Land-time reader kicks it off this morning (too early for Mimosa’s, right?) with a dandy spin on what to do with mushrooms:
Shrooms From Mr. X
Mom’s Recipe Hall of Fame v.4: Stuffed Mushrooms
2 dozen large mushrooms (2-3 inch diameter, baby bella is a good choice)
butter (enough to sauté and coat the mushrooms)
6 slices bacon cooked and chopped
2 tbsp. bacon grease
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 tsp dry sherry
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
4 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
6 cloves garlic finely chopped
Rinse and dry mushrooms, snap out stems and finely chop. Melt butter in frying pan over low-med heat, add mushrooms and toss to coat them thoroughly, sauté for a few minutes then arrange
them on a 9×13 baking sheet.
Cook onions and garlic in remaining butter and bacon grease, add mushroom stems, sherry, and bacon. Cook until sherry has evaporated then remove from heat and stir in the cheeses saving 2 tbsp. parmesan to sprinkle on top.
Evenly mound the mixture into the stem side of each mushroom. Cover and chill for as long as 24 hours if made ahead. Bake uncovered at 400f for 10 minutes, 20 min if chilled. Shovel liberally into pie hole.
I will post more of these so Mr. Box can continue to enjoy more dam fine gustatory revelations lol. 8)”
Got Crabs, You Say?
(We will dispense with the gasoline and ice pick jokes…)
We love nothing better than fresh Dungeness crab. While living on our sailboat (11-years worth, 1 with Elaine) one of the finest pastimes was to get a bunch of leftover chicken parts, a case of beer, and head 2-miles north of Shilshole Bay Marina, on the east side of Puget Sound.
Loading up a wire box (*about the size of a pound of butter) with ripe *(and going south quickly) chicken parts, was sure to land a crab ring full of dinner.
Some days, it could take a while. Turn on some light jazz, or if bouncy and white capping, some James Brown “I feel Good!” and drink a beer. Then another. Then pull and check trap.
The perfect Dungeness were about 8 inches across. Big enough to be meaty yet at the same time, small enough to pot a couple per person.
If it was just me (*limited supply of gullible women in Seattle, I suppose) I would get three large: Two to eat (with a fresh loaf of French bread) and one to “shake out” for crab-stuffed mushrooms.
For these, store bought extra large shrooms were food. Simply snap out the stem, fill the stem hole with lots of crab. Dollop of cheese (chunk of cheddar or Mozzarella, depending on mood) and pop into the oven.
You use the cheese as a kind of “poor man’s meat *(or crab) thermometer. When it’s beginning to slump, maybe good for George. Went melted, good for most boat guests. When melted and browned somewhat? Well, that’s around where Elaine likes ’em.
Which led to a quick marriage proposal because I could see a lifetime of high-grading the fullest and least cooked – of the crab stuffed shrooms.
While there are plenty of places to anchor around the property, the sea spiders are absent and so are most smaller ponds by mid-summer.
Still, you can find cans of Dungeness online from time to time. And I did see the Costco up at Rockwall, TX had 10-pound frozen boxes of Dungeness (cooked, whole) for $219.
$21.90 a pound? Not to mention the “shell waste”? Umm…Pike Place Market online fish mongers can overnight crab meat cheaper.
I ran the numbers on buying another sailboat, too. But didn’t quite wash. Although – slightly off point – if anything ever happened to the Ranch, the Ure’s would be back on a cruising sailboat again, despite our ages. Hard to beat a sea-kindly Liberty 458 in terms of great sailing value. An example here...
The Tender Book
No, not “Tender to Magic Elf” which avoided dinghy registration in some socialist coastal states. (Mothership must be a U.S. documented s/v or m/v…)
No, let’s talk my latest great book idea: The Book of Tender.
There we were Monday – me hanging my head in shame for not managing my personal time better (wasn’t supposed to be an issue at 72 years old, eh?). So I decided to make chicken.
Was thinking along the lines of BBQ. But, the boneless, skinless were frozen and “waving” them warm ruins about anything.
How to make the tenderest BBQ chicken breasts?
A sniff around Google and the Kindle depot followed.
I’ve only been to a couple of Seder’s in my life but part of the observance is simple chicken with bitter herbs and other symbolic accompaniments.
Thing is, the Seder chicken than got my attention (Reform, not Orthodox) was incredibly great.
The answer? A quarter cup of kosher salt in 3-1/2 to 4 cups of water for a half-hour to 45-mintues before cooking. For the Seder dinner, it was 24-hours of soaking in the fridge.
If you have any specific meat, fish, or chicken tenderizing secrets, send ’em along!
More than Salt?
According to web-lore, there’s something to this “heavy salt” idea because salt *(it’s claimed) is the main ingredient in The Colonel’s chicken along with the other “13-secret herbs and spices.”
So the searcher worked into things a bit deeper…
Blazes and Glazes!
While chicken should be cooked hot – not like the 650F and higher we do Texas-style “burned and mooing” steaks at. Around 350 or 400F is fine. Remember, we’re still using last season’s new infrared grill, so still getting used to that, too.
Rubs could be used, of course. More salt and herbs and for the brave, a damp panko-like that would crust a bit. But glazes – based on honey or real sugar (we despise corn syrup, but we do have sorghum syrup on our BBQ’ing test plan) and some kind of booze sounded interesting.
Monday’s first round “Perfect BBQ Chicken” was decided by a trip to the liquor cabinet. Plenty of choices, but what was fullest? Capt. Morgan’s spiced rum was a reliable choice. (Booze cooks off above 170F…)
Lining it up, then, we had salt-water soaked chicken. Bottle of Captain’s with a thirsty prep cook eyeing it, bottle of honey, and then the capper! A bottle of Jamaican Jerk Sauce was found hiding in the fridge.
I decided to go easy on it – it will blow the top of your head off if you get carried away with it – unless you have 3-minute medic response times and you’re ready for an E.R. visit.
Enough to “warm up the rum and honey” but not so much as to be confused measures in Scoville’s. Useful ($12-bucks and Amazon) is the Destiny’S Know Your Scoville Heat Scale Retro Metal TIN Wall Plaque Sign.
And, if you don’t have one, a good digital instant meat thermometer is useful. Overcooked chicken dries out quickly. Ideal temp is 160 for white meat and 165 for dark. (Citing no less authority than Bon Apetit!)
Oh, if Bill’s Friends are coming, 170F, right?
Bon Apetit readers also advised taking the chicken off a bit ahead of temperature (155F sounded right to me) because the meat will continue to cook a bit as it “rests.”
Like it would get a chance to rest, huh?
Digital Madness – Cured!
Hate to mention that one of my reasons for thinking of axing the SatGourmet section is because it’s costing me a fortune in cooking gear.
This week, faced with the chicken task, I ALMOST bought a $100-class wireless, continuous meat thermometer which would link up to an app on our cell phone. When the Starlink lands….
Then, in a moment of genius I came up with the workaround: Move the rum bottle and the ice bucket outside nearer the BBQ. On the screen porch.
No point in buying 100 foot range if a) I can keep an eye on things from a few feet away, and b) I could use the exercise, right?
Next weekend: LOOB does Chili Bowls. Send in your best-ever food stories to George@Ure.net and if photos are included, no copyrighted material please. We like to spend money on basics, like food, not on lawyering-up….
Write when the race finishes: Chicken done or out of rum?