Land of Leftovers

Portabella mushrooms are some of my favorite cooking delights. While they're heavenly stuffed and baked or roasted with an autumn vegetable medley, my favorite way to enjoy them is magnificently marinated and grilled. And, given the cooler weather, why not take advantage of the few truly perfect grilling days remaining?

The recipes presented in this month's column feature portabella mushrooms that have been sliced and marinated in a tangy combination of oil, vinegar, garlic and a special blend of herbs and spices (no, not the Colonel's secret recipe!) that truly sings when paired with a hot grill. Make sure that you reserve any extra marinade for brushing over the mushrooms and other veggies while you're at the grill.

October brings with it a lot of tailgate parties and game night get-togethers. Both of the recipes in this month's column are appropriate for such gatherings. They're both so tasty, no one will notice that they're meatless! In addition to being tasty, they're also quick to make and can be made in advance and reheated when you're ready to entertain. So, there's no excuse for offering chips and beer this football season. At least, there's no excuse for offering only chips and beer!

Here's what's on our tailgate menu:

As always, I look forward to hearing from you about your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at .

Grilled Veggie Grinders

A grinder is simply an intense version of a classic submarine sandwich. This one features grilled portabella mushrooms, red bell peppers and zucchini with a peppy black olive spread. For an added crunch, toast the submarine rolls before slathering them with the olive spread.
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3 T. dry sherry
  • 2 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored and sliced 1-2" wide
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4" thick
  • 1/4 c. kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 4 submarine rolls
  • Freshly sliced tomatoes

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sherry, rosemary leaves, and minced garlic. Seal the bag and shake to blend the ingredients. Add the prepared vegetables to the bag. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the olives, capers, balsamic vinegar and garlic powder in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Spread 2 tablespoons of the spread over each of the four submarine rolls. Set aside.

Grill the vegetables over a medium grill for about 20 minutes, turning once. Set aside half of the grilled mushrooms for the Porta Pizza. Divide the remaining vegetables evenly among the four prepared submarine rolls. Add sliced tomatoes to each sandwich and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Porta Pizza

The extra grilled portabella mushrooms from the grinders make a wonderful addition to this simple, yet tasty, pizza that's ready in minutes.
  • 1 prepared pizza crust (such as Boboli)
  • 1/4 c. pasta sauce (choose your favorite variety)
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sliced red onions
  • 1/2 lb. grilled portabella mushrooms (reserved from Grilled Veggie Grinders recipe)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3 oz. crumbled fontina cheese (or any other tangy cheese)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the prepared pizza crust on a pizza pan.

Combine the pasta sauce and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Spread the sauce evenly over the prepared pizza crust. Sprinkle the pizza evenly with the red onions, mushrooms, pepper and cheese.

Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the cheese is melted. Sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil over the finished pizza immediately before serving.

  • Yields: 8 slices
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes