I call her #6

Nothing beats holiday cookie baking with your neighbour!
Nothing beats holiday cookie baking with your neighbour!

I knew her in her 80s…. she’s now renamed herself Amazing, and I buy that hook, line and sinker.  I also call her #6.

Here we are after the Long Branch Santa Claus Parade, baking Peanut butter chocolate cookies for Christmas. We have to take a break before baking the next batch (cappucino crinkles), while Amazing licks the spoons.   With Georgie, Memphis and Gracie keeping watch. Dec. 6, 2014.

Cooking lobster mushrooms

I’ve noticed, looking at the stats for this blog, that quite a few people have been searching for ways to prepare lobster mushrooms. Here’s one way – the way I prepared them for dinner tonight in fact.

Lobster mushroom and sausage omelet

You need:

  • lobster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • two or three eggs
  • some tasty sausage (I used Goralska Polish sausage)
  • grated awesome cheese

In a cast iron pan, sautee the mushrooms with a little vegetable oil on medium heat. Lobsters are very firm mushrooms that hold their texture. As well, they don’t shed water in the cooking process the way some other mushrooms do. After a few minutes in the pan, add some chopped up sausage and let it cook together. You want the sausage to start to crisp up and the mushrooms to start turning a nice golden colour. When this is ready, transfer to a non-stick pan. I know you’re going to say, aw c’mon, do I have to use two pans? The answer is yes. I like the way the mushrooms and the sausage cook up in a cast iron pan, but in the end you’re making an omelet and non-stick pans are great for omelets. So, you transfer the sausage and mushrooms to a non-stick pan. With the transfer, they’ll bring along enough oil for the omelet. Heat up the pan to the high side of medium. While that’s happening, beat up your eggs with a fork. Some people add a little splash of milk. You can do that if you want. I usually don’t. When the pan is hot, pour the mixture over the mushrooms and sausage and move the pan around to spread around the eggs. When the eggs are just about done, toss some of your awesome grated cheese on top (tonight I used an old gruyere). Let it melt on there for a moment, fold two sides of the omelet to the middle and serve it up, maybe with a spoon of good salsa and some fresh ground pepper and just a wee bit of salt. There are a million variations. If you have some fresh herbs, chop them into the egg mixture before pouring it onto the pan.

Or….

If you want something even simpler and still super-delicious, sautee the lobster mushrooms in your cast iron pan until they get nice and golden. Add salt and fresh ground pepper and maybe a wee bit of some ground hot chiles and spoon loads of the mushrooms onto toast. Just that simple.

Is it the ultimate comfort food?

DSC01858You know it…I’m talking turkey pot pie, and Tuffy P made some tonight. Fantastic!

The Comfort Food Diner

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve taken you on a little trip up to the Comfort Food Diner, but I made up a little concoction this week I just have to share. I suggest here that my vegetarian and vegan friends go for a little walk, or perhaps visit some other sites. This post is not for you.

Left-over Pot Roast Pasta

To make this delicacy, you first have to have some left-over pot roast. In this case, along with a generous chunk of roast, I also had the liquid I braised it in, complete with a few chunks of carrots, a few mushrooms and some onions that had pretty much been cooked down into sauce. You need it all.

First, resist the temptation to simply make up a pot roast sandwich. Let’s save that for another day. Instead, prepare the left-over roast by breaking it up into smaller pieces. Next, choose your pasta. I leave this choice entirely to you. Bring a big pot of water up to a boil and toss in your pasta.

While the pasta starts cooking, coarsely chop up lots of garlic. Add some olive oil to a heavy pan, heat it up and gently start cooking the garlic. Add in generous quantities of dried chiles. I dry my own scotch bonnets in my handy mushroom dehydrator because I like them plenty hot but you might find red chile flakes from the market more to your taste. Don’t let the garlic burn. Instead, add two or three cups of pasta water, then when the pasta is a couple minutes away from being ready, add the left-over pot roast to the pan with the garlic and water, along with whatever braising liquid and veggies you have with it.

When the pasta is just this side of being fully cooked, drain it or for long pastas, simply fish it out with tongs, and add it to the sauce and roast bits, tossing it about for a minute or two. Shut the heat off and add in a generous amount of freshly grated Italian cheese (your choice which one) along with a handful of chopped up parsley or basil. Toss it one more time. Finish with some fresh ground pepper, and enjoy with a cold beer.

Puffballs and Garden Vegetables

I was asked for mushroom recipes in a recent comment. Here’s one.

First go collect some puffballs.

You need two pans for this. In one, add a little olive oil and start some onion cooking. Add garlic, tomatoes from the garden, perhaps some zucchini or some swiss chard. Season with fresh garden herbs and a healthy pinch of hot chiles.

Meanwhile…. season breadcrumbs (I mix in some of my standard bbq rub) in a bowl and in another bowl add 3 eggs and mix them up with a fork.

Slice puffballs to 3/8 inch thickness more or less. Dip in egg then dredge in breadcrumbs. Then fry these up using vegetable oil so they brown on both sides.

Plate the puffball slices and add generous quantities of your veggie mixture on top along with plenty of fresh ground pepper.

I enjoyed mine with a cold ale.

Family Dinner Today

I hope the weather cooperates and the rain goes away. I plan to roast a ham on the bbq, roast a variety of veggies in the oven, and serve pierogi and kielbassa as a side. We have one vegan in the crowd and for him I’ll have an additional interesting veggie dish. I still have to pick up my ham at the butchers and do a bit more shopping this morning.

Paska Time

Each Easter we make paska, or Easter bread. We don’t get too fancy about all the decorative braiding that some people do, but we make some rockin’ good bread every year. We bake the loaves in coffee cans and we make plenty so we can give paska to our friends. This year we’re making two batches. The first batch is rising up by the woodstove right now.

Our paska is a slightly sweet egg loaf enhanced with plenty of lemon zest. We use different sizes of coffee cans. The loaves in the smaller cans are tall and look like silos. Later, I’ll post some pictures.

Return to the Comfort Food Diner

A simple dinner tonight – jumbo shrimps, marinated with a chipotle marinade, grilled on the bbq and served up with roasted spicy sweet potato wedges.

Frittatas (The Comfort Food Diner)

I made a most delicious frittata last night. I started by heating some good olive oil in my trusty cast iron pan, added a shallot, some onion, a zucchini, and some mushrooms, frying them together with a little smoked paprika, salt and pepper. I broke 3 eggs in a bowl and beat them with a fork, adding a splash of milk along the way. I poured the eggs on the veggies and while the eggs set on the stove, I turned on the broiler. After two or three minutes on the burner, I put the cast iron pan in the oven under the broiler. When the eggs started to turn golden, it was ready to cut into wedges.

Here are The Hot Frittatas: