Sprouts & Shrooms

3 11 2009

When it comes to foods I enjoy that the Chef doesn’t like, he is always encouraging me to buy them and prepare them for myself sometime. There are two problems with this:

  1. Cook? For myself? No comprende.
  2. The Chef does such a good job of meal-planning for the week, and we have so many leftovers, it rarely makes sense for me to cook a meal for myself!

However, with the Chef safely in another hemisphere,  I transitioned from oggling the chanterelles to purchasing the chanterelles rather quickly. (The German word is pfifferlinge, which I think is better. Thanks to my favorite ex-pat blogger!)

Chanterelles, on first glance, are a bit sticker-shock-inducing. $10 a pound?! But then you slow down, breathe a minute, and remember you’re cooking for yourself. You don’t need that many! You hand-pick a few and escape with a $1.50 bill.

Most suggestions for preparing said chanterelles involved cream sauce – but making cream sauce was more than I was up for, and I didn’t want to compromise the pfifferlinge with mediocre Trader Joe’s alfredo sauce. But, I probably did need something like pasta to eat with them. In the end, I kept it simple. After washing the mushrooms, I sliced them in half and sauteed them in butter and fresh garlic. I then cooked a small amount of wheat spagetti noodles, added a tiny bit of olive oil and fresh ground pepper. Dumped on the shrooms, grated some gruyere on top… voila!

pfifferlinge

On Flickr the title of this image is: "You know as well as I do the pasta is just a vehicle for the mushrooms."

C’est magnifique!

(As an aside, that garlic – a fancy Killarney Red – was very nearly the same price as the handful of chanterelles. A brief web search turned up an online store selling the stuff for $16/lb. It is good, but I’m still on the fence about fancy garlics. Because I’m always cooking them with something else, I don’t notice the difference in taste, heat, etc.)

The other featured food item this week, in the theme of I-love-but-Chef-does-not-love, is brussel sprouts. Truth: I never ate a brussell sprout until moving to Seattle. Once I tried them, prepared a specific way, I continued preparing them in the exact same way for, oh I don’t know, four years? Because that was how I knew to cook them, and they tasted good that way, so why not? (For reference: steamed, then served with a mustard/butter sauce. That’s it.)

I based my preparation of the sprouts on this recipe. First, the shocking confession: although the recipe calls for bacon, I did not use bacon. My excuses are – it was dark when I got off work and I didn’t feel like going to the store. However, in my defense, I think it’s probably best that I started slow on this one – it was very, very good, and if I had included the bacon I may very well not be alive to write this post. No, seriously.

sprouts

Sprouts, cleaned and cut.

After quartering the brussel sprouts, I put 4 tsp. of olive oil into a pan with 2 cloves of crushed garlic and some leftover green onions, chopped. (The recipe I linked calls for caramelizing onions, and while I did have an onion, I wasn’t sure I wanted to eat that much onion. You can’t caramelize green onions apparently, so I just sauteed them to use them up, since they were about to die.) I let the oil heat, then threw in the sprouts, and added salt and pepper. You cook this until the edges start to brown just a bit, then you throw in half a cup of water and – I’m not even kidding you here – 3 tbsp of melted butter (or more heart-friendly approximation). UM YES LET’S JUST BOIL THEM IN BUTTER.

addbutter

YES. BOIL THEM IN A VAT OF BUTTER.

Ahem. Keep cooking until most of the liquid has boiled off. Then you eat them. And let me tell you, anything cooked with that much butter is going to be AWESOME. The moral of this story is that I think it would be one hundred percent worthwhile to try the whole recipe sometime, with the caramelized onions and especially with the bacon. When that happens, I will probably die of happiness. Next time I am definitely adding the bacon.

sproutfinal

Perfectly browned!

What is that orange business over there in the corner, you ask? I found two large carrots in the fridge that were getting a little sad, so I cut them, boiled them, and stirred in goat butter and brown sugar. Mmmm….!

(Since I’m here… can I show you how I totally roasted a red pepper all by myself? The Chef is totally going to be like WTF because I kind of hate roasting red peppers, and also I don’t really like to eat peppers all that much. But this was all about saving the pepper from otherwise certain death! One thing about this sous chef is that she hates wasting food. So, better to roast it and save it for a bit longer than to see it wilt and mold and have to throw it away. I followed this guy’s advice and roasted the thing whole in my oven with the broiler on.

roastedpepper

Oh yeah, lookin good...

I let it sit under a towel for twice as long on accident, then peeled it, cut it in half, pulled out the seeds. My coworker told me I could store it in a jar of oil and it would be good in the fridge for a few weeks. Facebook folks gave me some great suggestions on how to use it when I’m ready – mostly involving mashing it up with things like FETA and GARLIC and spread it on crackers. Yes, please!

redpepperstored

Swimming in oil in a nice, pretty jar.

Plenty of time for the chef to return and eat them! Oh happy day. Another food death averted.)

Sous chef OUT!

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4 responses

4 11 2009
CN Heidelberg

omg those sprouts look soooooooooooooo good. I;m craving Pfifferlinge now too but I’m afraid they may have just slipped out of season here….

4 11 2009
deceivery

IMAGINE THEM WITH BACON. I’m just saying

4 11 2009
techdabble

YOU ARE RIGHT! I was totally like WTF?! I even made a hand motion in this cafe BEFORE I read that you called it :) But this post and your cooking are Awesome!!!!! I love the brussel sprouts recipe (its not that I don’t like them I just don’t like them steamed the way you usually cook them. That much.) And next time we totally will do the bacon! And there are plenty of awesome things to do with roasted red peppers!!!! Good work on storing them in oil.’

Keep up the wonderful guest blogs and cooking while I am off eating in resturants down under :)

4 02 2010
Sprouts (Reprise) and Baked Ozettes « Where energy and creativity meet

[…] eaten a single sprout until I moved to Seattle. But, it’s all about preparation, and after this post, the Chef mentioned he could probably get behind trying sprouts prepared this way – with a […]

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