The mornings and evenings have been getting chillier, hinting that fall is right around the corner. During the nighttime I usually leave one of my bedroom windows partially open because during the afternoon, the setting sun from the west heats up the front of the house and makes my room stuffy. At 6 a.m., I slide my finger across my iPod screen to end the annoying alarm, stretch, and huddle back under the covers. My dad comes up the stairs and asks if I'm awake. I sigh, pet my fluffy kitty, Mrs. Newt LJBS (LongJohn Bacon Squeegie) and reluctantly get out of bed.
It's another week headed to the Farmers' market.
But instead of wearing a tee-shirt, I'm wearing a light jacket, a beautiful scarf my mom wove, and boots. And I'm still cold. The sunrise made up for it, though, a bright burst of red flooding the horizon in a V-shape, trickling up through the clouds and dying them all shades of pink and blue. God is always in the details.
Stuffed portobello mushrooms
Makes 4 large stuffed mushrooms
pão e queijo original
4 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
Balsamic vinegar for brushing
2 scant TBSP olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
4 small shallots, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 cups spinach, coarsely chopped if leaves are large
2 small tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup basil pesto, preferably homemade
½ to ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or other of your preference
Salt to taste
Clean the mushrooms well and brush the outside of them with balsamic vinegar (I find a bristle pastry brush helps here). Preheat the oven to 375F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Grease a medium baking pan (I ended up using one 9-inch square pan and a one-quart gratin dish, use whatever you have that the mushrooms will fit in) with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt. Add the mushrooms, face up, to the pan.
In a medium sauté pan (I used 3.5 qts), heat the 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and stir occasionally, watching to make sure they don't burn. You can turn the heat down a little if needed. Sauté a few minutes, until softened, then add the chopped bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes or until softened. Add the spinach to the pan with a little water from washing still clinging to the leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until completely wilted, a few minutes. Add the tomatoes last and cook for about a minute or two more. Season with salt to your liking.
Spoon the vegetable mixture into the mushrooms in the pan, spreading evenly. Top each with one tablespoon of pesto, followed by 2-3 TBSP of cheese. Bake in preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melty and mushrooms are cooked. Enjoy!