Saturday, March 25, 2017

A gourmet meal for two

Me on the patio in my new shirt that says
We are All Wonder Woman
I believe it
A fun day, mostly cooking but also some work, and I finished the contest book I was raeding. An old friend (1970s) came for suppeer tonight and I fixed a semi-gourmet meal. Appetizers and dessert were strictly not homemade—a block of Irish cheese with crackers and some addictive sesame sticks that Jordan finds at Trader Joe’s. Dessert was Frango Mints, those signature chocolates of Marshall Field and Company that are sold by someone else now that Fields is no longer. They’re every bit as good as they ever were—order online  if you wnt them. Just search Frango Mints.

But the entrée was something I’ve wanted to cook for a while: a mushroom ragout. My mom used to sauté mushrooms in butter and put on toast, a very British way of serving them which no doubt pleased my Anglophile father. This was sort of an upscale version of Mom's dish with shallots, garlic, rosemary, thyme, white wine, and chicken broth. All that made a rich gravy. The recipe was for four, and I halved it; halfway through I abandoned the direction and began to wing it with amounts. Two things I would change: less flour and less pepper. I could taste just a bit of the flour and that wasn’t good—you shouldn’t be aware of it. The pepper is an oft-made mistake of mine. It certainly didn’t ruin the dish, and some palates might prefer it, but I was looking forward to a more mellow mushroom taste. At first I thought the recipe intimidating but having once done it, it doesn’t ssseem so bad. I’ll do it again.

I laid out everything for dinner about mid-day—plates, napkiins, flatware, dishes for appetizer, salad bowl and makings, seasonings, you name it and it was ready. That’s how I always cooked when I entertained a crowd and it was a joy to do that prep again. It’s half the fun of cooking.

I’ve decided that cooking and writing are in the same category for me—I’m beginning to get my sea legs back. It's all part of my unusually long recovery.  I’ll get a little more ambitious each time I try it.
So what's for supper tomorrow?


Randy Eickhoff said...

Now THAT pic would be a wonderful profile pic for here. Trader Joe's? I haven't been there in a LONG time. Forgot about doing so. Time to go again.

Judy Alter said...

I had never been to Trader Joe's until my daughter took me a couple of weeks ago. Loved it, loved the food-so many choices, loved the prices. It was when my family would be out of town and we bought some prepared meals for me--most still in the freezer but the meatloaf was only so-so. Then again, I'm fussy.
Thanks for liking the picture. I thought it only so-so and almost didn't post it but I do like the shirt.
You could probably eat mushrooms the way i fixed them last night.