Fresh, Tasty Gourmet Meal On Shoestring

Michael Kramer brings new meaning to the word "fresh."

He's the executive chef at VOICE, the new restaurant at the Hotel ICON in Houston.

It's already drawing raves.

Kramer specializes there in fresh, local ingredients, cutting-edge techniques, and artful presentation to make VOICE a Houston hotspot.

On The Early Show Saturday Edition, Kramer agreed to try to make a three-course gourmet meal for four on our recession-busting, meager budget of $35.

He's also tossing his chef's hat into the ring of our "How Low Can You Go" "Shoestring" chefs. The one whose total is lowest will be back to prepare our big, blowout holiday meal at the end of the year!


  • Roasted Portobello Mushroom Salad
  • Roast Chicken with Red Bliss Potatoes, Butternut Squash & Basil Pesto
  • Butterscotch Pudding


    Portobello Mushrooms: The most important thing to know is that it's a big, brown mushroom. Its little brother (crimini) is a little brown mushroom. In the U.S., they've become the "vegetarian meat." Grilled, they have a very meaty texture. They're great roasted as salad toppings as well.


    Roasted Portobello Mushroom Salad


    For the salad:
    1 large portobello mushrooms
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/2 pound baby greens
    1/2 cup golden raisins
    1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
    Fresh ground black pepper

    For the balsamic vinaigrette:
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    3 tablespoons Honey
    Fresh ground black pepper


    Preheat oven to 400°F.

    For the portobello mushrooms, remove the black "gills" from under the portobellos.

    Next, in a small mixing bowl toss the mushrooms with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season well with salt and pepper.

    Place mushrooms on a baking sheet and cook until they are soft but firm. Remove from oven, set aside and cool.

    Next, for the balsamic vinaigrette, in a medium-size mixing bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    To compose the salad, slice the portobello mushrooms in thin slices, and lay them down equally on the plates.

    Toss some of the raisins and almonds on the plate. Next, toss the greens with some of the balsamic vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Place the greens on the plate, and sprinkle the additional raisins and almonds on top of the salad.