Jalapeno Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms

I promised food, and thankfully it rained again today.  I will admit I’m not really missing the little tree removal.  😛

Yesterday, I spent the entire day down at the courthouse, watching something akin to a bad reality show, with no hair pulling or name calling.  😦  It did, however, give me a renewed appreciation for my literate friends, who understand difficult words like “waive” and “deferred”.  In their defense, all of the defendants did seem to understand the word “jail”.

But onward to the food.  These are absolutely the best stuffed mushrooms I have evah made/eaten/salivated over!

The ingredeint list is actually pretty short.  I forgot to put the cream cheese in the picture.  😦

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs with 1-2 tbsp butter, until the bread crumbs are just moistened.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Carefully break the stems off 12-18 largish mushrooms.  I used Baby Bellas, as I think they have a better taste than white.  Set the stems aside as you’ll need them for the stuffing.  Place the caps on a baking sheet, lined to make your life easier!  😀

Fry 3-5 strips of bacon until crisp.  Chop the bacon into 1 inch pieces first.  I used Mrs. Wright’s Peppered Bacon, 5 strips, as we LOVE bacon.

When the bacon pieces are crispy, remove them to a paper towel to drain.

Dice the mushroom stems,  3 whole jalapenos (you can use less, but it’s really not that spicy!), 1/2 cup yellow onion, 2 cloves garlic, and saute in the bacon grease.  Depending on how much grease there is, you might want to pour some out.  I ended up pouring about 2/3 of the grease out, and there was plenty left to give the veggies a great bacon-y flavor.

Saute until the veggies and stems are softened, about 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

While the veggies are softening, in a medium bowl, mix 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese with 2-3 oz. cream cheese.  Use a fork and blend well.

Add the sauteed veggies and the bacon.  Crunch up the bacon if there are any largish pieces.

Mix the stuffing well.

Now, stuff as much of the filling into the de-stemmed mushroom caps as possible.  Heap it on!

Using your hands (because, really, it’s the only way), pat a pinch of the buttered breadcrumbs on the top of the stuffed mushrooms.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the topping is golden brown.  Thank you panko and butter!

Eat.  Quickly if you want any!  😛  The entire batch disappeared in less than 15 minutes.  Then Hubby and Rat Boy plaintively asked if that was all!

They have no idea.

I made them again the next day.  I am a sucker for compliments.  🙂

Pan Seared Shrimp and Scallops with Apricot Cream Sauce

My friend, Thomas from Norway, made a variation of this dish for me when I nearly froze to death visited Oslo a few years ago.  He used scallops and dried apricots (I’m assuming that apricots do not grow in Norway).  It was delicious!  So I keep making it, and changing it up a bit here and there.  This time I added the shrimp, as it is summertime on the Texas Gulf Coast and the shrimp are fresh and plentiful!

I decided to use fresh apricots.  The fresh apricots at the market looked so good!  I just had to have some.  🙂

Pan seared shellfish is always a winner in my book.  I used a little thyme infused olive oil.  Be sure not to brown them, not cook them all the way though, as you’ll be finishing them in the sauce.

I did the shrimp separately, as you want to gently turn the scallops, but you can stir the shrimp.

Mmmmmm.  Yummy!  😛  I love shrimp!

Remove scallops and shrimp to a plate.  I used the leftover juices in the pan to stir fry/steam some asparagus while preparing the sauce.

Just toss it for a minute or so in the hot pan, cover and remove from heat.  By the time the sauce is done, so is the asparagus.

For the sauce, I used a larger pan on low heat.  Start by melting the cream cheese (the variety of which is your choice entirely), adding a little white wine to thin the melting cheese.  I used about 1/4 cup wine for a 8 oz. block of mascarpone.  When the cheese is melted, add the diced apricots.

Let the sauce simmer just slightly, stirring until all the lumps are incorporated.  Not the apricot lumps.  They will stay lumpy.  The sauce will take on a gorgeous pale apricot color from the juice.

Add the shrimp and scallops with any drippings from the plate, and let them finish cooking.  Since they were only pan seared, they should need another 5 minutes or so to be completely cooked.  That gives them time to soak up the apricot flavor of the sauce.  🙂

I made some quinoa with shitake mushrooms to go with this saucy seafood dish.  Pasta and rice are also good choices, as you want something to soak up the extra sauce.  It’s so good, you’ll want to lick the plate if there’s no other way to eat it!

I added some sprigs of fresh thyme just before serving.  Just because it looks pretty.  I already had the flavor it the shrimp and scallops from the oil, but more thyme never hurts!  And black pepper of course.

The presentation looks suitably upscale also.  I’m making myself hungry again.  😀