Stuffed Baby Bellas
Home Grown Tomatoes is a weekly Vegan/Vegetarian column by Giovanina Bucci
If you've been keeping up with Scarlet's recent posts, you are already aware that our grandfather passed away on January 16, 2010. In light of hearing this news on Saturday evening, I jumped on the first flight out of Flagstaff on Sunday morning to head to Binghamton for a total of 36 hours. Needless to say, my time in Binghamton, NY was short, but every bit as satisfying and wonderful as I had hoped for. As Scarlet alluded to, there is nothing like either a wedding or a funeral to remind you of just how large, loud and food-centric your Italian family actually is. You can't even imagine. Seriously.
Being able to spend time with my cousins, young and old, aunts and uncles, my grandmother, and my parents, none of whom I have seen in over a year or more, reminded me of the incredible family I am so blessed to have. Having that familial connection to so many people makes difficult times like these more than bearable, actually enjoyable. Between the old photo albums and reminiscing, I seriously haven't laughed that hard in a long time. And it felt damn good. Not to mention, I 100% confiscated Scarlet and B's bundle of joy, Charlotte, for a solid 24 hours. And she is every bit as edible and delicious as she looks in all of her pictures, TIMES TEN! I think of smooching her to pieces and my heart becomes warm and fuzzy and this inevitably huge grin appears on my face (like right now, while I stare at my computer).
Serving Size: 12-14 people (assuming 2 per person)
1 package of baby bella mushrooms (about 24-28 mushrooms)
5 pieces of Alvarado St. Bakery sprouted bread (I used Flax Seed), or whatever you have on hand.
6-8 cloves of garlic
2 lrg. stalks of finely chopped celery
1 1/2 Tbs. capers (depending on your taste for salt)
10-12 finely chopped black olives (optional)
1 bunch of scallions (usually 6-7 per bunch)
handful of finely chopped fresh parsley
3 lrg. leaves of fresh basil (finely chopped)
1 tsp. garlic powder
juice from 1 fresh lemon
dash of lemon pepper
extra virgin olive oil
sun-dried tomatoes for garnish
For marinating the mushrooms:
1 Tbs. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Begin by rinsing the mushrooms and marinating them in olive oil and Bragg's. I doused just enough olive to moisten the mushrooms, probably about a 1/4 C., but go ahead and use your discretion here. I used the Magic Bullet to make the bread crumbs, super quick and easy. Chop/mince the remaining ingredients and add them to the bread crumbs. Begin with just under a 1/4 C. of olive oil, and if the filling is still a bit dry, go ahead and add enough olive oil to create a moist filling that sticks together, but that is not saturated. Stuff the marinated mushrooms, I used my hands and just got in there and got messy. Garnish with a small piece of sun-dried tomato. Bake the stuffed mushrooms for about 10 minutes and there you have it!
This dish makes for a great appetizer and this stuffing is extremely versatile. I use it to stuff artichokes, zucchini, yellow squash, whatever you have around the house. Also, this is a great foundation for stuffing, definitely mailable with a bit of tweaking...so play around with spices, herbs and flavors! Enjoy!