Planning dinner for my friend Devon's 30th birthday last Saturday was kind of like being on Iron Chef. I knew that party guests Chris and Laura, owners of Bread and Roses Farm in Westford, planned to bring an assortment of veggies when they arrived at my apartment, I just didn't know which ones (see, "secret ingredients!"). They showed up with a little of everything: red peppers, eggplant, carrots, beets, chard, kale, mesclun mix, leeks, parsley, dill and buttercup squash. The b-day crew also spent part of the afternoon at Shelburne Orchards picking apples in a rain storm. So we had those to work with, too.
I did my menu planning on the fly at Shelburne Supermarket...no cookbooks, no internet. Just me, a vegetarian birthday girl with veto power, and thousands of products. Here's what I came up with: Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms, Roasted Squash Gnocchi with Chard and Bayley-Hazen Blue Cheese Sauce, Salad with Toasted Pecans and Apples, and Apple Crisp for dessert.
Here's the first recipe (others will follow in future posts).
Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms (serves 6 as an appetizer)
3 medium-sized portabella 'shrooms
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic
a handful of flat-leaf parsley
salt to taste
pepper to taste
A round of Demitasse, a mixed-milk cheese from Lazy Lady Farm (or substitute any soft cheese with a white rind that you like)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the mushrooms' stems, cutting off and discarding the really dirty bit that was underground. Clean mushroom stems and caps.
Lightly oil both sides of the caps and place them in a Pyrex dish or other oven-friendly container. Bake, turning once, until cooked through. Once done, remove from oven and turn heat to "broil."
While the caps are cooking, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Mince garlic and add to pan, stirring regularly to prevent burning. Mince mushroom stems and add. Do the same to the parsley. When the ingredients are cooked through, add breadcrumbs until you have enough crumb filling to top the three mushrooms (maybe around 2/3 c.). Saute until the crumbs are golden brown.
Spoon the filling onto the mushroom caps, forming a mound in the middle that tapers towards the edges.
Cut the cheese into sixths, and put one slice atop each of the stuffed mushrooms. Place under the broiler and leave until cheese is runny. Cut each mushroom cap in two and serve.
Stay tuned for the Roasted Squash Gnocchi recipe...