Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday Dinner


Clockwise starting on the left, our Sunday meal was: garlic mashed potatoes with smoked Gouda and chives from Cook's Illustrated (subscription required), creamed spinach from smitten kitchen, and pan-seared portobellos from Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for the Food".

The mashed potatoes were awesome... a 2lb portion of a giant bag of Yellow Finns we acquired from Chase's over Thanksgiving... we both really liked the smokiness of the Gouda with the garlic. I bought about 5 ounces too little spinach, so the creaminess to spinach ratio was a heavier on the cream than intended... but it was still good. In restrospect, since we already had creamy/cheesy dish with the potatoes, we probably should have gone with a less fattening preparation of spinach, but oh well. The mushrooms need a sauce or something, but they really do have an intense mushroom flavor... however Alton's description (1/4" slices, medium high heat, and 5 minutes each side) seemed to way overcook them... I cut it down to three per side and they were much better, but I would also probably have the slices be more like 1/2" to ensure you get a nice crust on the outside before turning the inside to shoe leather. And this advice from Ruhlman a few weeks back still resonates:
Other ways to vary them are to deglaze the pan with some white wine after you've got a nice sear on the mushrooms. A pinch of curry powder can heighten their flavor—not so much that you can taste the curry, add just enough to intrigue. Add whole cloves of garlic and fresh thyme to the oil just before you saute mushrooms, and they'll pick up these aromatic flavors.
Honestly, I really felt like I should be deglazing the pan, but I'm just not confident enough of a cook to be whipping up pan sauces on a whim... but even I can throw in a little white wine to brighten the flavors and get up the browned mushroom bits. So next time I sear some mushrooms... a little thicker slices and a deglaze with white wine at the end. Beyond flavor, deglazing with each batch would have also prevented the burned on gunk... gunk that Iget to continue scrubbing off this evening. Sigh.