Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bruschetta and Stuffed Mushrooms

Okay, so this last week I was wracking my brain trying to think of a good recipe for appetizers I could take to a party we were invited to go to (which was last night) and in the end we couldn't even go!  The little guy was sick and had gotten me sick, and now the husband is sick too.  Ick.  Anyway, in our depression in not being able to go, I decided to make the appetizers anyway so we could sort of have a mini party at home. They turned out really good, so here I am to post the recipes for what I made. Luckily, I did actually remember to take photos this time before it got all consumed.   My sister in law had come to babysit our son for us, and ended up babysitting anyway so the husband and I could get out for a bit.  Since she was here, she got to try stuff with us, and gave her stamp of approval. :)

1 baguette, plain or roasted garlic, sliced
about 2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
4-5 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced fine
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp prepared pesto (homemade or store bought. Costco has a really good one)
parmesan cheese for topping
balsamic vinegar syrup for drizzling (recipe follows)

balsamic syrup

1/4 to 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp sugar

Put balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, and stir to combine well.  Over low heat reduce down til moderately thick and syrupy (like when honey is warmed and slightly liquefied). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

On a baking sheet place slices of bread.  In a small bowl combine olive oil with minced garlic and zap in microwave for 30 seconds. Helps the garlic to seep into the oil and flavor it.  Brush the garlic oil on to the bread slices, and then put into a 350 degree oven for 7 minutes.

While the bread is toasting, mix together tomatoes, pesto, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

When bread is done toasting, top with tomato mixture (bruschetta), and parmesan cheese.  Return to oven for another 5-7 minutes.  Just to warm the tomatoes and melt the cheese a bit.   

Drizzle each piece with balsamic syrup (just a little, makes it pretty and adds a sweet and tart flavor to the bruschetta.

Stuffed Mushrooms (posting again)

1 lb medium to large white mushrooms (Costco has big ones, they are great for this)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 to 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

Remove stems from mushrooms and scoop out a bit of the inside to create a small bowl shape.  Place caps in a 9x13 pan, and the stems and other bits aside. Once you fill the pan (I had a few extra whole mushrooms that didn't fit), chop the remaining mushrooms and the stems and other bits finely, almost mincing them.  

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil, and then add chopped mushrooms and garlic and saute for a few minutes til they reduce to about half their volume.  Place them in a medium bowl and add panko, salt and pepper, and 1/4 of the parmesan cheese.  Stir all of this to combine well, so the breadcrumbs absorb any liquid from the sauteed mushroom mixture.

Fill caps with the chopped mushroom mixture, sprinkle with the extra parmesan, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese has browned a bit and the mushroom caps are tender.  Serve hot.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Balsamic Sauteed Carrots and Onions

I wish I had thought to take a picture of these before they got eaten up, but they disappeared fast and I was more concerned about feeding my 7 month old than fussing about photos.  They were, however, delicious.  A fantastic compliment to the pork I roasted tonight for dinner. Super delicious, and super fast to make!  Perfect combination for a vegetable side dish for dinner, right? I hope you like them as much as I did.

Balsamic Sauteed Carrots and Onions

5 or 6 medium to large carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces (I cut them into shorter sticks)
1 small onion, halved and sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add carrots and onions and saute til onions become almost tender, but not completely.  Add the splash of balsamic and continue to cook and stir it around so it coats everything.  Add salt and pepper to taste, about 1/4 tsp each usually.  Keep cooking til the onions become tender and brown a bit and the vinegar burns off (you want the balsamic flavor but not the acidity).   Carrots should be tender but not soft. Serve hot with your favorite protein.

Pork Loin Roast

A few months back our local grocery store had a sale on their pork loin roasts.  It was a really good price and I am always looking for a decent deal on meat that I can buy bunches of and freeze for another time.  Only trouble was that the whole roasts were about 8 to 10 pounds a piece, which is WAY more than the hubby and I can eat, and the baby isn't eating meat yet. So I brought 2 of them home, opened them up and cut them into 5 smaller roasts, roughly 1.5 to 2 lbs each so they were more manageable portions for us to eat  for dinner.  (I didn't think about the fact that you can usually ask the butcher at your grocery store to do this for you--less mess at home, and they have the right tools to get it done and weigh it for you, too!)  I froze them in ziplock freezer bags, and tonight I decided to use one of them for dinner.

Well, I was visiting downtown Salt Lake City this morning for our little guy's doctor appointment, and didnt have time to put the roast in the crock pot before we left.  So I ended up pulling out the cookbook to figure out how to roast it in the oven instead.  I have to admit here, my spice and seasoning methods were not the same as in the book, but I did use the roasting information to make sure I cooked it long enough and it got to the right temp before we ate it.

Here's my method.  I wish I had taken a picture of it before I sliced it all up...maybe I'll take a pic of the slices so you can see it all finished.  It turned out really tasty. :)

Pork Roast

1 2-3 lb pork loin roast
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp course ground pepper (I like to use a grinder)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp each rosemary and sage

Rub entire roast with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, and rosemary.  Place in a medium casserole pan.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Place roast on middle rack of oven and roast for 10-15 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 250 and continue to roast for another hour to hour and a half.  Slice thin and serve with your favorite veggie and starch (we did baked potatoes and sauteed onions and carrots).