Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Lou & Lucy’s Leftovers

If you are reading this I guess the world didn’t end like the Mayan calendar predicted. Now we can move on and finish preparing for the holidays.

Don’t ask me why, but I already baked my cookies before the world was to end. A lot of work for nothing if the world had ended.

I was glad I had finished my leftovers from a recent dinner party. They were too good to be allowed to turn into ashes.

In a convoluted fashion, this brings me to my actual subject. Mushrooms. I made a chanterelle compote to go alongside the beef tenderloin roast I had cooked. May I say it was really kinda special. It called for 2 pounds of chanterelles. (I used a mix of chanterelles and shiitakes.) The golden trumpet-shaped wild mushroom. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Most definitely. (Especially if the world is going to end.)

I hadn’t had chanterelles for years. I don’t see them very often on this side of the bridge. I found them at Whole Foods, thankfully, because I had my mind set on this recipe. I spotted it in a copy of Wine Spectator I snagged off the freebie table at work.

It was fairly simple to make — 3 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots steeped in ¼ cup white wine and 2 teaspoons of tarragon vinegar (I just used a sprig of fresh tarragon and white wine vinegar) with ¼ pound of the chanterelles, chopped, and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Reduce by more than half, cool slightly, then blend in 3 tablespoons of butter. Reserve. Saute the remaining 1¾ pounds of the sliced chanterelles and shiitakes in 3 tablespoons of butter on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then add 3 julienned red peppers, 3 seeded and julienned serrano chiles, 12 julienned scallions and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Cook till the vegetables soften and remove from the pan. Add 1 cup beef broth and reduce by half. Add the reserved shallot/mushroom liquid combined with the mushrooms and other vegetables. That’s pretty much it. Serve it alongside the meat.

Next time the world is supposed to end I will still make the cookies just in case and spring for the fancy mushrooms. You only live once, after all.

— Lucy

Weird that you associated the end of the world with mushrooms.

Back in the day when those fun-loving Manhattan Project scientists were working on building the atomic bomb, they all had a very expensive lunch, courtesy of our tax dollars, consisting of beef tenderloin and duxelles. They were so smitten with the mushroom sauce that they thought it would be a hoot to have the atom bomb cloud form what looked like a mushroom.

Thus the phrase “mushroom cloud.”

Richard Feynman wanted the shape to be a bongo drum but Robert Oppenheimer overruled him.

You can look it up. Or not.

— Lou

P.S. Happy Holidays from both of us.

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