Stuffing food is great fun, it’s capable of sealing in a lot of food and flavours into a pocket that is, guess what, made out of more food. Get a grasp of this: you don’t need to bend over backwards in order to make something delicious. Exhibit A: strawberry stuffed cheesecake.
What fascinates me about stuffed foods: it’s kind of like eating an oreo. We all love it when life gives us options. You can (try) force the whole thing in your mouth, you can eat the cookie part first, or the filling! Whatever tickles your fancy. There are no rules. In a way, stuffed food brings out the kid in me.
It reminds me of this commercial…
Bite sized strawberry cheesecake
Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this recipe. I googled it. I can briefly walk you through the steps. It was ingeniously simple and stupidly time-consuming.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the most time consuming part goes into carving out the centre of the strawberries. Tip: buy mutant large strawberries. The bigger the better in this case. Screw the “motion of the ocean” attitude. It really does make your life easier if you’re able to carve out a decent sized cavity without demolishing the sides.
So, you will need: Philadelphia cream cheese (light for me), softened. 1 tsp vanilla extract, about 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar (adjust to taste), and crushed graham crackers (optional).
After all of the strawberries have been carved, whip the cream cheese, vanilla extract and confectioner’s sugar using a hand mixer until smooth. Yup, that’s pretty much the basis of all cheesecakes that you get at stores and restaurants. If they can do it, so can you!
Using a zip lock bag, I snipped the corner and spooned the filling inside. You know what to do next! For the complete cheesecake look, sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top.
For about 2 dozen strawberries… it took me around half an hour with my sister’s help (she carved most of it… muahaha).
May I now introduce you to my newfound love. Stuffed mushrooms, ladies and gentlemen.
After making the stuffed strawberries, I was really getting into the stuffing groove. I knew that mushrooms are awesome stuffers…because you can find “Stuffer Mushrooms” at the supermarket.
If you are a mushroom lover like me (we all love a fun-guy. Haha.. that one hasn’t gotten old for me yet), you need to try this.
I still consider this recipe pretty simple. I mean, unlike the strawberries, you will need more than 2 ingredients, but I promise it’s going to rock your taste buds.
What I used for the stuffing:
- Handful of chives. Chopped
- Spring onions. Chopped.
- Garlic. Chopped.
- Bacon. Cut into small pieces. (Easier to deal with if it’s partially frozen)
- Mushroom stems. Finely chopped.
- Bread crumbs. The Italian seasoned ones are the best!
- Chili powder or red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and pepper of course
Firstly, you need to clean and de-stem the mushrooms and lay the caps on a baking tray. Remember to save the stems! Bake it for about 7 minutes at 400F. The purpose of this is to extract as much of the juices so the end product doesn’t get soggy. When that’s out of the oven, lay them right side up on paper towels.
Sautee onions and garlic in just a tad of olive oil on medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 10 minutes. The longer the crispier the better!
Then I added chives and mushroom stems and cooked for 5-7 minutes more. Seasoned it with some chili powder, pepper and a pinch of salt. When I say a ‘pinch’, I really mean ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon. You know sometimes on TV how they throw in a good handful of salt as if saying that’s the correct definition of “a pinch?” Maybe I missed a website called foodurbandictionary.com but I normally try to cut down on as much of that stuff as I can; especially in this recipe where the bacon is already salty.
When you’re ready, remove from heat and stir in a liberal amount of bread crumbs. It’s important that you don’t cook the bread crumbs on the stove as it will burn.
Start stuffing the mushrooms! Grate some parmesan cheese on top and bake in the oven at 400F for 8-10 minutes. It’s good isn’t it?
My third dish…
Was a disaster.
It was mostly out of curiosity when watching Chef at Home one day. I am not at all against the combination of sweet and savoury. I believe that some things that wouldn’t normally SEEM to go well together can surprise me. So, I really wanted the idea of apples and pork to impress me. It was just not appealing in my mind. Nonetheless, I was excited to give it a real shot…
Essentially, I caramelized the apples and onions in olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Seasoned with rosemary, a bit of thyme, salt and pepper, and a dash of soy sauce. There were pieces of garlic in there somewhere too.
I marinated two slices of pork center loin and seared it in the pan on both sides. Instead of cutting a pocket out of a thick slice because that’s not the kind I bought, I sort of folded a pocket out of it and they were secured with toothpicks. I stuffed it and put it in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 400F.
I did not like it for a few reasons:
#1: Apples and pork did not impress or surprise me. It tasted just as unappealing as I had imagined.
#2: Meat was tough.
#3: I should have saved the apples for an apple crumble.