PLENTY PORTOBELLOS

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Portobello Tuna Melts

Portobello mushrooms are one of my favorite things. My daughter talked me into making them for the first time after she had a great grilled Portobello sandwich at a friend’s house. I had always been hesitant because I wasn’t sure how to deal with the gills, but after watching an episode of Cook Yourself Thin on Lifetime, I learned that it really wasn’t that difficult to gently scrape the gills out with a spoon.    The Portobello Tuna Melts that they made looked like something that we would enjoy, so I made my version using lemon flavored olive oil and a spicy jalapeno jack cheese.  You can find my adaptions @ 37 Cooks – Portobello Tuna Melts.

Stuffed Portobello Diane

Stuffed Portobello Diane

 

Another favorite Portobello dish I made for 37 Cooks was a vegetarian version of Emeril’s Steak Diane.  My Stuffed Portobello Diane were delicious and I didn’t even miss the meat! That’s a huge thing coming from someone who absolutely loves a good rare steak.   You can find my adaptions of Emeril’s delicious Steak Diane @ 37 Cooks – Stuffed Portobello Diane.

That brings me to today’s recipe.  I recently received Ottolenghi’s Plenty in my cookbook group and of course the first dish that I marked to make was his Stuffed Portobello with Melting Taleggio.   The recipe does not call for cleaning the gills, but I prefer to eat them without the gills.   While cleaning them, my Portobellos began to break apart.  That’s when the thought popped in my head to make a casserole instead of trying to stuff them.  It really worked well.   My husband enjoyed them and suggested that we have the casserole as a main dish next time.

Portobello Casserole

Portobello Casserole

Portobello Casserole
Adapted from Stuffed Portobello with Melting Taleggio
Page 56, Plenty by Ottolenghi

4 large Portobello mushrooms, gills and stems removed
1 small white onion, chopped fine
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1/2 cup roasted red peppers from jar, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 heaping tablespoon of tarragon
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 ounces Taleggio, broken up into small pieces
olive oil

1) Roughly chop Portobello mushrooms. You want fairly large chunks.
2) Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
3) Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast in 350 degree oven for 7 minutes.
4) Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet.
5) Add onion and celery. Saute until the onions are translucent.
6) Add garlic and saute for another minute.
7) Turn off heat.
8) Add roasted red peppers, tarragon, black pepper, parmesan cheese and mushrooms.
9) Mix well.
10) Pour into casserole dish.
11) Scatter the pieces of Taleggio cheese over mushroom mixture.
12) Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until  cheese is melted and bubbling.

This casserole is something I will definitely make over and over.   Ottolenghi is quickly becoming one of my favorite Chefs and Cookbook authors.   His vegetarian dishes are unique and flavorful.  I have eight recipes marked that I want to cook from Plenty. I’m really going to have to get moving on it because his cookbook, Plenty More, is being released on October 14th!

I would love to hear what your favorite Portobello Mushroom dish is.   Leave me a comment and share a link to your recipe, if you can.  Thanks!

Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad & Some Giveaways

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BE SURE AND SCROLL ALL THE WAY TO THE END FOR INFORMATION ON SOME GREAT GIVEAWAYS!!

37 Cooks, the cooking group that I am in,  did a challenge for Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs.  I love them because they are pasteurized, which eliminates the risk of salmonella.  This is something that is important for the elderly, woman who are pregnant or those with depressed immune systems or serious illnesses.

Since this is Labor Day Weekend, I wanted to share the recipe on my blog because it’s great for barbecues, family reunions, tailgating and all the other wonderful events that are taking place this time of year.   My family loves it and it’s been pretty popular on my friend’s Pinterest page, having been pinned over 1700 times and viewed 8,559 on 37 Cooks.

Wishing you and your family a safe and fun holiday weekend!  Happy Labor Day!

Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad
adapted from Better Homes & Garden Magazine August 2013

8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 dozen Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1 cup deli honey ham, finely chopped into small cubes
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
3/4 cup sweet pickles, finely chopped (I used Wickles, that have a little spice to them)
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/3 cup yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup sweet pickle juice (I used the Wickles juice)
4 green onions, finely chopped (for garnish)
2 Tablespoons deli honey ham, finely chopped (for garnish)
Paprika (for garnish)

Directions:
1. Cook macaroni per package directions. Place in a colander and rinse with cold water. Leave in colander and set aside.

2. For the garnish, cut four 1” circles out of 1 or 2 of the hard-boiled eggs. Pop the cooked yolks out and place in a bowl. Set the whites aside.

3. Cut the remaining eggs in half, remove yolks and place in bowl with your other yolks.

4. Finely chop the whites and place them in a large bowl.

5. Add macaroni, ham, onion, celery and pickles in the large bowl with the whites, set aside.

6. For the dressing, mash yolks up and add mayonnaise, mustard, white pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, paprika and dill. Combine well.

7. Spoon a small amount of the dressed yolks into each of the four circles and set aside for garnish.

8. Add sweet pickle juice to yolk dressing, combine well.

9. Add dressing to macaroni, combining well, again.

10. Garnish with ham, green onions, paprika and deviled egg rounds.

This recipe was originally published at 37 Cooks on October 9th, 2013.

My friend Donna at Cookistry’s Kitchen Gadget and Food Reviews has put together a round-up of giveaways taking place on blogs by friends .  There are 26 giveaways that you can enter today!   Click here “giveaways” to find out how you can enter.  Good luck and let me know what you win!

Note:  Davidson Eggs was a challenge sponsor for 37 Cooks and not Seasons to Seasonings.  All other products with links in this blog are my favorites.  I have not been contacted or asked to use their product or include them in my blog.

 

My First Blog Tour

 

Chunky Peach and Avocado Salsa

Chunky Peach and Avocado Salsa

 

I love to read blogs and I follow quite a few.    They bring a little humor to my life, they inspire me and they give me a big dose of reality at times.    The ladies behind the blogs I will be writing about today in my tour have had a hand in keeping things interesting for me in a very different “season” of my life.     They have helped me cope with the big changes that occurred as a result of illness and early retirement.   Instead of standing around the water cooler chatting at work, we hang out in our virtual kitchens chatting about cooking, our families …

First, let me introduce you to Jenny Hartin, who invited me to participate in this blog tour.  I met Jenny through a Facebook group that she founded, Cookbook Junkies.   The group has grown by leaps and bounds and now has over 7,600 members.   The group has placed me amongst people who understand my love of cookbooks.  Jenny has also created several Facebook groups that focus on cooking through some of her favorite books.   Keeping up with all the groups and all the members keeps Jenny very busy, but that is just a small part of her life.    She is also a devoted Mother, Wife and Blogger.  In her blog, Mad Rantings of Andrew’s Mom, she shares her love for cooking and baking. She also gives us a small glimpse into the world of raising a child with autism.   Yes, she rants because our health and educational systems aren’t on the side of parents with an autistic child.  Yes, she rants because some days just plain suck, but she also shows us that life doesn’t end and good things can be found when we follow our passions.   I am thankful to be part of the amazing groups Jenny has formed and I am honored that she chose me to be part of her tour. She has become a close and trusted friend.

As part of the tour, we have four questions to answer.  Here are the questions and my answers.

1)   What am I working on?

In 37 Cooks, I have just received a nice shiny slow cooker from Hamilton Beach.   This is a big challenge for 37 and each cook will  be coming up with two recipes to share.  I have been going through my Cookbooks looking for inspiration.  Our submissions are due the last week of August.    In the cookbook group that I’m in, Cook My Book, I have just finished cooking out of 50 Shade of Chicken. The next book I will receive is Classic Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes.   Round IV of Cook My Book will end late October.  We are already searching for good books to share in Round V that will begin in January.  I’m also hoping to do another Good Cook Event in the near future.

Lemonade with Frozen Creme de Menthe Bombs

Lemonade with Frozen Creme de Menthe Bombs

2)   How does my work differ than others of its genre?

While I am mostly a food blog, I also  like to share stories about my family and about road trips that my husband and I have taken since retirement.   Food and road trips have gone hand in hand for eons.  I’m just putting my own spin on it.

3)  Why do I write what I do?

I write for the future, for my family.   It’s a place where I can put favorite recipes and stories.   I’m honored when others stop by to take a look at what I’m blogging about.

4)  How does my writing process work?

I’m suppose to have a writing process?   I guess I forgot to read that part in Blogging for Beginners.   I honestly don’t have a set process.   If I’m inspired, I write.

Now to highlight the bloggers I have chosen to come along with me on this tour.  First up, is Donna Currie.  Donna shares her passion for baking and cooking in her blog, Cookistry.   You can find great reviews on products/gadgets on Cookistry and at Serious Eats, where she is a featured writer.   I have already pre-ordered several copies of Donna’s first book, Make Ahead Bread, that is due out  November 4th.   Donna will be sharing some great original recipes that will entice experienced and novice bakers.    Donna loves to share her passion with others and has been a great mentor and friend in the two groups we are both in,  37 Cooks and Cook My Book.   She has also been instrumental in bringing some great sponsors on board at 37 Cooks.   I can’t wait to hear all the great stories she will have as she embarks on her first book tour in a few months.  It will be such an exciting time for her, well-earned and deserved.

Next up is my friend and fellow 37 Cook, Jenny Manseau.   We are all very proud of Jenny, as she just graduated from Culinary School and is about to begin a Dietetic Internship at  New York Presbyterian Hospital.   Jenny’s blog is Creative Cooking Gluten Free where she gives insight on living with Celiac disease.   You don’t have to be living a gluten-free lifestyle to enjoy Jenny’s recipes and website.  It’s all about living and eating healthy.   Jenny is always willing to offer advice and assistance to me and her fellow 37 Cooks.   Jenny has many good things on her plate and it will be exciting to follow her journey to becoming a registered Dietician.   Jenny is one of the reasons I enjoy and love 37 Cooks so much.

 

Yia Yia Slapped Your Mama (Cajun-Greek Salad)

Yia Yia Slapped Your Mama (Cajun-Greek Salad)

Last but not least, is my dear friend, Sandra Simmons.   Sandra’s blog tour begins and ends here.   Her current schedule is not allowing her to fully participate in my tour, but I had to include her because she is the reason I’m involved with all of this.   Sandra and I met 20 years ago when our daughters started kindergarten.  While she had a great impact on my life back then, she has left an even bigger imprint on my life the last six years.   I had a very difficult time when I was forced to retire due to health problems.  I was not able to get out of the house much and I didn’t know what to do with myself as my life had always centered around my career, church life and raising my family.  After many years of being disconnected, Sandra and I reconnected on Facebook.    It was her creative thinking that led her to the formation of Cook My Book and 37 Cooks.   Through both, I have developed a love for cooking and cookbooks.  Sandra has introduced me to some amazing people, who are now some of my very best friends.   My husband and I now enjoy cooking at home and our day-to-day menus are much healthier and better for us.   It is with her encouragement that I started Seasons to Seasonings.   She is an amazing friend and I know God put her in my life to help me through a difficult season.   She has opened new doors for me and I cannot imagine where I would be today without her.  Sandra is also a very talented blogger and shares her recipes and experiences through a blog dedicated to her daughter, Lauren.   You can find her unique and creative blog @ Dear Lauren, Love Mom.

Again, thank you to Jenny Hartin for including me on this blog tour.   The pictures I have included throughout are some of my dishes in 37 Cooks.    I encourage you to “like” my Season to Seasonings Facebook page, as it is a place where I will be sharing everyone thing that is going on with the groups I am in and announcing future giveaways!     Thanks!

 

Stuffed Portobello Diane

Stuffed Portobello Diane

Retirement and Road Trips (Lobster Pie)

My husband was very fortunate to go to work for a company at age 18  and stay with that company for 37 years. The job was very physically challenging and included about five months of extreme heat and humidity.  We were very happy when the right opportunity came around for him to retire.

Before reality set in, we made two big road trips, which  had to include a stop in Kansas, where our daughter attended College.   One of the trips was to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park.  The other was to Wells, Maine where my husband’s ex-boss allowed us to use their family vacation home.

What does retirement and road trips mean to you?   Does it mean a leisurely trip where you can stop as many times as you want and have no real agenda or time clock?  To me it does, but for my husband, it’s a whole different story.   He wants the quickest route from point A to point B.   I want back road and country towns.  He wants freeways and fast lanes.   In an attempt to find a compromise, we agreed upon freeways with me having the option to stop when and where I wanted. Here is how that went…

ME:   Oh look, there is Vineyard coming up at the next exit.  Let’s stop!

…………………………..complete silence…………………………………………

MY HUSBAND:  Did you say something?

……………10 miles down the road and way pass the Vineyard………….

ME:  There was a Vineyard about 10 miles back and you just ignored me!

MY HUSBAND:   I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.  Do you want me to turn around?

ME:  Only if you want to.

………………………………..20 miles down the road……………………………………..

MY HUSBAND:  Well we could try, but I think I saw a sign saying they are closed on Thursday’s.

ME:  What? I didn’t see a sign saying that!

MY HUSBAND:    Really?   Well, there will be another one and I promise we will stop.  (I swear, he had his fingers crossed when he said that one).

This is a scenario that repeats itself throughout the trip and on many trips.   It’s like he becomes a crazed man when he hits the freeway, gets in the fast lane and puts on the cruise control.   When we get to our destination, he is great about taking in all the sights and is quite fun.   It’s just a whole different story driving from point A to point B.

Photo of vineyard in the fast lane!

Photo of vineyard in the fast lane!

I’m still trying to get him to relax and slow down on road trips.  However, I think it’s just built into his DNA!  So for the time being, I will just be thankful for retirement and road trips, the final destination.

The Maine Diner has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  We visited the diner several times during our stay in Wells, Maine.    The Seafood Chowder, Lobster Roll and Lobster Pie were delicious.  I recently did my take on the Maine Diner’s Lobster Pie for 37 Cooks.    Check out the recipe at 37 Cooks/Linda/Lobster Pie!

37 Cooks-Lobster Pie-Vacation Destination-Linda Mire

I will be doing more stories on Retirement and Road Trips in the future!  Hope you will come back to read all about them which will include stories about Moon Pies and Black Bears.

 

 

 

 

Chicken Salad with Almonds, Apples & Cherries

I’m in a group called Cook My Book. There are 15 of us and we each choose a book to send off on a journey across the United States. We have two weeks with each book which allows us alot of time to cook. We make notes right in the book and share our thoughts and pictures on a private Facebook page. We are exposed to so many great books that we may have never thought to add to our own personal library. It is not unusual for us to buy our own copy of the book.

The book that I currently have is Carnivore by Michael Symon. Last Sunday, my entire dinner was from the book. I made his recipe for Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast that had an amazing orange flavor, his recipe for Soft Polenta with Aged Cheddar and his Feta & Cucumber Salad. All three were amazing, my family loved them.

The book has introduced me to the use of Greek yogurt for marinades and for dressings in salads. It is rich, creamy and healthy!

The recipe below is one that I adapted from his Roasted Chicken with Almonds, Apples and Dried Cherries. I used the leftover chicken breast from Sunday instead of the roasted chicken that he suggest. I also added a little celery because it is one of my favorite ingredients in chicken salad and I used fresh cherries because they are currently in season. One last little twist was the addition of habanero pepper, for a subtle kick. I was hesitant about using the yogurt and the mint, however I was pleasantly surprised at how good both were in this salad.

I hope you enjoy the salad and I encourage you to pick up a copy of Michael Symon’s Carnivore.  There are several other recipes that I have marked to make and I have it on my list to purchase.   I am thankful that my friend, Woo, shared it with our Cookbook group.

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Chicken Salad with Almonds, Apples & Cherries
Adapted from Pulled Chicken Salad with Almonds, Apples & Dried Cherries by Michael Symon’s Carnivore Cookbook, Page 162

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced cherries
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup Greek yogurt
kosher salt

Directions:

1. Combine chicken, celery, cherries, apple, almonds, peppers and fresh mint in large bowl.
2. Gently fold in Greek yogurt. Make sure everything is evenly coated.
3. Season with a sprinkle of salt, to your taste.

Tip: The chicken breast that I used had a nice light orange marinade. I recommend using the recipe in Carnivore or finding one online, as the orange gives a nice fresh taste to the chicken in the salad.

DON’T FORGET THAT I HAVE A GIVEAWAY GOING ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE UNTIL JULY 30, 2014 at Seasons to Seasonings.  Thanks!

Roasted Goat Cheese-Stuffed Apricots with Arugula, Walnuts and Spicy Honey-Vinegar Dressing

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I’m not big on the heat that comes along with Summer, but I am very big on the fabulous fresh fruit that is available during the Summer season.

My husband and I do a lot of salads and we love to include fresh fruit. It can be time-consuming to have to cut fruit up each time we make a salad and it would be great if we could cut a big batch up and leave it in the refrigerator until we needed it.   Good Cook has helped to make that possible with their new fresh fruit bowl.  This product is exclusively available at Bed Bath & Beyond.    It’s a bowl with a built-in colander, which allows your fruit to stay dry and fresh instead of getting mushy from sitting in its juice. What a great idea, right?

fresh fruit bowl

 

 

 

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When I opened my package from Good Cook, I was amazed at the size of the bowl.  The bright green outer bowl and the inner pink colander immediately remind you of watermelon.  The lid fits tightly over the inner pink colander and the green outer bowl has a nice spout that will allow you to drain off  juices easily. My extended family loves watermelon and I’m already thinking what a great Christmas gift it would make for all.

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Apricots were one of my Grandmother’s favorite fruits. I     absolutely love them too and I think of her every time I have them. The recipe below is delicious and easy.  To me, it’s the perfect Summer Salad.

Roasted Goat Cheese-Stuffed Apricots with Arugula, Walnuts and Spicy Honey-Vinegar Dressing

Ingredients for Two Salads:

2 Apricots, halved and pitted
4 tablespoons creamy goat cheese
4 blackberries
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of sliced raspberries

Directions:

1. Turn broiler on high.
2. Place the apricot halves on a grill pan.
3. Place 1 tablespoon of creamy goat cheese in center of each apricot.
4. Place 1 blackberry on top of each apricot half with goat cheese.
5. Broil for 3-5 minutes until lightly brown and cheese is bubbling.
6. Place a full cup of arugula on 2 salad plates.
7. On each plate, nestle 2 of the roasted apricots on top of arugula.
8. Divide the raspberries between the two plates.
9. Place the walnuts in the dressing (recipe below) to lightly coat.
10. Sprinkle the coated walnuts around apricots.
11. Then lightly drizzle each salad with dressing.

Ingredients for dressing:

1/4 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons of honey
1/4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2-3 grinds of fresh pepper pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1. Place all the ingredients into a small jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake well.  Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Enjoy!

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Disclosure:   I was provided the Fresh Fruit Bowl from Good Cook and Bed Bath and Beyond for the purpose of this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

TO WIN A FRESH FRUIT BOWL, CLICK THE LINK TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE. CLICK ON THE GIVEAWAY TAB AND FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS.

https://www.facebook.com/seasonstoseasonings/app_22891010718645

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37 Cooks – Teet’s Challenge

We have all gone through major changes in our lives.  Some can be good and some not so good.  My life took a huge turn about ten years ago when I had to stop working because of health issues.   With some help from my therapist, doctors, friends and family, I finally realized life was not ending, a new season was beginning.  A big part of my life now is cooking groups.  I’m in a cookbook group called Cook My Book and I’m in a challenge cooking group called 37 Cooks.   If you look to the right there is a link to the 37 Cooks’ Facebook page.

During the month of November, we have been participating in the Teet’s Food Store challenge.  Teet’s specializes in smoked meats and they were gracious enough to send samples to our Cooks.  I received smoked garlic pork sausage and tasso.   Both products are delicious and something I will definitely use in the future.

Teet’s has been around since 1955.  They are located in Ville Platte, Louisiana which is just up the road from Kaplan, Louisiana where my husband’s family is from.   My husband is really excited that we have found a great market to get some of his Cajun favorites like boudin and andouille sausage.   I have my eye on some other products like boneless pork loin stuffed with garlic, onions, bell pepper, and ground smoked pork sausage.  It’s not listed on the online store.  I found it on their Facebook page and all I have to do is call Luke Deville @ Teet’s to request it and it have it mailed to my home.  He made a special batch of Green Onion Jalapeno Pork Sausage for my friend Mary and he has now added that to the online store. Luke tries his best to accommodate all request.  

A big thanks to Luke Deville at Teet’s Food.  Your products are great and I have enjoyed using them!

These are some of the things that I cooked with my samples from Teet’s:

You can find my recipes at:  37 Cooks:  Linda 

Tasso Egg Salad Tartine

Smoked Garlic Pork Sausage-Squash Saute

Thai Salad with Brooke’s Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce

 

 

 

Crazy Cajun Duck-Tasso Fried Rice