Cake, Batter, and Bowl

Wild Mushroom Dip with Toasted Bread Strips

Appetizers

I recently had the pleasure of creating a recipe for Natasha’s 5 Star Makeover Summer ’10 Special that she just posted this week. For the challenge we received a package of unique ingredients from Marx Foods and were asked to use one to makeover a dish! I chose to use fennel pollen to convert traditional seared salmon into Fennel Pollen and Ginger Salmon with Coconut Lentils, but of course I couldn’t resist playing with some of the other ingredients too! The box also contained Szechuan peppercorns, Madagascar vanilla beans, pasilla negro chiles, marrow beans, tepin chiles, and dried wild mushrooms (candy cap, black trumpet, and porcini!). Apolinaras actually took the mushrooms out and asked me to make a Lithuanian inspired dish with them for him, which was incredibly cute. There are over 400 species of mushrooms in Lithuania so they’re a staple that he grew up with and he especially loves getting his hands on the wild ones.

When we were in Lithuania, we stumbled upon this incredible bar snack that was just genius and served everywhere – fried strips of bread that you dipped in a creamy garlic cheese sauce – yum! So, I decided to make my own lightened up version with the mushrooms. After toasting some dark rye bread, I whipped up a dip with the rehydrated wild mushrooms, cottage cheese, shallots, garlic, and parmesan cheese. We enjoyed it with some ice cold Lithuanian beers and tried to imagine we were back in Vilnius! Thanks Natasha and Marx Foods for hosting such a fun challenge!

Wild Mushroom Dip with Toasted Bread Strips
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ounce dried wild mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
16 ounces dark rye bread, cut into strips
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups 2% cottage cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour boiling water on top. Let mushrooms soak for 20 minutes or until rehydrated.

Heat oven to 400˚F. Use a pastry brush to coat bread strips with 3 tablespoons olive oil and place on a large greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400˚F for 15 minutes or until toasted.

Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and sauté shallots for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender; add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Add cooked shallots, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, half the rehydrated mushrooms, and salt to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Coarsely chop the remaining mushrooms and mix into the dip. Return dip to the skillet and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes over medium heat. Serve with the toasted bread strips. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition: 269 calories, 10.6g fat, 3.4g fiber, 12.9g protein per serving
Cost: $1.03 per serving

Chicken Parm Bites Stuffed with Mozzarella

I recently splurged on some of those cute little fresh mozzarella balls marinated in olive oil and herbs. They are so addicting! We enjoyed them when our friends visited last weekend, but I bought a huge tub because I wanted to play with them in a new recipe. I...

Pizza Onion Rings

A couple months ago, Apolinaras and I spent a long weekend in Chicago. I was scheduled to give a seminar about my lab’s research at the AACR conference at McCormick center, and Apolinaras tagged along to keep me company. Apolinaras and I went to college and grad...

Football Chicken Cakes

An additional foodie goal of mine this year is to enter more contests. I really enjoy the whole recipe development process and there are some incredible prizes! The Tyson Fantasy League Party Master Contest recently caught my eye on Contest Cook.  I’m an aspiring...

Cucumber Hummus Appetizers

I really enjoy every aspect of having friends over for dinner (except for the cleaning part, of course!) and was especially excited for the meal we had last night with our friends Geeti and Puneet because Geeti is also a huge foodie. We had an absolutely amazing feast...

BBQ Rice Balls Stuffed with Cheddar Cheese

I have a problem – I can’t stop stuffing things with cheese! I recently saw arancini (Italian rice balls) filled with cheese on Lisa is Cooking and Brown Eyed Baker, and immediately started drooling. Of course, I wanted to add my own little twist, so I drew...

Sushi Spring Rolls

You may have noticed I’ve posting less often than usual. I normally try to get about two recipes up per week, but between the exhaustion and nausea of the past several months, I just haven’t spent any time in the kitchen...yep, I’m pregnant!! Apolinaras and I are just...

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Crostinis

It’s about time for a recipe post around here, huh?  Don’t worry, I actually spent all last weekend in the kitchen getting ready for our Ultimate Recipe Showdown screening party on Sunday, so I’ve got two appetizer recipes ready to share!  It was the first...

Plantain Nachos

The Super Bowl is almost here! I love having the excuse to whip up a bunch of fun appetizers and if you’re not in the mood for football chicken cakes, I have the most mouth watering snack for you – plantain nachos! These are my absolute favorite nachos of all time and...