Team Dinner

The beau and I love good food and wine. One of our favorite things to do together is to get in the kitchen and cook….or drink wine and watch the other person cook (I’m GREAT at that).

Last night, we tag-teamed dinner – and it came pretty well, if I do say so myself. Something for him (BBQ shrimp), something for me (cheese grits) and some other fun things thrown in.

Spending a couple of hours in the kitchen arguing over the right way to chop celery can be a fun and goofy night with your other half. Try it tonight. Hint: Wine is essential. 

Menu:
Black Truffle Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms (oh.yeah.)
BBQ Butter Shrimp
Cheese Grits
Braised Kale

Black Truffle Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
8 portobello stuffers (or other stuffing mushrooms), cleaned and de-stemmed, stems reserved for stuffing 
1/2 large zucchini, peeled (optional) I ran out of mushrooms but had a giant zucchini. By slicing 2 inch pieces and using a teaspoon to scoop out a center, I made zucchini cups – they were so pretty and delicious.
4oz Truffle Goat Cheese (regular goat cheese is fine too)
3 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)
3 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbs shredded Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
4 slices of bacon
1/4c. panko bread crumbs

The star of our show:


Pre-heat oven to 350. Roast mushrooms and zucchini cups in a shallow baking dish for 5 minutes.  
In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, scallions, reserved stems (chopped), parsley, Parmesan cheese and black pepper. In a skillet, saute bacon until crisp (adding a little chicken stock to help bring up the bits from the bottom of the pan). Add crisp bacon (and a splash of the cooking liquid) to cheese mixture. Add the panko crumbs  and mix well.

Stuff the mushrooms and zucchini cups with filling. Spray each one lightly with cooking spray (if you have truffle oil on hand, that would be perfect here). Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until cheese is browned. Serves 4 (2 each). Serving note: since these are larger than regular stuffed mushrooms, these would be great served as an individual starter: one mushroom over spring mix and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

 BBQ Butter Shrimp
This was a recipe the beau found that we adapted for our tastes
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 rib celery, minced
1/2 medium white onion, minced 
3 tbs chopped parsley, minced  
1 stem of rosemary, chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1tbs Cajun blend)
Juice from one lemon
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2c. chicken stock (original recipe called for Beer, we were out)
1 lb raw, de-veined, shells off shrimp
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350.
In a heavy skillet, melt half of the butter. Add garlic, celery and onion, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Allow to soften, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, rosemary and seasoning. Stir to coat. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire and chicken stock, reduce slightly (about 3-4 minutes).

Add shrimp to a 8×8 or 9×11 baking dish and carefully pour butter mixture over the shrimp, ensuring that all the shrimpies are covered (melt more butter/chicken stock together if need be to cover it all). Bake for 15-18 minutes until shrimp are opaque. Serves 2-4.

This can be served over rice or in our case, Cheese “Grits”.
Forgive this Yankee girl’s interpretation of grits. Any Southern friends want to teach me the real way to make cheese grits? I’ll bring my own apron.

Cheese “Grits”
1c. whole wheat cous cous (dry)
1.5c. chicken stock
2 tbs butter
2 tbs AP flour
1 c. milk
8oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tbs cayenne pepper
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs thyme
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley 
Cracked pepper

In a small pot, bring chicken stock up to a boil, add cous cous, cover and turn heat off.
Cous cous will cook in about 5-7 minutes. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, Fluff with a fork and its ready for use.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add flour to make a roux (paste). SLOWLY add milk, a little at a time (up to a half-cup) to the roux. Add cheese, a bit at a time, stirring constantly. Add more milk, 1 tbs at a time to thin the cheese mix. Once all the cheese has been blended, add cayenne, dijon and thyme. Stir until seasonings are completely blended.

Add cooked cous cous to the cheese sauce, mixing thoroughly. Add parsley and a few grinds of black pepper right before serving. Serves 4.

The feast.
(Braised Kale was our tried-and-true recipe, found here)

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    What is the right way to chop celery salad? Lengthwise, then chop into bits? Cut on the diagonal? And can you leave any left-over pieces to fill with peanut-butter to snack on? Or better yet, cream cheese and pimento olives?

  2. PT says:

    These mushroom caps look heavenly. How do select good mushrooms? Fresh Market usually has fresh ones, but I can’t tell if they should be firm and shiny or darker.

    1. Button Mushrooms should be white, mostly unbruised and not dry looking at all (check the stems). Portobello mushrooms or Baby bellas should be light to medium brown and again, mostly unblemished. When you clean mushrooms; wet a cloth and gently wipe off the excess dirt (and there will be dirt). Avoid submerging them in water to clean as they’ll absorb water and be too “spongy” to saute properly. 🙂

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