Saturday, October 3, 2015

Goat Cheese and Red Bell Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms


So, I took a new job in August. And I have loved it. As in really loved the new challenges and opportunities and expectations. It's still in education. It's still thinking about academics. But it is much more holistic than just literature and thesis statements and Virginia Woolf. Okay, okay some days weren't all about Virginia Woolf even six months ago, but now they certainly are not. They're about the history of math and STEAM curriculum and debate tournaments and experiential learning as it pertains to physics. And occasionally they get to be about thesis statements and Virginia Woolf.

But it does mean that the time devoted to my blog has been greatly diminished. Not to worry, though, as I still have many plans for dishes this fall and winter.


When this book arrived in the mail, it was clearly a no-brainer for me. I have made no bones about how much I love appetizers. Given an option for morsels, I find that there is no contest. Especially if said morsels are accompanied by a variety of sauces. It's why tapas and dim sum are my close friends. Seriously. I love little bites to pop into one's mouth, and often on a Friday night instead of cooking a full meal, I will stop by a local market and buy a smorgasbord of nibbles and snacks.

Martha Stewart's new cookbook, Appetizers, comes with 200 recipes, including a section on cocktails (hurray!), and a bevy of tips on how to host your next party. From sticking to a budget to front loading the work, Martha (or her hive of writers) assures us that we can still relax, remain calm, and enjoy the company one has collected for a party.

Martha clearly has bigger plans for my Friday nights.



I welcome you Burrata with Hot Pickled Peppers, Roasted Polenta Squares with Fontina and Wild Mushrooms, and Scallop with Watermelon Ceviche. Get onto my plate! But I will say that this cookbook sometimes dips into the 1970s. I swear that Chex Mix (which she calls "Salty-Sweet Party Mix"), Cheese Balls, and Fried Macaroni-and-Cheese Bites all make appearances in this book. And the font just feels a little "throwback-y" to me, too. However, I am not above Pigs in Blankets (see page 126)--especially if they come with a layer of tangy mustard and a sprinkling of poppy seeds on top.



So, last week, I made this little classic number of stuffed mushrooms, and it could not have been an easier or simpler return to posting. And who doesn't love stuffed mushrooms, whether they be such as these in appetizer portions that one can pop into one's mouth or the larger, more substantial portabello variety that one can slice into with a knife and fork and call it a meal? Martha offered up three options for stuffings--Kale and Fontina, Goat Cheese with Red Bell-Pepper, and Sausage with Herbs--and I went with the easy classic of Goat Cheese, in part because of what was in my refrigerator. I admit no other divine intervention.


I then shared these as a quick appetizer with my in-laws who made a spectacular meatloaf (seriously, we had a 1970s-themed dinner that had been updated to the 2010s--perhaps I should have made that Chex Mix) and an evening of watching the first two episodes of Show Me a Hero. Okay, okay. The husband and his parents watched Show Me A Hero.  

I fell asleep on the couch. 

Let's be clear. Even though I have a new job, my sleeping habits haven't changed.


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Goat Cheese and Red Bell Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms


Yield:
Makes 24

Ingredients: 
2 slices old day-old bread 
Small bunch of chives, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped 
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
24 large button mushrooms, stems removed and caps cleaned

Instructions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Pulse the bread in a food processor until finely chopped (this should make a little less than 1/2 a cup). Transfer to a bowl. Combine the chives, bell pepper, and goat cheese in the food processor, and pulse until finely chopped and well combined. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with breadcrumbs, and stir to combine. Stir in the parsley and 1/2 of grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

3.  Place mushroom caps on a baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil. Stuff the caps with the goat cheese mixture, dividing evenly and packing tightly.

4.  Bake until tender about 25-30 minutes. Turn oven to broil. Sprinkle mushrooms with remaining grated cheese, and broil until the cheese is golden, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

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