September 19, 2010

Mushroom Love

I cannot let another day slip away without proclaiming the joys of mushroom season to you. My love of fall may solely rest in the fact that mushrooms abound. (And the fact that I can dig out all my scarves from the depths of the closet.) Meaty, earthy, and subtle - mushrooms are a food unto themselves in my vegetable world. Like myself, mushrooms don't need fancilful things to be happy. All they need is a little heat, fat, and salt. I, on the other hand, need yoga, my soup pots, and warm slippers - especially this time of year.

My suggestion is to saute diced mushrooms in your fat of choice (butter or olive oil), and add a sprinkling of salt and a few cracks of pepper. The salt will help the water to escape, which will leave the mushroom a more meaty texture. Saute until the mushrooms look slightly parched, then add a sprinkling of herbs (thyme, oregano) or grated parmesan cheese if you want to be fancy. I've been known to add a splash of balsamic vinegar towards the end of cooking, so it cooks down and glazes the mushrooms, and that takes them to a completely different level. But let's stick with the basic three for now.

Although I'm smitten with mushrooms, I cannot stomach them alone in the absence of other foods. So I try to pair them with something starchy and something strong. Enter: potatoes and herring. We've got a great international deli nearby that sells herring imported from my boyfriend's home country - Belarus. And who can resist fingerling potatoes this time of year? I can't, at least.

As much as I hope this sheds new light on mushrooms, my bigger hope is that you'll enjoy your fall food of choice (apples, squash, parsnips, pumpkin) until you brim with happiness. That's what fall is for - to come back inside from the summer frolics on the beach and restore your energies with nurturing food.

And if you don't cook, reading cookbooks that contain comforting recipes almost does the same trick! Happy fall.

September 2, 2010


When a boyfriend returns from Italy, gushing about the pizza, vino, and pasta, it leaves a girlfriend no choice but to make gnocchi, with homemade pesto - if only to reestablish her presence and show that Italian grandmas aren't the only ones worth their salt in the kitchen.

So that's what I did.

That, and I celebrated my 23rd birthday recently. Below is us on my birthday. (We took turns taking a photo of eachother during a nice walk in Kirkland's marina.)