My mom put me in charge of appetizers for Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Usually, I get there and start cooking with my mom a day or two before the big day. This year, we won't arrive until late Wednesday night or early Thursday. So, I won't be doing as much cooking as I would like.
As the kids get older, it's not as easy to miss as much school as we used to get away with. I had to break the news to my mom that we may not be arriving until Thanksgiving Day.
Gautam's fried rice, stuffed mushrooms, and baked tofu.
We were both disappointed. I was probably more upset than she was because I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner. She still gets to do it. I asked her if she wanted to have me make a few of the dishes at my house and I would bring them over.
She thought it would be better to have me arrive as early as possible and make all of the appetizers. I gladly accepted.
My plan is to make a hot bean dip with garlic and rosemary accompanied by tortilla chips. Then, I will make flat bread topped with arugula, covered in truffle oil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Finally, I am going to bake some baby bella mushrooms and stuff them with a combination of cheese, garlic, onions, spices and bread crumbs. I would love to make more snacks; but, I would hate to spoil everyone's appetites
Time: 45 minutes
18 baby bella mushrooms
cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
9 small inch pieces of cheese (I used cheddar. You can choose)
cup Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems from the washed mushrooms. Set the stems aside. Drizzle 1 tablespoon over a baking sheet. Pour the soy sauce into each mushroom cap on the sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Chop up the stems of the mushrooms. Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a saut pan. Add the onions, garlic and stems. Saut for ten minutes. Add vinegar, Worcestershire, and turmeric. Saut for another ten minutes. Add beer to deglaze the pan. Scrape all of the seasonings from the bottom. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Once you remove the mushrooms from the oven, add the small pieces of cheese to each one. Then, pour the sauted mixture on top of this. Sprinkle on the bread crumbs. Return these to the oven and place under the broiler for ten minutes.
Okay, so this is not a meat recipe. Sorry. I was planning on making a really meaty dish to satisfy my husband's carnivorous desires. He even requested Irish stew and I was excited to find a recipe that incorporated barley. It just didn't work out this week. I had a terrible cold all week. Yes, another stupid cold! Then, before I knew it, it was Saturday night. I had some friends coming over for dinner. I looked in the refrigerator thirty minutes before everyone was about to arrive to see what I could throw together.
All I had in there was vegetables and tofu. I also had some brown rice in the cupboard. I had to make something good out of this. It had to be enough to feed and fill up nine people. I recently found a great spice shop and had all of the seasonings I needed to make Gautam's fried rice. I was especially excited to have cardamom. So, Gautam's fried rice was definitely on the menu. I also had some amazing looking mushrooms and decided to make the stuffed mushrooms to practice before Thanksgiving. This would be a great opportunity to test out my idea on a few close friends before I had to perform in front of thirty or so people. Finally, I made some baked tofu. I drizzled on some red wine and truffle reduction and sprinkled on some sesame seeds and threw those baby cubes of tofu into the oven. Easy as pie. No, easier.
I love it when Claud helps me cook. He helped me with each part of this meal and made it so much better than I ever could have.
I was surprised at his enthusiasm for this meal in light of the ingredients. One thing he did was to remove about half of the cardamom I had added to the rice.
Let me tell you, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Even though we removed about half of them before the rice finished cooking, the rice was so overpowered by the cardamom. Live and learn.
When my cousin Alex arrived, he made a comment about there being no meat or fat in the meal. I looked over at Claud to see how he was going to respond. I expected some sort of sarcastic remark. Instead he said, "You know, she really knows how to make all of this taste so good and I am really not even missing the meat and butter. She knows how to use the right seasonings and sauces. With her talent, she could make cardboard taste delicious." I nearly cried. I was sincerely touched. That was absolutely the best compliment about my food that I had ever received.
When everything was finished and plated, we all sat at the table. I am happy to say that everyone loved this meal.
Yes, brown rice, tofu and vegetables that tasted so incredibly good. You can even ask the kids!
Everyone gave me thumbs up on the mushrooms. I will definitely make these as a Thanksgiving appetizer. We finished the night with a dragon fruit and some brownies made by a friend. It was perfect.
But the best part of it all (the part I will never forget) was the thoughtful compliment given to me by my husband.