Superbowl Sunday Food: Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms



Can a man stand tall and proud when he’s hunching over to pull out baked stuffed mushrooms for him and his boyfriend to enjoy on a Sunday night while waiting to watch the one-hour premiere of Kirstie Alley’s Big Life? (I’ll leave out references to the powder blue oven mitt I got for Christmas). Two days later, I still am unsure of my answer to that question and would like to pass until the next round, Wink. I will say, however that there was not one bit of stuffed shroom left anywhere in my home within twenty minutes of turning down the oven and presenting them to a most-surprised and delighted MG. One might argue that it’s nearly impossible for anything to taste bad when slathered in a mixture of heated cream cheese, bacon, parmesan and Worcestershire sauce, but I would like to think that my ever-mounting kitchen skills had something to do with these coming out as awesome as they did.

I’m still not the biggest fan of the shroom, but the zesty aroma will make them hard to refuse. A definite must-bring to any pot-luck party. Just make sure your host has available oven space to cook them just before putting them out. (Geez, I sound like Martha Stewart! I’m tossing that powder blue oven mitt the minute I get home!)
Recipe for Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Superbowl Sunday Food: Prosciutto Pepper Puffs

Here’s a simple twist on the recipe for crab puffs I posted a while back to accomodate those heathens who dislike crab. There were more of them out there then I originally realized – my mother and father being two of them – so out with the crustacea and in with a hot and zesty one-two punch of prosciutto and serrano pepper that’ll keep these babies flying into your mouth faster than you can keep count. And being as light and mouth-watering as they are, you won’t want to keep count.

Recipe for Prosciutto Pepper Puffs

Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese


Once you start showing off what you’ve managed to learn to make in the kitchen (say, on a blog for example), you have to take a certain level of responsiblity when friends and family start making certain food assumptions about what you’ll prepare for them when you invite them over. I became accutely aware of that fact earlier this week when my friend Travis asked what I was going to be serving at my weekly LOST viewing party and dinner:

Travis: “What are you making tonight, Gary?”
Me: “I’m making this amazing jalapeno popper mac and cheese.”
Travis:  “Cool… what else?
Me:  “What do you mean what else?
Travis:  “I mean… what else are you making to go with it?  And what, no dessert?”

I guess my days of gliding by with spaghetti and meatballs served on plastic plates I stole from my college dining commons are over, but I’ll happily leave that era in my past. MG often reminds me of my typical day’s food rundown from our first year or so of dating. I don’t recall, but apparently I lived exclusively on Hot Pockets, McDonalds and Tombstone frozen pizzas. I’m guessing MG is happy I’ve left those days behind as well.

On to the mad mac and cheese recipe I found over at Let’s Cook.

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Superbowl Sunday Food: Three (or Four) Cheese Mac and Cheese with Herbs

There’s some serious cheese going on here, folks.  You need to be warned… I mean truly warned.  Take a good look at the photo below and ask yourself, “Do I have the fortitude to take on this recipe?”  All of the cheese in the photo below was grated  and melted into a mere 12 ounces of penne rigate to create the finished product.  You’ve been told.

And it doesn’t stop there.  There’s also butter!  There’s also bacon!  There’s also the fat from the bacon! There’s also white flour.  There’s also fresh sage, parsley, oregano and rosemary.  Some of that counts as vegetables, right?

Am I leaving anything out.  Oh yeah!  I accidentally doubled the amount of butter required by the recipe.  Oops!  I swear, it was unintentional.  And guess what, it totally didn’t ruin the meal!  Who’d have thought it?

I started preparing this at about 8:00 in the evening.  I started eating it at about 9.  By about 10, I was speaking in tongues and levitating three feet off the floor

The recipe can be found at StephenCooks.com, so send your thank you cards and/or the pants you are about to no longer be able to fit into his direction, not mine.  I didn’t come up with this.  I merely used it on a lonely Wednesday night to fill a hole in my heart.  Cheese is really the best way to overcome such things, don’t you think?

So take a read below for how to get ‘er done, and then head to the store for the ingredients you’re missing, because if you have this much cheese just sitting around your house already, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be spending your time reading blog posts.

Recipe for Super Bowl Style Mac and Cheese

Brussels Sprouts with Figs and Bacon

Too many people don’t know how to cook sprouts. If you’re one of them, here’s a sweet and savory recipe to get you started!

One of the most common ways Brussels sprouts are prepared in the United States is by boiling, steaming or roasting – more than enough reason right there to stay the hell away from them. Brussels sprouts are of the same family as cabbage, kale, and collard greens, and if steaming, boiling or roasting a plate of any of those vegetables and serving them up to your family sounds like a fab-oo idea, then by all means stop reading here, head to the kitchen and take one giant step toward complete familial alienation.

Say it out loud… “how does boiled kale sound to everyone tonight?” and you see my point.

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Jalapeno Cheddar Scones

Jalapeno Cheddar Scone Recipe

Scones make me think of a stodgy, listless tea party with Joan Plowright and Emma Thompson in a Merchant-Ivory picture, where no one reveals a single true emotion, Joan peers down through half-spectacles and huffs disapprovingly at everything she sees, and Emma is fraught with concern over relatives on deathbeds, if she’ll be invited to a respectable home for the winter, and whether or not Fanny the chambermaid has located the missing bed warmer.

No… scones do not interest me in the least. I’ll happily pass them up in any bakery case or grocery aisle, in any stage of freshness any day of the week. I’ve always found them to be heavy, cumbersome, and a real effort to get through, much like many a Merchant-Ivory picture.

Then I discovered this recipe for jalapeno cheddar scones.

If Merchant-Ivory had ever made a film where Emma and Joan have a hot-oil wrestling match and Grace Jones kicks in the salon door and snaps Hugh Grant’s neck between her thighs, these are the scones that would be served.

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Salami with Fennel and Asiago Pizza

Salami with Fennel and Asiago Pizza RecipeI’m giving this pizza four stars.  One for every slice of it MG polished off last night.  And they weren’t small slices, either.  They weren’t even reasonable slices.  These were some seriously wide and weighted down wedges!  You really have to respect MG’s tenacity.  He gets the job done!

Underneath that deceptively simple asiago/mozzarella cheese canopy are hiding chunks of shiitake mushroom, aromatic fennel, tangy tomato, onion, and thick cuts of spicy salami.  I had complete confidence in all of these ingredients with the exception of the fennel.  I’d never used it in a pizza before, and I was worried its flavor might overwhelm.  No need to fear.  This pizza was all sorts of savory, rich, and meaty, with just pings here and there of fennel sweetness.

Salami with Fennel and Asiago Pizza Recipe

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Hickory Bacon Avocado Burgers

Is anyone else able to take a shot like the one above: an unorganized mess of recipes downloaded and printed out so as not to be forgotten?  I have mini-piles of these everywhere – my desk at home, my desk at work, the dining room table, the back seat of my car, my computer bag, the end table in the living room, the kitchen counters, above the refrigerator, on the refrigerator, and most likely one or two by this point underneath the refrigerator.

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Spinach and Feta Florets with Tomato Coulis


One thing I can tell you about my big sister Jodi is that when I was a kid, she regularly let me stand up on the passenger seat of her powder blue Volkswagen Beetle and stick my upper body out of her sun roof as she drove me home from school. I’d throw my arms straight into the air and close my eyes as the wind blasted my face.  I could have been killed.

Here’s something else.  She took me to Disneyland once and dragged me into the “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” attraction.  She waited until I was sufficiently bored before leaning over and gently whispering into my ear, “You better pay attention because they give you a test afterwards, and if you fail it they kick you out of the park.”

This one is good too:  Jodi was officially the first person in the family who found out I had no interest in women.  She was visiting at the house I shared in Beverly Hills around 1997 or so, and while at the dinner table my idiot roommate (who later became my idiot boyfriend for a few years) casually asked, “Hey Gary, do the people at your office know you’re gay?”  I can’t imagine what my face looked like at that moment. (You’ll have to wait for Jodi’s blog to get the full report on that). Compounding the embarrassment was that Jodi was staying the night, and sharing my room.

There was no escape, no shell under which I could retreat.

But Jodi calmly re-assured me later that night as I was curled up in the corner of my room, wishing I could die, that she wasn’t really surprised by the news (are attentive older sisters ever surprised by that news?) and that it didn’t change anything between us.  She also made it clear to me that it wouldn’t make a difference to anyone else in my family either, though it took me a while longer to actually come to believe that.

It was probably close to six months before I mustered the courage to come out to the rest of the family, but when I did, I knew no matter what reaction I’d get, I had Jodi in my corner.

My kitchen is small.  Really small.  If my apartment is the entire world, my kitchen is Malta.  So I don’t generally like other people in there with me when there’s cooking going on.

Ask MG.  He’ll tell you the best spot to interact with me while I’m getting down over the stove is seated on the bar stool on the other side of the counter between the kitchen and the living room – full access to the chef ‘s attention without eating up any valuable elbow room.

But when your big sister comes up to spend the Fourth of July weekend and wants to cook with you, and it’s the sister who encouraged and supported rambunctious childhood mischief (even if it was dangerous), happily had innocent fun at your expense (even if it was mean), and embraced you with love when you worried you might lose the support of your family (even if it was never even a real possibility), god dammit… you shove yourself over and make plenty of room!
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Pizza and a Movie #3: Texas BBQ Chicken Pizza with Prosciutto and The Black Scorpion (1957)

The Black Scorpion centers on a misunderstood prehistoric creature who is accidentally freed from his underground cave by a volcanic eruption and proceeds to roam all of Mexico in search of friendship and understanding.

Unfortunately, he is unable to find it, so instead he decides to slash his way through thousands of locals, demolish infrastructure, and create economic chaos in an attempt to weaken the peso.

Click here for the Recipe!