Italian Style Burgers

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer in the states.  Usually marked by BBQs and last trips to lakes and beaches.  And it was hot this weekend!  Thank goodness temps are looking to break tomorrow.  I’m over the humidity and heat.  I’m very ready for autumn.

Burgers was the main request for Monday night and we tossed around ideas of what to make so I could have a recipe to share.  My husband mentioned it would be fun to stuff them with mozzarella.  Sounded good to me!

Italian burger 1 2015

I wanted to use oven roasted tomatoes for this recipe and that does need to be done ahead of time as it takes at least an hour.  To prep the burger, finely chop a clove of garlic and mix with a couple of teaspoons of fresh thyme.  Add it to about a pound of ground beef.  Then add about a 1/3 of a cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Mix everything together with your hands.  The trick is to not overwork the meat but get everything evenly distributed.

Italian burger 2 2015

Divide the meat into four portions and place a slice of mozzarella in the centre.  Wrap the meat around the cheese.  Do your best to seal the cheese in.

Italian burger 3 2015

Grill them on a hot grill.  While they are grilling prepare the topping for the burgers.  I had some oyster mushrooms to use up.

Italian burger 4 2015

In a small skillet heat up a bit of olive oil.  Chop up the mushrooms and a clove of garlic.  Saute for a few minutes and add the roasted tomatoes.

Italian burger 5 2015

Add a bit of balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

Italian burger 6 2015

At the end of cooking add fresh basil.  Top the burgers with the tomato mixture and grate fresh parmesan on top with a bit more fresh basil.

Italian burger 7 2015

And if all goes right, it will be nice and melty inside.  Melty, not sure if that is the technical term!

Italian burger 8 2015

Add a side of grilled corn and it’s a great meal to say goodbye to summer.  While I left off the bun, this is also good with a buttered grilled brioche bun.  But that is a lot of food!

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Gorgonzola Risotto with Filet Mignon and Sundried Tomato Sauce

Last week I passed the three year mark for blogging.  One of the changes WordPress seems to have made is they now make it very low key.  Basically it’s “So, yeah, you are another year down, don’t forget to take out the trash” tone to it.  I liked how it was before where they gave you a great breakdown on how you are doing, what was a hit, what wasn’t.  I’m ok with a little woot, woot!

And with three years of recipes sometimes it’s hard to come up with something new.  Things have been somewhat calm this past week which would allow me more time to cook.  But then instead of writer’s block, I was having a bit of cooking block.  Broke that on Wednesday!  I wanted a special meal with flavours that wouldn’t be subtle.  We had a couple of filets in the freezer and some sundried tomatoes to use up.  Off to the store to get some gorgonzola and oyster mushrooms and I had a very good idea of what I wanted to do.

Prep the ingredients beforehand for everything.  To add a bit of crunch to the dish I toasted a third of a cup of pine nuts.  Do it in a dry skillet.  And keep an eye on it!  It can take awhile to toast but can burn quickly.

Gorgonzola risotto 1 2015

Remove the pine nuts from the skillet and set aside.  In a larger skillet start the risotto.  This recipe is for 2-3 people.  First by melting 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add a finely chopped small shallot and 2 cloves of garlic.

Gorgonzola risotto 2 2015

Add 1/2 a cup of risotto and saute for a minute or so.  Then add a tablespoon or so of champagne vinegar.  Stir well.

Gorgonzola risotto 4 2015

This recipe needs about 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock.  This current batch I made was the best so far.  So much flavour!  Add about a 1/2 a cup at a time and allow the risotto to absorb the liquid.  At this point, in a small skillet, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter.  When it is hot add the filets to the skillet.  Make sure they are seasoned well with sea salt and pepper.  Baste with the butter as you cook.

Gorgonzola risotto 5 2015

Finish the steak off in the oven at 350F/175C until the desired doneness.  Allow it to rest while you finish the meal. In the same skillet, add a bit more butter then saute some shallots, garlic, and sundried tomatoes.  Saute for a couple of minutes to soften the tomatoes then add a handful of the oyster mushrooms.

Gorgonzola risotto 7 2015

Once the risotto is almost done add a third of a cup of crumbled gorgonzola and about the same of mascarpone cheese to the risotto.

Gorgonzola risotto 8 2015

Mix well.  Just before serving add the pine nuts and a small handful of basil.

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Serve with the filet and top with the mushroom sundried tomato sauce.

Gorgonzola risotto 10 2015

There were a few strong flavours in this dish but it was balanced and delicious.  When I mentioned it to my daughter she said I could make it for them.  Anytime.  I think I can swing that.

PS.  So I started this post this morning but got interrupted by doctors appointments and things.  The whole day went pear shaped and I only just remembered I hadn’t finished this when we were walking the dogs.  My husband called it postus interruptus.  🙂  As we are getting ready for date night I’ll be further behind on reading posts but I promise to catch up!

Roasted Mushroom and Parsnip Ravioli

It is spring break from school this week for the kids and I set up yesterday to be a bake day for them as they like to get into the kitchen.  While they were making cookies and congo bars I thought I’d make raviolis for dinner.  I hadn’t made them in awhile as it is somewhat time consuming.  Question was, what to make?  I knew I wanted mushrooms but wasn’t sure what else to do.  As my gaze wandered round the kitchen I saw the parsnips my husband pulled from the garden.  This is a great treat as we planted them last year.  So I decided to do a roasted mushroom and parsnip mixture.  I was really pleased with the results!

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 1 2013

I bought oyster, baby bellas, and shiitake mushrooms.  I coarsely chopped them along with the parsnips and tossed them with olive oil and salt and pepper.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 2 2013

These were roasted at 400 F/204C stirring occasionally as they roasted.  About halfway through I added some fresh thyme.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 3 2013

Once they had browned nicely I set the veg aside to cool completely.  While this was cooling I prepped the pasta to rest.  Once the mixture cooled I put it into the food processor and grated some Jarlsberg cheese.  It was about 1/2 cup of cheese.  I also added a couple of splashes of dry sherry.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 4 2013

I pulsed the processor until it was a coarse mixture.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 5 2013

Now I haven’t gotten round to getting ravioli molds yet so I am still doing this by hand.  Well I do have a Kitchen Aid to roll it out so we’re halfway there.  🙂  I roll out a sheet at a time and fill as I go.  All that is needed for the filling is about a teaspoon of mixture then brush a beaten egg round the mixture to help seal the pasta.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 6 2013

It is important to get the air out! Though that isn’t always easy but you could end up with burst balloons if there is too much air.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 7 2013

Before I cooked the ravioli I sauteed up some garlic and mushrooms and prepared this cream and butter sauce to complete the dish.  The ravioli only needs to cook for about 4 minutes in boiling salted water.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 8 2013

Drain and toss in the sauce and serve.

roasted mushroom and parsnip ravioli 9 2013

It had a lovely earthy flavour and it was great on a cool night.

Mushroom Crostini

To go along with the bacon crostini I also did a mushroom crostini with the mushrooms we grew out of that kit.  This is also very easy to make and has a wonderful earthy flavour.

I chopped up the mushrooms.  Here I used shiitake and oyster mushrooms.  I also used garlic and lemon thyme.

I saute these ingredients in olive oil.  You could use butter if that is your preference. Once the mushrooms start to brown a bit I then put in some very dry sherry.  1/4-1/2 cup depending on the taste you are looking for.  While these are cooking toast up some crostinis with olive oil.

Spoon on and enjoy!  This takes less than twenty minutes to make so is a great dish when you are in a rush.

Homegrown Mushrooms

I do taxes and this past season I overheard an elderly man being asked how he was doing.   His response was he woke up on the right side of the dirt.  It just cracked me up and made my day.

I love mushrooms and envy those who know enough to forage for them.  But you get it wrong and you wake up on the wrong side of the dirt!  Something to avoid.  So I was thrilled when we came across a little grow your own mushroom kit at a local store.  This one is for oyster mushrooms.

It is pretty simple.  You take out the mushroom starter and make an cross in the plastic then soak for 24 hours.

I won’t lie, it is a little gross at first.  Once it’s soaked then you want to drain the excess water.  Place back in the box and mist twice a day.  Pretty easy really.

After a few days they start to grow.  And grow they do!  It is pretty rapid after this.

Now all that’s left is to find a recipe for this gorgeous mushrooms!  🙂