Not-So-Stuffy Happiness Mushrooms
I've been working on stuffing mushrooms for awhile now and never really been happy with what I've made. I keep doing the same old tired stuffing-mix-in-the-mushrooms thing, but not successfully. I've tried different methods of stuffing, different ways of treating the mushrooms, different bits and pieces added--all pretty much one disappointment after another.
But I still love the idea of stuffed mushrooms, all hot and flavorful from the oven.
Glutton-for-punishment-me: I saw some really pretty large (3 inch wide caps) white mushrooms at the grocery today and thought I'd give it just one more shot. I bought the inevitable boring box of stuffing mix and a few necessities, like a bag of potatoes because the sale price was too good to pass up ($2 for an 8 lb bag) and a non-necessity container of sour cream because I really, really love that stuff--it's a rare treat, though (too expensive and doesn't go far enough to justify the price).
So I'm listening (well, okay, maybe kinda Blasting Really Loudly but the windows were rolled up so I'm not bothering anyone with my JPop guys Arashi) to a song called Happiness on the way home in the car:
Rather than sighing into the head wind
If you imagine things going well,
Someday the time when things change will come.....
Start running, start running, let's welcome tomorrow
Let me hear the noise only you can make
Don't stop, don't stop These feelings that move the present
Even the smallest of flower buds is only one piece of happiness***
And suddenly I have one of those Light Bulb Moments and realize that the stuffing mix is NOT happiness (which means I've wasted $1.19 but it's worth the lesson at twice the price: I'm not buying that junk again).
The next thing that popped into my head was something I read today. Sho-chan (one of the Arashi guys) said in an interview that maybe the best hobbies are the ones that sustain our lives because life is too short to have meals that you don't enjoy; that you should really think about eating food that will make you feel happy as well as just being fed--that you should think ahead about what you really want to eat.
I love potatoes, just about any way it's possible to prepare them (undoubtedly that's the Irish in me). I love broccoli, and there were some fresh florets in the fridge at home. And, well, I already said that I love sour cream. At that moment, I knew, I just knew exactly how to make excellent mushrooms.
No precise measurements here--it's the idea that's important anyway.
Pare and cube a couple of small potatoes. Put on to boil gently in a small-ish amount of water. Add 1 cup of cut up fresh broccoli florets. Add a teaspoon of dried basil. Cook about 10 minutes until potatoes are soft enough to mash. Drain the potoato/broccoli mixture. (A smart person will save that drained liquid to use in soup stock later. Don't waste it.) Add a serious dollop (about 1/3 cup) of sour cream, a shake of sea salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Beat with mixer until smooth and fluffy (just a minute will do).
While the potatoes were cooking, you will have been otherwise occupied: Preheat the oven to 375. About 8 or 9 large white mushrooms will fill a low 9 inch square casserole. Stem and wash the mushrooms. (Save those stems for making mushroom soup.) Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a bowl. Dredge the mushroom caps (top down) to coat with the melted butter and arrange the caps in the casserole. Drizzle any leftover butter over the mushrooms.
When the potato mixture is mashed, fill the caps very full (overlapping is fine). Spinkle with a little shredded Italian cheese (asiago, provelone, and parmesean). Pop into the oven for 30 minutes. They are done when the mushroom caps are softened, when all the inside goodies are bubbly, and when the cheese is browned. Serve immediately!
Seriously heavenly. Definitely one little piece of happiness. I intend to repeat this often. Life is short; enjoyment is precious. Thanks, Sho-chan!
*recipe created by me, zydny
26 May 2015
***song translation credit goes to Yarukizero