Well, that was an uncomfortably long break from Mia Cucina. Truthfully Will and I have not only been ridiculously busy lately, but it's summertime here in Germany, and you know what that means...blistering hot summer heat and no AC. I mean no AC anywhere, not in the homes, in the restaurants, at my job, etc. It's been pretty miserable, and honestly after a long day of sweating at work I'm not exactly anxious to run home and pre-heat the oven. However, there are always some exceptions. June 24th was our 3-year anniversary, and since we didn't get to spend our second anniversary together due to Will's deployment to Iraq, I wanted to make this one special. I decided to make a bunch of Italian appetizers, a special drink, and a dessert combining Will's favorite ingredients-chocolate and peanut butter. It took a little longer than expected, but it was definitely worth it at the end. The surprise bottle of Dom Perignon from Will didn't hurt, either!
Happy anniversary to the most wonderful man in the world. I love you so much.
*Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the stuffed mushrooms, so the only ones posted are the arancini and bruschetta. Sorry!
approx. 24 cremini mushrooms, rinsed with stems pulled out (set stems aside)
olive oil spray
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup bread crumbs
pinch of sage
pinch of oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
4 T butter
1. Spray the bottom of a medium-sized baking pan with olive oil spray. Set mushroom caps in pan.
2. Chop up the mushroom stems into little pieces.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add the mushroom stems and onions, and cook until onions are translucent (about 5-6 minutes). Add the salt and pepper, sage and oregano and stir until completely absorbed.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and wine. Add to the saucepan and remove from heat, stirring quickly (don't let the egg scramble!). Stir in the breadcrumbs and mix well. Add about a teaspoon of the mixture to each mushroom cap, making sure the mushroom is stuffed and slightly overflowing with bread mixture.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, and serve hot.
1 small loaf of French bread, sliced at an angle
3 vine tomatoes, chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1. Grill the slices of bread over high heat, until toasted on both sides.
2. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, sea salt, and garlic. Mix well, then spread over the toasted slices of bread. Serve immediately.
Arancini (Italian rice balls)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 T dried parsley
8-oz buffalo mozzarella, cut into little cubes
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 quart water
1 cup uncooked white rice (medium grain)
1 1/2 cups dried Italian seasoned bread crumbs
extra virgin olive oil
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, parsley, cheese, pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Cover and refrigerate
2. Pour water and 1 tsp salt into large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook rice until water is almost absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and slowly pour in egg mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent egg from scrambling. Allow rice mixture to cool for one hour.
3. Pour bread crumbs on to a piece of wax paper. Dampen hands and roll rice mixture into a 1-inch thick ball, then roll in rice mixture. Set aside.
4. In a medium-sized deep skillet, heat the olive oil to approx. 350 degrees. Fry arancini six at a time, turning as needed until brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.