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.
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.
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.
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.
I like serving couscous in the summer, you don’t really have to cook it, you can make it a day ahead and you can serve at room temperature. So here is how I did it this time.
I took a red onion, red, green and yellow pepper and diced them pretty small and sautéed them in some good olive oil with some salt & pepper and chopped fresh garlic. Put that in a mixing bowl to cool while I cooked the couscous.
I like the Israeli couscous because it is bigger than the regular one. I used two boxes this time, cooked with chicken stock instead of water for extra flavor. Cook per the instructions on the box, just be careful not to over-cook it because it will turn to mush and you really don’t want that.
Take the freshly cooked couscous and combine it with the onion and pepper mixture. Here you might have to add a little olive oil and check your salt & pepper seasoning.
Let it cool and then cover it and store it in the fridge.
I knew that I would be out all day at the street fair Saturday with my wife and her family. They all were coming over for dinner after so I wanted to get some of this stuff done before hand. On Wednesday I went to the store and got six whole chickens, cut the spines out and seasoned them liberally on both sides with a mixture of salt, pepper, dried chili flakes, paprika, granulated garlic and onion powder as you can see here. I wrapped them up and put in the fridge overnight.
The following day I took the chickens out of the fridge, let them come to room temperature and par baked them in a 350F oven for 50 minutes and until they registered 160F on a meat thermometer. I know that they would carry over to 165F degrees, the safe temperature for cooked chicken. I let them cool on the counter for about an hour. Then I consolidated them in one 2 inch baking dish, wrapped them and put them in the fridge for Saturday where I would finish cooking them on the grill.