It’s the little things

April 17, 2010

Marinated Cremini Mushrooms

It doesn’t take much to make me really happy. A clean kitchen (heck, an empty dishwasher and sink will do it). Shoes that fit perfectly (I have terrible feet, you see). Discovering a forgotten pair of jeans (that I actually like) in the back of my closet. The aroma of fresh brewed coffee before I’ve really woken up (coupled with an errand-free Saturday morning is perfection). Swiffer dry cloths (if you have wood floors you know why). The high after a long run. A near empty peanut butter jar and a spoon. A glass of really good red wine after a really long week. The TV to myself along with a TiVo queue full of Project Runway and Chopped. The first open window drive home of the season. The way my hair looks and feels after a haircut (how do they make it so shiny?). And appetizers that don’t take much effort, like these here marinated cremini mushrooms. They make me happy, they do.

Is it just me, or does anyone else struggle with appetizers? When it comes to entertaining I am always at a loss for pre-dinner noshes, wrapped up in planning the main dishes and dessert, distracted with deciding which serving platters and bowls to use and focused on all of the other necessary logistics (Are there enough wineglasses, did I hang a fresh towel in the bathroom, did I remember to put on deodorant. You know, the usual). We tend to keep things simple. One main “thing”, like a cheeseboard, and a few supporting “things”. But sometimes the supporting “things” require a lot of last minute time and energy that I lack to wrap, stack, toast, roll or stuff. So stumbling upon appetizer recipes that require very little effort and less than 20 minutes of my time, and should be made hours, a day even, in advance makes me really happy. Like I said, it doesn’t take much.

These are a great addition to an antipasti platter, but just as easily stand alone. They add substance without being heavy. And, bonus, they’re healthy but your guests won’t notice.

Marinated Cremini Mushrooms

(Adapted slightly fromĀ Whole Foods)
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 4 T white wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 to 2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 2 tsp minced fresh oregano
  • 2 T minced flat leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms*

In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, shallot, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Simmer mushroom caps in salted water for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Drain and transfer to the bowl with the marinade. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

*One pound looks and sounds like a lot, but don’t be fooled. Cooked mushrooms shrink. When in doubt, double. They’ll go.

  1. Estela @ Weekly Bite

    April 17, 2010 at 8:34 am

    This looks delicious!!!

    It is the little things in life that make us so happy :)

  2. allison from "a for aubergine"

    April 17, 2010 at 9:55 am

    These would make a really good snack, not to mention extremely tasty and unboring.

  3. molly

    April 17, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Just reading that list made me happy (and I don’t even run!). I’m ridiculously fond of mushrooms in any form, though have not tried this yet. Looks perfect.

  4. Katie @ Cozydelicious

    April 17, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    What a great appetizer! I’m always trying to find that enough-but-not-too-much balance for before dinner snacking. These look perfect! I always go for marinated mushrooms when I see them at a salad bar or restaurant but have never made them myself. How fun!

  5. Tracy

    April 19, 2010 at 10:31 am

    We always struggle with what to provide when it comes to apps. We always want a hot and a cold. I love the idea of your mushrooms. In fact, I recently found a recipe for pickled what nots in a vegetarian Italian cookbook I have. I guess we’re all set next go ’round. Again, thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Nancy

    April 19, 2010 at 11:11 am

    What a perfect appetizer — full of flavor and also light, so not an appetite spoiler! I’ll bet any leftover mushrooms would also be great tossed with greens in a salad, with a drizzle of the marinade as vinaigrette.

  7. Sara

    April 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    loved reading your list :) I too love an almost empty jar of peanut butter. I have bittersweet feelings towards me, the pb and a spoon. I wish I put it on toast, or made cookies or a sandwich with it… but I usually just eat it with a spoon :) Like you said, its the little things.

  8. Mary Jo Koranda

    May 6, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I was searching for an appetizer for Mother’s Day and found this. I love marinated/pickled anything but am also lazy. I usually make marinated mushrooms by plunking them in a favorite Italian dressing – no cooking. Do you think it makes a big difference to simmer for 5 minutes?

  9. Carolyn

    May 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Mary Jo: The benefit of blanching is it softens the mushrooms a bit, and because they’re then warm and tender, they absorb the vinaigrette much better.

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