How many days till spring? My Cooking Assistant isn't counting, but he wouldn't mind if strawberry season comes a little early this year.
Until then, he'll pose with food and steal a few bites when he can during photo shoot.This week for portabello burgers and home fries he was a perfect model. Well, maybe I was faster at snapping the photo this week. Who knows what goes through a hound dog's mind?
For me--I've always loved ordering portabello burgers in restaurants-- the grilled, charred flavor, the meaty texture--need I say more? I've roasted peppers, asparagus, garlic and onions, but I never actually roasted portabello until recently. Funny, because roasting mushrooms is one of those things that's so incredibly easy, I wondered why it took me so long to try it.
A budget-friendly dish, roasted portabellos are beginning to show up on my menus a lot more frequently.
In my so-called "year of living frugally," I've learned what I can and can't tolerate. No red peppers from Mexico in the winter. Could somone please tell me what those cloyingly sweet things are? And were they grown in sewage sludge? No tomatoes from Florida--I don't support slavery--or ginger from China--come on, is it really ginger? It makes it hard to be more picky and most entrees for dinner should be five dollars or less so I can stay on track with my budget.
Best prices for mushrooms
In order to find the best deal for produce items, you need to do the math.
Take portabellos--a few years ago, the price was too high-end, but the price has dropped and with all the different prices, buying portobello prices can be confusing. Some stores sell them by the pound and some stores sell them individually.
Which is a better bargain? And should you buy organic?
Many people say Trader Joe's has the best deals. But at TJ's I find food is often packed in smaller containers or sold as "each" like bananas for 29 cents each. When you add up the ounces, the price can be the same or more than organic options at PCC Natural Markets, which is often unfairly precieved by bargain grocery shoppers as having all high end products.
Placing mushrooms in four ounce containers and charging $3.00 can make consumers think they are getting a better deal than the store that sells the same variety of mushrooms for $9.99 a pound. I nearly bought portabello mushrooms at one store for $1.79 each, until I weighed two the organic portabellos at PCC and saw the cost was only $2.60.
So if you're saving money or on a food budget, do the math.
I still shop at the farmers' market, unless I'm out of town. I save a third of my budget for food at the market.
|Sometimes I get sweet potatoes|
|And sometimes potatoes|
You can find shiitaki mushrooms, which of course are always on my list, but portabellos are probably like the delicious apples in the mushroom world. But for me, a portobello burger is one of the guilty pleasures of life.
|I haven't tried roasting these (Shiitake) mushrooms uet. Any suggestions?|
Sweet potatos and yams are good accompaniments no matter what you're cooking.
Buy extra and make sweet potato chews for your favorite canine.
|These have absolutely nothing at all to do with this blog, but my Cooking Assistant is thrilled.|
I roasted big and small mushrooms. I used the small mushrooms in a quinoa dish with balsamic vinegar.
Here's the recipe:
Makes 2 burgers
2 portabello mushrooms
Italian Salad dressing
2 buns or rolls
Condiments as desired
Pickles, onion, tomato, avocado, relish, peppers, lettuce or sprouts
Remove stems and gills from portabello mushrooms. Preheat oven to 425F. Brush mushrooms with Italian dressing. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until mushroom is fork-tender. Check every 10 minutes and turn mushrooms after 15 minutes.
|My Cooking Assistant prefers the fixings. I'm sure he'd finish off the asparagus and sweet potato fries first.|
|So polite, amazingly even the fries were saved on this photo shoot.|