My First Event

What an adventurous weekend!
I was given the opportunity to cater a portion of a baby shower a friend of mine.  I have fixed food before for a crowd, just a dish here and there, but never a specific menu of delicious foods, nor have I ever been paid.  I was quite excited and nervous all at the same time.
While my sweet hubby is always an encouragement to me, and when we have friends over to dinner or to play cards, I never hear a complaint, I can’t always decide if my food was really good, or our guests were being kind.  So as you can imagine, this was a big deal to me!
The portion of the menu I was asked to fix was boiled shrimp (easy enough) with cocktail sauce, a colorful pasta salad, and stuffed mushrooms.  The cocktail sauce and the vinaigrette for the pasta salad was from scratch, and I experimented with several flavor combinations to  stuff my mushrooms with.

Apparently the latter was a hit with shower guests as there was not a single mushroom left!  With that feeling of success washing over me stuffed mushrooms seemed to be just the right recipe to kick off the week.

Here is my recipe for stuffed mushroom caps:

* 80 white or baby bella mushroom caps, stems removed

* 1 1/2 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
* 1/3 cup minced celery
* 1/3 cup sweet onion, finely diced
* 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
* 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley
* 1 tsp. dried basil
*salt & pepper to taste
*olive oil
*unsalted butter, melted

Wash the mushroom caps well and let dry.  Once dry, coat in olive oil, set aside.

Add about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to a heated skillet and sauté the onion and celery.  Stir continually to prevent sticking. When the onion becomes transparent, throw in your minced garlic, sautéing about one minute until the garlic is fragrant.  Remove the skillet from the heat.
Finely chop your fresh parsley and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, the fresh and dried herbs, and the now cooled onion mixture.  Mix well, making sure there are no clumps in your mixture.
Salt & pepper the mixture.  You have to taste the mix with an open mind.  It should be a little salty.  This should change when you cook your stuffed mushrooms as they will absorb some of that seasoning!

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a couple of cookie sheets with PAM Olive Oil spray.  Carefully fill the hollowed out cap of each mushroom with the stuffing.

It’s ok to pile it on!  You do want each bite to be as flavorful as possible.

Drizzle a little melted butter on top of each mushroom and back each batch of mushrooms about 20 minutes, or until they start to turn golden on top and the cheese melts.

Serve them up on a pretty platter and garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.

Be sure to set a couple aside for yourself, because if you are hoping for leftovers, you might be disappointed!

That empty platter was the mushrooms!

 

NEXT UP: Mardi Gras

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