Portobello Road

I feel like I should start this post with a blanket defense of my perceived inability to eat a whole ham in a two week period. It was commented on my previous post that this may be a failure of my porky aptitude. It’s not that I CAN’T, believe me. It’s that I don’t ONLY have a ham in my freezer. I also have duck breasts and sausages and edamame and pork roasts and whole chickens. So if I have to pick the easiest transportable item, I’m going to say a 20 lb ham that has been frozen into a solid block. And then I’m going to spend two weeks trying to plow through the rest of that crap. I am a food hoarder. TLC should do a show on me. I already have to donate a pornographic amount of other food to the local shelter because it can’t come with us.

And some of it is so weird that I’ll feel guilty donating it. Although, if I were ever out of work and had to go to the food bank, and I came across squid ink pasta, lentils, a 10 lb bar of Guittard chocolate, panang curry paste, tahini, piquillo peppers, etc… Well, I’d be thrilled. There have to be homeless foodies, right?

Oh, and I’m assuming the homeless shelter doesn’t want an entire leg of lamb, so who gets that?? It’s not like I bothered making friends out here or anything. Maybe I’ll post it on Facebook.

And I can’t eat that much meat without having a few vegetarian meals. I’m not an Atkins-approved girl, and I would go into gastric shock if I ate nothing but animal protein for two weeks.

Fortunately, vegetarian meals lend themselves beautifully to cleaning out the pantry and fridge. I get asked for vegetarian recipes all the time, and the truth is there are far more of them out there than there are meat recipes, so it should be relatively simple to locate them. Or just come up with one on your own.

First of all, pick a protein. Will it be Eggs? Cheese? Yogurt? Beans? Lentils? Tofu? Historically, most protein in the world’s diet isn’t even from animal flesh. There are buttloads of options, so hop on that bad boy and give it a whirl. Then pick a carb. Pasta? Rice? Bread? Bulgur wheat? Couscous? Again, this category is endless. Then pick some veggies. Onions and garlic are a gimme for pretty much every dish. Everything else should just be whatever looks in season and fresh at the farmer’s market (or grocery store, or garden, or whatever).

Now go smoke a bowl or something, because all you really need is a touch…an IOTA…of creativity and hunger, and you’re going to come up with something good. I am persistently frustrated by the idea that a meal without meat is some kind of elusive goal. Pastas, pizzas, chowders, soups, salads, fritters…

Last night, I had some gorgeous portobello mushrooms in the fridge that had been hanging out since we went to the farmer’s market on Saturday. Normally, portobello mushrooms at the grocery store look like fish fighting through the BP spill…just barely. They’re broken and dirty and smeared in black nonsense. Half the gills are beaten to hell, and they’re completely inedible. At the market, the gills are tightly closed, they’re easily cleaned, pretty, sturdy. A few scrapes to get the gills out, a brief rinse to get off any dirt, and then a wipe down with flavored oil or fat gets them ready for just about anything you can imagine doing to them. Maybe not that, you sick bastard.

What I imagined doing to them last night was stuffing them and baking them. I do this a lot, but last night was so stupidly simple and delicious that I thought I’d pass it on to you so you could give it a shot. It’s filling, and has all the important nutritional components of a great meal.

**Notes on substitutions**
As a point I’ve beleaguered pretty thoroughly, I’m clearing out the fridge right now, which means I found a tub of black truffle butter. I also have a few dribbles of truffle oil and a container of truffle salt that are ready to be eaten. So I added a truffle spin to the dish. PLEASE feel free to substitute whatever you have at hand. If you don’t have truffle butter, use regular butter or garlic butter or chive butter or whatever. If you don’t have truffle oil, use olive oil. If you don’t have truffle salt, use plain ol’ kosher. The point isn’t to go out and buy new ingredients, but to use what’s at your disposal.

Okay, so without further ado, here’s the world’s easiest stuffed portobello mushroom. It’s a shell recipe, meaning you can make it what you want, provided the method is similar.

3 portobello caps, gills and stems removed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T butter
1 C onion, chopped
1/2 C parsley, chopped (sub spinach or kale or whatever green thing you have)
2 C panko breadcrumbs (or regular, if that’s what you’ve got– panko=crispy)
1 t truffle salt
2 T truffle oil
3 T truffle butter
3 eggs (go cage free, it’s easy and cheap)
1/4 C grated parmaggiano reggiano

-Preheat oven to 375

-Rub your portobellos with truffle oil inside and out, and set on a lined baking sheet
-In a saute pan, melt butter over medium high heat and saute your onions and garlic together until soft but not brown. Scrape into a mixing bowl.
-Add breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and salt and stir together.

-Add eggs and stir to make a thickish “stuffing” mixture. It should be wet enough to pack into a semi-solid ball in your hand, but not so wet that it squishes through your fingers.
-Pack the mixture into each portobello, filling generously and tightly
-Dot with small pieces of truffle butter and a delicate sprinkle of salt.
-Bake at 375 until golden brown on top, then dot again with butter

-Serve immediately with a salad or whatever suits your fancy

Those pictures make me all kinds of squirrely with delight.

Maybe I’ll have to start eating real meals for breakfast and lunch, too, just to get through all this food. As it stands, I go through a family-sized box of Kashi or Total every 2-3 days (no joke whatsoever, and accounts for 2600 calories per box), plus truckloads of Clif bars. The only real meal I eat is at dinner, with Chris, because as much as I completely am gay for cooking, I’m also really way too lazy to make meals of food for just myself.

Okay, fine. I’m going to ban myself from buying any more cereal or Clif bars for the duration of our time here. And I’m out of regular AP flour and down to weird hippie flours like spelt and graham flour. It’s about to get seriously “alternative” up in my kitchen.

I’ll post what will likely be a large string of failures for your amusement. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

Also, would you like a leg of lamb?

19 thoughts on “Portobello Road”

  1. :::drool::: leg of lamb. :::drool:::

    Also, you can't be as bad as my mother in law about food hoarding. I say this because she had fruit roll-ups in her pantry that she had purchased when we were still in high school.

    And her need to get a good deal on food meant that the linen closet was 2/3 full of food, the pantry had so much food that stuff would fall off the shelves into the trash can, AND they had 2 refrigerators and a chest freezer.

    They moved the chest freezer from Colorado to Georgetown. With food in it. and there were at least 5 boxes of canned food. all of this because, like you, they couldn't get through all the food in the amount of time they had (they sold their house on like March 23, and moved out May 25)

  2. Hey Katina! For the low-low price of driving down here to San Antonio, you can find yourself in the possession of a leg of lamb, as well as a SHITLOAD of other food products!

    *insert abuda-abuda-abuda auctioneer-type noises here*

    And Robin, welcome and thanks! My misery brings joy to a very small number of masses. It's the imprint I'm leaving upon the world.

  3. i thought it was a crab cake when i first saw the pic. it's amazing what a difference a silly thing like panko versus regular bread crumbs can make. not to mention truffle oil, truffle salt, and truffle butter, of course.

    i envy your freezer…well, i envy the food in your freezer. i never freeze anything. freezing intimidates me. no, thawing intimidates me. no, planning to thaw intimidates me.

  4. Our stuff gets packed up next Thursday and loaded next Friday. I could meet you partway with a c-c-coolah full of stuff. And any canned goods/curry pastes/etc you want, if you have want for any.

  5. I come from a family of food hoarders. The problem is that I also come from a family of people that won't throw anything out. So….buying 15 boxes of Bran Buds is okay, because eventually we'll get through them when they're only moderately stale and mouse eaten. But my father also still has giant 8L jars of *pudding mix* in dry storage. From 1991. Not a joke.

    If I lived closer, like within a 4-5 hour drive of SA, I would be knocking on your door in a heartbeat with a cooler in my hands and a look of nervous expectation on my face.

  6. I did email you…

    I don't think we'll be able to make it all the way down to SA before you leave this week. (San Marcos someday after work may be doable) :(

    I would be able to pick up stuffs from your friend of a friend in two weeks or so.

  7. I am sending this link to Brooke. She always makes stuffed mushies for her Christmas app, and I'd like next year's installment to be THESE.

    …pleasegod no more f*cking healthy "one point" stuffed mushrooms.

  8. OK, this is just insane. I was at the orthodontist's office with you today. LMAO wow. I just froze and sat there thinking about wth to do, so I did nothing. Anyway, the room was full and I just thought how extremely awkward it would be for me to announce that I'm indeed your stalker. Plus, the two loud, unruly, obnoxious, "I'ma beat the shit outta these two kids if they don't shutup so I can concentrate on my novel" kids were just making me very tense. I love children, but not those two. Sonofabitch!

    Anyway, you made a phone call to Steve, you were wearing a cute pink sundress, and you were supposed to be there at 11:30, not 2:30. Creepy, no? I hope you don't get a replacement stalker in Colorado. But I'm going to miss seeing you in random places.

    I'll keep reading, unless you block me!! Haha, please, don't block me. Good luck with your escape from hell.

  9. This would have been my last chance to meet you :( Were you directly to my left? Try not to tell anyone that I had a dingy pink sports bra visible from the sides of my dress and that I was rudely getting status updates from my painter (Steve) in a doctor's waiting room…it's moving day and I can't be held responsible for my lack of ethics and aesthetics. Also, not for my lack of timeliness (swear that lady said 2:30 on my message).

    Anyway, if I'd have known I'd see you, I totally could have passed you a bunch of stuff from WhoFo. God knows I was pimping it recklessly in the week leading up to our departure.

  10. Also, those kids were really fucking bad. Did they not have a parent? The receptionist seemed bizarrely patient with them, given how (at least the curly-haired one) is usually an ice-cold beeyatch.

  11. And if you were the one directly to my left (when I was sitting right by the door to the treatment room), then you have really cute hair (shoulder length, brown, actually styled as opposed to my hot mess of a mop–who's the stalker now?). It's either got to be that person or the one who was wearing the SA Rock N Roll 1/2 marathon shirt. So 'fess up, nice stalker lady. Who are you?

  12. Ha! I was the one rockin' the frumpy housewife look directly to your left. Well, I was on your right and then you moved. Those kids were a fucking nightmare. Their grandma was back with the one that has braces…….and the oldest boy slept, but those two younger ones needed abuse. Well, what would get reported as abuse these days. Just a pinch or something. God, the girl is going to be in juvi within 4 years. And then Grandma comes out and threatens them with a nap?!?!? WTF?

    Anyway, you looked adorable and yes, I noticed the lady at the front is an ice princess. My son was getting his braces put on today and I totally forgot to tell him you were there. He thinks it's hilarious that I stalk you! And, sadly, well, not sad per se, but he's 13 and he saw your Facebook bikini pic and he thinks you are totally hot. LOL sorry.

    Anyway, I may end up in Colorado…this is no lie, my husband's company may send us to Denver. So. I may just show up at your hair appointment one day.

    Take care, and keep the blog going!! Safe travels.

  13. First, my sister is a dick. I only made those 1-point stuffed mushrooms once, and I totally cheated and added cheese when it wasn't called for.

    Second, I thought they were good. Stuffed mushrooms are always good.

    Third, why do you remove the gills? Is it just to make room for the stuff, or is there some other reason? I've never used portobellos for stuffing (apps shared by all require a smaller vessel, ie., criminis) so I've never done that before.

    Fourth, this looks very very good and I want. I will have to pick up some portobellos.

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