Too Seriously?

Sometimes folks like me are so enthusiastic and effusive about food and wine and our beliefs about what to eat (or not) that some of you may think we take ourselves (and our subject) too seriously.  This post — with the help of our cartoonist friends from the New Yorker and elsewhere — is designed to dispel that notion.

everything-free meal

locally grown salamelier cauliflower esophagus nots Ma's Pie Co. salt substitute wine hints of umami

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More October Delicacies

Mushrooms: I love them.  At the West Acton farmers market all Fall, one of the exciting vendors was Myco Terra Farm, a provider of fresh local gourmet mushrooms.  Early this month I was shopping there, and I saw some mushrooms that were totally new to me: Lion’s Mane and Chicken Mushrooms.  They could not be more different.

Lion's Mane and Chicken muishrooms Lion's Mane muishrooms

Lion’s Mane is delicate, looks like a small, shaggy brain, and needs to be cooked simply to bring out its charming flavor.  Chicken mushrooms are firm, sturdy, and need to ne cooked more slowly for longer times, and indeed, they are reminiscent of breast of chicken.  I thinly sliced the Lion’s Mane and sautéed it with olive oil until lightly browned in a skillet.  Finished with a little lemon juice and Maldon sea salt, it made a delicious appertizer, reminiscent of the flavors and texture of crab meat.

cooked Lion's Mane mushrooms

On the other hand I cut moderately-thick slices of the Chicken Mushrooms and decided to braise them with vegetables and white wine.  A very good choice.

Braised Chicken muishrooms & vegs-2

Here’s my approach to the Chicken Mushroom recipe:

  • 1 leek, cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut vertically into small wedges
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger root, trimmed and diced
  • take a sauté pan, add as much olive oil as you’re comfortable with, and sauté the aromatics above over moderate heat until tender and lightly colored
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • Chicken Mushrooms, sliced 1/4″-1/3″ thick and then cut into medium sized pieces
  • add the three vegetables above to the pan, along with salt and pepper to taste
  • sauté for a few minutes so that the vegetables have begun to be tender
  • add 1/4 cup or more of a dry white wine, and cook until alcohol has evaporated
  • add 1/2 pint of homemade vegetable stock and simmer until tender
  • add more stock if needed
  • serve in pasta bowls

Each was marvelous, in its own way.

Next on the agenda was some Greek cooking.  When in Portland, OR, I went to Powell’s Book Store, an amazing place.  My only purchase there was a cookbook (naturally), in this case about the foods of the Greek islands.  It kept me happily occupied on the coast-to-coast flight home, and it supplied several very good meals later.  Here is one.

Foods of the Greek Islands braised zucchini and green beans with oregano greens and rice vegetable ricxe soup Odoardi Vini di Calabria

On a different night I made a greens and potato gratin, served with a Jan D’Amore-sourced Rossese di Dolceacqua from Liguria.

Rossese Rossese-2

potato and greens gratin

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October Food & Wine

I’ve pretty much given up trying to keep this blog chronological.  When I get behind, there’s so much material to share that I pull it up as best I can.  This brief post is about some fine dishes during this October.

One of my favorite wines this year is Villa Creek’s 2013 Fiano, a Campania grape that somehow appears to do beautifully in Paso Robles, CA.  The other night I needed a late night snack.  The solution was pan-fried Shishito Peppers with sea salt from Ibiza, some slices of a vegan cheese (Chao), and two glasses of Fiano.  Perfetto!

Evening Snack with Fiano

Another night I decided to use my favorite small French copper pot to braise some small white and red onions from our CSA.  I bought the pot over 20 years ago at Dehillerin in Paris, and I have always loved how well it cooks.  Here is the before and after braise views:

Braising Onions in a French Pot Braised Onions with Lemon and Herbs

For a different dinner, Barbara and I collaborated to make Spinach and Tofu Wontons in Homemade Vegetable Broth, from Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times.  This is a superb recipe, and we were delighted with the results.

Spinach and Tofu Wontons

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Spring 2015 Travels — Venice

This gallery contains 49 photos.

The original target of these Spring travels was, in fact, Venice, so the last four days were dedicated to exploring that unique city.  I hadn’t been there in 18 years, but then again, not much has changed in a lot … Continue reading

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Spring 2015 Travels — Friuli

This gallery contains 24 photos.

Through my contacts in Cambridge and New York, I was able to arrange visits in Friuli, and to get a taste of their wonderful foods and wine.  One winery, Edi Keber in Cormons, is partnered with my friend Jan, who … Continue reading

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Spring 2015 Travels — Slovenia

This gallery contains 21 photos.

This past Spring (late April, early May) I spent two weeks exploring food and wine in three places:  Slovenia, Friuli, and Venice.  I should not let much more time pass without sharing those delicacies with you now.  Let’s begin in … Continue reading

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Food and Friends in Portland, Maine

Among our favorite friends and foodies are Pete & Pat, who live in Portland, when they are not in San Miguel.  We took a day trip there (to Portland, not San Miguel) to visit them, see their new home, and enjoy the victuals.  Here are a few highlights, which included a non-vegan lunch at the East Ender, a spectacular vegetable garden (at Journey’s End Farm) — where (with the blessings of their friends who own it) Pete and I picked all sorts of wonders , and the superb dinner we made in their new kitchen as a result.

East Ender at table

East Ender at table

Fish Sandwich and fixins

Fish Sandwich and fixins

Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Arugula Pesto

Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Arugula Pesto

Journey's End Farm

Journey’s End Farm


compost bins in a handy spot

Bagg with bag garden ready to pick sweet peppers beets with vegan riccotta dinner plate dinner plate-2

dining table

dining table

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