Posts Tagged mushrooms

Cook the books: spoiled for choice

So after a hiccup in the last couple of months, I bonded with the Mile End Cookbook after a marathon session with canning supremo over at Eat locally, Blog globally. We’ve both been playing with the Cook The Books challenge this year, so we thought we might as well play this round together. We were going to make the challah, perhaps with a side order of cinnamon buns (my last two attempts at those were good but not perfection), but we just kept going.

We ended up with two beautiful challah, a slightly sweet, plaited egg bread with poppyseed coating, and perhaps the best cinammon buns in the world (could that be the 2 sticks of butter that went into the filling?), as well as a raft of pickles that might take months to get through.

The list went like this:

Challah: Light, chewy, slightly sweet, but perfect with a sharp goat cheese or even the pickles (see below). I wish they were a little darker, but maybe my oven doesn’t heat as hot as it ought to heat. So you get a before shot not an after one.

Cinnamon buns: The real deal. Sticky, sweet, slightly nutty, with two sorts of sugar, pecans, maple syrup as well as all that butter in the filling. Eat locally took half the batch, and the rest was gone before lunchtime the next day.

Beets: Cooked in the brine rather cooked and then brined. A little much allspice/clove, but I think they will mellow down nicely.

Red onions: Crunchy, sweet, acid, salty and almost not tasting of onions at all, in a very, very good way. Amazingly pretty pink half rings

Mushrooms: Similar recipe to last time, but I used all olive oil for the post brining oil bath. I suspect they will last even less time than the last batch, which was gone within a week, stirred into salads and enjoyed.

And then I made two batches of horseradish, one with beets and one without. Both already seem good at clearing the sinuses, and the taste is far better than the store bought stuff.

Anyone got recipes that use lots of horseradish, or stuff to eat it with?

As for the book, I liked the stuff we did, with clear, easy to follow instructions. But there’s a lot of stuff (smoked meat, brisket, pickled tongues, sauerkraut) that just take a lot of time, so I won’t prioritize those. But hey, it was fun.

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Mushrooms: salty, slippery, spicy, and really nice

Marinaded mushrooms were one of the few things in the market in winter when I lived in Moscow a few million years ago. They were salty, slippery and very acidic, but I enjoyed them, even if I never did figure out how to make them. So when this month’s Cook the Books challenge focused on Jewish comfort food, it seemed sensible to give the pickled mushrooms recipe a try.

But then Grow and Resist complained bitterly about the over-salty the pickles she made from the Mile End Cookbook, so I got a little frightened and cut the salt from a third of a cup to a quarter, as well as throwing in the spices I had rather than the ones I was supposed to add. The result? They are actually rather nice, with that salty, acid taste I remember from Moscow. Mushrooms do tend to be bland. Adding spices for taste can’t be a bad thing.

I used cider vinegar rather than white vinegar, and juniper rather than thyme and rosemary. Nice taste, and very, very easy, especially after I remembered to add a ziploc of water on top to stop the ‘shrooms floating to the surface.

I also bought chicken livers with the aim of making the chopped liver recipe, but ended up frying them with onion, Savoy cabbage and lots of garlic instead. It was surprisingly, yummily good.

But while I would like to try the lox (if I can find the patience to spend five days brining a fish), the jury’s still out on whether really like this book. I’m not a huge meat eater, so the idea of creating the perfect corned beef doesn’t really appeal, although I was tempted to try the tongue, just because I’m one of about three people I know who actually eat tongue.

Maybe you need to know the New York deli to love the book.

But hey, if I lived within reach of the deli, I wouldn’t need the book. I’d just go straight in and eat the food.

I have another recipe-following session planned before month end with fellow blogger Eat locally, blog globally, so watch this space for an update.

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Mushroom marshmallow

I have never seen puffballs on sale anywhere before, so when one of the stands at St Lawrence Market had a couple of giant ones on offer this weekend, I had to bite. And after two days of cooking with them, I am glad I did.

I knew puffballs as a baseball sized white ‘shroom that experts found in the woods, and I’ve eaten them once, fried with butter. These monsters were almost the size of a soccer ball, and they were selling a quarter of a monster for $10. We peeled them, ate half on Saturday, and the second half today. Two giant meals for two for $10, plus the extras we threw in. Amazing, and amazingly good.

Day one was fried in a mixture of butter and olive oil, with lots of garlic and some leftover red peppers and sugar snap peas, and mixed in with scrambled eggs, for breakfast in the evening.

And day two was ‘shrooms and bacon, with broccoli for greens.

The taste, rich and earthy, but absorbing the flavors you cook it with. Texture is almost melt-in-the-mouth.

And yes, they look scarily like hugely overgrown marshmallows on steroids.

Here is half of the quarter, posing with my biggest knife.

And here today’s supper.

We ate it with the dried fruit chutney from the winter.

Yummy.

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