When I moved back to Vermont I was concerned that I would miss things like the twenty-four hour grocery store, the pizza place which was open till the wee hours of the morning, the variety of fast food places available who deliver, and a short twenty-minute drive into the Bronx for some of the best Italian food anywhere. There are days when I still miss those things; but the forty-five minute ride one way for a pizza at ten-thirty at night is a deterrent. Nothing in the nearest town was open later than 9:00 p.m.; I was forced (I use that term lightly) to start preparing my own meals again.
|Fresh Pumkin Pie for the Farmer's Market|
I remembered how much I love to cook and how much more I love GOOD food. My mother is a good cook and an even better baker. She was kind enough to let me help her prepare baked goods and dinners, even though I am pretty sure I was more of a hindrance than help. My father taught me to grill. I have gone through more BBQ grill elements and components that I can count, even grilling when it was snowing. Recipes like American Goulash, Shepherd’s Pie, Boiled Dinner, and Country Style Spareribs came from my grandmothers, though I have modified them slightly over the years.
These family meals quickly became staples, leftovers freezing easily and reheating quickly in the microwave. Roasted chicken easily stretched into several meals adding leftover recipes to the repertoire. Then I met my DH; I had eaten wild game before, but never so much as when we started dating. I still can’t cook it as well as he can, but I am learning. Then the garden, the first one planted, harvested and eaten all on my own, was planted in 2005. My grandfathers were the gardeners in my family and although I had watched my mother and grandmother can and preserve, I had never tried my hand at it. Amazed at how easy it was I began adding marinara sauces and salsa.
Armed with old family cookbooks, new recipes from holiday gifted cookbooks, the internet, and great, local food, the variety of meals are endless. Grilled, stuffed portobello mushrooms; ham, potatoes and green beans in a dill-yogurt sauce; carrot, apple, zucchini muffins; honey, oat, wheat bread; and prosciutto, provolone and basil stuffed chicken breast have quickly become favorites.
|Ingredients for Grilled, Stuffed Mushrooms|
Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushroom tops (cleaning out spines provides more room for stuffing, but is not necessary)
Sausage, ground beef or turkey, or other stuffing of your choice
Fresh spinach, chopped
Small, chopped onion
Two medium tomatoes, chopped
Two cloves of garlic chopped
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Brush mushroom tops with EVOO and set aside. Sautee garlic and onion in EVOO, add sausage/ground meat and brown. Remove sausage, add spinach, toss until wilted. Mix sausage back into spinach. Fill mushroom tops. Grill till mushrooms are almost done 6-8 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more. Add mozzarella cheese and cook until melted.
Serve with fresh, crusty bread.
DH has mentioned lately that we should try to grow mushrooms as portobellos can be expensive; add one more project to the to-be-researched list. Eventually we would like to start raising our own pork, curing sausage and making pancetta. In the meantime, the butcher shop and the grocery store will have to suffice.