Stuffed Mushrooms with Imitation Crab Meat

As a chef most people find it shocking when they hear that I am not a huge fan of mushrooms. Not that I dislike all mushrooms, I do really like a morel cream sauce. My wife’s family really loves mushrooms and while out at the farmers market we came by some beautiful portobello mushrooms. I love to make dishes with portobellos especially when others enjoy them. These are easy to make and you can make them ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests. You can make them in gigantic portobello mushrooms like I did this time or regular white button mushrooms; the stuffing would be the same in either case. So let’s get to it.

First off take a red, green, and yellow pepper and one medium red onion and dice it into small pieces add a tablespoon of chopped garlic, a couple shakes of Old Bay seasoning and some salt & pepper. Add about ½ stick of butter to a sauté pan set over medium heat and cook the vegetables until they become soft. Pour them into a bowl to let them cool with 4 oz. of cream cheese while you get the mushrooms ready.

Remove the stems of the mushrooms, you can do two things now, you can fine dice it and put in the sautéed vegetables or just get rid of them, your call. I tossed them in this time.

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With a tablespoon now carefully scrape out the gills from the underside of the mushroom and discard them. You don’t want them because they taste bitter.

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Now dice up the pound imitation crab meat, you want these a little large because they will break down when you mix everything up. Toss the crab in the bowl with everything else and mix thoroughly. Here you might have to add some Italian bread crumbs to tighten up the mixture. You want the mixture to be tight enough to make a “slushy” snowball.

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In this case divide the mixture into quarters and place on top of the mushrooms. You can cover them if you want and stow them in the fridge for a day or two or place them into an oven preheated to 375F. Cook them for about 20 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.

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~Enjoy~

Spicy Shrimp and Polenta

My wife and I were discussing how much she likes grits for breakfast and I asked her if she ever has had polenta.  She said no, so I suggested that I make her some for dinner.  Dinner? As she looked at me funny, I said I bet you will like it, it would be my take on Southern shrimp and grits.  So this is what I did.

Start out with good polenta.  Make it to the directions on the package substituting one cup of water for one cup of heavy cream, add one stick of butter. Stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

polenta

cooking polenta

Pour off about half of the mixture into a buttered shallow pan if you have one. We are going to save that for another day. We will use this over the weekend for breakfast. Let it cool completely then cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Back to dinner now.

polenta in a pan

Take the shrimp you are having for dinner and marinate them in some olive oil, and whatever spices you like to make them spicy say some crushed red peppers, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.

seasoned shrimp

With the rest of the polenta in the pot add about 2 cups of cheddar cheese and mix in until its smooth, if necessary loosen the mixture a little with some more heavy cream. You are looking for a consistency of very thick applesauce. Put the bowl off to the side over very low heat and cook the shrimp.

cooked shrimp

Heat a non stick pan to medium high, add the shrimp, and cook a few minutes a side just until done. Scoop some of the hot cheesy polenta into a bowl and top with the spicy shrimp. Serve with a nice cool glass of your favorite white wine. As for my wife she now likes polenta just as much as grits.

plated shrimp

Enjoy