Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mushrooms and Egg Noodles with Watercress Salad

Last night I made a real stinker of a meal. I went shopping all over the place, spent hours getting it ready, taking photographs all along the way, and when it came time to eat, everything was done at the wrong time and tasted somewhere between eh and terrible.

My cute little $14 Amish chicken was dry after about an hour and a half in the oven, and yet still bled when pierced in the leg. The gorgeous curly garlic scapes (tops) from the farmers market were either overcooked or stringy and the green beans which didn't look great to begin with were like petrified wood by the time I got them home. The only thing that came out okay were the roasted potatoes and carrots with little caramelized garlic cloves and chicken fat.

I was disgruntled but determined. Dessert would save the day. I thought of my beloved, domestic, children's book hero, Amelia Bedilia. She was always screwing things up and I felt a certain kinship to her yesterday. When her employers asked her to dust the furniture she would take a powder puff and coat the sofa and chairs with talcum, when they asked her to draw the curtains in the afternoon she would set up an easel and do a lovely illustration and when she was asked to make a sponge cake, a stack of fresh kitchen sponges from under the sink were neatly cut and stirred into the batter. But right when the family, tearing their hair, was ready to give her the boot, she would whip out a fabulous cake or pie she happened to have thrown together earlier that day and everyone would be lulled into a sugar coma and agree, Amelia should stay.

I was hoping to do the same but my strawberry shortcakes, well, they fell short. They were dry and flavorless and I have to apologize to the strawberries and homemade whipped cream which were really quite good, I should never have spooned you on to those sad little sand dunes. 

Come dinner time tonight I was not inspired, to say the least. My mind was an empty colander, nothing sounded good and I didn't want to order out. I called Chris for a suggestion, "egg noodles and cream of mushroom soup with greens on the side." Hm.

I find most cream of mushroom soups taste like a wet dog so I didn't want to go out and shop for a can of Campbell's, but it gave me an idea. At home I had left-over heavy whipping cream, a little rose wine, some garlic and macerated strawberries. I didn't want to have to cook greens, because between the soon to be boiling pasta and a hot skillet for the mushrooms we'd blow a fuse with one more plugged in appliance, so a salad seemed like a good idea. I decided to make creamed mushrooms and egg noodles with a watercress, fennel and herb salad. For dessert, strawberries, peaches and mint with a dollop of cream. It was fresh, decadent and completely satisfying.

Yesterdays lemons, today's lemon aid. 

Mushrooms and Egg Noodles
4 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4" wide
4 pom pom mushrooms (or porcini, chantarelle or baby bellos), sliced 1/4" wide
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup white wine (or rose)
2 tbs. butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs. chopped flat leaf parsley
salt + pepper
1/2 a 12 oz. bag of egg noodles

Boil a pot of salted water and cook the noodles until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic and saute about a minute, lower the heat if garlic starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and toss around another minute. Then add the white wine, 1/4 cup of cream, a pinch of salt and few grinds of a pepper mill. Cook about 5 to 8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft adding the parsley before the last minute of cooking. Turn off the heat and add the drained pasta to the pan of mushrooms along with the last 1/4 cup of cream and stir gently, scraping up any juices from the bottom of the pan. Taste for salt and pepper, serve hot. 

I didn't measure the cream or wine while I was cooking so you may want to add a few extra tablespoons of each if it seems dry.

Watercress and Fennel Salad
1 bunch watercress
1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 tbs. chopped parsley
1 tbs. chopped mint
sherry vinegar
olive oil

Wash and tear up the watercress. Lay the fennel on top and scatter with the herbs. Splash a little vinegar and olive oil over the salad and give a turn of a pepper mill.

1 comment:

  1. I love Amelia Bedilia, but what I would really love is a bite of that dessert ;)