Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Cheesy Grits and Roasted Red Peppers

Total Time: about 50 minutes
Makes 4 servings


  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped out
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 C coarse yellow grits
  • 2 C water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan
  • olive oil for brushing

Roast the pepper over a gas flame or under the broiler until the skin is charred. Place in a paper bag and close to let steam for 10 minutes. Rub off the charred skin, remove the steam and seeds, and slice into thin strips. Set aside while you make the grits.

In a medium saucepan, bring the two cups of water to boil. Add the kosher salt and slowly stir in the grits. Reduce the heat to simmer until the grits are cooked through and thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the butter and the cheese and remove from the heat.

While the grits are cooking, brush the mushrooms inside and out with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat until the mushroom is tender, about 5-6 minutes per side.

Spoon some grits into each mushroom cap and top with a few slices of roasted red pepper. If you want, you can warm these in the oven for a few minutes while preparing another dish, or sprinkle on a bit more cheese and broil the tops so they get bubbly and brown.

Pizza with Roasted Zucchini, Caramelized Onion, and Pesto

You can use whatever pesto recipe you like best. I don't always put pine nuts (or a substitute) in my pesto, and because this was going on a cheesy pizza, I opted not to add grated cheese. You won't need this whole pesto recipe for the pizza, so keep the leftovers in the fridge or freeze it in small chunks and use it when you'd like.

Total Time: about 1 hour, 15 minutes
Makes 1 pizza

Ingredients for Pizza:
1 ball pizza dough (prepared or store-bought)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
4-5 oz grated Fontina (I actually used Fontiago)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
cornmeal, for dusting

1 bunch basil leaves
1 small bunch parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Combine the basil, parsley, chopped garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the machine running, add enough olive oil to form a thinish paste. Check for seasonings. (At this point I like to transfer the pesto to a plastic squeeze bottle so I can squirt it on the pizza. Have I mentioned how awesome these things are? They're inexpensive, dishwasher-safe, and perfect for sprinkling finishing sauces, salad dressings, and sauces for stir-fries.)

In a large saute pan, heat the two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onion, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has caramelized, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the zucchini slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, flipping the slices over halfway through, until browned in spots, about 20-25 minutes. Remove and set aside until ready to top your pizza. Increase the oven temperature to 475F.

Stretch the pizza dough into a circle or rectangle, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet and transfer the pizza dough onto the sheet. Top with the caramelized onions, zucchini, and grated cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is browning and bubbly. Remove from the oven and drizzle some pesto on top. The heat from the pizza will warm up the oils in the pesto. Let cool for a minute before slicing and enjoying!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spiced Hot Chocolate with Rum

It's getting cold outside and you need something hot to drink. And chocolate. And booze.

Total time: 12 minutes
Serves 2

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I like using chocolate with chilies in it), broken into small pieces
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 3-inch piece cinnamon
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 3-4 Tbsp dark rum

In a saucepan heat the milk with the cinnamon, star anise, and cloves. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, until the milk is fragrant. Take off the heat and strain to remove the spices. Ddd the chocolate pieces, whisking until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the rum to taste and divide between two mugs.