I'm not sure which way I like better.


Some recipes you can google and, after looking at a few, have a pretty good idea of an ur-version of that recipe.  This is not the case for stuffed mushrooms.  The things you can put in a stuffed mushroom, the flavor combinations, are really quite varied.  This recipe, which I found on a website I'd never seen before, is delicious, but the sun dried tomatoes are really dominant.  In the future I might try to mellow them out a bit by using breadcrumbs, or more nuts.  Also, saffron.  Can we talk about saffron?  Is my palate just too unrefined?  Isn't the very subtle flavor that saffron imparts to most dishes usually not worth the price tag?  Saffron rice, ok, but in a dish like this?  I'm not sure I could taste it.

I like the self-containedness of this recipe.  You use both parts of the mushroom; you use the oil that the tomatoes came in.  Nice!  Cutting the mushrooms without destroying them was a bit of a challenge.  I used crimini and I found that I had to hollow out more of the mushroom with a paring knife after popping out the stems. 

Stuffed Mushrooms

15 button mushrooms (pick bigger firmer ones)
1/4 c packed sun dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped (save the oil, too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB chopped parsley (I forgot this)
1/4 c roasted red bell peppers, finely chopped
1/3 c almonds or pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 TB olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp saffron
saved oil of the sun dried tomatoes
1 TB lemon juice
crushed red pepper

1. Wash and dry the mushrooms.  Carefully scoop out the stem of the mushrooms to make a hollow inside the mushrooms. Save the stems and the caps, separately.
2. In a frying pan, saute some of the oil with some of the garlic.  Add the mushroom caps to the pan & saute them while tossing at high heat till the mushrooms start to brown & all the water dries up. Toss with the parsley; place in oiled baking dish.
3. Chop the stems of the mushroom very fine. Chop the roasted bell peppers. Chop the sun dried tomatoes. Process the nuts till they are coarsely ground.
4. Heat the remaining olive oil.  Add remaining minced garlic. Add the minced stems of the mushrooms; saute them till dry. Add salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, saffron, and nuts (reserving 2 TB for later) to the mushrooms.  Then, add lemon and red pepper flakes.
5. Stuff the mushrooms with filling.  Drizzle with the oil from the sun dried tomatoes.  Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes.  After baking, sprinkle some coarsely ground almonds on the mushrooms.  Squirt some fresh lemon juice if you want.


I liked this variation on hummus, and not just for its name.  I think if I had a better food processor the goo would have turned out prettier.  The hummus recipe seems to call for a lot of liquid, but it actually wasn't too much.  If you want a thicker hummus, though, you might readjust as I think the original recipe calls for 4 c of chickpeas rather than 3 (I just didn't want to open a third can).

Hummus with Green Goo

(for hummus)
3 c cooked chickpeas
1 cup water
scant 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup tahini
(for green goo)
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1 jalapeño, destemmed
1 large clove garlic
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Place chickpeas in a food processor.  To the food processor add the water, lemon juice, and salt. Process for three minutes or until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice along the way. If you like your hummus thinner add more water a small splash at a time. Add the tahini, process one more time. Taste and adjust the seasoning, add more salt or lemon juice if needed. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl.
2. To make the "green goo" rinse out the food processor bowl, and use it again, and if you don't have a food processor, you can certainly do a hand-chopped version. Pulse the parsley, jalapeño, garlic, and salt in the food processor.  Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture while the processor is running, until an green emulsion is created.  Transfer to a jar, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
3. Drizzle the hummus generously with the green goo. Makes 4 cups of hummus.


Sorry for the lame photo.  This baba ganoush was lovely.  It had a creamier, more whipped consistency than it sometimes does, and I'm wondering why.  More tahini than usual?  Different eggplants?

This is the first time I've put mint in baba ganoush (an idea I got from Vegan Planet, though I didn't use that recipe).  It's a a great addition to the flavor and texture of this dish. I'm sorry I don't have a real recipe; some day I'll keep track of what I'm doing so that I can reproduce it.  But it's more of an add-a-little-as-you-go kind of thing.  The only real variables are that sometimes I don't use cumin, and some times I do use the tiniest, tiniest drop of liquid smoke to get a roasted/grilled-outside kind of flavor.  Even without it, thoguh, roasted eggplant is amazing; it gets almost caramelized in the oven.

Baba Ganoush with Mint

eggplant, halved lengthwise (the "hot dog" way)
olive oil
garlic, minced
lemon juice
cumin, ground
fresh mint leaves, washed and chopped

Sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh of the eggplants and allow to sit.  Preheat oven to 400*.  Place eggplants on an oiled baking sheet, cut side down; poke several holes in the skin with a fork, and bake for 20-35 minutes, until flesh is very soft.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before scooping flesh out of skins.  Discard skins.
In a blender, combine eggplant innards, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and salt, adjusting seasonings to taste.  Blend until very creamy.  Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with mint leaves.


Unknown said...

I just decided on the menu for our housewarming party and it looks a lot like yours. I like the green goo!

darias04 said...

the stuffed mushrooms were bomb!!! So were your cookies!