Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Perfect Super Bowl Sunday nosh: Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms


When I was a child, there were days I'd come home from grade school in tears because I felt like such an outsider. I was not a popular child by any means. It didn't help much that I refused to be a follower. I had definite ideas of what was right and wrong and spent an awful lot of time watching instead of participating. I suppose I preferred to dance to the beat of my own drum which meant living in fear of humiliation and often being strong armed – sometimes literally around my neck – by girls who were nothing more than bullies. I was popular amongst the teaching staff for being a good student, respectful and helpful. But to the kids? I was often the butt of jokes and pranks by both girls and boys. 

Mom would hold me, wiping my tears and tell me to never mind them. One day, people would see me for the beautiful, kind, talented and compassionate person I was and acknowledge the light within. Deep down, I didn't believe her but being in her embrace made me feel safe for the moment.

I did have a small core of friends who came over to play during the summer months. We would have ice cream sales, "club" meetings and hold little plays in my backyard. Mom would string up a curtain and I was often director or lead actress. So there are some fond memories mixed in with the not so great ones. Like clockwork, come school time, I'd be on the outside again.

Eventually, I did stop caring that I wasn't popular. Instead I concentrated on my writing, on my music, on growing as an artist and being the best student I could be. The taunting stopped and although I was never what you would traditionally call popular, I continued to cultivate a strong, somewhat small, circle of friends, I held a school office, was known for being the girl with the camera and graduated high school with honors.

It wasn't until well into my 30s that I finally was able to accept my own gifts and begin to see the light within myself. How much time I wasted! How would life have been different as a youngster if only I could have believed my mother when she said there was a light within me that others would see someday? What kind of person would I be now had I lived a little more fearlessly back then; lived a little more confidently? 

We only have one life. Don't waste a second doubting yourself or second guessing your talents. Find what you love and do it to the best of your abilities. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and challenge you to live your life well and with intention.

And never mind the naysayers.

To that end, I came across this wonderful short film. Enjoy!





Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

This is so ridiculously delicious and simple that I'm embarrassed to call this a recipe. I learned this from an artist friend a good 20 years ago now and have been making it for family and parties ever since. I'm actually shocked that I haven't posted it here yet. Since Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner, I decided this would be a great time to share this with you. 

A few notes: I've made this in a pinch using a different sausage within the Jimmy Dean brand but it's just not the same. Ditto using a different sausage altogether. It really makes a difference using the Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage. If you can't find it, I suggest adding a little ground sage to whatever pork sausage you do find, maybe about ½ teaspoon or so. Also, never wash fresh mushrooms. Mushrooms are porous and acting like little sponges, already hold plenty of water. Adding more water in any preparation will make the mushrooms stew instead of brown and in this case, partly why this dish is successful is that the mushrooms soak up the juices from the sausage, imbuing them with tremendous flavor. They can't soak that up if they are already filled to capacity with water used to wash them. Commercial mushrooms are grown in a sterile and controlled environment. Simply use a paper towel to remove excess debris (or invest in a mushroom brush if you want more control). 

Makes roughly 20-24 stuffed mushrooms depending on size of mushrooms

2 pounds medium-sized white button mushrooms
1 pound package of Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Sage Sausage
¼ cup plain bread crumbs or Panko
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.



Carefully remove the stem from the mushrooms. Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel to remove excess debris.


Place ½ teaspoon of sausage into the cavity where the stem was, packing it in gently so as to not break the mushroom. Mound ½ teaspoon over the opening. Set aside and repeat for remaining mushrooms.



Place mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all of the mushrooms snugly in a single layer (they should be touching to maximize their absorption of the meat juices).

Combine the bread and cheese in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the mushrooms. Add more or less to taste.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the meat is cooked and the mushrooms are tender. Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes before serving. 




Until next time …
¡Buen Provecho!


Ani

2 comments:

Colette Joseph said...

These look SO yummy!

Anita L Arambula said...

Thanks, Colette!

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