Posts Tagged ‘first friday’

Stuff this!

December 4, 2010

crimini mushrooms

crimini mushrooms
photo courtesy of To-Jo Mushrooms

For the First Friday Holiday Walk, I wanted to make something undeniably delicious, but not sweet. Holidays = sweets. Everyone knows that and everyone follows that rule. I like to think of myself as a rule breaker. So I decided on savory. I’ve done pastry cups and squares way too much, but finger food is the way to go for a gallery event. What options are left? Mushrooms!

Stuffed mushrooms are delicious and savory finger food, so they were the perfect idea for the event. The problem? Time and experience. I never made stuffed mushrooms before and this being the holiday season, time was tight. Following the guidelines of preparation and planning, I glanced at Joy of Cooking Thursday night and went to the Fair Food Farmstand Friday at 5pm. First Friday is officially 6-9pm. I am proud to report that the mushrooms were served to “Mmmms” and “Ooooohs” at 6:30 sharp!

The following recipe is a combination of what I found at the market and what was in my fridge. It is entirely vegan and – in my opinion, but apparently no one else’s – tastes only decent. I cooked for the crowd, but if it were only for me, I would have pancetta, bacon, crab meat, shrimp, and beef or chicken stock in there. I understand the frustrations of being a vegetarian/vegan at parties, so I resisted my meaty urges, to much appreciation, except my own.

Stuffed Mushrooms

inspired by a recipe from Joy of Cooking


  • 24 cremini mushrooms
  • ½ c bread crumbs
  • 3 shallots
  • ¼ c celery
  • 1 T worcestshire sauce
  • ½ c vegetable stock
  • ¼ c parsley
  • 3 T olive oil
  1. Wash and carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms.
  2. Chop separately the mushroom stems, shallots, celery, and parsley.
  3. Heat olive oil over a medium heat.
  4. Add shallots and cook until soft.
  5. Add celery and cook until tender.
  6. Add mushroom stems and worcestshire sauce. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and released again.
  7. Remove from the heat and add bread crumbs and parsley.
  8. Add stock to the mixture until it clumps together.
  9. Brush the top of the mushrooms with olive oil, fill with the mixture, and place on a baking sheet.
  10. Broil for about 3 mintues, until the mushrooms and topping turn brown.

Savor the Pumpkin!

October 5, 2010

I feel so unoriginal working with pumpkin and apples for Fall, but there’s a reason they’re such popular ingredients – they’re so good! I’m actually quite proud of this recipe because I have not tasted or seen a dish quite like this.

Pumpkin pie and its variations are always popular as the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and pumpkin is a guaranteed success. Pumpkin soups are also very popular, but that’s just pumpkin, heavy cream, and a few spices (ironically, not so different from what I made!). Chopped pumpkin garnished with nuts and spices and baked as a casserole is good, but simple. I wanted to create something interesting and different for First Friday. I think I succeeded!

savory pumpkin mousse

Savory pumpkin mousse served on pumpkin skin. Yes, it's entirely edible. And yes, it was sitting on my laptop.

Savory Pumpkin Mousse

created on-the-fly by Sarah Johnson


  1. Cut the pumpkin in half and place face down on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake the pumpkin at 400F for about 30 minutes, until you can easily poke through it with a fork.
  3. Scoop out the pulp of the pumpkin, leaving the skin intact.
  4. Chill the pumpkin skin so that it is not soft and flimsy.
  5. Puree the pumpkin pulp.
  6. Simmer the pumpkin in a pot over very low heat.
  7. Chop about 10 sage leaves and grind the coriander seeds (or use powder).
  8. Add the butter, sage, coriander, and ginger to the pumpkin, cover, and simmer until the flavors are blended.
  9. Chill the pumpkin mixture until it is room temperature or colder.
  10. Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar.
  11. Carefully fold the whipped cream and pumpkin mixture together. Use about a 1:2 ratio of whipped cream to pumpkin.
  12. Slice the pumpkin skin away from large amounts of remaining pulp.
  13. Cut the skin into 1"x1" squares, or slightly larger triangles.
  14. Spoon about 1 T of the pumpkin mixture onto each square or triangle of skin.
  15. Slice the remaining sage leaves into thin ribbons and curl for garnish atop each piece of pumpkin.

Personally Imported from Virginia

August 18, 2010

There were many things which came together to inspire and create this delicious treat. First Friday is always a reason to come up with an interesting recipe. Summer is a fun time as well because there are so many fresh ingredients at the markets. This month I was able to bypass the market and go directly to the source.


Half peck of peaches from Carter Mountain Charlottesville, Virginia.

I took a short trip to visit friends in Charlottesville, Virginia. I really enjoyed the farmer’s market there but also got to go to Carter’s Mountain for a peach festival. They were demonstrating how to make peach salsa which got my mind going. With the half peck of peaches I brought back to Philly, I made peach chutney, peach gazpacho, and just ate peaches non-stop. The downside? I don’t want another peach for the rest of the summer!

Regardless, on the 5 hour train ride, I used a napkin in lieu of my notebook to materialize all of the peach ideas in my head. Another source of inspiration for this treat was a sprig of rosemary from a neighbor’s garden in Charlottesville. Given these two ingredients, I decided goat cheese would work well to bridge the divide of sweet and savory. With some help from Angelo at Downtown Cheese, I found a perfect young goat cheese which turned into a wonderful whipped consistency. The final component of this dessert is my favorite pie crust by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin adapted to a small bite size pastry cup.

peach pastries

Peach and goat cheese pastries.

Savory Peach Pastry

created on by Sarah Johnson

NOTE: measurements for the filling are approximate and can be adjusted to taste


  • 4 peaches
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ nutmeg
  • 1 t rosemary (sprigs for garnish)
  • ¼ c + 2 T sugar
  • ½ c + 2 T muscat wine
  • ¼ lb goat cheese
  • Pastry

    • 2 c flour
    • 1 ¾ sticks butter chilled
    • ½ t salt
    • ½ t sugar


    1. Peel and dice 2 of the peaches.
    2. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, 2 T sugar, and 2 T wine. Let sit covered in a bowl for at least an hour.
    3. Combine goat cheese, ½ c wine, and ¼ c sugar in a bowl. Mix until smooth and light. Add more sugar or wine as needed.
    4. Stir the peach mixture into the cheese mixture.
    pastry cups

    Pie crust shaped in miniature muffin tins. Recipe from Julia and Jacques.


    1. Slice butter into ½ inch pieces.
    2. Combine flour, butter, salt, and sugar in a cuisinart for a few seconds, or with a pastry blender.
    3. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about one hour.
    4. Remove the dough and roll out to ¼ inch thickness.
    5. Cut dough into 3" squares. Place each square into a mini-muffin pan.
    6. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes.


    1. Peel remaining two peaches and cut into slices.
    2. Fill each pastry cup with a spoonful of goat cheese mixture.
    3. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of peach.