cartoon by marc johns.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Roasted Garlic Balsamic Portobello Mushroom Burgers

This recipe is crazy delicious.  It has some of my most favorite ingredients: garlic, balsamic vinegar, mushroom, cheese, avocado...so it's pretty hard to go wrong here.  The portobellos are rich enough that you don't miss the fact that there is no meat in this sandwich.  It is actually surprisingly filling.  This is a fairly easy recipe, but you have to plan ahead...you have to start marinating the mushrooms 2 hours before you want to eat, and start roasting the garlic about an hour before you want to eat.  The actual cooking of the mushrooms and assembling of the burgers takes only like 15 minutes.  This is a great recipe to serve at a summertime BBQ (especially if there are vegetarians).  This recipe makes 4 burgers.  

4 whole wheat english muffins
4 portobello mushroom caps
2 heads of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices of gouda cheese
1 small red onion
1 medium tomato
1 medium avocado
lettuce for garnish (I used spinach)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
For the marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used low sodium)
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced

1.  Two hours before cooking, combine the ingredients for the marinade and whisk until combined.  
Whisked marinade.
2.  Put the portobello mushroom caps into the marinade top down.  Spoon marinade onto the underside of each cap.  Eventually during the 2 hours the mushroom should change to a darker color as the marinade soaks in.
Mushrooms marinating.
3.  One hour before cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Slice the tops off of each head of garlic and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap each head of garlic in foil and put in the oven, right on the rack.  After about 45 minutes, take the garlic out of the oven and allow to cool.
Garlic ready to be roasted.
4.  When you are ready to begin cooking, the garlic should be out and cooling off, and the mushrooms should be dark in color, having soaked up the marinade.  Heat the 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat until it boils.  Let simmer for about three minutes, then remove from heat and allow to thicken.
Thickening balsamic vinegar.
5.  Slice the red onion into rings.  Put a tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet (you will use this skillet to cook the portobellos later).  Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions to the pan.  Change to low heat and try not to move the onions around as you allow them to caramelize.
6.  Toast the whole wheat english muffins.  While they are toasting, take the garlic out of the heads and mash into a paste.  Once the muffins are toasted, spread the garlic on both sides of each muffin.
Roasted garlic spread.
7.  Slice the tomato and avocado.  Put on one side of each english muffin, along with some lettuce.
Starting to stack the sandwich.
8.  Once the onions are caramelized, take them out of the skillet and set aside to cool.
9.  Put the portobellos in the skillet over medium heat, top side down.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Flip over and cook for 4 more.
5 minutes.
4 more minutes.
10.  Put the onions on the english muffin.
Sandwich ready for the portobello.
11.  After the portobellos are cooked, turn off the heat and put a slice of gouda cheese on each portobello cap.  Allow the cheese to melt.
Waiting for cheese to melt.
12.  Put one portobello cap on each sandwich and drizzle with the thickened balsamic.
The drizzle.
13.  Put the other side of the english muffin on top of the portobello and enjoy!
Two ready-to-eat sandwiches.
So good.
Recipe adapted from howsweeteats.com

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Bars

Super Yummy.
These are easy and delicious.  (I feel like I start every post with that, but whatever...it's how I roll).  You don't even have to bake these bars!  The addition of graham crackers to the peanut butter make these taste sort of like Butterfingers.  These bars are rich, so make sure you cut them into smaller squares.  I like the texture of using the chunky peanut butter in the bars so that there is an occasional crunch when you eat it.  In spite of the amount of sugar in these, they are not too sweet at all.  These would be great to take to a picnic or to make for a bake sale.

3 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups of chunky peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I used two of those plastic packets in a box of graham crackers - like 18 graham crackers)
4 cups (1 1 pound box) of powdered sugar
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chopped or chips)
large pinch of Kosher salt

1.  Line a 9x13 with aluminum foil, making sure that the foil sticks out of the edges of the pan.  That's how you will lift the bars out of the pan.
Pan is Foiled.
2.  Melt two sticks of butter with the peanut butter in the microwave, stirring until smooth.
Getting ready to be melted together.
3.  Put the graham crackers in the food processor and make graham cracker crumbs.
Graham cracker crumbs.
4.  Add the graham cracker crumbs to the peanut butter and butter mixture and stir until combined.
Crumbs added. 
5.  Add the powdered sugar and stir.
Added powdered sugar.
The finished batter.
6.  Press the peanut butter mixture into the pan.
Patted into the ungreased, foil-lined baking pan.
7.  Melt the two types of chocolate, remaining stick of butter, kosher salt, and vanilla extract together and stir until combined.
Ready to be melted.
8.  Spread the chocolate mixture on the peanut butter.
Chocolate over peanut butter.
9.  Put the bars in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until firmed up.  Once firm, use the foil to lift out of the baking pan and cut into squares.  Makes about 15-20 squares.  Store in a tupperware.  Enjoy!

The final product. 
Adapted from a recipe from The Great American Bake Sale.