Tag Archives: Fire & Wine

F&W: Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff and hellooo officer


Fire & Wine night is back to “no boys allowed.” Or, rather Dungeons & Dragons has been moved to Thursday night so the fiancé won’t be around.

Oh well. Girls are cooler than boys. We knew that.

What a perfect week to cook up another meatless dinner. And trust me – you won’t be asking “where’s the beef” in this Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff recipe. In fact DD Girl ranked it her favorite F&W night so far.

I knew it was going to be a great girly night when “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” started playing on my I-pod when I was on the treadmill.

And it was. We learned that Roomie recently joined Match.com. In part because she has been reading my Have lasso. Will love again series. We had a blast giving her dating advice and hearing about all her new suitors (Already! Seriously, the girl has only been a member for 24 hours. Way to go!)

And then DD Girl and I filled Roomie in on how she missed the hot police officer who came by before Roomie arrived to let us know about a crime in our neighborhood. Crime shrime, he was so smoking hot, he could made the fire in fire & wine night.

Back to the food. I modified this Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff from All Recipes. 

Queen of Quirky’s Smoking Hot Police Officer & Wine Night Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff:


  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 large onion chopped length-wise
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 12 oz of Portobello mushrooms chopped and then halfed
  • 4 oz of mixed mushrooms (cremini, oyster and baby bellas)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh diced thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of port wine*
  • 2 teaspoons of  Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 12 oz package of egg noodles boiled and drained
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Heat butter in a large skillet until melted. Add onions and cook on medium low heat for about 20 minutes. The onions will caramelize and lightly brown. They will be delicious. Do not skimp on the onions. After about 20 minutes, add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Then add all the mushrooms, mixing them into the onions and garlic well. Add the thyme and salt & pepper to your liking. Cook on medium-high for about 7 minutes until the mushrooms are browned. Remove all of the mushrooms and most of the onions from the pan and set aside. In the skillet, pour in the broth, wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil and reduce half the liquid. Stir in the flour to thicken the sauce. Return the mushrooms and onions to the skillet and mix them into the sauce. Add the cup of sour cream and mix well. Serve over egg noodles. And do lick the spoon.

Invite hot officer to join you. Or, just imagine that he did.

  * Hey babe, thanks for sharing your birthday port wine with me for this recipe. I only used 1/4 cup. I love you!


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F & W: The roasted garlic & Bitch edition. (Read it, you’ll see.)

Have you ever roasted garlic? I highly recommend it. It’s so delicious, and it gives oldie but goodie recipe from Cooking Light – Roasted Garlic Potato Soup a rich flavor. It’s so good that you do not in fact, miss the fat that is left out of this recipe, and traditionally found in most potato soups.

Well, the fat that is left out unless you end up topping your soup with sharp cheddar cheese and bacon, like we did….but um…it really didn’t need that, we just really like any excuse to add cheese and bacon to something.

And, I have a huge announcement: the fiance who doesn’t  like potatoes, unless they are fried and dipped in ketchup even ate some of the soup and said it was good! Honestly, the garlic changes everything.

I’m not going to lie. I was scared.

FIVE heads of garlic? That seemed a bit over the top, even for a garlic lover. I read some of the reviews and it seemed that most people said it didn’t need five. I decided to cut it down to three.  I was really just looking after DD Girl, Roomie and the fiance, but then they were all, “oh, you could have totally used five and it would have been great.”

Le sigh. You can’t please these folks, you just can’t. (Geez, I’m such a bitch! — that’s foreshadowing, folks.)

The recipe seems like it might take all night  what with the hour of roasting time for the garlic and all, but don’t let that scare you. Here’s how it all timed out:

[Roasted Garlic-Potato Soup Recipe from Cooking Light, May 1995]

You’ll need

  • 5  whole garlic heads – like I said, I used three, but don’t be chicken. Use five. Do it. Do it. You know you want to.
  • 2  bacon slices, diced – um, ok, so here’s my confession- I cut up five slices so that we could have bacon bits to crumble over the top of the soup.
  • 1  cup  diced onion
  • 1  cup  diced carrot
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced – I know what you are saying – what? MORE garlic? But the thing is that roasted garlic and minced garlic have different flavors. So just go with it. This recipe has been around longer than my 1996 Maxima, which is like totally ancient. Trust it. It’s probably more reliable than my car.
  • 6  cups  diced baking potato (about 2 pounds)
  • 4  cups  low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1  cup  2% low-fat milk
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh parsley – I used Italian b/c it’s what I had on hand.

Here are my modified instructions with timing. Because really, isn’t timing like the hardest part of cooking? I think so. Thank you for agreeing with me.

Preheat the oven to 350. Then, while it’s heating, take your knife and cut the point off the top of the garlic heads and peel the papery outsides off as much as you can. Wrap each one in foil and place on a cookie sheet and stick in the oven. Set a timer for 60 minutes, or else you’ll totally loose track of how long they have been roasting.

Dice the onion, carrots, parsley and garlic. Then, peel and chop the potatoes. If you are as slow as me, this has burned at least 20 minutes of the hour. Then, chop the bacon up.

You are about 25 minutes into the hour now, so go ahead and put your large saucepan on medium heat and add your bacon. If you make this the QoQ Fire & Wine night way, remove about 70% of the bacon once it’s cooked and set aside in a bowl with a paper towel to soak up grease. Then remove most of the bacon grease from the pan and add your onion, carrots and minced garlic and saute for five minutes.

Ok, now it’s been at least 35 minutes. Add the potatoes, broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf and bring everything to a boil. This took about 8 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. At some point while this is simmering, you’ll pull the garlic out and set it aside to cool. [I think I simmered for a little longer than 20 minutes, because we were outside on the porch talking for a while and I jumped up at one point and said, gotta go blend!]

Take the roasted garlic out of the foil and start squeezing it into your blender (which thanks to DD Girl, who brought hers, I actually had one for this!)

Fair warning: this might really gross you out because it looks like popping a giant zit. And the warm garlic goo comes out looking a bit grody. Just remember, it’s still garlic and you still love it even if it’s having a bad-looking day.

Take two cups of the potato mixture out of the pot and add it to the garlic goo in the blender. Then blend it and add it back into the soup.

Mmmmm creamy. Pour in the milk, add parsley and stir it up.

I served this with sourdough bread. I meant to have butter on hand for the bread but I guess I didn’t need it because we all just started dipping our bread into the soup. Fire & Wine night really isn’t a classy affair.

Now, I usually don’t talk about the wine we have at Fire & Wine night because it’s usually nothing special. We’re all on a budget these days and rarely do we splurge on good wine for Fire & Wine night. We know that whatever it is, it’s going to be consumed in mass quantities, anyhow.

But on Monday when I was out browsing, I found this bottle of wine that just seemed to say Fire & Wine night:

[Image from K&L Wine Merchants.]


Bitch wine. Awesome.

Cute gimicky name, right?

But it’s actually a really nice Grenache from South Africa made by R Wines. It had an almost blackberry finish  and went surprisingly well with the creamy garlic soup.

I expect both the wine and the soup will become regular fixtures in my kitchen. (Which still kind of smells like garlic.)

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F & W: You’ll never want meat in your enchiladas again

You may be wondering why you are reading a Fire & Wine night post on a Wednesday. No, you aren’t going crazy. We moved it to Tuesday this week due to scheduling issues.

Also we were a man down with Roomie feeling under the weather. So it was just DD Girl and QoQ.

Ever since Blogher Food, I’d been eager to try Elise of Simply Recipescheese enchiladas.

I can hear you now….But I thought the rules of Fire & Wine were that you had to try something new. And I know for a fact, you’ve made enchiladas before.

Yes, yes. I know I can’t sneak one on you, smart readers. But see, I have never made my own sauce for enchiladas, so it does count as new.

Pushing it.

Shut it.

These. were. phenomenal.So good,  I swore off ever using meat of any sort in enchiladas ever again.

And now I’m going to offer a few tips for any of you who would like to make them.

1. Get good tortillas. There is a Price Chopper in Roeland Park that makes corn tortillas fresh daily, for those in Kansas City. Otherwise, seek out the best tortillas you can. (I’d aim for thicker v. thinner so they hold up to the sauce.)

2. Use good cheese. After all, it is the centerpiece of these bad boys. Even if you are cheap (like me) and prefer to use generic when possible, splurge on the cheese. In my botched chile rellenos (don’t you worry, pretty ones, that nightmare of a story is yet to come this week.) I used generic Monterrey Jack cheese. And while the cheese did not lead to the demise of the dish, it certainly didn’t help anything. Last night I bought Kraft Monterrey Jack and shred a pound of it myself. It had so much more flavor. Mmm mmm mmm.

3. Serve with black beans. Yeah sure, you can make them yourself, but, if you are lazy like me, use Goya black beans and season with a little cumin, ancho chili powder and salt and pepper. (I also had to add the cumin and chili powder to the enchilada sauce because I couldn’t find fire roasted crushed tomatoes.)

4. Garnish with iceberg lettuce as suggested by Elise. Only, to be thrifty, I dressed it with juice from half a lime and olive oil with salt and pepper. Why was half a lime thrifty? Because I used the other half in fresh guacamole.

There are a million ways to do guacamole. All of them are probably right. But this is how I roll:

(Serves 2-4, depending on how much you pig out while the enchiladas are cooking)

2 avocados

 1/2 lime

1 roma tomato, pulp removed and diced

1/4 cup of diced onion

course sea salt

fresh cilantro (about a table spoon diced)

Core out your avocados and add to a bowl with the onions, tomatoes and add some salt and lime juice. Using a fork, mash it all up really well. Then add cilantro. Taste and if you need more salt or a little more of the lime, add it.

I served the guac with homemade corn tortilla chips which I baked the night before. Just take thin tortillas and cut them into four triangles. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the triangles all over the tray. Spray the tops of them, then crack sea salt evenly over them and bake at 350 for about 5 minutes, or until crispy.

We ate them out of the ziplock baggy I stored them in. Klassy. I never said Fire & Wine night was anything but.

Please make these enchiladas soon so we can be in the cool kids club together, k? And then let me know how it goes. Oh, and tell Elise too.

I am so demanding.

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F & W: My first crack at risotto, steak and scallops

I’m just going to put this out there first to get it done with.

I overcooked the steak and the scallops were meh.

Ok, now then. Onto the risotto. Because miracle upon miracles, I didn’t mess it up. 

Mushroom risotto to be exact. A special request from the fiance who said, “mushroom” when I mentioned tackling risotto. So, the nice people at the Mushroom Channel helped me hunt down a few mushroom risotto recipes.

I really liked how Foodie Reflections helped me get over my risott – ophobia by breaking it down into seven simple steps for risotto.  I mean, if you can’t trust a food blogger, who can you trust?

The recipe was spot on. And yes, it does take a lot of stirring, but it’s so worth it. I’m sorry to say I didn’t take any pictures of my creation because I was busy juggling my side dish of spinach and fresh tomatoes at the same time as I was overcooking two steaks and fixing some mediocre scallops. (They had too much water in them and they were the little bay ones, not sea scallops. It makes a big difference.)

The only variation I made to the risotto was I used shallots instead of onions.

We were joined by G-man in replace of DD Girl who was feeling under the weather.

G-man text DD Girl to tell her thank you for not feeling well because he got to eat risotto. (And over-cooked steak and meh scallops, but who’s counting.)

I’m chalking the meal up as a success.


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F &W: Goat Cheese & Spinach Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

IMG_1033Sometimes a mistake turns out to be a really, really good thing.

In this case: goat cheese.

When I was considering what to fix for Fire & Wine night (because. ahem. I still haven’t had any suggestions from you people yet.) I was trying to stay on the lighter side of things.

After all, some of us have Halloween costumes to squeeze into in a few weeks.

So, I found this recipe for Spinach & Ricotta pizza on Cooking Light’ssite. Later that night, I sent a text to DD Girl and Roomie, but I SWEAR I thought the recipe was for Spinach & Goat Cheese pizza. So that’s what I wrote in my text, only to realize my mistake the next day.

It was too late.

Once you put goat cheese out there, you can’t take it back.

You have to deliver the goods.

So after reading the recipe, I decided goat cheese might add more fat and calories, but it would make it very tasty. Besides, I had more pressing issues at hand….

A bit of a  rising problem.

Pizza crust.

Remember the whole baking ban?

It seems I have unleashed a wild side because now we are two for two on doughy baked creations.

I began perusing the Web for pizza crust recipes.

Easy. No fail recipes.

With the help of my twitter friends I decided that pizza crust could in fact be made without the help of a mixer. No heavy machinery, folks.

So I took a recipe for quick and easy pizza crust and switched out half of the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour ala Two Peas and their Pod’s Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza. I also used the quick yeast.

In case you are confused with all this mixing and meshing, the recipe was:

1 packet of quick rising yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup warm water

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

I added the yeast to the warm water with the sugar and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then I added the rest of the ingredients and stirred really hard until it made dough. I mixed it a little more to make sure it was all smooth. Then, I let it sit for 10 minutes.

I pulled the dough out of the bowl and added a little flour to it and on the parchment paper. I rolled it out into a sort-of -round -and -even 12-inch pie. I slapped it on my cheap Wal-Mart pizza pan and fixed a few holes, trying to make it as even as possible. (DD Girl held the pan steady. Gotta give credit where it’s due.)

IMG_1023Then I brushed it with olive oil and smothered it with  1/4 cup (maybe a tad bit more than that) of this New York-Style Pizza Sauce (which I only changed to add a teaspoon more sugar after I tasted it and thought it needed it. Perfection.)

I sprinkled fresh spinach on top of the sauce, topped the spinach with some light mozzarella cheese and parm.

Now it was time for the good stuff.

I sliced little slivers of the goat cheese and strategically placed them on the pizza. (there are no pictures of this step  because we were very busy making it perfect and um. eating little bits of the cheese in the process.)

Then, I topped it with some fresh sliced tomatoes and a little more parm.

I baked the entire thing (actually, I should confess that there were two pizzas going on at once. I mean, who are we kidding? Four of us sharing one 12-inch pizza with goat cheese? No way. Reality check, folks.) at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

It’s hard to say exactly how long because I reset the timer for “two more minutes” a few times. I kept whimpering that the crust might be too doughy until DD Girl threw an intervention on me and said, it’s going to be fine. Take them out now.

IMG_1034She was right.

See, here is DD Girl and the fiance chowing down on the pizza with Gertie hoping to catch a few nibbles.

You can’t see Roomie, but she was there too.

I served the pizza with tomato and mozzarella salad with that fresh basil I had for the pizza sauce. You know the drill – drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar with fresh cracked salt and pepper.

So easy.IMG_1029

Not at all like pizza crust.

Which takes measuring and waiting and all the things I’m so bad at.

But hey, that’s the point of Fire & Wine night. Try something new.

Push my limits.

And hold my breath and hope it turns out.

With a little encouragement from my friends.


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Turns out

IMG_0937I don’t like fennel. Ew. But otherwise, the Giada recipe was quite tasty. I made some minor modifications including roasting the veggies at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and adding fresh garlic to the layers of veggies.

For the marinara sauce, I think using our local Cupinis sauce was almost as good as making my own. (And a time saver!)

I also didn’t have an orange pepper, so I just added a few more pieces of roasted eggplant. I do love eggplant. I have to say that adding olive oil to the bread crumbs on top really worked wonders on creating a nice, crisp, golden crust. Yum…. If you do make this, be sure to wait a while after you take it out of the oven. It needs to cool before it is cut.

Served with: Caesar salad (cheated and used Ken’s Ceasar dressing.) and fresh Italian bread with olive oil for dipping.

DD Girl and Roomie were sent home with leftovers and claimed to love it. I just kind of liked it, but that’s just me and the fennel issue.

The best thing about Fire & Wine night is trying new recipes. We’ll pretty much try anything. Have a recipe you’d like us to try? (Remember, no red meat please.) Let me know.

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No title

This post has no title. Why? Because I still do not have a car title.

You may remember my fiasco from last year. Well part of the red tape I spoke of was  trying to get a North Carolina title transferred to a KS title and somehow the KS DMV lost my North Carolina title. I discovered this yesterday when I went to the DMV to get a copy of my title so I could take it over to Missouri to register my car.

I did try to stay calm and collected because I had learned my lesson before. But the following slipped out of my mouth:

“You may think I’m a crazy woman. And I am a crazy woman. But it’s really only because the DMV turns me into a crazy woman.”

They are investigating it today.


Which means I’m only slightly stressed out.

<crunch, crunch, crunch.>

In the meanwhile, I recieved the agenda for Blogher Food in San Fransisco next weekend and I’m beyond excited. 

The problem is, I don’t have enough time to read all these great food bloggers who will be speaking.

I would read some tonight, but I’m going to be too busy trying to cook this recipe tonight for Fire & Wine night with Roomie and DD Girl, using the fiance’s George Foreman grill. 

Ha! Won’t that be a trip.


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