Blend & Build A Better Burger

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These are not edible mushrooms but a beautiful capture from Will’s Bench at Lake Elise

Living in Kennett Square, AKA, “the mushroom capital of the world” I can’t help but get up close and personal with a variety of deliciously cultivated fresh picked mushrooms. Today, I want to encourage you to start blending your meat with mushrooms, if you aren’t already.

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It’s a super simple process and once you taste the combination I am certain you will never turn back to a full meat burger, sauce, ball or filling. For more umami flavor and juicer and lighter texture start blending mushrooms to meat 1:2. For every pound of ground meat include 8 ounces of mushrooms is what’s recommended, but I find myself doing an even 1:1 blend as we love mushrooms that much.

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After rinsing your mushrooms and spinning them dry in a salad spinner I quarter them and then grind them in a food processor. I then sauté them until they have released all their liquid and begin to brown. Stir them often at this point.fullsizeoutput_5319

Season the mushrooms any way you like and let them cool.

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Add to your ground beef, chicken, pork or lamb and shape into burgers or meatballs. You can also replace some of the meat in your favorite bolognese sauce or add to a filling to make ravioli.

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mushroom burgers stuffed with fresh mozzarella

I hope you will give the mushroom blend a try; let me know if you do. It’s a healthy and delicious option and just for the record my family will not eat a burger any other way. BTW, it works with all kinds of mushrooms, but my favorite for the most flavor are cremini and shiitake.

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Will’s Bench Lake Elise

A Good Gift? & Pie

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What is a good gift for one who is grieving? Acknowledgement of how hard it must be for them during the holidays. Just a simple heartfelt statement about how much that person must be missed. It doesn’t matter how long the person has been gone. The longing for them to be at the table or searching for the pickle on the tree or exchanging gifts is the same. Just a simple statement and a warm embrace will make a difference. No festive wrapping paper or bow required.

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The recognition of a person’s grief allows them to relax a bit. It allows them to remove the happy mask and just be themselves. It releases that tension in the jaw and that need to escape to a quiet place where tears can be shed alone. No one wants to be “Debbie Downer” this time of year, so help release the sorrow and fine the joy. Just a few simple words are all it takes. Trust me.

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Happy New Year. I hope so. Out with the old and in with the new. A purge. I usually start by cleaning out my pantry, my fridge and my freezer. A fresh start with a hearty meal to brave the cold weather ahead.

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Here is a recipe I created cleaning out all my holiday leftovers. A most delicious pie I enjoyed a few years back from a local food truck inspires it. A savory combination of beef, cheese and onions in a flaky crust will do nicely with the addition of some mushrooms. The food truck, “Nomadic Pies” enjoyed such success that they were able to open up a brick and mortar store in my sweet town of Kennett Square. If you’re not a baker (you should be) try a Nomadic pie. Every flavor is delicious and makes a great gift if you want to spread a little comfort and joy in the new year.

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A great piecrust recipe is crucial to a great pie. The standard is a mix of flour, salt, fat and water, but I usually try and change it up a bit wanting the crust to enhance the filling. Since I am baking a beef pie I change out the water for beef broth. It offers a subtle flavor and golden color change to the crust I like very much. Before starting make sure all your ingredients are icy cold to insure that flaky crust. I like to grate my butter into the flour and salt mixture.

Savory Pie Crust Dough

Makes enough dough for 4 (5-inch) or 1 (10-inch) double crust pies

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

4 grinds fresh black pepper

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (very cold or frozen)

6 tablespoons low sodium beef broth

Whisk flour, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Grate butter over the top. Toss it well with a fork insuring the butter gets separated into bits and coated with the dry mixture. Add broth, two tablespoons at a time, tossing mixture around with the fork. Using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten like a pancake and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 30 minutes which allows the dough to hydrate evenly. Roll out your dough to fit your pie pans. 

Now for the filling.

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Beefy Mushroom & Gruyere Pie

2 sweet onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-cup low sodium beef broth

½ cup heavy cream plus additional for brushing over pies before baking

2 cups diced leftover cooked beef (prime rib, steak whatever you have)

salt and pepper

2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

2 chopped green onions

finishing salt of your choice (I used The Spice Lab Hickory Smoked)

In a skillet, cook onions in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized. Transfer onions to a bowl. In same skillet, cook mushrooms in remaining butter until they have released their liquid and brown. Sprinkle with flour, cook 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in broth and cream; bring to a boil. Let mixture reduce until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in beef. Season well with salt and pepper. Line Pie plate with pastry. Spread half the cheese over bottom of pastry. Top with an even layer of onions. Spoon mushroom-beef mixture evenly over onions. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and green onions. Dab a small amount of cold water on bottom crust edge. Cover pie with top crust. Seal and flute edges. Brush top of pie lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle with finishing salt. Cut slits in top of pie for steam to escape while baking. Bake at 400F for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling hot.

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Finishing off the crust before baking with a light glaze of cream and salt

The products featured in this blog post are things I actually like and use all the time. I was not paid to feature or endorse them. This is not a sponsored post.

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These pies went into the freezer for future meals. Do not make steam vents or glaze if the plan is to freeze them for later.

Udon Mushroom Wedding Soup

This is the Fortune Asian Noodle Blogger Recipe Challenge. I had delicious fun creating my signature soup inspired by my Italian roots and my home-town. I hope you will give it a try on one of these chilly winter days. It’s NOODLEISIOUS!

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Last week I was rushing through an airport when I came upon an Asian noodle bar beckoning me in to build my own soup bowl. Oh, what I would have given to have been able to have the time to sit and enjoy my own personalized noodle soup, but airplanes do not wait. I snapped a couple of pictures and off to Gate 28 I went.

 

Back home to chilly Pennsylvania I can’t stop thinking how great it would be to have that noodle bar right in my own kitchen. Picture steaming hot, flavorful broth, fresh noodles and an array of toppings to satisfy everyone’s tastes served up in minutes. It’s like the perfect restaurant meal only it’s in my house.

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Hello Fortune Udon Noodles. Like the finest fresh restaurant noodles Fortune makes it easy to enjoy a personalized bowl of nutritious and comforting noodle soup at home. Quick soups in five flavors only require your favorite fresh vegetables and/or proteins to top it off. Find them in your grocer’s refrigerated produce section and you will never do restaurant take-out again.

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Being from Kennett Square (aka the mushroom capital of the world) there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to try Fortune’s Udon Mushroom Flavor. It’s earthy rich broth and fresh udon noodles make the perfect base for my blended mini mushroom meatballs. Add a few fresh vegetables to brighten it all up and talk about delicious Udon soup in minutes.

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Udon Mushroom Wedding Soup

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 ounces shitake mushrooms, very finely chopped

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 ounces lean ground beef

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 package (7.27 oz) Fortune Udon Mushroom Flavor

Garnishes: fresh cilantro, sliced mushrooms, bell pepper strips, sesame seeds

In non-stick skillet, over medium heat, cook mushrooms and garlic in sesame oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until just golden brown and mushrooms have released their liquid. In medium bowl, combine mushroom mixture, ground beef, panko, green onion, egg and salt until well blended. Using a small cookie scoop shape mixture into 12 meatballs. Brown meatballs on all sides in same skillet and continue cooking until fully cooked through. Meanwhile, cook Udon noodles according to package directions for stove top. Ladle noodles and soup into 2 serving bowls. Top with meatballs, cilantro, fresh mushrooms, pepper strips and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. 

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For more information and delicious recipes check these out.

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