Grilled Balsamic Portabello Mushroom Burgers

I really am not a huge mushroom fan so for years I have avoided any sort of burger with a giant mushroom in place of the meat. But when one of my sisters made a delicious marinade for mushrooms and grilled them, and they were really, really good, I thought maybe it was time to try a portabello (is it portabello or portabella?) burger. I used her marinade, another sister’s hamburger recipe, and a complete stranger’s bun recipe to make this.

If you are at all concerned about having to eat an enormous vegetable when what you really want is beef, please trust me, you will love it. It doesn’t feel like its missing meat, its not a chore to eat for you non veggie lovers. Its delicious. It is so juicy and wonderful, I could honestly eat these every day.

One important tip, when it comes to cleaning the mushrooms, do not just rinse them in water before attempting to remove the gills. I did this on my first try, the mushroom soaked up all the water and turned to mush in my hands as I tried to scrape off the gills. Instead, remove the gills with a spoon before washing them. To wash them, I used a wet paper towel and gently wiped them clean to keep the mushrooms from acting like a sponge and soaking up a ton of water.

Despite these tips, I still hate cleaning the mushrooms. I feel clumsy and like I am mutilating it. The gills are edible but will give the finished burger an ugly color. If there is a better way to clean and remove the gills, I would love to hear! But in the very end, after marinading in a dark marinade and then being grilled, they really don’t look like I did a terrible job cleaning them. But still, I am unhappy with how they look before they go in the ziplock bag, so I’d really love to hear from you if I am doing it wrong.

For the marinade:

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1/3 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 tsp. pepper
  • 4 portabello mushrooms, cleaned and gills removed

Note my clumsy, half destroyed looking “cleaned” mushroom:

In a ziplock bag add all marinade ingredients. Shake to mix, add mushrooms, toss to coat, refrigerate for 4+ hours (can be marinated overnight.)

Heat grill and prepare toppings. For my burgers went with tomato, onion, asiago cheese, fresh basil, arugula, this aioli, and these buns.

Grill for about 8-10 minutes, 4-5 on each side. Don’t worry if it looks like it may be burned, it isn’t, the balsamic is very dark and the mushrooms has just absorbed all the color. Just don’t burn them for real and make a liar out of me!

Ready to go on the grill!

And the cheese getting all melty and perfect:

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Here’s another easy-peasy one, one of our summertime favorites. I’m working on finding the perfect sauce recipe to accompany this, but really, plain old salt and pepper and butter are fantastic on these.

  • Corn on the cob, shucked
  • water
  • salt and pepper (optional)
  • butter (optional)

Soak the corn in water for about 10 minutes. Don’t cook it in water! Just soak it.

Then throw them on the hot grill for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally as the kernels blacken. Serve with salt, pepper and butter!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Roulade

In case you haven’t noticed based on my recipes so far, a few of my favorite things are shallots, walnuts, goat cheese, and thyme has to be one of the greatest fresh herbs known to man. If you happen to be crazy and not like it, you can use rosemary in this recipe instead and I bet feta or Gorgonzola would also be a good substitute for the goat cheese. I love to serve this on a warm spinach salad for a light summertime dinner. You could throw it on the grill outside or do it on the stove top, either way you will love this simple, fresh and delicious pork recipe. This recipe is once again brought to you by my handy dandy Cooking Light subscription.

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cooking spray

Prepare grill to medium heat. Slice tenderloin lengthwise, cutting to but not through other side. Open halves, lay tenderloin flat, place tenderloin between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with a mallet until tenderloin is 1/2 -inch thick.

Sprinkle shallots, cheese, walnuts and thyme on tenderloin.

Roll up the tenderloin starting with the long side, secure at 1-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Coat grill with cooking spray and place pork on grill. Grill for about 30 minutes or until internal thermometer reads 155F, turning after 13 minutes.

Remove from grill; lightly cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes, cut into 8 slices, yield 4 servings.

Pizza Craze

According to Bay Area blogger and food critic Michael Bauer, we are in the middle of a pizza craze. Well, I don’t know about you but I’ve been crazy about pizza since I was a little kid. Regardless, pizza seems to be the new fad and that is one bandwagon I’ll be happy to jump on. I have about 15 different dough recipes, I have not tried them all but I plan to and I’ll document and share my results as I go along.

This dough recipe is from my friend Juli, she got it from good ole Betty Crocker and tweeked it to fit her tastes.

  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105-115 deg)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive or vegetable oil
  • cornmeal

Dissolve yeast in warm water in medium bowl.  Stir in flour, 2 tbsp oil, and salt. Beat vigorously 20 strokes. Cover and let rest for 20 mins.

Heat oven to 375 deg.  Grease a full-size baking sheet with oil and sprinkle some cornmeal on it.  Pat dough into the baking sheet, covering the whole sheet.  Cover (with a dish towel) and let rise in warm place 30-45 mins or until almost double.

Put whatever you want on the pizza.  Bake 22-25 mins or until crust just begins to brown.

Gourmet Mac and Cheese. Need I Say More?

My husband grew up near Seattle and when we got engaged his dear aunt threw me a bridal shower. I got this awesome cookbook as a gift and one of the first dishes I learned to make after getting married is the mac and cheese from this book. It’s so good, lots of warm cheese, a crispy bread crumby top. Need I say more? But this mac and cheese is way more than your average cheddar and elbow noodle, from the spiral pasta, salty prosciutto and variety of cheeses, especially the distinct bite of the Gorgonzola, its easy to see why this is the best mac and cheese ever.

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 3/4 cup Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces gemelli or other spiral pasta
  • 1/2 bread crumbs, fresh or dried will do
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped, fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 13×9 baking dish. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender and aromatic, about 5 minutes. While the butter is still bubbling, add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in milk and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and turns thick, about 3-5 minutes. Take pan from heat and add 3/4 cup Parmesan, Gruyere, fontina, and Gorgonzola, whisking until cheese is melted into sauce. Stir in prosciutto, cayenne, salt and pepper, set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook for 5-7 minutes. Pasta should remain uncooked in center.  Stain, rinse with cool water to stop cooking and drain well. Stir pasta in with the cheese sauce and pour into prepared dish.

Stir together bread crumbs, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan and sprinkle mixture over top of pasta.

Bake until pasta is heated through and browned on top, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

I think the headline sums up this incredible bread. Try it, tonight! And when you try my delicious turkey pesto on focaccia sandwiches, try this recipe for your own home made bread.

And a big thanks to my sister Carrie for making sure this recipe made it into my cookbook scrapbook.

Makes 2 small loaves.

  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp butter

Mix yeast, sugar and water and set until bubbly.

Mix in butter, salt and flour. Add 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead approximately 10 minutes. Coat a bowl with cooking spray, place dough inside and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Divide dough in half and let rest for 5 minutes, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape dough into 2 rounded loaves. Sprinkle remaining rosemary over top and lightly press into surface. Cover and let dough rise again for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 and bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, if desired.

When in Rome, Have the Gnocchi

I’ve always love these tasty little potato dumplings, but it was on my honeymoon that the love affair began. I must have tried 15 different restaurant’s gnocchi and never once did I get sick of it. Potatoes and pasta. Or is is pasta and potatoes? One thing is for sure, its a carb lover’s dream. And the variety! You can do meat sauce, pesto, alfredo, whatever you like!

I was so excited, yet very intimidated when I found this recipe, once again thanks to my subscription to Cooking Light. Gnocchi just seems like the thing you mess up if you don’t know what you are doing, and so there was a frozen pizza for back up, just in case. But in the end, my husband was impressed, I was in heaven and this recipe made it into the almost weekly rotation and the whole process was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.

Here its with a lemon thyme sauce. According to me, you can’t have too much citrus and you can never have too many shallots, that is why this sauce is the best. But try something different if want, any sauce will do. Gnocchi is very inexpensive to make and and can be a great Sunday afternoon activity for the whole family.

For the Gnocchi:

  • 2  (10-ounce) baking potatoes
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4  tsp  kosher salt, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  gallon water

For the Lemon Thyme Sauce:

  • 4  tsp  butter
  • 4  tsp  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped shallots
  • 1  tbsp  grated lemon rind
  • 2  tsp  chopped fresh thyme
  • 2  tsp  fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • 2  tbsp  shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4  tsp  freshly ground black pepper

First, wash poke and bake the potatoes at 400 for 1 hour. Allow them to cool enough to handle and then peel them and pass them through a potato ricer. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup. Add flour and 3/4 tsp. salt and stir to form dough.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide dough into four balls, cover the dough you are not working with to keep it from drying out.

Roll a 20 inch rope out of the ball.

Cut rope into 20, 1 inch pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball.

Using a lightly floured fork, use your thumb to roll each piece down the tines of the fork.

Gnocchi should have ridges on one side and an indentation from your thumb on the other. Repeat process with remaining 3 balls of dough.

Place gnocchi on a baking sheet coated in cooking spray, cover and set aside.

In a Dutch oven, bring 1 gallon (16 cups) of water and 1 tsp. kosher salt to a boil. Cook half the gnocchi at a time for about 1 and half minutes. Gnocchi will float when it is cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and strain. Remember to only cook the half of it at a time or the water will cool down too much and the gnocchi won’t cook properly.

While the water is heating you can start the sauce. Heat butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, do not brown.

Stir in lemon rind, thyme, juice and a dash of salt. Combine with gnocchi, cheese and pepper in a large bowl and gently toss to coat.