Ok so even though I love and regularly eat plant-based I can never believe when someone tells me a vegan dish tastes like meat. I call bull on every single meat alternative. Even when I talk about plant-based I talk about it as its own delicious world to explore, and that replicating typically leads to disappointment.
But in saying all of this, damn if these little mushroom tacos didn’t just about bamboozle me, and I made them! My friend who I made them for who also lives off of red meat even said they could have fooled him if he didn’t know. The key here is getting some really good super meaty oyster mushrooms. If they aren’t available near you then a cremini (baby bella) could work too.
Remember in Green Eggs and Ham when Not Sam I Am refused the titular dish on a train and on a plane? Or how we will not have them here, there, or anywhere? Yeah that’s the exact opposite of what’s happening here.
The earthiness from the mushrooms sautéed with fresh thyme, the sweet nuttiness of swiss cheese, and tangy creaminess of crème fraîche instead of pizza sauce as a base is for lack of a better word, immaculate. In addition to the beautiful flavor balance using a single ingredient as the base instead of making a sauce is such a time saver!
Stop and think about the last time you were introduced to something that truly changed things for you. Something that brought an insane amount of inspiration to your life and craft. If you’re thinking of a man that’s cool and all, but for me it was learning about Carmenere wine.
Several months ago someone I know who’se food and wine opinion I have a high level of respect for recommended I try this golden nectar. I had assumed it was some super rare, exotic, and expensive wine only found in specialty stores. Turns out almost every grocery store sells it for less than $10 a bottle. Here’s the one I get.
It has a very savory flavor to it with strong pepper notes. It’s wild because I do not like bell peppers one bit, but love this. I’ve spent months trying to figure out what recipe could be the love letter to my new favorite wine.
I decided if I wanted to create something highlighting these savory notes, what could be better than pot roast with fall off the bone tender short ribs. Especially pot roast with mushrooms. The only thing that upset me about this meal was that with COVID I wasn’t able to cook it for a bunch of people and share it. Seriously I couldn’t wait for the world to know on this one.
As much as I love making pasta, my huge Achilles heel had always been the stuffed variety. I’ve had way more raviolis explode on me than I feel comfortable admitting. But I knew within this mushroom series I’ve been working on I had to do some form of pasta, and since I’d already made a fettuccine/tagliatelle type of deal it was time to put the big girl panties on.
I spent hours watching online tutorials of how to properly fold tortellinis in preparation of this. But what’s cool is that tortellinis are actually shockingly easy to achieve! Between how simple they were and how delicious they were I legit almost cried tasting these. Don’t even get me started on the mushroom, thyme, balsamic, and red wine filling with just a bit of ricotta to give that creamy texture we know and love in our filled noodles. The recipe below feeds 2 for a main. 10/10 would tortellini again.
Most of my recipes in the last several months have been inspired by fresh, home grown produce. I have one friend who’s garden I raided all summer to the point that I could be called Peter Rabbit. Through the fall my main inspiration has come from a friend’s farm that has had an amazingly consistent and diverse array of beautiful mushrooms. With the last batch I received I had originally thought of making a chicken marsala. But as I sat and thought about it I decided it was time to step my game up and give this Italian-American classic a major upgrade.
I rarely cook beef. I’m not fully sure why, it’s perfectly delicious, I just don’t mess with it. But recently I got a craving for two different beef dishes at the same time, meatloaf and beef stroganoff. There was no chance in heck I was going to put both on my grocery list and blow my mostly pescatarian lifestyle sky high. Enter: the mashup.
I mean honestly this makes all the sense in the world. This take on classic America combined with classic Russia soothes cold war tensions like Richard Nixon never could. Instead of the cafeteria style cream of mushroom based stroganoff over noodles, which I love; don’t get me wrong, I went for a more authentic flavor on the sauce. And honestly what’s better than a hunk of meat slathered in a rich, tangy mushroom sauce? Exactly, not a damn thing.
I have a friend who’s been tending to a pretty massive farm. She recently posted on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to buy some beautiful mushrooms that popped up from a super bloom she had. Words can’t describe how quickly I hopped on getting a pound of fresh mixed ones and a few ounces of dried hen of the woods. Half of the fresh went to a steak dinner. For the other half there was only one way to go: risotto.
I posted before about the concept of a double mushroom dish in my double mushroom pasta. The concept is to have the mushrooms not just on top or stirred in, but also within the liquid the starch is cooked in to create a reinforced mushroom flavor. This time instead of mushroom pasta water I’m using a mushroom stock for the risotto stirring.
Risotto is a top tier comfort food for me anyway, but with all this shroomy goodness I’m feeling good!
In case you hadn’t noticed, in a very large percent of the world it is extremely cold out right now. Currently I live in Chicago and we have the kind of cold where a hot coffee can freeze on the walk to the train, salt solutions make cars and every clothing item you own look gross, and you see me at peak crankiness. When it comes to winters like this all I want to do is live in a blanket fort and sustain myself on pizza and hot cocoa.
Everyone who cooks for long enough, whether they are a home cook or a professional chef, has developed a signature dish. For my mother that dish is the most divine chicken parmesan, and for the elite chefs of Le Cirque in Manhattan it is potato wrapped sea bass. The signature dish is a universal truth of the culinary world. And now the time has come for me to share my signature dish with you.
One of my favorite things about summertime is that America officially enters the most wonderful time of the year, burger season. To be honest there was a very dark phase in my life when I was completely over burgers. Everywhere I went it was just the same classic burger with the same toppings. Even though the burger in its most humble form is delicious, I had enough.