Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Sister Calls it Frog Bread!!

Mushrooms are popular around the world and a must have in any serious cook's kitchen.  There are around 20 cultivated mushrooms sold commercially .  From the coveted truffle, to the sacred Matsutake, beloved by the Japanese, to the household familiar button mushrooms,  we have made these fungi a part of our lives.  Whether it's for nutritional, medicinal or for ritualistic purposes, mushrooms are a universal commodity that have origins dating back 13,000 years ago in Chile, and have affiliations in China as far  back as several hundred years B.C.
 Not only rich in B vitamins, namely niacin and riboflavin, mushrooms are also at the top of  the list of foods providing uber amounts of protein, even more so when dried!  Today's recipe,  features Baby Bella's, which are the younger and smaller version of the the beautiful Portobello mushroom, which is respected highly among the vegetarian community for it's 'meaty' texture and protein.   My sister Brenda is not a fan of mushrooms in any form, especially if she can see it.  She comically refers it as "Frog Bread", because it reminds her of lily pads or other things which frogs perch on and hide under!LOL  Brenda is so funny!!
This recipe uses lots of fresh ingredients and wonderful flavors that complement this mushroom well like mini peppers, onion, spinach, Pecorino Romano, and spicy sausage.  They are fabulous for entertaining, even for a small and humble affair like a weeknight dinner.  They are easy to prepare with major flavor reward.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family (excluding Brenda :) did!
Super Stuffed Baby Bella's
1lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned with dry cloth, stems removed
2 mini peppers, red and orange
2 tbsp. onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 c. cooked hot and spicy sausage crumbles, (optional)
2 slices bread, torn into very tiny pieces
1/3 c. chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry of excess water
1 tsp. Cambozolo cheese, optional
3 tbsp. Pecorino Romano, grated, reserving 1 tbsp. for garnish
olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400*F.
Place peppers, onions and sausage in small bowl and drizzle with a scant amount of olive oil and SPST lightly.  Microwave on high, uncovered for 2 minutes.  Set Aside.
Meanwhile, combine spinach, cheeses, and bread pieces in a medium bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and SPST.  Add pepper mixture and stir until combined.  Stuff mushrooms with filling and arrange on baking sheet.
The sizes will vary so stuff according to individual size ratio.  Divide remaining cheese atop filling.
Place in oven and cook until cheese is golden, about 8 minutes.
SPST and garnish with a little olive oil.
Makes about 12 mushrooms or 4 appetizer servings.

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