Monday, January 23, 2006

Menu: Easy Rich Food For When You're Really Hungry

Creamed Sauteed Mushrooms, Shell Steak, and Salad.

1. Marinating the steak.
--A simple marinade is worchester sauce and chopped garlic. Or you could go with a bit of red wine, onion, and garlic. Don't forget a bit of olive oil, a fair amount of freshly ground black pepper, and not an insubstantial amount of salt.

2. Set oven to broil.

3. Preparing the Mushrooms. (if you can afford cremini or shitaki, these are excellent. You want at least a half-pound of mushrooms for two people, I find, but then I love mushrooms.)
---a. wash and scrub them
---b. cut them into chunky matchsticks. (I usually lop off the bottom third of most shrooms.)

1. Cooking the Mushrooms.
---a. heat olive oil in skillet (Medium-low heat)
---b. crush two cloves garlic into skillet
---c. add 1 teaspoon cumin (turn heat up to medium)
---d. add mushrooms
---e. add two tablespoons fines herbes
---f. stir for ten minutes, then turn heat down to medium low, and cover.

2. Go relax for ten minutes.

3. Maybe prepare your salad, you know, wash those greens, chop that cucumber.
(Note: I have recently discovered Persian cucumbers; a quarter of the size of the standard cucumber, they have twice the flavor and much less annoying seeds. They tend to be pricey, though, and available only in the posher supermarkets. Check them out when you're feeling flush!)

4. Look at your mushrooms.
---a. have they reduced in size by at least a third?
---b. do they begin to taste almost meaty?

5. If so...
---a. add at least 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
---b. add 1 more tablespoon fines herbes
---c. turn down heat to low, stir, cover, keep an eye on.

6. If the oven is ready to broil, put the steaks in.
---a. remember that tin-foil makes clean-up easy.
---b. remember that fresh meat from a trusted butcher can be served very rare, if you like it that way; if you don't know your butcher, maybe waiting for the meat's being cooked all the way through is safer.
---c. cut through the center of a piece of meat to check on doneness.

When the steak is done, reheat mushrooms (if need be), toss salad, and serve.

[Update: a typo corrected to appease the Grammarian.]


Blogger rilkefan:

Sounds to me like you're likely overcooking the mushrooms - and why not have them ready when the rest is? Also, I'm a strong believer in monter au beurre, but then I'm hoping to go quickly.

And of course, I always try to do too much too elaborately and end up feeding Mrs. R later than she likes.

1/23/2006 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

More and more, I'm of the belief that mushroom take more cooking than less. (Especially your sassy mushrooms.) But, yeah, as soon as they've massively reduced and absorbed the cream, you can turn them off.

I need to look into this "monter au beurre" technik that you reference--it's a new term to me.

1/23/2006 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Ben Wolfson:

"Marinade" is a noun; "marinate" is a verb.

1/24/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Ben Wolfson:

Also, all the cool kids say nevar nevar! wash a mushroom! Brush it off with a dry paper towel or the like if need be, but don't wash with water!

1/24/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

Why not, Wolfson? This is news to me.

1/24/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger rilkefan:

The water collects in the gills and does bad stuff. Like causing steaming instead of sauteeing or maybe washing away flavorful dust. I've always gone the lightly-damp paper towel route.

On the other hand I seem to recall at least one place where Cooks Illustrated says Harold McGee says that it doesn't actually matter.

Monter au beurre means mix/melt in a chunk of butter at the last minute. I do this with sauces (including red ones) whenever I can get away with it.

1/24/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

I almost never have paper towels--but these arguments about mushrooms are moving me.

Rilkefan, you're a physicist, so I'm assuming you understand the chemistry of food better than I do. What exactly is gained in adding the butter later rather than earlier?

(Ok, here are my guesses: less of the material will either a) evaporate, b) absorb into the sauce. The effect will then be more liquid butter-substance in the sauce itself, ie, more of a sauce. That is--if I've understood the process correctly--pretty much what I've been using creme fraiche for; since butter is cheaper, I'll give monter au beurre a whirl.)

1/24/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger rilkefan:

The emulsion one makes in this way is really short-term (i.e., don't reheat it, don't let your guests linger over their martinis). You get extra body, flavor, and sheen. (Not saying.) Cream works too. But if creme fraiche is a common element in your cooking I don't know why I'm telling you this.

1/25/2006 02:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Becks:

Alton Brown (on Good Eats) mythbusted the waterlogged mushroom theory. Wash away!

1/25/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt:

Becks beat me to it. Wash, drain, and dry, and don't fear the crazy French chefs.

AB will set you free!

1/26/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger rilkefan:

Consulted _La Varenne Pratique_ last night. It likes damp paper towels but says brief washing is fine and, in the case of deep-gilled grit-living mushrooms like morels, says a good soaking may be required.

1/27/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

I'm liking the consensus developing here: get rid of the obvious dirt, but don't worry your pretty head about pretending that fungi should become sanitary, or anything.

To tie this-all into my more recent quote-laden paean to my mother, I want to mention the quote she calligraphied and still displays prominently in her kitchen: "A Home Should Be Clean Enough To Be Healthy And Dirty Enough To Be Happy." I will (gently) treat my mushrooms as metonymies of that grand principle.

1/29/2006 09:52:00 PM  

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