Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Hour Mushrooms

Do you have a family food that was made for every holiday, all birthdays, any gathering that involved a party type atmosphere while you grew up? You know, the foods that crossed occasion boundaries (not just a food specific to christmas or thanksgiving). These are foods that when you walk in the front door of your mom's, grandma's, aunt's house, you smell home and familiarity. And you know it's a special occasion.

Most of our family foods of this type are appetizers, since usually the main course changes based on occasion. One of my favorites is my mom's Happy Hour Mushrooms. This was a recipe she was given by a friend at a potluck back in Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where my sister was born. So, circa 1980. She liked it so much, she made it all the time for our special occasions. It was the ONLY mushroom I would eat while growing up.

Now that I'm grown up, I also make them for special occasions. Sometimes I like to make them on a random Tuesday, to surprise Tim. He loves them, and I love how his eyes light up when I say I'm making them. The oohs and ahhs from everyone else is more reinforcement to continue the tradition. I remember serving them at our housewarming, and one of the guests standing at the table inhaling the mushrooms (nothing could make me happier as a party hostess!).

Now, if you are not a mushroom fan, I still hope you'd give these a shot. They may make you a convert (or a partial convert). But don't feel obligated. Some people are just not into fungi.

Once you get the hang of this recipe, it's also easy enough to make off the top of your head, without measuring ingredients (very forgiving, and they always turn out great), and to adjust the volume you make (it's a great way to use up a few left-over mushrooms).

In 15 short minutes, you go from this:

To this:Delicious!

Happy Hour Mushrooms
from my super-mom

1/2 pound small to medium sized button mushrooms (I prefer small ones, but they are a bit harder to fill)
4 tablespoons soft butter
1 small garlic clove, minced or mashed
3 tablespoons shredded jack cheese (I use an emmentaler/cheddar mix, as they don't have jack cheese here)
2 tablespoons red table wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/3 cup fine cracker crumbs (Ritz work best, but any plain butter cracker is OK)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat broiler.

Clean and remove stems from mushrooms (you can use the stems for mixed rice).

Combine 4 tablespoons soft butter, garlic and cheese in a medium bowl. Mix well. Add wine and soy sauce. Combine with cracker crumbs to make a paste.

Brush the open end of the mushroom caps with 2 tablespoons melted butter (I melt the buter in a ramekin and dip the mushrooms in - easy, but makes your fingers a bit messy). Place mushrooms on a baking sheet or heat-proof serving plate.

Put under broiler about 5 inches from heat, for about 3 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with tooth picks. Makes approximately 16 appetizers.

Guten appetit!

No comments: