Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stuffed Portobello mushrooms

It’s easy to remember how long it’s been since my Aunt Paula passed away because I was 6 ½ months pregnant with my son Alex.

I had just spoken with her the day before she died, and a couple of weeks prior she and my Uncle John had come to our home in Rockaway for a visit. On that day my aunt and I took a ride into town. She remarked about the small antique shop as we passed it, and I pointed out the green wicker rocking chair displayed outside the front door. I was planning on buying it for the baby’s room. She snickered about it being green because the only other people beside myself who knew the baby’s gender were my husband and my parents. I wanted it to be a surprise for everyone else. But she was relentless in wanting to know. I stood strong. “You’ll find out soon enough,” I said again and again.  Still she asked and asked.

Later that day she disappeared for a while and came back with the chair in her car trunk. She called out to my uncle and the two of them brought it up to the second floor and placed it in the pale green painted nursery with wall border of pastel-colored baby animals. “Now will you tell me?” she begged. “No!” I insisted. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

The day before she died she called. “Hey Button Nose.” She called me that from day I was born because she said my nose looked like a button. Then she laughed. She had this distinctive, hardy laugh that made me laugh just hearing it. So I started laughing, too. “What? If you are calling to find out what the baby is, forget it,” I teased. She laughed through her words, “That’s OK. I was talking to your father and he slipped. It’s a boy!” I couldn’t believe it. “What? He promised me…” I ranted. Her laugh got even louder. “I was just kidding,” she said. “He didn’t tell me, but you just did.”  We laughed even more. The next day she had a heart attack and was gone.

There was a certain comfort in knowing that she knew before she died that the baby I’d be rocking in that green wicker chair was a boy. And I know she was smiling down when my cousin Jennifer held him in her arms as his Godmother. The chair has moved with us twice and remains the same the gender-neutral green. The little boy she never got to meet is turning 18 and will be heading off to college. I have a feeling I’ll be rocking in that chair a lot when he leaves and that Aunt Paula will be right with me.

The recipe I picked is stuffed mushrooms because it was one of Aunt Paula’s favorite dishes to make. I took her version and adapted it using portobello mushrooms and turkey meat to make it heart-healthy. I think she’d like it. —Diana

You’ll need
3-4 medium-sized portobello mushroom caps, scrape out gills
¾-1 lb ground turkey
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Worcestershire sauce
Rosemary, fresh or dried
Grated parmesan cheese
Low-fat mozzarella, sliced (as many slices as you have mushroom caps)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Go once around the pan with the olive oil and sautee the onion and garlic. In a large bowl, add the onion and garlic to the turkey meat along with the rosemary, pepper and salt. (Go easy on the salt to make this heart friendly. I also went light on the rosemary because I’m not a big fan. But you can use whatever seasoning you like best.)

Coat both sides of the mushrooms caps with Worcestershire sauce and then give a few shakes into the ground turkey for good measure and mix well.

Place the mushroom caps with top side down on a baking sheet and sprinkle inside with a little grated cheese (this is optional). Stuff the mushroom caps with the turkey mixture and cook for about 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked thoroughly.

Place sliced mozzarella over the top and cook for a couple more minutes until cheese melts.

No comments:

Post a Comment