Homesick Texan’s Onion Rings

June 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Appetizers, Side Dishes | 48 Comments
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Can I see a show of hands of how many of you LOVE onion rings? 

Can I see a show of hands of how many of you make them on a regular basis? 

That’s just what I thought.

I think I tried making them once about 20 years ago. With the mess involved both with the oil, the countertops and that stubborn batter that wouldn’t cling to the onions, I quickly decided they were best left to the experts and should only be ordered in restaurants.

Continue Reading Homesick Texan’s Onion Rings…


Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico

February 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Posted in Appetizers, Side Dishes | 42 Comments
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Stuffed Mushrooms. Always a wonderful treat and with so many recipe variations, any of these bite size offerings are delicious. We happen to think they make a wonderful side dish for steak and that’s exactly what I served for Sunday dinner. 

I’ve talked ad nauseum about our wonderful local market who spoils us with fine offerings of seafood, the best aged beef in town, deli meats and cheeses, and gourmet take home dinners, my beloved Tony’s Market. Tony’s also spoils us with weekly emails offering a fabulous selection of mouth-watering recipes. Last week this stuffed mushroom recipe arrived and it was quickly added to my menu. It’s wonderful and actually the only stuffed mushroom recipe that I’ve permanently added to my recipe database. 

I served these with Beef Tournedos With Mushroom Wine Sauce and twice baked potatoes. I must say this was a fabulous dinner. The tenderloin was cooked so perfectly, and topped with out of this world red wine reduction sauce, we’ll probably brag about the meal for years. Just one little blogging problem…except for the preparation of the mushrooms, no photos. Not even of the cooked mushrooms. With a meal that special, sometimes you just feel like digging in. 

Let’s at least take a look at the stuffed mushrooms.

As Chef Mick instructed, I simply removed the stems, chopped and sautéed them in olive oil with green onions and then filled the mixture back into the mushrooms. I used crimini instead of white mushrooms because that’s what I had on hand.

I picked up this adorable little tube of very soft goat cheese that I spotted in Tony’s cheese section.

Placed a dollop of the cheese on top of sautéed stems and onions. 

Then topped with a panko mixture. Last week on Food Network, I watched an Ina show where they ground panko bread crumbs before adding to meatloaf. I decided to copy this to make the crumb topping more manageable on the mushrooms, so spooned panko bread crumbs into my little food grinder, added some grated parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning and pulsed a few times to obtain desired smooth consistency. 

These were extremely flavorful. The sautéed stems and onions made for a wonderful base and topped with the salty cheese and Italian toppings the package provided a creamy, savory flavor with a perfect crunchy topping.  And with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, these mushrooms are a real treat. Even though I didn’t follow the recipe exactly as written, thanks to Chef Mick for this wonderful and easy recipe. You’ll find his original recipe below.

Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico

6-8 large white mushrooms (I used crimini)
1-2 tsp minced shallot (optional) (I used finely chopped green onion)
pinch of fine sea salt
1-2 tsp olive oil and/or butter
Tony’s Balsamic Vinaigrette, as needed
3 TBS Chèvre, plain or flavored (prefer Haystack herb or pepper) (I used goat cheese pictured above)
Tony’s Italian or Parma Panko breadcrumbs, or your favorite (I used plain panko, chopped in a grinder and pulsed with Italian seasoning and Parmesan)
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (optional)

For service: mixed spring greens – also great with Tony’s Marinara or Vodka Sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wipe mushrooms clean with a wet towel, remove steps and chop. Combine stems with shallots and a pinch of salt, and then sauté with a scant drizzle of olive oil (or butter) until very soft.

Dip or brush mushroom caps with balsamic vinaigrette. Divide sautéed mushrooms between mushroom caps – do not overfill!

Stuff /top each mushroom with chèvre cheese (the amount you use really depends on the size of the mushrooms). Combine 2 TBS breadcrumbs with 1 TBS finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (if using) and sprinkle over each mushroom. Place on a sheet pan or jelly roll pan and drizzle or mist lightly with olive oil.

Roast on top rack of a preheated 425-degree oven for 5-8 minutes or until sizzling and cheese starts to melt. Broil if additional browning is desired. Serve over greens tossed with Balsamic dressing or with warm sauce. Serves 2

– Chef Mick Rosacci,

Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico…It’s What’s for a Side Dish with Steak.

Mexican Dinner Menu: Josie’s Crock Pot Pinto Beans aka Cowboy Beans

December 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Beans, Side Dishes | 20 Comments
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Here’s another side dish from my Pre-Christmas Mexican feast with friends.   These beans were a nice compliment to the main course, Slow Roasted Achiote Pork.

Have you ever taken a bite of a straight forward simple ingredient dish and asked yourself, “why is this so darn good?” We did just that with this Rick Bayless Cowboy Bean recipe.  Here’s my opinion on why it turned out to be “so darn good”.

1.  I used pinto beans from this year’s Colorado Fall harvest. I purchased them in October at the Farmer’s Market. I’ve read that some of the dried sacks of beans we purchase off the shelf can be 2-3 years old.  My farmer’s market purchase was creamy in texture and outstanding with a flavor that I’d never experienced. 

2.  A spoonful of lard added to the slow cooker…nuff said.

3.  Used good quality thick-cut bacon.

4.  Slow cooked them in the crock pot for six hours.

Rick tells us that in Mexico beans are not soaked overnight as doing so bleeds the color from the bean. So, taking two cups of dried fresh Colorado pinto beans, I sorted through them for any misfits, rinsed them  in a colander then put them in a stove-top sauce pan.  Covering them with water, I brought them to a quick boil. 

I promptly removed them from the heat and poured them into the crock pot. I added a big scoop of lard, put the cover on and let them cream themselves into a heavenly goodness on high for four hours.

In the meantime I cooked four slices of bacon until not quite crisp and added four cloves chopped garlic until fragrant. Then I added the bacon and garlic to the beans and let them steep on low for a couple more hours. 

All in all they cooked for about six hours, however, the beans were tender in the first four hours on high. The freshness of the bean will dictate the cooking time. The fresher, the less time to reach a tender state.

A side note. In talking with my coworker Josie about the process of her pinto bean cooking, she chuckled at the fact that this recipe even had a name.  It seems her family has been making these beans this exact same way for generations. She adds more lard than I did, however.  She uses a pressure cooker when she needs a quick fix. They’re going in my data base as “Josie’s Beans”. 

Josie’s  Beans…They’re What’s for a Side Dish.

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