Saturday, September 5, 2009

Baby Bellas with Balsamic Vinegar

Congratulations to Sally Minyard of Arizona! Sally is this week’s winner of our Williams-Sonoma $25 gift card giveaway. We have one more gift certificate to give away, so don't forget to enter TODAY!

I cook a lot of mushrooms and recently, several people have asked me how I prepare them. It's so easy that it's embarrassing. I'm going to post the recipe anyway, because it's lowfat, delicious, and done in a snap. The mushrooms make a wonderful side dish, and taste as good cold as they do hot. They'd be great on Avery's antipasto platter! They're easy enough to make anytime, but elegant enough for company. It's exactly the sort of quick and easy dish that Sophie Winston of my Domestic Diva Mysteries whips up when friends drop by for dinner.

If you're an Alton Brown fan, then you probably know that you can wash mushrooms. Alton did an experiment on one of his shows, in which he weighed two groups of like mushrooms. He soaked one bunch of mushrooms (for hours) and merely wiped the others clean, then weighed them again. Contrary to the old wives' tale, the soaked mushrooms did not take on water. So wash them and don't worry about it. Thanks, Alton!

Baby Bellas with Balsamic Vinegar

1 8-ounce package of baby bella or button mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

1. Wash the mushrooms and remove the stems, saving them for soup.
2. Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan.
3. I like my mushrooms a little bit chunky so I cut the caps into sixths or eighths, depending on the size. If they're very small, I leave the cap whole. However, you can slice them if you prefer.
4. Toss the mushrooms into the pan. (The pan and oil can be cold. I don't preheat them.)
5. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
6. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. If you're leery of vinegar, use less. I've realized that the brand and intensity of the balsamic vinegar can make a big difference. I use Spectrum's Organic Balsamic Vinegar (and I love balsamic vinegar so I use it generously).
7. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for about five minutes, turning occasionally. The juices and balsamic vinegar will cook down in the process.

And that's it! How lazy is that? Enjoy!


This is your last chance to enter our contest for a gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma. To enter just leave a comment, or send an "Enter Me" email to! Good luck!


  1. Our family loves mushrooms. This sounds wonderful and easy. Will have to get some this weekend to try out.
    Have a great Labor Day Weekend.

  2. I love mushrooms, and Alton Brown! This is a wonderful recipe, Krista. I'll pick up some baby bellas this week and try it!


  3. This must be lazy vegetable week! My asparagus was just as simple. This looks WONDERFUL, Krista. Thanks for sharing.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. This post is packed with tips!! The mushroom washing myth is a valuable one to dispel. I'm also heeding your suggestion to try different brands of balsamic for taste testing. And the tip on saving the mushroom stems for soup is right up my "use everything!" alley. Can't wait to try this one.

    "Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Krista, love this idea. What a ton of great tips. I was always afraid to wash mushrooms for fear of them turning brown, but you've rid me of fear! Wahoo!

  6. We love mushrooms, and my husband's favorites are the portobellas. Please enter me in your giveaway too! Thank you ;-)

  7. The Hub loves mushrooms and is the mushroom cook
    in our house -- I know he'll love the ease of this

  8. I bet this would be yummy drizzled over a medium rare steak as well as a side dish. Thenks, ladies, for all these easy to do recipes. I made the Tomato-Gorgonzola soup for first day of school and everyone thought I'd been slaving over a stove all night. I let them think that :>)

  9. Mushrooms really are a perfect food, huh? And this recipe is a great way to highlight their flavor. Yum!

  10. I hope everyone likes the mushrooms as much as I do!

    Thanks, Pat. A wonderful Labor Day weekend to all of you, too! And to all my lovely co-bloggers at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen!

    Donna, the mushrooms are terrific with steak. In fact, I've been known to cook them in the pan the steak was in. The balsamic vinegar and juices deglaze the pan -- yummy!

    Jessica, mushrooms are supposed to be very good for us, too. A nice bonus, huh?

  11. Thank you for another great recipe to try. Mushrooms?? Love them!! And thank you to all of you at Mystery Lovers Kitchen for such a fabulous blog!! Books, recipes, great doesn't get any better! Also thank you for my giftcard. I was last weeks winner and am so happy to have won such a wonderful giveaway!


  12. I desperately want to enter the contest but, I am allergic to mushrooms. I'm itching while posting...

  13. I am a huge mushroom fan. These would be wonderful as a side for a nice, juicy steak. I have some balsamic with pomegranite juice blended into it. I'm wondering how that would work.