This weekend, The Monro's ventured down to Southern California to visit our family. We had two birthdays to celebrate. Nana was turning 89 and Charlotte was turning 10. This was call for celebration. So, we loaded up the car and headed southwest.
My mom already had the menu sorted for the birthday party on Saturday, with lasagnas, salad, roasted peppers and tons of appetizers. We arrived on Friday to some delicious vegetable soup with fresh rosemary bread. I told her I needed to contribute something for the birthday party the following afternoon. This was after we ate tons of cheese and crackers. We ate more cheese than I should have consumed in a week, all in one evening. Oh, that darn creamy Brie. I can't seem to get enough of that cheese. So, it was hard to think about the next day's meal. I decided to wait to figure it out the next day.
The next morning, I dropped Charlotte off at the nail salon for a birthday manicure. While she and Daphne got their nails done, I ran to the store for some gifts. I came back and took the girls to the grocery store to pick something out to make for the party.
Baby portobello mushrooms make a great topping on a baguette.
Cutting the bread with one of the birthday girls, Charlotte (10).
We walked around the store. I asked Charlotte what she would like to eat for her birthday. Charlotte picked out powdered sugar coated donut holes. I couldn't think of anything I could make with those. Then, she wanted mints. Still, nothing fabulous came to mind. I have no donut and mint recipes in mind.
I said, "We should look at the vegetables." We took the cart and wandered into the produce section. I knew I had to come up with something sort of light because my mom already had so much food prepared. That is why I thought about produce as my central idea.
As we looked around, mushrooms popped out as a good idea. I saw the mushrooms and thought I should make something with those as the central theme. I love mushrooms. It is strange because I absolutely disliked mushrooms as a kid. I would never eat them. Now, I adore those little puppies, especially morel mushrooms. We used to hunt for morels in Minnesota. However, try to find morels in a Nevada grocery store and you will have to take out a second mortgage in order to add them to your meal.
Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6 10
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups baby portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions. Saut until soft and clear. Add sugar. Saut until golden brown. Add mushrooms. Saut five minutes longer. Add butter. Saut five minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat baguettes in the oven for five minutes (until toasted). Hollow out the bread. Scoop mushroom mixture into bread. Slice into bite sized pieces.
Charlotte is a vegetarian. So, I thought there might be a chance that she would like mushrooms. I made sure to ask Charlotte if she did. She did. So, that was my focal point for the recipe. I was impressed that a ten-year-old liked mushrooms. I chose baby portabellas because these mushrooms are often substituted for meat due to their dense meat-like flavor and texture. I thought this would be a great addition to what my mom already had planned for the party. We have tons of vegetarians in our family.
Mushrooms are great for so many different recipes. I love to add them to a veggie burger. They are fantastic in spaghetti sauce. They are the best on pizza. I think my all time favorite way to eat them is how they make them at a local restaurant here in Las Vegas. At Elements, one of our favorite restaurants, we order marinated mushrooms. They are served to us in a small skillet with toasted French bread and butter. Sometimes, Claud and I will go to this restaurant and this is all I order for dinner. They are so delicious.
So, when I came home with nothing but donut holes, mushrooms and mints, I asked Claud to give me a hand. I said, "Honey, could you please make those Elements mushrooms with me?" Thank goodness, he just took over and made those delicious treats without even consulting with me on any of it. It was as if he instinctively knew how they did it.
First, he caramelized onions and added in the mushrooms. Then, he added a chunk of butter. OK, I probably wouldn't have done that, but OK. He was the boss at this point. I heated up the bread and got it ready to hold the mushrooms. Once he was done, we piled the mushrooms and onions onto the bread. I forgot to mention all of the people who kept grabbing mushrooms out of the skillet as we cooked them. I could tell this dish was going to be a hit. Claud said it was the smell of the butter that drew people into the kitchen.
Once we were finished and we set these appetizers out for everyone to eat, Claud said something funny. He thought they looked like vegetarian hot dogs. I didn't think so but before I knew it, they were being passed around as "veggie dogs". That's fine. I was just happy that everyone seemed to love them. Both the 89-year-old birthday girl and the 10-year-old birthday girl had at least two. That made me very happy indeed.