Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bring on the Fall Foods!

Fall seems to be officially here - last week we had the largest rain storm out here apparently since the '60s, with winds gusting to 60mph. I think I hydroplaned most of my way home from work that evening. Then it got hot and muggy, and then it rained some more. Gotta love that weather!

Now that it is autumn I find myself spending more time in the kitchen (its warm!), cooking warm appetizers, winter squashes, baked goods, and hearty tasting foods. I went to a party Friday night with lots of wine, chocolate martinis, and tasty food, and might have woken up still drunk the next morning. A delicious dinner Saturday night sounded like a wonderful way to rest.

First up... Stuffed Mushrooms

I saw this recipe for mushrooms stuffed with mini-meatloaves, and with my love of miniature foods, I made it my own. The stuffing is based on the bean burgers from Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian."


1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup oat (not quick-cooking)
Fresh rosemary and sage
Salt and pepper
1 egg

Combined all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chunky but not pureed. Let mixture rest in the fridge for a while (I left mine for about thirty minutes).


Preheat over to 375°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Clean and remove the stems from however many mushrooms you want to make. I used baby portabellos, but I've seen mushrooms labelled "stuffing mushrooms" in the store. Put a cube of cheese (I used marinated mozzarella balls) in the mushroom cup. Wet hands, since the bean mixture is very sticky, and top the mushroom with a patty. Bake for 20 minutes.

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Main course... Tri-Tip with Rosemary Red Wine Reduction (from the Raley's "Something Extra" magazine, but I can't find it on their website)


1 tri-tip, prepared according to your favorite recipe
2 cups red wine
1/2 pan drippings or stock (I used no-chicken stock)
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
Salt and pepper

Bring wine, pan drippings/stock, shallots, and rosemary to a boil in a saucepan. Cook for 20 minutes or until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove rosemary and whisk in butter until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over prepared tri-tip, which in this case I marinated in a garlic herb mixture all day long and then barbecued. I used a Naked Chick'n cutlet for me to make it vegetarian.

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Side dish... Butternut Squash with Wilted Spinach and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette (from Whole Foods "The Whole Deal" magazine)


1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 5-oz package baby spinach
4 cups roasted 1" cubes butternut squash

To roast butternut squash, peel and chop into 1" cubes. Toss on a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400° until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Use a fork to mash together blue cheese and lemon juice in a large bowl to make a thick, smooth dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook, tossing often, until slightly wilted and warm, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to the bowl with the dressing, add the warm squash, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

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The squash was great, the red wine reduction was great (it reminded Chris of pot roast though, he likes a sharper red wine). And more importantly, it was hearty and gourmet-y and warming on a chilly fall evening. Even better was topping it off with my favorite chocolate cookies and coffee!


Anonymous said...

This post is an exercise in pure evil. MMmmmm.

Hungarican Chick said...

That was me.. Woops, hit Anon by accident.