Mushrooms Stuffed with Browned Shallots and Chevre; it was a BIG spider

I used to love this time of year.

I loved watching the leaves slowly turn from summer greens to brilliant reds, oranges and golds.

They don't really do that here.

I loved the cool crisp evenings with the bright harvest moon of October.

Here, the nights skip cool and go right to cold, rainy winter.

I loved getting out the colorful knit sweaters and warm wool clothing.

Here I have a few more months before I shed the sleeveless tops.

We do, however, get all of the wonderful fall foods: wild mushrooms, winter squashes and pumpkins, apples and nuts.

I could adjust to fall here, with it's modest 'change of season' ritual…. 

If it wasn't for the one ritual I have learned to dread since deciding to live in ancient French farmhouses.

The annual spider migration.

All summer long we've had small to medium size daddy-long-leg type spiders everywhere.  They spin webs faster than the blink of an eye and are in every corner.  At least once a week I suck them all into the Hoover, plus a few flies to feed them, and that's that.

I don't even scream when I see them, and have been known to actually brush them off the furniture with my very own bare hands.

I'm not happy with the webs everywhere, but I can live with it.

Last night the big guys showed up.

Every year in the fall, at our house in the Vendée, the big spiders would start moving into the house.

Every year mon mari would be required to drop whatever he was doing at my first scream and deal with the spider.  I don't actually require that they be killed (although he does); I just want them out of my presence…. and house.

In my opinion, they were big spiders.

Mon mari always pooh-poohed, saying they were mere babies and I didn't know what a truly big spider looked like.

Now I do.

He was big….

At least 5 feet across….

Okay, okay, 5 inches (12cm).

And that is not an exaggeration.

His body was probably an inch across but his legs were enormous!

I screamed (naturally).

Mon mari groused (naturally).

And walked into the bedroom (why are they always in the bedroom?) with a tissue – his customary WSD (Weapon of Spider Destruction).

He took one look at it and went out to the barn to get his heavy-duty broom.

I told you it was big….

I assume they spend the summer in the walls and start to move inside as the days get shorter.

Our walls are 2' (60cm) thick (I measured).  They're built of stone.  One would think the spiders could find a perfectly adequate space to live in somewhere in the walls if they didn't want to move on to new digs.  

Unless….

They grew too big for the walls…..

I wish I could explain to them that, they can have the walls but if they come inside they die.

I'd be perfectly happy if they kept to their place and I could keep to mine and never the twain shall meet.

I think they know they have the upper hand, though…. At least with me.

Apparently my screams aren't nearly as irritating to them as they are to mon mari.

He did make a deal with me, though…..

After all my trips to the hospital – some unplanned at a moment's notice, he promised to kill all spiders without complaint.

I guess he doesn't consider grumbling under his breath as actual complaint.

Whatever….

The other thing I like about fall is stuffing vegetables.  I stuff them all, any kind, any size… First course, main course, side dish….

Stuffed Mushrooms with Shallots and Garlic

Stuffed Mushrooms with Browned Shallots and Garlic

6 large mushrooms, (1 1/2 – 2" diameter, 4 – 5cm)
2 shallots
3 cloves garlic
3 tsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
3oz (90gr) soft goat cheese it comes in a little 4-sided pyramid shaped carton; my 'brand' is Chevraux, I think in the U.S. it's Chavrie
Tomato Sauce

Clean mushrooms, removing stems.
Roughly chop the shallots and mince garlic. Heat 2 tsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until shallots start to brown, about 10 minutes. Put shallots, garlic in a small bowl, add goat cheese and mix well.
Add 1 tsp oil and soy sauce to the same skillet. Add mushroom caps and sauté until light brown, 3 – 4 minutes, turning once. Remove and place on a baking sheet – with a lip so they don't slide off.
Spoon goat cheese mixture into mushroom caps, dividing evenly. Bake in 375F (180C) oven for 10 minutes, until they are light brown.
To finish: When mushrooms are done remove from oven. Spoon some tomato sauce onto the bottom of 2 small plates. Divide the mushrooms and arrange on sauce. Serve, garnished with olives if you have them.

Tomato Sauce

4oz (120ml) tomato sauce
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dried basil

Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan.

In addition to the above, for the week of August 28 we have Barbecue Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Salmon with Tomato Tarragon Sauce, Cobb Pasta Salad, Potato Tomato Gratin, nd more….

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9 thoughts on “Mushrooms Stuffed with Browned Shallots and Chevre; it was a BIG spider”

  1. I don’t really mind spiders – except in the bedroom. There, they creep me out. I tend to capture them under a glass, slide some kind of stiff paper under the glass, march them outside and flip them into the canyon. You are lucky to have a mari to take care of these things for you! (Mine did too while he was alive).
    I love stuffing veggies! These mushrooms look great – and simple. My kind of dish.

  2. I recommend adding extra wands to the vacuum (to get extra distance) and sucking even the big spiders into the vacuum. Unless they run fast, they are “goners.”

  3. Why are they always in the bedroom????
    The other day I found 5 legs scattered around from what must have been an enormous spider that the cats had fortunately taken care of before it could crawl in bed with us.
    You need a cat. Or maybe you could train the dogs to hunt and eat them?
    Stuffed mushrooms are such a great and versatile dish. Love the addition of chèvre. Thanks for the idea!

  4. I would have screamed too, and asked my husband to take care of the situation. I like stuffed vegetables, though I must admit I have never stuffed mushrooms: time to try, I’d say.

  5. I remember when I was in Greece and the spider in my room was the size of a golf ball….of course I had to take care of it myself or risk having it move in unwanted places in the midle of the night..the book I threw at it didn’t work so had to shoo it out with a newspaper.

  6. it is the cold rainy season here in Mexico City and we have many many spiders but nothing like yours (thank god). maybe next time you can get a photo of the bugger and post it for all of us the creep out over.

  7. Toni, I have an irrational fear of them…. I couldn’t possibly get close to a big one….shudder….
    Zoomie, I don’t know if it would have fit… but I like the idea.
    LouLou, it was on the wall right next to the dog…. worthless creature….
    Barbara, I would have needed a telephoto lens – I couldn’t get anywhere near it.
    Simona, I’ll stuff anything….
    Val, I once lacquered one to the wall in a hotel, with hairspray (back in the day)…. He was still there when I checked out 4 days later.
    Shayne, as to the photo… see above. Hi :-))

  8. I welcome the spiders in our garden – they are eating the annoying insects. I was worried about the spider population in August before we took off for the west coast for 10 days.
    Ha. No need to worry. They were VERY happy in our absence. They’re not quite the size of yours though. They’re only about an inch across.
    I’ll happily deal with any number of your giant spiders if you’ll give me those stuffed mushrooms. They sound fabulous!

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