Tag Archives: sun-dried tomatoes

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

12 Aug

My sister came for a quickie visit to Puerto Rico… And to make things easier on her and my BIL, we decided to cook up some appetizer-type food and tell everyone if they wanted to see baby Ale, all they needed to do was to stop by my mom’s house.

I didn’t want to cook something and have it re-heated… I though stuffed mushrooms would be perfect because I could stuff them at home and cook them in batches as people would visit and decided they wanted something to nibble on.

The idea worked out perfectly because I did way too many… and we ended up dividing the leftovers between my mom and I for lunch the next day. Great make ahead idea…

 

 

GOAT CHEESE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

1 large package of white stuffing mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated on a microplane
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped in small pieces – make sure they’re made without sulfites as a preservative
1/4 cup of vegetable broth
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, organic preferably- divided
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup of loosely-packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
  1. Clean the mushrooms well using a damp paper towel. Remove the stems and chop them into small pieces and set aside. Reserve the caps for later use.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable broth to a simmer and add the sundried tomatoes. Turn off the stove and let the tomatoes just sit in the hot broth for a few minutes to help them reconstitute a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, pour a little olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic and the mushrooms stems you already chopped. Cook until the mushrooms are browned. Season with the thyme, stripping the leaves from the stems, salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cook some more to evaporate a bit, about 5 more minutes. Remove from pan into a bowl and allow cooling a bit.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cooled mushroom stem/onion mixture with the sun-dried tomatoes, breadcrumbs, goat cheese, ½ the parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley. Drizzle some olive oil if you see the mix a bit dry… but chances are it’s not.
  5. Preheat oven to 425F.
  6. In a large baking dish drizzled with a bit of olive oil, place all the mushrooms stuffed with the mixture we just made. Don’t push the stuffing too much into the mushrooms cavity, but do heap any additional stuffing generously on top of mushrooms. No need to discard or leave any stuffing for future use.
  7. Take the extra parmesan we saved and add a small mound on top of each mushrooms. I usually drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some additional salt and pepper to season the mushrooms themselves.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms looked cooked and cheese on top is golden brown.

Serve immediately…

Gluten-free Sun-dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

16 Mar

I’m into mushrooms… they’re delicious and they’re easy and quick to make. And when recently I was invited to make something “different” for the Vegetarian Festival at the Yoga Center, I decided I wanted to make some stuffed mushrooms.

I love to buy white button mushrooms at Costco, but the package is SO BIG that it’s usually too much for just me at home. But if we’re cooking for the Yoga Center, I would certainly need 2 packages. Mushrooms are used in the yoga center, but they’re not a usual main dish occurrence because they’re usually expensive when cooking for lots of people. But I thought this is my chance to highlight how you can embellish a little old mushroom and make them be your main dish.

I used gluten-free crackers instead of regular breadcrumbs because there are a lot of people at the center who keep a gluten-free diet. They work just the same, you’ll see and taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GLUTEN-FREE SUN-DRIED TOMATO STUFFED MUSHROOMS

2 large packages of white stuffing mushrooms – about 40-45 mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped finely
½ green bell pepper, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated on a microplane
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
10 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped in small pieces – make sure they’re made without sulfites as a preservative
½ cup of vegetable broth
1/2 packet of gluten-free crackers – I use Energy brand because that’s why I have available
1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, organic preferably- divided
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, organic preferably
1 cup of loosely-packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

 

  1. Clean the mushrooms well using a damp paper towel. They sometimes have traces of the dirt they were growing in. Remove the stems and chop them into small pieces and set aside. Reserve the caps for later use.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable broth to a simmer and add the sundried tomatoes. After it simmers for a while, turn off the stove and let the tomatoes just sit in the hot broth for a few minutes to help them reconstitute a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, pour a little olive oil and sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and the mushrooms stems you already chopped. Cook until the mushrooms are browned. Season with the thyme, stripping the leaves from the stems, salt and pepper. Add the reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes all together with the broth that’s left. Allow the mixture to cook some more to evaporate a bit, about 5 more minutes. Remove from pan into a bowl and allow cooling a bit.
  4. While the mixture cools, process the crackers into crumbs in a food processor.
  5. Mix together the cooled mushroom stem/onion/tomatoes mix with the crackers, mozzarella, ½ the parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley. Drizzle some olive oil if you see the mix a bit dry… but chances are it’s not.
  6. Preheat oven to 425F.
  7. In a large baking dish drizzled with a bit of olive oil, place all the mushrooms stuffed with the mixture we just made. Don’t push the stuffing too much into the mushrooms cavity, but do heap any additional stuffing generously on top of mushrooms. No need to discard or leave any stuffing for future use.
  8. Take the extra parmesan we saved and add a small mound on top of each mushrooms. I usually drizzle a a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some additional salt and pepper to season the mushrooms themselves.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms looked cooked and cheese on top is golden brown.

Serve immediately…

But if you want to make this for a party, you can place these on a steam table with about ½ cup of vegetable broth and allow them to steam to keep warm. If you place in a steam table dry, the mushrooms will shrivel.

I know… this Vegetarian Festival was filled with dishes; hardly these mushrooms seem like a main entrée. But I have served these, just like I have served my better-than-Maggiano’s Stuffed Mushrooms as a main dish with a side salad at home.

The positive comments kept on coming the whole night. Gabriel, Angie, Tania and many others came up to me to share their compliments on the mushrooms and asking for the recipe. I told them they needed to wait until we published here… you know, it’s easier to just hit print than write this all down. I actually repeated this recipe again at the center just a week later – people were left wanting some more.

So for all the fans… here’s the recipe now. Now you can make it at home whenever you want, not just when I make it at the Yoga Center. I hope it does not disappoint.

Caprese Pasta Salad

23 Jul

A while ago, I was shopping in Plaza las Américas with my friend Annie Mariel.  We decided to grab something light to eat at a restaurant there called La Patisserie.  She had her usual salmon fillet over lentils and I decided to have a pasta salad with tomatoes, pesto and fresh mozzarella.  That’s what the menu said – FRESH MOZZARELLA.

When I received my pasta salad… it was nothing like I had expected.  The pasta was overcooked, the mozzarella was certainly not fresh, the pesto tasted from a bottle and the cheese was added when the pasta was hot, so the pieces had melted into a strange goo.  Yuck…  I was not a happy camper.

 When I started making strange faces about my dissatisfaction with my entrée, Annie Mariel said:  “I am sure you can make a 200% better version of that pasta salad.  Go for it.” 

So this is it… my better version of a Caprese Pasta Salad… let me know if you like it too.

 

 Caprese Pasta Salad

CAPRESE PASTA SALAD

½ pound of whole grain pasta – brown rice or whole wheat spirals, macaroni or penne will all do
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
¼ cup of sun dried or oven roasted tomatoes, diced or sliced
About 1/3 cup of olive oil, plus more to dress the salad
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, smashed once
3-4 large fresh basil leaves
3-4 thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
 
  1. In a large bowl marinate the tomatoes – add the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Mix well all the ingredients together and let the fresh tomatoes break down and the dried ones plump up with the juices released from the fresh ones.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes mixing it well a few times throughout.
  2. In a medium pot filled with boiling salted water, cook the pasta about 3 minutes shy of what the package directions say.  You want them a bit undercooked from al dente… 
  3. Drain the pasta, rinse a bit with filtered cold water and add to the marinated tomatoes. Mix it all well carefully so you don’t break the pasta.   Make sure you remove the garlic clove before mixing the pasta… nobody will like to bite into a raw piece of garlic.  The pasta will absorb the juices of the tomatoes while it cools off.  Add more olive oil if you feel the pasta is too dry.
  4. After the pasta has cooled off, add the mozzarella cubes and mix well again.  You can serve room temperature or place it in the cooler before serving.

Arugula Pasta Salad

11 Feb

Because eating more salads is one of my New Year’s resolutions… this is one of the versions I came up with.  They not all have to be with only fresh vegetables, you know.

 arugula-pasta-salad1

ARUGULA PASTA SALAD

¼ pound of whole wheat pasta – I used penne, but any short tubular pasta will do
1 fresh tomato, peeled and diced small
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn small or cut thinly
About 3 tbs of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, smashed
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 handfuls of arugula leaves, washed well and dried
½  cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small
  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic clove, salt and pepper.  Mix well together and let the mixture marinate while you set up the rest of the ingredients.  While you’re preparing the rest of the ingredients, toss the mixture every so often to mix well.  You can do this a bit in advance if you want to let the mixture marinate more time… that’s up to you.
  2. Set water to boil pasta.  Boil pasta in plenty of salted water according to package directions.
  3. While pasta cooks, wash arugula lettuce well and spin dry.  Set aside.
  4. When pasta is ready, drain well and return to pot where you boiled it.  Add the tomato mixture, removing the smashed garlic clove, and coat well.  Add the parmesan cheese and toss together.
  5. Serve the lettuce in a salad bowl and place desired amount of pasta on top of the lettuce.  The olive oil in the marinated tomatoes will be your salad dressing.  Add the cucumber and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top if you’d like.

Smoked Gouda and Spinach Risotto

22 Jan

I love this dish… to me, this dish is comfort food at its finest and easiest.

You know me, I make risotto from a box, but I never eat it straight as is… I always embellish the risotto from Archer Farms with lots of flavor and ingredients.  I actually started making this risotto a looooooooooong time ago, more or less 10 years.  But I used to make it with a Lipton’s Creamy Garlic and Parmesan Risotto mix.  Unfortunately, that product was discontinued… but now I can continue the legacy buying rice at Target every time I travel.

I first learned the basics of flavors for this recipe from something I had read in Cooking Light magazine…  I saw the recipe but I said to myself I would never stand in front of a stove stirring rice for 20-25 minutes.  I love how this tastes… and no one who has had it has ever asked or noticed that the base is from a box, because the flavors are so restaurant like.

I do have to warn you, this recipe is addictive… and with the amount of cheese, it is a bit fattening.  But for special occasions, to celebrate others or yourself, this recipe is easy, reliable and most importantly, delicious.

 smoked-gouda-risotto-2

SMOKED GOUDA AND SPINACH RISOTTO

1 box of Archer Farms 4-Cheese Risotto mix
1 ¼ cup cut-leaf spinach, defrosted and squeezed, but not too much
8-10 button mushrooms, cleaned well and sliced
½ a round of smoked Gouda cheese
3 oz of cream cheese
1/2 cup Fontina cheese, grated
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced (optional, but highly recommended)

 

  1. In a large pot, bring 2 ½ cup of water to a boil… we’re basically preparing the risotto according to packaging directions… when the water boils, dump in the rice packet and the seasonings packet.  It might seem the pot is too large, but the mixture will bulk up with the cheeses and mushrooms, specially.
  2. While that cooks a bit, you have some time to slice mushrooms, slice the sun-dried tomatoes and grate the cheeses.  Even though the spinach I buy is cut-leaf spinach, I usually run my kitchen scissors through it to make sure the pieces of spinach are manageable when eating.
  3. When the rice is partly done, add the spinach to the pot.  Mix well and cover partially so the rice comes again to temperature quickly.  After the rice has come to temperature, add the cheeses one by one… I usually start with the cream cheese, then the Gouda, then the Fontina and then the Pecorino.  Mix well to help the cheeses melt into the rice/spinach mixture.
  4. When the cheeses have melted well, but the sauce is still runny, add the mushroom slices and the sun-dried tomatoes, if using.  Mix everything well and let the mushrooms cook a bit.  
  5. When you feel the rice is done, cover the pot and let it stand there for about 10-15 minutes. 

 

While you’re waiting, you can make a side salad or some baked plantains…  the sauce will thicken a bit after waiting a little while and it will be at a nicer temperature where you can really enjoy the cheese and spinach flavors.  If it’s too hot, you won’t taste anything…

This recipe reheats very well.  All I do for the sauce to return to its creamy consistency is to heat it any leftovers up with a bit of cream, half and half or even milk.  I reheat it on the stove top and in a few minutes it’s creamy as it was the night before.

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