Monday, July 16, 2012

Pickled-Marinated Mushroom antipasto

Well it's been awhile since I've posted anything new; with the heat and health issues, cooking sometimes takes a back seat. But I'm back, and I've got a few new goodies to share.

This is a great appetizer for summer get-togethers. It is made 24 hours (or more) in advance, and only uses a minimal amount of cooking time.

8 ounces regular white mushrooms, cut in 1/2 if small, 1/3 or 1/4 if larger
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. fine sea salt
Pickling spice: a handful of mixed peppercorns, 4 torn up bay leaves, 1 star anise pod, 1 Tbs garlic powder or 2-3 crushed cloves of garlic, dash of cayenne pepper, 1 Tbs dried dill or 4 Tbs fresh dill, 1 tsp. citric acid or 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

*From your local gourmet deli case, buy 8-10 oz of mixed pitted olives [green, kalamata, black]

 *8-12 oz crumbled feta cheese

Bring the water, vinegar, salt, sugar and pickling spice to a boil in a stainless steel or other non-reactive pan (my non-stick cookware worked just fine). Add the mushrooms and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool, then store in the liquid in a covered bowl in the fridge for 8-12 hours before serving. You can double the recipe by removing the first batch of mushrooms with a slotted spoon, then boiling another 8 oz. in the liquid for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve chilled with an olive mix and feta cheese cubes or crumbles for a yummy Mediterranean style anti-pasto.

CopyCat Recipe: Outback's Bushman Bread

One of the best parts of going out to Outback Steakhouse is the Bushman bread (you know, that lovely dark brown loaf with sweet butter) which is served complimentary to your party. But, if you're a vegetarian, a STEAKHOUSE isn't going to offer a lot of options that are satisfactory. And, if you have a large family or are on a tight budget, going out isn't really an option. Therefore, making this bread at home and serving it with your meals is a great option. While you may spend a little bit to get the ingredients together initially, you can then make a large number of loaves of bread with the ingredients you now have on hand.

This recipe is designed to make the dough in a bread machine, then finish it off in a conventional oven.

    1 packet active dry yeast
    1 cup warm water [110-120ยบ F]
    2 Tbs. butter or vegan margarine (softened)
    1/3 cup honey or agave syrup
    1/2 Tbs. sugar [brown or white]
    1 1/2 cups wheat PASTRY flour
    1 1/2 cups high-gluten bread flour [I substitute 1/4 cup of wheat gluten for AP flour]
    1 1/2 tsp instant coffee (1 packet Starbucks Via coffee - Breakfast Blend is great)
    1 Tbs. mild molasses
    3 tbsp cornmeal

    1 Tbs Milk or soy-milk
    handful rolled oats

In a separate bowl, mix together the bread flour, wheat flour, cocoa, sugar, coffee, & salt.
 It’s very important you place the ingredients into you bread machine in the following order: Water, butter, honey, sugar, & molasses, then dry mix & yeast.  This will keep the yeast from activating with the warm water until after it’s begun mixing.

    Run your bread machine on the “dough” setting until complete.

    Place the dough in a glass bowl covered with a towel and let rise in a warm dry area for about an hour. A warmed oven, turned off works well.

    Separate the dough into two equal parts and roll out into oval loaves.

    Place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Brush the tops of your loaves with a little whole milk or half-and-half, and sprinkle with rolled oats.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the crust makes hollow sound when tapped.

Serve warm with softened butter. YUM!