Friday, November 13, 2009

Me-oh-my-oh mushrooms

My husband and i have this thing we do without even knowing that we do it. Whenever we eat out at a restaurant, each of us automatically orders the one food the other person doesn't like.
I do not eat fish, and every time we eat out, he orders fish.
He does not eat mushrooms, so I'm the one usually ordering the extra large side of them whenever I get the chance.
I like to attribute it to my polish heritage, my love of mushrooms. In every Polish cookbook I've ever seen there are countless mushroom dishes, all equally wonderful because I like to live by the rule that anything with mushrooms makes it better. This rule generally applies to other things as well, such as garlic, salt, and any processed pork product. (Can I get an 'amen' for the bacon?)
Growing up, on special occasions my dad would make his famous mushrooms. We'd clean and slice them and lay them out on a plate. Dotted with butter and sprinkled with Lowry Seasoning Salt, they cooked in the microwave until tender.
Then we'd stand at the counter, he and I, and eat them with toothpicks.
Thanks to the laziness of consumers, I can now buy mushrooms already cleaned and sliced. I now drizzle with olive oil instead of butter, but our spice shelf always has a giant bottle of Lowry's on hand.

Last Thanksgiving, while visiting my parents, I made this green bean dish instead of the old standard "can of this, can of that, frozen bean" casserole that our non-dairy family. It's full of the good strong flavors that my parents and I love. My husband, not so much. He didn't even get past the mushrooms. I suppose if I make it again this year I'll have to have some fish sticks on hand in the freezer.

GREEN BEANS WITH MUSHROOMS

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
4 tbl olive oil
2 lemons
2 large shallots, sliced
10 ounces mushrooms (fancy if you like, plain if you don't), sliced verrrry thin
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Cook the beans until crisp-tender, any way you like. Drain and put them in a large bowl. Drizzle on the olive oil and about a teaspoon of salt. Let cool.
Zest one lemon and mix the zest with the sliced shallots. Then juice both lemons and add the juice to the shallot mixture. Add another teaspoon of salt and the mushrooms. Set aside.
Sweeten up those walnuts by toasting them in a dry skillet over medium heat until you start to smell them. Then toss in the sugar and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts. Remove from heat immediately and let cool.
Once everything is cool, mix it gently together, including the parsley. (You might want to save some nuts for the top. Presentation counts, you know!) Add any more olive oil you might think it needs. Serve at room temperature.
This recipe is supposed to serve 8, but I could pretty much eat the entire bowl myself.
With my dad.
And a toothpick.
Standing at the kitchen counter.

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