Saturday, January 24, 2015

Portobello Cheesesteaks with Peppers and Onions

My hometown of Philadelphia is famous for its cheesesteak sandwiches. This healthier alternative substitutes "meaty" portobello mushrooms in place of the beef.

This vegetarian version is every bit as tasty and satisfying as the famous steak sandwiches you'll find in South Philly.


4 portobello mushrooms, each about 4 to 5 inches in diameter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, cut in half, and then sliced into thin half-rings
1 small green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 slices provolone cheese, halved
2 submarine/hoagie rolls, each about 8 to 10 inches long (or similar lengths of baguette)

Remove the stems from the portobellos, and discard the stems. Using a spoon, scrape the dark gills from the underside of each portobello. Discard the gills. Thinly slice the portobello caps and then cut the slices in half crosswise to make shorter pieces. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft but not brown.

Add the bell pepper and the portobellos, along with salt and pepper to taste. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until all the vegetables are cooked through and most of the rendered mushroom liquid has evaporated.

Add the vegetable broth.

In the pan with a spatula, divide the portobello mixture into 2 long portions roughly shaped to fit the rolls. Arrange 2 provolone halves over each portion. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for a minute or two, until the cheese just starts to melt.

Uncover and cook for another minute or two until most of the broth has evaporated.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Split the rolls open, but do not cut them all the way through. Lay them open on a broiler-proof pan. Broil until lightly toasted. Remove from heat.

Fill each roll with half of the portobello mixture, cheese side up, and serve.

-- 2 servings

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Polenta with Wine-Glazed Mushrooms

For this recipe, I simply topped some Pan-Grilled Polenta Rounds with my Wine-Glazed Mushrooms. The combination is elegant and delicious!


1 tube of prepared polenta (plain)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 pound fresh white or brown (crimini) mushrooms, or a mixture, sliced
Generous pinch of dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf parsley), divided
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the polenta into 8 slices.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add the polenta slices, and cook, turning once, until heated through and lightly browned on both sides. Keep warm until ready to use.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute for a minute or two, until fragrant. Do not let the shallot or garlic burn.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet, along with the thyme, 1/2 tablespoon of the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until the mushrooms are lightly golden, approximately 6-8 minutes.

Add the white wine, along with additional salt and pepper as needed. Raise heat to medium-high, and saute until most of the wine has evaporated.

To serve, arrange polenta slices on serving plate(s). Top with the mushroom mixture, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of parsley.

-- 4 servings (2 polenta slices per serving)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Potato, Bell Pepper, and Chickpea Stew

For this hearty dish, I used my recipe for Eggplant, Tomato, and Chickpea Stew as a base. Since it was the middle of winter and eggplants were not in season, I substituted potatoes instead. The result was a delicious and comforting winter stew.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound red potatoes, or other waxy potatoes, peeled or unpeeled as desired, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (preferably petite-cut), undrained
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish as desired

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft.

Add the garlic and paprika, and saute for another minute or two. Do not let the garlic burn.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the potatoes, broth, diced tomatoes, and chickpeas, along with salt and pepper to taste. Raise heat to high, and bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 60 minutes, or longer as needed, until the potatoes are tender.

Uncover, and stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes, or longer as needed, to blend all the flavors and reduce the sauce to a nice stew consistency.

Sprinkle with additional parsley, as desired, and serve.

-- 4 servings