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Magic Mushrooms

Happy new year! I have deadlines like whoa but wanted to wish you a good January full of delicious developments.

20151213_140120These little lovelies grew on my kitchen counter (by design, you jokers. I swear I maintain good housekeeping practices! We wanted these fungi to grow where they grew). This was a box garden we found at Home Depot of all places…careful watering led to a crop of the most delicious fresh oyster mushrooms anybody ever ate. We harvested these with a pair of kitchen shears, and I sauteed them in olive oil, with just a little salt for seasoning.

WOW. Taste explosion. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a single serving of something insanely delicious than a whole bag of something meh that leaves you feeling yucky afterwards (yeah Doritos, I’m talking about you…). I served the sauteed mushrooms alongside a steak, and it was perfect. Ahh.

If you want to hunt these down for yourself, check it out!  Have a wonderful week :)

Recipes for the Perplexed: Julia Child

I have deadlines out the wazoo, so this week instead of deep thoughts on cooking I share with you my kitchen heroine. The person who is most responsible for giving me the tools to actually cook edible food.

Yep. Julia.

It’s not because I watched her in my impressionable childhood (I remember watching her massacre French bread once while home sick with a fever and I was sure I was hallucinating). Or because she was such a formidable French chef.

It’s because Julia Child had so much fun in the kitchen and cared about doing it right. I was somebody who was too scared to even enter the kitchen with culinary intent, and Julia gave me a road map to making hearty, good food.

My well-worn cooking Bible...
My well-worn cooking Bible…

For a meditation on what cooking means, and how the celebrity of cooking has changed our perceptions of the kitchen, check out this long and thoughtful essay in the New York Times by Michael Pollan. He describes the singular appeal of Julia Child’s perspective on home cooking, for women who were looking for meaning in and out of the kitchen:

“It was a gratifying, even ennobling sort of work, engaging both the mind and the muscles. You didn’t do it to please a husband or impress guests; you did it to please yourself. No one cooking on television today gives the impression that they enjoy the actual work quite as much as Julia Child did. In this, she strikes me as a more liberated figure than many of the women who have followed her on television.”

Today I cooked lamb chops for the guys, using the recipe in this loved-to-death cookbook, and I thought I’d recommend it to you if you are still learning techniques. As she says, a roast is a roast, and a saute is a saute. Once you’ve got the hang of a technique and make it yours, you’ve expanded your cooking repetoire forever.

So if you too are still a student of the kitchen, I strongly recommend you start here, with this masterwork of Julia Child: The Way To Cook. Bon appetit :)

Recipes for the Perplexed: A Wolf in the Kitchen

I don’t want last week’s triumphant-ish blog to give you the wrong impression.

Don’t be fooled. I am not a kitchen goddess, no matter how much I’ve learned about executing recipes, out of desperation. My friend Genia is a domestic goddess, one who has written a cookbook with her sisters no less, and last week she called me a “wolf in the kitchen.”

Wolf in the kitchen. I *love* that.

Because for me, the kitchen is a mysterious place of danger, a place where no matter how much I pretend I will never really and truly belong. That is more than fine, brothers and sisters…to paraphrase Clint Eastwood, a woman and a cook have both got to know their limitations.

To me, the home itself is a place of danger, because it is where you let down your guard, where you bare your heart to the people you love the most. And I’d rather be on the hunt with my people than in charge of making the appetizers look pretty.

Wolves are wild, they run in howling packs, and best of all, they get hungry. A wolf in the kitchen might not be able to bake and professionally plate petit-fours. But she will make damn sure you share in the kill.

You find sanctuary in my lair, dear reader, the linens may not match. But you can bet your life that you will get fed.

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