Guest Post: Halloumi Stacks with Mushrooms by The Online Grill

We have a guest in the kitchen! We're thrilled to welcome Ben of The Online Grill who's sharing a wonderfully healthy and delicious meal idea. 


Hi! My name’s Ben and I cycle. I cycle a lot. And I guess that this means I eat a lot too. I thought I’d turn my love of food into something useful by writing over at The Online Grill. Since starting the blog I’ve learned so much about food and nutrition, and grown my cooking repertoire hugely.

I’ve always had problems with iron deficiencies, and since discovering the iron-rich health benefits of mushrooms I’ve never looked back. The versatility of it means I can throw it in liberally with almost any meal which, thanks to my Italian heritage, I do… a lot.


Halloumi stacks is a fantastically simple recipe that goes down a treat in the summer months. Its light vegetables match perfectly with the salty flavors of the halloumi to give a sensationally addictive taste. In fact, I have to be strict on myself and use a very finite amount of cheese as I often just can’t get enough of these!

Perfect as an appetizer, or a very light brunch meal, this dish is brilliant as a template. If you don’t have one ingredient, then it’s easy to substitute it with another. It’s open to interpretation and that’s what I love about it!


Halloumi Stacks with Mushrooms

Ingredients
250g halloumi cheese
1 zucchini/courgette
6 white button mushrooms
2 large tomatoes

Method
1. A lot of Mediterranean dishes feature a heavy use of olive oil, and you’ll find most interpretations of this one are no different. However, to help it feel relatively light I’ve decided to skip this. I find that the salt and moisture from the tomatoes and halloumi do wonders at packing in a lot of flavor, however if you do want to brush your vegetables in oil prior to grilling them then go for it!
2. If you don’t have a griddle pan then one way around it is to preheat your oven grill with the grill bars in to help give you those lovely seared grill marks in the tomatoes and zucchinis.
3. Start heating up your pan to a medium-high heat, or if you’re using your oven then preheat it to 180C/350F/gas 4.
4. While your oven is preheating, cut your tomatoes horizontally, zucchinis diagonally, and mushrooms vertically (got that?) into thick slices.
5. Add the zucchini to the pan and season with salt and black pepper. Griddle for a couple of minutes on each side, and really try to work in those beautiful sear marks!
6. Remove the zucchini and now add the tomato, repeating the process but for nearer one minute on each side instead of two. Repeat again, but this time with the mushrooms.
7. Now for the fun part! Heat up a frying pan to a medium-high heat, and throw in the halloumi. Turn every minute until both sides have browned then remove.
8. Now time to stack these bad boys! This part is wildly open to artistic license, so order as you wish, but I organize mine as: Tomato at the bottom, then zucchini, mushroom, and the beautifully browned halloumi at the top.
9. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top, and you’re done!


If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
Portabello and Halloumi Burgers by Fuss Free Cooking
Chicken and Mushroom Spring Rolls by The Online Grill

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These stacks are a great way to use up the last of your garden produce! A huge thanks to Ben for joining us in our kitchen with such a drool-worthy and nutritious dish.

Make sure you follow along with Ben's blog The Online Grill and on Facebook and Twitter

Guest Post: Basil Beef & Mushroom Rice Bowls by Kiwi & Bean

We have a guest in the kitchen! We have Sarah of (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean back today, to share a comforting dish that still makes use of those summer flavours. I have no doubt it'll be a hit with your family, as it was with hers!!


Hello mushroom-lovers! Sarah here from (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean, a food blog where I share no-sweat, super simple, family-friendly recipes that anyone (repeat: ANYONE) can make!

You might remember me from my guest post last winter—Penne with Sausage, Caramelized Mushrooms and Winter Greens. It was a perfect way to enjoy mushrooms on the coldest and dreariest of winter days.

I’m excited to be back today sharing a recipe that combines mushrooms with one my favourite summer herbs—basil! If you’ve got a garden, you might have some fresh basil in full (and fragrant) bloom. Otherwise, the grocery stores and farmers markets are full of the stuff.

Mushrooms and basil might seem like unlikely bedfellows, but they pair beautifully in these Thai-inspired Basil Beef & Mushroom Rice Bowls. The mushrooms are diced and sautéed with ground beef, and when fully cooked they almost disappear—a win if you’ve got any mushroom skeptics in your family, as I do.

While this dish has a rich and layered flavour, it’s surprisingly fast and easy to prepare. If you chop the onions, garlic and mushrooms the night before, you can throw the recipe together in about 20 minutes.

I like to serve these rice bowls “build-your-own” style at the dinner table. Set out the basil beef, a pot of cooked rice or quinoa, some chopped red chillies, extra fresh basil, julienned carrots, cucumber rounds, and thinly sliced green onions, and let everyone in the family build a bowl to their liking. And, if you are feeling a little indulgent or want to make this dish weekend-dinner-guest-worthy, top each rice bowl with an egg, sunny-side up. Now we’re talking.


Basil Beef & Mushroom Rice Bowls
Prep Time: 20 mins. | Cook Time: 10 mins.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons avocado oil (or another vegetable oil of choice)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
½ pound white button or cremini mushrooms, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Juice of half a lime

To serve: cooked rice or quinoa, chopped red chillies, additional fresh basil, julienned carrots, cucumber rounds, thinly sliced green onions, fried eggs, lime wedges

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Soften and lightly brown the onions, then add the garlic, mushrooms and ground beef, breaking up the beef with the back of your spoon.
2. Let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are very soft and the beef is browned and cooked through.
3. Combine the tamari, fish sauce, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour over the beef and mushroom mixture, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for a minute or two, or just until the sauce has thickened slightly. Stir in the basil and lime juice. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately over rice or quinoa with desired garnishes.

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Be sure to follow along with Sarah online at Kiwi & Bean, and on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!


FBC2016 Appetizer Spotlight Winner Is...

We were lucky to have another fantastic group of submissions for this year's, incredibly competitive, Appetizer Spotlight contest! We had a very, very tough decision on our hands. The Mushrooms Canada staff and the good folks at the Food Bloggers of Canada came together to pick our winner!

Congratulations to...
Mushroom and Beef Cheese Balls (Mini Style!) by Kacey of The Cookie Writer


Kacey has won the opportunity to be our featured appetizer at this year's Food Bloggers of Canada Conference at Delta Toronto! Our Mushrooms Canada table at the Friday night reception of FBC2016 will feature these mouthwatering cheese balls, so be sure to come by and try one (or three!) for yourself. Not only that, but Kacey will be in attendance to see her recipe enjoyed, having won a full conference pass and 2 nights accommodation to the sold out event! 

Once again, congrats to Kacey, as well, a special thank you to all of the talented bloggers who submitted their amazing mushroom-meat blended appetizers! We can't wait to see you everyone at FBC2016!!