Cheese stuffed Portobello mushrooms

You want something easy and flavorful? This is it right here.

I found this recipe from Food & Wine and knew it was what we were going to eat at some point over the Memorial Day weekend. Equipped with fresh Portobello mushrooms from the farmer’s market, I went to work slicing, dicing and prepping.

The recipe is actually for a burger. I say don’t even bother with the burger part. These babies taste so good on their own, adding a hamburger bun seems like a sin. The filling is deceptively rich, and eating this as a burger would likely not leave much room for dessert, if there were any to be had. The filling has a versatile flavor that could be used on its own as a sauce (just add a little bit of heavy cream and perhaps some white wine and reduce it), serve it over vegetables or heck, even pasta. Oooo – or maybe even as a risotto! Now that would be good.

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Fresh corn ravioli with herb cream sauce

Every once in a while, I have a meltdown in the kitchen. I can usually handle it when things don’t go well, but this dish got the best of me. I first tried this recipe on Sunday, and much to my frustration it just wasn’t working out. The filling was too runny. I knew it as soon as I started stuffing the ravioli, but I kept going anyway. A verbal tirade ensued once I went to cut the squares and the runny filling oozed out from all sides. This was a stupid recipe with stupid instructions and stupid ingredients. Everything about it was stupid. Especially the corn. That was the stupidest part of all.

The corn, once pulverized, released quite a bit of water which I believe was the culprit of making the filling too runny. I made a half-ass effort to try and thicken it up by grating some parmesan cheese into it, but to no avail. I didn’t have anything else on hand to help thicken it up so I kept on going.

Look at that stupid filling.

Look at that stupid filling.

For each ravioli that held together, 2 more went into the pile of failures, seeping filling out onto my work area. Terry, bless her heart, trying to be helpful, suggested putting them in the oven and baking them. I wasn’t hearing it. “Just throw them in the oven and bake ‘em up, if they don’t work out, they don’t work out!” No. Thanks and please leave me alone. They were stupid and that was all there was to it.

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Grilled corn and fire-roasted poblano risotto

Today I was inspired by a leftover ingredient from last week’s ancho-honey glazed tofu steaks. I have a whole can of chilies in adobo sauce to use before they go bad, so I based this entire dish on using the leftover sauce.

I thought it might be fun to try a southwestern/Italian fusion dinner. Lots of southwestern dishes use rice as the base, so I chose risotto. Plus, it was a great excuse to grill corn, even if it is a little premature for the season. I lucked out today because the corn I picked up was totally awesome and flavorful. Roasting the peppers over an open fire in the kitchen was pretty fun, too.

At first I was just going to use the adobo sauce as-is, but it packs a lot of heat that I didn’t want to over-power the rest of the flavors. Enter the trusty Greek yogurt. That worked well because risotto dishes are often finished with cream, so this was going to do the trick just fine.

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Ancho-honey glazed tofu steak with black bean sauce and tomatillo salsa

Ever since we got back from Vegas, I’ve had a dish I ate at Mesa Grill on my mind. I’ve been dying to try cooking it so this weekend seemed like as good a time as any! Especially since it was the perfect excuse to clean up the grill and put it to use for the first time this season.

This version is hardly complete, I’m missing two of the sauces (roasted red pepper and jalepeño crema), but the flavors were still really good. If you don’t want to fire up the grill, you could use a grill pan or broil the tofu.

I’m definitely making this one again – it’s got a lot going on, but it’s totally worth it!

cilantro-oil

Cilantro oil

tofusteak-2

Finished dish

Recipe modified from Food & Wine

Ingredients

Ancho honey glaze:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Cilantro oil

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime

Black bean sauce (the original recipe calls for raw beans which need to be soaked. I didn’t have time for that so I used a can.)

  • 1 can black beans (rinsed)
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup water

Tomatillo salsa

  • 2 small tomatillos
  • 1 jalapeño
  • Juice of one lime
  • Cilantro as much or as little as you prefer
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion

1 14 oz package extra firm tofu
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill. (Or you can use a grill pan.)
  2. Combine ingredients for the bean sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined.
  3. Transfer bean mixture to a saucepan, add salt and pepper and heat on a low flame, about 8-10 minutes or until warm. Be careful to not let it burn!
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the honey with the ancho chile powder and mustard and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Slice the tofu into two equal pieces and set over paper towels to drain the water. Coat the tofu steaks with the vegetable oil and season each side with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill and cook on each side for about 2 minutes. After each side has been cooked, brush the glaze on the steaks and cook an additional 2-3 minutes each side.
  6. To make the salsa, chop all of the ingredients, mix in a bowl and coat with the lime juice. This can be done ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge.
  7. To make the cilantro oil, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until well combined. Strain mixture through a sieve, discarding any cilantro leaves that are left behind.
  8. Plate the dish by spreading the black bean sauce on the plate, then the tofu steak. Top with the tomatillo salsa and drizzle the cilantro oil around everything.

Broiled chèvre and avocado open-face sandwich

Summer weather was out in full force this weekend, and I took very advantage to soak up the awesome temps as much as I could. Yesterday I cleaned up the grill and put it to use for the first time this season, and today, after some quality time in the sun that included a snooze, breaking into my newest tome, The New Making of a Cook by Madeleine Kamman and a run, I decided a light dinner was in order.

This recipe was a great match for what I was looking for. Full of flavor and so easy to pull together, you could use this recipe for virtually any meal of the day. Top with a poached egg and serve it for breakfast, downsize the portion for an easy crostini appetizer or serve with a side of grilled vegetables for a light lunch!

Have fun with this one!

broiled-chevre-sammich

Ingredients

  • Any bread of your choice
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Chèvre cheese
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Greens of your choice (I used arugula microgreens)
  • Black pepper, salt and balsamic glaze

Instructions

Turn your broiler on to low. Drizzle olive oil over the sliced bread (be generous) and place in the oven on the middle rack.

Broil for 2-4 minutes, keeping an eye out not to let it burn, until light golden and crispy.

While the bread broils, prep your avocado, tomatoes and greens.

To make the balsamic glaze, heat ¼ – ½ cup balsamic vinegar in a pan and reduce until thickened.

To assemble, plate the bread and layer with the chèvre, then avocado, then tomatoes and greens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle on the balsamic glaze.