Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mushroom and Blue Cheese Hors d'Ĺ“uvre

K's teachers invited me to come cook with the kids one day in November, and so the three of us (D, K and I) have been mulling over the options. K loves my ramekin creations, but the thought of little hands grabbing ceramic dishes out of the oven worried me. So we tried out a simple but fun recipe today, which I'm sure is part dredged-up memory of cocktail party appetizers, and part "staring into the fridge" inspiration. I wanted to make sure that this would be something that the kids could actually create along with me - it had to be safe, easy, tasty, and as messy as possible! I think the following meets all the criteria.

Button mushrooms, about 2 to 4 per person depending on the size of the mushrooms
Crumbled blue cheese: One table spoon per mushroom [I plan to substitute simple cheddar cheese for the school cooking experience]
Melted butter to prep the mushroom
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Use a butter knife to pop the stem off the mushroom, then dice the stems. The kids needed some help with getting the stems out, but liked the dicing since it was pretty easy
  • Mix diced stems and cheese
  • Brush melted butter on the body of the mushroom, inside and out
  • Spoon the stem and cheese mix into the hollow of the mushroom. The kids just used their fingers to get the mix in
  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper, them place the mushrooms about an inch apart (since they tend to leach out some of the liquids and you don't want a soggy mess at the end)
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Serve hot or cool - works either way
  • I think I'd like to try this with more pepper, crushed chillies, coriander, etc. Maybe a variety tray of these mushroom pies, with one spice added in each.... I'll tell you how that works out. For now, the kids and I will go with the cheese version. D loved the blue cheese version, K voted that we go with cheddar for his friends. More on that after our school kitchen adventure!
Any suggestions for improvements or variations you've tried?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quinoa with Mixed Vegetables Pilaf

Friend and fellow-vegetarian Ven sent me the following recipe for Quinoa. I have to admit that I haven't tried the recipe (indeed, was only vaguely familiar with the "pseudo cereal" as it's described), but I do plan on sharing updates when I do try this out.

Says Ven: "As a vegetarian, I always struggle to eat a balanced diet and since Quinoa has all the essential amino acids and several other nutrients it looked like a good option. Over the last year, I have been cooking this grain and like any recent convert, I am an ardent devotee. Quinoa is so easy to cook that it has become my staple replacing Thayir Sadham. I read somewhere that there are concerns about the high nitrate content in the grains because of fertilizer use but I am not sure if this is an issue with the Organic varieties that I buy from Costco and Whole Foods.

2 cups Quinoa
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1 thinly sliced Tomato
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
Curry leaves
1/2 tablespoon of sliced ginger
1/2 tablespoon of Turmeric
¾ tablespoon of Salt and a pinch of chilli powder and garam masala
Rinse Quinoa seeds 3-4 times until the water runs clear.
Add 4 cups of water and cook Quinoa for about 10 mts until you see a little white thread coming out.
Add mixed vegetables and sliced Tomato and cook for another five minutes.
Add salt, turmeric, chilli powder, masala, curry leaves and cook for a five more minutes.
Remove from heat and wait for at least ten minutes before serving. "