Last night, we had dinner with a group of friends for a "blind" wine tasting of cabs. Everyone brought wine, which was later "bagged and tagged" for the tasting, and a dish.  My dish assignment: appetizers. And since the main dish was a delishous prime rib, beef was out of the question for my dish.  I would up deciding two bring two dishes…in hindsight, for our group of eight, just one of these appetizers probably would have done the job just fine (or halving the recipes).  My contribution to our dinner was a bruchetta and a baked brie with wild mushrooms.

Since I was meeting a friend for lunch at Lowells at Pike Place Market yesterday, I decided to pick up my mushrooms here. Pike Place Market is a fantastic place to visit. I think I become a tourist in my own city when I'm here!  Check out these mushrooms.

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I picked these pretty shrooms up at Sosio's which is just north of Lowell's Restaurant in Pike Place Market. Everyone there is so helpful (all the food vendors are eager to sell help you.  He asked me what dish I was making and made the recommendation for my mushrooms that you see above.  The fresh porchini mushrooms (smaller round) did not go into the wild mushrooom mix – they'll be enjoyed sauted today on their own.

These recipes are super easy… ready?

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Baked Brie with Wild Mushrooms

Melt butter in a pan.  Saute mushrooms until they're soft. While they're melting, add one diced shallot and continue to saute (add more butter if needed).  Add one glass of red wine and allow this mixture to bubble down and reduce.  Add some fresh thyme, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat.

While this mixtures flavors are "marrying", cut the top of a 5-6 inch wheel of brie.  The recipe I based this dish on says you can bake this dish in the brie box (lined with foil) and I've done it that way once…if you like extra mushrooms like I do, and not risking any cheese oozing over the edges, I recommend using a slightly taller and larger dish (as you can see in the photo).

Top brie with warm mushrooms and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve with toasted bread and crackers.

Bruschetta with Blue Cheese and Carmelized Onions

Take about a cup of walnuts and toast in oven at 350. I leave my walnuts in until I can just begin to smell them warming.

Thinly slice sweet onions (I like Walla Walla sweets when they're available).  I recommend cutting the onion in half to thinly slice and slicing into quarters so you wind up with 1-1.5 inch slices.  I used 3 onions (could have done two – I have left over carmelized onions that will be put to good use).

Thinly slice bagette, place on cookie sheet and brush it with a little olive oil with garlic. Toast bagettes under broiler on second row from the top. Be careful not to burn them (like I did with my first batch when I forgot about them while I was sauteeing mushrooms and onions…ugh)!  

Because we were transporting these to our friends house for dinner. I put the warm onions in a container, cooled chopped walnuts into a baggy and cooled bruschetta toast into another baggie.  And of course I brought some crumbled blue cheese.  Once at our destination, I assembled the appetizers by placing the bagettes on a cookie sheet, topped with a little carmelized onion, some blue cheese crumbles and then some walnuts.  I popped them under the broiler (second shelf again) and very carefully watched them. I removed them once they were warmed up and the the cheese began to melt.