All I wanted to do is prove that men can cook too, so I volunteered to work on preparations for the party.
"What can I bring?" I asked. Sue looked at her list.
"How about stuffed mushrooms?".
Well, I've made stuffed mushrooms a few times, and never been too impressed. But they are easy enough to make - just snap the stems off, chop up the stems, add a few veggies and spices, stuff the mixture into the empty (stems removed) caps, and bake. An easy project.
"Sounds good to me. How many shall I bring? A couple dozen or so?".
"Well, we're planning on 50 people. Better make it a few more. Say 200."
Well, I'm not one to back down, so I thought why not? And the fun began.
Day 1 - Purchase and Preparation
So how do you get 200 mushrooms? That's a lot of mushrooms. Thanks to Lois, also in the party planning committee, I found my way to Lunardi's Grocery in Walnut Creek.
Inside I went, to the vegetable department, and found a grocery clerk. And 10 minutes later, I left the store with a 10 pound case of fresh mushrooms.
Did I say this already? That's a lot of mushrooms.
First, came the task of cleaning. Well, the largest container that I have, that was suited for this task, was a salad spinner. Which held a couple pounds at a time. And I quickly developed a routine, born of necessity.
- Half fill the empty salad spinner with dirty (and boy were they) mushrooms.
- Fill with water, agitate til water turns brown.
- Drain mushrooms from salad spinner.
- Replace slightly clean mushrooms in salad spinner, and repeat process.
- As each quantity of mushrooms became so clean that the water drained off them was clear, agitate the drainer well to ensure that all of the water drained off them, then dump the clean mushrooms into a Tupperware container.
- Repeat the above process, with another 2 pounds or so.
Once I had filled 3 large Tupperware containers with nice clean, dry mushrooms, I sealed the containers, put them in the refrigerator, and called it a day.
- Empty mushroom caps.
- Mushroom stems.
- Bread crumbs.
- Leftover mushrooms (my patience ran thin after 200).
- Chopped veggies.
Day 2 - Cooking
The second day started with my realisation that my old recipe - One Dozen Easy Stuffed Mushrooms - was nowhere to be found. The reason why I started this blog, in the first place, was that I had grown tired of my recipe box - which was an index card holder stuffed full of documents that were not all on index cards. Looking it up on the web is so much easier, and more fun.
So back to the web I went, and, from a Gohoo of:
recipe stuffed mushrooms garlic onion cheese
I rounded up half a dozen or so interesting recipes. From the recipes, I observed:
- Proper proportions.
- Additional ingredients.
- Cooking techniques.
The issue of cooking techniques, in particular, was quite enlightening. I learned to (DOHH) cook the spices / stems / veggies mixture BEFORE adding it to the bread / cheese, and stuffing the mushrooms. So that's why the ones I made always fell apart, and why the veggies were always so hard when the mushrooms were eaten.
The idea of letting the mushrooms cook until the pan was full of water was, likewise, a new idea to me. Previously, I had thought that shrunken, watery mushrooms meant that they had been cooked for too long, and at too high a heat. So my previous attempts would end up with semi-cooked, yet leathery, mushrooms.
The whole Internet experience was well worth the time. Obviously, you already know that, cause you're here. Unless you're here for the laughs, in which case welcome to Chuck's Kitchen. And, if you're ever in the Martinez area, and feel the need for spiritual refreshment, you could do a lot worse than dropping by Martinez UMC, which is where this story started.
- 3 pans of cooked and drained stuffed mushrooms (some taste testing was done, you will count MAYBE 150 I dunno).
- Leftover caps.
- Leftover stems.
I didn't buy enough bread, and ran out of crumbs, after stuffing 175 or so, so I had a few mushrooms left over. The leftovers were cooked the following week, when I wrote my second recipe using normal quantities.