Archive for Misc

Eggplant and Gorgonzola Stuffed Portobellos

Sometimes in life, special occasions call for special food. A birthday, an anniversary, a holiday… all times when you might want to not cook the thing that you cook all the time (unless you are my son, then the answer to every special occasion is pizza). A special occasion is a great time to buy ingredients you wouldn’t normally use, special ingredients, the search for which can sometimes be a part of the fun.

Eggplant and gorgonzola stuffed portobellos

Witness the Eggplant and Gorgonzola Stuffed Portobello. Originally destined to be a Valentine’s Day treat for y’all, things in my life went south on V-day, and they never happened. They were next supposed to be made for an Oscar-viewing dinner, but I got sidelined by something buggy, and again, they didn’t happen. But that’s okay. You can save them for your next special occasion…

This recipe comes from Chef Michael Zmigrodski from Wildflowers Restaurant in Upstate, New York. I would serve this as an appetizer, before moving on to a main course, of say, puttanesca, followed by a basil olive oil ice cream with a strawberry balsamic reduction (working on those). The original recipe called for full-sized portobellos, but I found these adorbs li’l portobellinis at the store, and had to try them. This is much more of an appetizer portion. This recipe is crazy rich: meaty mushrooms, succulent eggplant, rich sun-dried tomatoes, creamy gorgonzola (I’m a huge sucker for blue cheese), finished with some lovely, fresh basil. This recipe is, by the way, vegetarian, and gluten-free, if you leave off the panko, which I added as an afterthought for a little texture and crunch.

Just a quick note: you may want to prepare the stuffing the day before, as it’s easier to work with when cooled.

Make these for someone you love (like yourself!) sometime soon.

Eggplant and Gorgonzola Stuffed Portobellos

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Gingerly brush mushroom caps with oil and place rounded side down, on a greased baking sheet.
  • Pour approximately 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Combine chopped eggplant, onion, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until eggplant is becomes tender and browned.  Then add garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes.

 

  • Remove skillet from heat; stir in Gorgonzola cheese and 1 tablespoon of the chopped basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Once mixture cooled, stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture.
  • Cover the mushrooms with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking until stuffing turns a golden brown.  Check tenderness of mushroom with fork.  The fork should pierce the skin easily.   For presentation, sprinkle mushrooms with the remaining chopped basil.  Serve warm.

 

Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Date Squares

Whew! That’s quite the handle, hey?

My last post, the Jungle Monkey Love Cake? I made that for a dessert when I went over to have dinner with some friends a couple of weeks ago. Well, unbeknownst to me, my friend had some pretty serious dietary restrictions. She is both a diabetic and a celiac, so she didn’t get to eat said cake, but her partner sure did enjoy it.

But I felt bad. I don’t like my friends to have to go dessert-less. And I do love a challenge. Throw dietary restrictions at me, and dare me to come up with something tasty, and I will do it.

Enter the humble date square. Simple ingredients, simple prep, but oh so sweet and tasty. This recipe is adapted from a couple that I found, both raw. I chose to cook mine, but you don’t need to. I like the kiss of golden brown on the crumble topping.

sugar free, gluten free, vegan date squares

Here are the links to the original recipes: My New Roots (h/t @juliaaustine) and Oh She Glows.

Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Date Squares

Ingredients:

Crust/topping:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 cups oats (gluten-free if you are making these for someone with celiac)
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (like Earth Balance) or coconut oil. If you’re not vegan, use butter.
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Filling:

  • two packages of dates (375 g each)
  • one orange
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water

Method:

Base:

  • Put the walnuts and oats in a food processor, and slowly turn up the volume until you are processing them on high. You don’t need it to be a fine flour, but you want it to be fairly crumb-like. Add in the cinnamon.
  • Turn the motor to slow, and add the maple syrup. Melt the butter, and add slowly through the feeding chute.
  • The mixture should be clinging together. Divide into thirds, two thirds will be you bottom crust.
  • Line an 8″x8″ square pan with parchment, and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.

Filling:

  • Unwrap the dates and cut them into chunks in a medium sauce pan. Zest the orange and add it to the dates, then cut it in half and add the juice to the mixture as well. Add a 1/4 c of water, and turn the pan on low to medium heat. Let the whole mixture melt together, adding more water if necessary. I usually employ a potato masher to get everything good and squished up and working together. Your final result should be a thickish paste.
  • Spread the filling layer on top of your base, and top with the leftover base, but don’t pack it down as hard as the bottom layer.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

UPDATE: from the gluten-free diabetic: “Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! They are most delicious!”

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