You will never guess what I did this weekend! Mr. Bunkycooks and I went to hang out in the woods and the mountains of North Carolina!
Now I know that you are wondering why on Earth I would choose to do such a thing after just having been to Camp Blogaway last weekend with my big camping experience in the San Bernadino mountains in California. As if I didn’t have enough of the altitude sickness, thin air and the wild animals (well, they weren’t really that wild…).
Anyway, this weekend we were only at 4,200 feet (not 7,000 as we were in California), so I did just fine with the altitude issue. That 2,800 feet in altitude change makes a huge difference in how you feel. And yes, there are bears and such in North Carolina, but I didn’t see any (although sometimes they do come around to the back deck, especially when I am cooking). Frankly, this weekend was to relax, visit with friends and catch up on all the
Foodbuzz emails things I fell behind on while I was out in California. It was nice to take it easy and just kind of hang out. We all need some down time.
I actually had quite a bit of free time on Saturday because I was
a golf widow alone most of the day. Now, other than spending way too much time on my computer, I am not a real relaxed kind of gal. In other words, I cannot sit still! They used to call that “ants in the pants” when I was a kid and now they call it ADD and treat it with Ritalin or Addrerall, but I am way beyond that. Wine works just as well!
So, what does a hyperactive food blogger do when they cannot sit still? They cook and take pictures! Yes, I took pictures of food (of course), but I also wandered outside to enjoy the day and take a few photos. It was such a beautious day…the great outdoors was beckoning me and I just had to go outside and take advantage of it.
When I finished playing outside, I was
ravenous just a wee bit hungry, so I took the infamous peek into the fridge to see what was for lunch! Nothing was exciting to me except for the portobello mushrooms. Surely I could do something with them. (If not, then I am in serious trouble!) I also had some beautiful green onions and a red pepper from the farmer’s market, so I thought I would use them, too.
I grabbed a handful of some of my herbs that I planted in the hillside and in some pots a few years ago. They return year after year with no effort (that’s my kind of plant!)! After some futzing with a few different ingredients, I had a delicious lunch just for me! You can easily double or quadruple this recipe if you need to, but heh, I was all alone, so the recipe is for one! It also would be incredible with some sauteed sausage, cooked ground pork or well-seasoned ground turkey thrown in with the rest of the filling if you want a heartier meal. This would be perfect served with a lovely salad for an easy summer dinner. If you love to grill, you could also cook much of this outdoors.
I suggest that you serve this stuffed portobello mushroom with a nice glass of Pinot Noir. I was going out that evening and thought about having a glass of wine with lunch, but decided not to imbibe. However, it sure sounded like a great combination, so I will do that next time!
You can make this with almost any combination of veggies you have in the fridge (as I did – I was scrounging). Of course, this particular mix of veggies, herbs and cheese was especially tasty. The flavors were incredible together. It was very fresh tasting and needed no seasoning beyond what I added to the cooking process.
And if you happen to have picky eaters for guests (as I had recently, remember my post for the eggplant lasagna?), this dish as it is is vegetarian and can be gluten-free (just leave out the bread and add more veggies).
It is nice to have a day to chill and do something simple…even if it is in the woods (and we all know how much I love being in the woods!).
Stuffed Portobello Mushroom
1 portobello mushroom cap
1 teaspoon good extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for oiling pan and baking dish
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1 large green onion, white and light green parts, chopped
1/4 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 slice whole wheat bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup jarred pasta sauce (I used a nice Tomato Basil sauce)
1/3 cup Six Cheese Italian blend, grated (Sargento)
Pinch Herbes de Provence
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wipe mushroom clean with a dry paper towel. Carefully scrape out black part underneath mushroom cap to reveal the off-white skin below. Lightly oil a small skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Place top part of mushroom down first and cook three to five minutes until slightly brown and mushroom begins to “sweat”. Turn over and cook for just another minute or two to soften slightly. Remove and set aside.
To make stuffing mixture – In another small skillet, over medium heat, place 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute red pepper and green onion for two to three minutes, just until vegetables begin to soften. Add mined garlic, thyme and oregano. Stir and cook about thirty seconds. Add torn bread pieces. Stir and mix together for an additional thirty to forty-five seconds. You just want to mix the flavors together and warm everything up a bit. Season lightly with a little salt and pepper, stir again.
Place the stuffing mixture in the portobello cap and place in a small lightly oiled baking dish. Cover with pasta sauce and grated cheese. Sprinkle with just a pinch of Herbes de Provence.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake ten minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking for two to three minutes. I finished mine under the broiler for about another minute, just to slightly brown the top.