Tag Archives: mushrooms

meet me in muskoka + a mushroom, cheddar, and leek pie, lake style

mushroom tart

If you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen various points of the mileage I mentioned yesterday; to be quite honest, I was actually surprised at how little pictures I actually took during our travels, and that goes for most of our adventures as of late.

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{captain + first mate}

I’ve been really bad about carting my DSLR on vacations with me lately (partly due to the fact that I desperately need a new telephoto lens – which obviously doesn’t come on the cheap – and I’ve been sticking my head in the sand and pretending my old one works just fine….it doesn’t), and it’s too easy to fall into the habit of snippity snapping away with ye old iPhone.

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I yammered on enough yesterday about how wonderful island living is up in Muskoka, but it would be remiss of me not to mention this mushroom pie – even though I’ve got but one photograph as evidence of it’s brief existence.

{but wait! there’s more…}

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from pauper to prince: boeuf bourguignon with buttermilk white sweet potato smash

boeuf bourguignon with buttermilk white sweet potato smash

In a departure from some decidedly puritan vegan brown rice bowls, It’s high time to defer to something a bit more hedonistic.

boeuf bourguignon - seasoned beef

It is November – the thick of it – after all, and with the covers of this months cooking mags plastered with the most perfectly burnished and shellacked turkey specimens one has ever laid eyes on, it’s only natural that my gears are wont to shift over and down from virtuous vegetables and principled brown rice to a massive crock of something rich, dark, and utterly savory.

boeuf bourguignon - crisped up edges

Totally outside of how this boeuf bourguignon tastes (I’ll get to that in just a minute), the way it instantly cozifies your house with an absolutely intoxicating scent is almost reason enough in itself to get ye to thine grocery market to procure the items necessary to get on your merry way to Bourguignon Nirvana. (I can assure you there is such a place.)

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easing into it: wild mushroom and tatsoi bowl with poached egg and parmesan

wild mushroom and tatsoi bowl with a poached egg eatandrelish

There is something about this whole business of embracing the first day of a new year with a calculated aggressiveness that just doesn’t sit well with me. Not that I’m against doing everything you can to set yourself up for a happy and healthy new year – that, I am totally behind.

wild mushroom and tatsoi bowl mushrooms

But my beef is more with the commonly agreed upon notion that you can stuff yourself silly in the dwindling moments of what will soon to be “last year” (who’s fate is supposedly already sealed) with the expectation that the moment the clock strikes twelve and those last drops of champagne wash down the last morsels of caviar blini, you’ve got to hit that proverbial New Year’s ground running.

wild mushroom and tatsoi bowl whole tatsoi

With the glittery ball down and your glittery dress off, come January one, there will be no more excess. No more holiday hams, no more Christmas puddings. Your lily’s been gilded (and gilded then again), and now it’s time to shape up and snap out of it; time to get thyself to the closest gym, and punish thyself for those last couple of months of exuberance. There are resolutions (which are predictably impossible to adhere to), jam-packed spin classes, and spartan salads on the agenda – a stark difference to what the yuletide docket held a mere seven days before.

wild mushroom and tatsoi bowl tatsoi

While all of that is good and well, I’d rather electric slide into the New Year than punish myself by cannon-balling into the chilly depths of the deep end.  I’m feeling more than ready to pull back a bit (and, let’s face it, skinny jeans just look nicer on someone who looks and feels what their jeans are advertising), but I’ve got no plans to look at it as punishment or repentance. Bring on some whole grain salads, some interesting and fresh vegetarian dinners, and some great make-ahead lunches that I can count on keeping my paws off of any cinnamon-pecan schnecken that happen to weasel their way under my nose (the travesties that occur when one works at a bakery!).

wild mushroom and tatsoi bowl in skillet

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a peace offering: the best ever classic beef wellington

classic beef wellington recipe - eatandrelish

That awkward moment when you frantically fling open the door of the yoga studio thinking you’re late – only to realize you’ve barged in on the tail end of of an earlier class and have totally marshed everyone’s Shavasana-mallow….

beef wellington raw

That awkward moment when you’re at your Christmas party and realize it’s up to you to introduce two friends – but suddenly have temporary spiked-cider induced amnesia and can’t remember one of their names….

classic beef wellington seared beef

That awkward moment when you finally have a hot second to get a new post up on your blog – and realize you’ve been radio silent for SIX long*** WEEKS….

(??!!)

classic beef wellington sage and rosemary

Eeerrmm…..guilty on all counts? I don’t really know how else to just bust back up in here without acknowledging that I have been anything but totally absent, and feel compelled to admit that even in the weeks leading up to my blog-cliff dive I have been sporadic, at best. I’m sorry. Again. You see there have been a lot of changes around here, all good, and all timely, but unfortunately they all squeegee’d up my time faster than that god-awful Shamwow whatsamahoozie, and left me without any free space to sit down and write anything that would be worth reading.

classic beef wellington mushrooms

(And before you ask – no, I’m not pregnant!)

classic beef wellington mushrooms cooking down

There was a camera lens that started acting up, and a MacBook that caught a cold, and defiantly staged protests by refusing to upload pictures or act properly in any sense. There was a (big, super fun) Christmas party at our house – complete with a DJ, mini tarragon shrimp salad rolls, and keg of Deschute’s.  There was a best friend’s 30th birthday, celebrated right here with us in Boulder, and a long-weekend full of brunching, lunching, feting, and candle-blowing. There have been early mornings at the bakery, hundreds of pies, thousands of Christmas cookies, and long days spent on my feet, covered in flour and wearing an apron. But, perhaps most time consuming and important of all, there was an impromptu trip to Australia (an oxymoron, I realize), who’s opportunity reared it’s head with barely any notice, and who’s length spanned two full weeks, spent blissfully on the other side of planet Earth.

(More on that to come later, I promise!)

classic beef wellington mushrooms on prosciutto

But I am back now, feet firmly planted in Boulder, umpteen loads of laundry done, fire roaring, tree still twinkling, and with a few wonderfully empty days behind my back, and some time to attend to the important things; mainly, my little lovely space here.

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the apex of the season: mushroom and sweet pea skillet

It dawned on me as I chatted away with an old friend that there are exactly six weeks left until Labor Day weekend.

Yes. Six as in seis, as in five plus just one, as in just where in the heck did this Summer run off to?

I am of the staunch opinion that Summer ends on Labor Day.  Though many astrologers or almanac authors or smarty-two-shoes science-y types may try and tell me otherwise, I consider any day that I’d receive horrified looks for rocking white skinny jeans from my oh-so-proper Southern friends to most definitely not fall within the confines of ‘Summertime.’

We’ve been roasted and toasted and nearly burnt to a crisp, yet somehow it just doesn’t seem possible that Summer has already almost lapped us.  There are still popsicles to be eaten, hammocks to be rested in, rivers to be floated on, and said white jeans to be worn! How are we supposed to do all of this in just six measly weeks?!

It’s easy to overlook how nice something really is, when you’ve been spoiled enough to enjoy it in abundance.  Where catching a sight of some dark polished nails, a cozy knit scarf, or some holiday treats on Pinterest sends twangs and pangs of longing down deep into the depths of my gut, I must do my best to shelve those thoughts and remember that we’ve got just six weeks.

But because I can never manage to be quite content when it comes to the state of weather affairs, last night I stood in a kitchen easily thirty degrees warmer than outside and mopped my brow with my chef whites as I tended to a lamb sausage sizzling and sputtering on the grill.  I winged and whined that I just could not wait for Fall; I couldn’t wait to zip up my boots and toss on a cardigan, and walk outside to feel a crisp apple-cider scented breeze instead of being met by – god forbid – more sunshine, more cloudless skies, and more tank top and flip flop nights.

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a pleasant deviation: stuffed portobellos with melting taleggio

Very generally speaking, stuffed mushrooms are one of those things that are often better in theory than in execution.  Like a few other dishes – mini crab cakes, swedish meatballs, and clams casino come to mind – stuffed mushrooms conjure up images of tired appetizer platters passed at uninspired parties, where nothing is quite the right temperature and everything sounds better than it actually tastes.

A lukewarm mini – quiche, anyone?

Despite knowing this, I always fall prey to stuffed mushrooms – and why shouldn’t I?  Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods on Planet Earth (what kind of six-year old was I proclaiming sauteed funghi in butter to be my numero uno? I certainly cannot blame my more normal chocolate-loving Mother.), but in my experiences, biting into a soggy and under-seasoned white button mushroom cap filled with breadcrumbs, cheese, and more breadcrumbs (and a sliver of garlic, if you’re lucky), is utterly underwhelming.

It’s not to say I haven’t had any good ones – I most certainly have – but just that a fresh take on them, where the mushroom is the star and the stuffing, definitely not second string, is not only welcomed but celebrated with clinking glasses and gratuitous praise.

(And depending on how many glass clinks, perhaps even a little jig.)

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best in show: wild rice & mushroom casserole

Lest I wish to receive a cease and desist letter from Heidi Swanson’s lawyers, I suppose I better make this the last recipe spotted and scooped from her latest cookbook for at least a few weeks.  I’ve had a full on lady-crush on Ms. Heidi as of late, and can’t seem to stop pilfering and making recipe…after recipe…after recipe of hers.

Not being one to hold back deserved credit where credit is due, the recipes in her most recent book are outstanding – and I’m sure you can tell I think so, what with no less than three posts (broccoli pesto orzo, miso-curry squash, and little quinoa cakes) centering around her techniques and ingredients in the barely five weeks that have embodied 2012.  On a scale of blah to ah-mazeing, her recipes consistently rank off-the-charts-deliciously, using inventive flavors, easy to obtain vegetarian ingredients, and thoughtful combinations.

Though I have loved almost everything I have made from this cookbook (with the exception of a curried split pea soup ((to be posted soon)), which although tasty enough, didn’t knock my socks off without a few major tweaks),  I have to say that this dish – a mushroom and wild rice casserole – has firmly stuck it’s neck out across the finish line, and clinched the first place ribbon.

First off, I understand that there are two camps: those who love fungi, and those who love to hate it.   I am of the former, and though I can kinda-sorta (repeat: kinda-sorta) see where ‘shrooms can be off-putting in appearance, I do-not-can-not understand how one doesn’t become misty eyed over mushrooms sauteed till golden brown in a knob of butter with a dusting with salt.  When I was a child I even proclaimed sauteed mushrooms to be my favorite food (what – like I was supposed to say ‘pizza‘ or something?!),  and to this day they hold a special little place in my fungi-loving heart.

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