Mexican Stuffed Mushroom and It’s a Freaking Clock

I should preface this post by saying I have friends that are teachers and they are excellent at what they do.  But as in every profession you will have a good number of bad apples.  As anyone who has been out and about this week would have heard, a smart kid got arrested for making a clock.

We live in a culture that celebrates the empty headedness of the Kardashians rather than celebrate and encourage kids to use their brains.  So a 14 year old who is smart and mechanical made a clock.  The teacher decided it was a threat and it escalated from there.  He gets hauled off in handcuffs and while charges were dropped he is still suspended!

What should have happened, instead of the knee jerk reaction the teacher went with, was the 14 year old brings in a homemade clock.  The teacher not understanding should have taken 5 seconds to ask the student what it was.  Why it’s a clock, and I made it.  Oh cool.  End of.  But no, school security is called then the police.  What I find incredibly sad is not once did common sense prevail.  You have several adults involved up to the point he is removed from the school and no one thought anything was wrong with this scenario.  And the school is saying now they did nothing wrong, they even sent home a memo patting themselves on the back, and they claim they can give him a good education.  If this happened to my child they would not go back to this school.

And you wonder why we’re in the state we’re in.  On the flip side it is heartwarming to see MIT, NASA, and even the White House supporting him.  I bet he’ll go far.

The other night I needed a quick meal for my husband and I.  Because of my back and hip, I can’t walk both dogs so I have to wait for my husband to come home.  Which means some nights we are looking at a late dinner.  Therefore I need something that can cook quickly but still be delicious.

We had some ground beef to use up so I bought large portobello caps and planned on doing a stuffed mushroom with Mexican flavours.

Mexican mushroom 1 2015

I am finding with the days getting shorter I’m losing the light!  Natural light is so important for photos but alas unless I make dinner at lunch time I’ll be out of luck.

In a skillet with a bit of olive oil brown the ground beef.

Mexican mushroom 2 2015

Chop up some onion, garlic, sweet pepper, and hot pepper.  Saute to soften the onions.

Mexican mushroom 3 2015

When the meat is halfway cooked start cooking the mushrooms at 350F/175C.  Because the mushrooms are big they can take awhile to cook.  Add a few mushrooms, sliced, to the meat mixture.  Season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and hot sauce.  The amounts are up to you depending on how hot you want your dish.  Add a splash of lime juice and some cilantro.

Mexican mushroom 4 2015

Spoon the mixture onto the mushroom caps and top with shredded cheese.

Mexican mushroom 5 2015

Bake until everything is heated through and the cheese has melted.  Top with salsa and sour cream to serve.

Mexican mushroom 6 2015

This is very filling without being too heavy.  And I love the spice of this dish.  🙂

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Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms and Cruel Cowardice

It’s hard not to be distressed by the capacity of some people to be heartless.  Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of good in this world.  People who have compassion and work hard to bring light to those that need it.  But there is a side of humanity that seems desperate to cause harm.  There is a endless list of horrors.  It gets overwhelming.

Such a representation of that this week was the senseless killing of Cecil.  In the scheme of things it’s a lion, there are much deeper issues of children in this world not safe, women not safe, people starving.  But it is indicative people lacking the basic compassion of living things.  It takes a special kind arrogance and cowardice to travel to the other side of the world, pay thousands, and then to bait an animal to give it a slow death.

I get the need for hunting in turns of population control.  Deer can face slow and painful death with overpopulation in winter.  And I get people hunting for food.  In our area there are a lot of families who need to put food on the table.  But to hunt so you can decorate your wall?  I find that disgusting.  I do hope the outrage keeps at its current level.  We need to stop the destroying of this earth’s gifts and resources.

This just really fired me up.  Thank you for letting me say my piece and I’ll get on with the usual program of food!

Due to the dietary needs of my various family members I always try to come up with ideas of tasty dishes that everyone can eat.  I thought repurposing a crostini into stuffed mushrooms would be fun.

Bacon stuffed mushrooms 1 2015

We learned how to make this bacon crostini in Tuscany on our honeymoon.  For this recipe I added onion to it.  I finely chopped a clove of garlic, half a small onion, and a bit of rosemary.  Then chop up half the mushroom stems.

Bacon stuffed mushrooms 2 2015

Chop up 3 rashers of streaky bacon and begin to render it in a small skillet.  After a few minutes add the onion.

Bacon stuffed mushrooms 3 2015

After the onion has softened a bit add the garlic, rosemary, and mushroom to the skillet.

Bacon stuffed mushrooms 4 2015

Keep cooking until the bacon starts to crisp a bit.  Add a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar.  Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375F/190C.  Remove the bacon mixture from the heat and grate fresh parmesan over it and mix well.  Stuff the mushrooms and grate more parmesan over it.

Bacon stuffed mushrooms 5 2015

Bake until the mushrooms are cooked.  About 10 minutes or so.  While it is baking make up the salad if you are having this as a main meal.

Bacon stuffed mushrooms 6 2015

Of course I put more fresh parmesan on.  I can’t resist the stuff!  And it’s gluten free.  🙂

Stuffed Mushrooms 1920’s style

I have a good friend that allows us to descend upon her house every Halloween.  She throws a party and the kids relieve the neighbors of their candy.  It’s a great night.  This year she had a theme of the Roaring Twenties.  As it is potluck I dug out my 1926 “The Boston Cooking School Cook Book” by Fannie Farmer.  I love old cookbooks and I have several of hers going back to 1897.  I would love to get my hands on the 1896 one!

So I picked Stuffed Mushrooms and this is what the book said:

“Brush twelve large mushrooms.  Remove stems, chop finely, and peel caps.  Melt three tablespoons butter, add one-half tablespoon finely chopped shallot and chopped stems, then cook ten minutes.  Add one and on-half tablespoons flour, chicken stock to moisten, a slight grating of nutmeg, one-half teaspoon finely chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cool mixture and fill caps, well rounding over the top.  Cover with buttered cracker crumbs, and bake fifteen minutes in a hot oven.”

I used this as a guideline as I didn’t have parsley,  really don’t like buttered cracker crumbs, and didn’t want to open a jar of chicken stock for this.

So I destemmed several mushrooms, as many that would fit into the baking pan.

I chopped the stems are realised that I needed more so I chopped up another mushroom.  In hindsight I should have chopped more than one.

Then I melted 3 T of butter.  While that was melting I finely chopped a shallot and fresh thyme and added them to the butter.

After a couple of minutes simmering in the butter I added about 1/2 cup of marsala wine to the mixture.

I let it simmer again for a few minutes then add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and about the same for panko bread crumbs.

I then stuff the mushrooms.

I liberally apply fresh parmesan cheese to the mushrooms.

I decided it would be best to bake them at the party so once I got there I put the oven to 400 F.  I assumed that would be a “hot oven” like the cook book said.  I let them bake for about 15 minutes.

They came out well so I’ll be making them again as they are really easy to make.