Jan 10, 2010
Cooking For One
I live in a house with three of my best girlfriends and thank GOD they love to eat! And even better, they love to cook! And if it weren’t for their encouragement and constant inspiration, I’m not sure this blog would have gotten its feet off the ground. I am so very grateful to have them. With all of our different schedules, there are times when there is no one home to be in the kitchen with me. These are rare and sad times, but when Jason Mraz starts playing through the speakers, everything is fine.
Tonight was the first night of the year that I cooked dinner alone. Each time I cook alone is different. Sometimes I pull on my comfort snuggie and make an omelet with whatever is in the fridge. Other times I see it as the prefect opportunity to try something new. I don't need to worry about the outcome. If it’s terrible, nobody else will have to know about it! Right!? And while I do love help and collaboration in the kitchen, cooking alone can be very zen for me. Anyhow tonight, I turned up the volume to ‘Make It Mine’, threw my comfort snuggie aside and poured myself a big glass of wine (I do need it for the recipe after all), I knew it was a night to try out something new, solo.
A couple weeks back I was reading through some old Chez Panisse cookbooks. I LOVE these cookbooks!! I want to cut out every print and frame it. Heck I want to frame all the recipes too! They are written so beautifully and I am instantly lured into them. There is one recipe that has been on my mind since. It sounded delightfully rich, fairly simple, and perfect.
It was a recipe for sautéed mushrooms, spooned over thick slices of crusty bread. As I opened the fridge tonight, mushrooms were the first things I saw and yummy sautéed mushrooms were the first things I thought of.
The recipe came from the Chez Panisse Café cookbook, but I followed the technique more so than the ingredients, personalizing it to my tastes, since it was only I eating it tonight!
The result was, for lack of a better word, DELICIOUS. I cannot think of a time when I have made something so delectable…ever. I literally closed my eyes, hoping that taking away my sense of sight would make my senses of smell and taste that much stronger. I want this as the first course to my last meal, whenever it may be. These mushrooms had such a smooth, velvety texture to them. They were just creamy enough without being too creamy. All the ingredients joined together in a prefect medley of flavors.
While I enjoyed my dinner for one tonight, I wish I could have shared it with a full house. I almost felt guilty having it all to myself. But the guilt lasted all of two seconds.
Marvelous Sauteed Mushrooms [serves 1-4 people]
½-1 Tablespoon butter
extra virgin olive oil
½ a yellow onion (small/med), diced
1 Tablespoon red wine (one that’s good enough to drink)
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
¼ cup mascarpone cheese, close to room temp. (like an Italian cream cheese, found in most any grocery store)
1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
10 oz. pack or sliced cremini mushrooms
Slices of crusty bread
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt together the butter and about a Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Once melted, add the diced onion and sauté over med. heat, cooking until it is a light brown color, stirring frequently. Once browned, add the wine, wait until it has evaporated a bit (less than a minute), then add the white wine vinegar, sauté another minute or so, and season with salt and pepper (a pinch of each). Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese until well-incorporated, let sit.
Take the sliced mushrooms and toss them together with 2-3 tablespoon olive oil, the thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Pour this into a stoneware baking dish. I used a 11” oval sized dish, you can use a larger one, but don’t go much smaller. Pop it in the 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, stirring it every 5 minutes or so. They are done when they are nice and tender and have released their juices.
Then, add the mascarpone mixture to the mushrooms, mix together, and pop back in the oven for another couple minutes.
While this is going on, cut up some slices of nice crusty bread and toast them.
When the mushrooms are done cooking, take them out of the oven and grate just a tablespoon or so of Parmesan and mix. Spoon the mushrooms over the toasted bread, making sure to get some of the juices with it. Close your eyes and bite. :)
I adapted this from a recipe in the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook. I encourage you to make your own changes or adaptations and make this your own!
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