Learning As I Chop

When to Say When

Posted in Baking/Cooking, Tips by R @ Learning As I Chop on March 27, 2011

This morning, I looked through my cookbooks and decided upon a nice potato bake from Chef Tom. The only problem? I hadn’t heard of half of the ingredients.

Thankfully, Wikipedia came to my rescue yet again. What’s a morel? or a ramp? Think food – not accessible pathways. H also made a cute joke about “loose morals” that I found rather funny. But back to the food. I headed off to my local gourmet market, not exactly sure what I’d find. I was all prepared to substitute regular leeks and button mushrooms for the ramps and morels, but did find some morels hiding in this nice forest mix. Kind of like trail mix, only fungi. Feeling confident, I kept looking for the ramps but there were none to be found. So I grabbed a bunch of leeks and headed back to my kitchen.

The instructions suggested I soak the mushrooms (sold dried) for twenty minutes and they would be ready for cooking. The forest mix included a nice melange of mushrooms I’d never used – morels, chantarelles, oyster, shitake and some others. Then the unexpected happened. I’m a pretty brave eater, but although the mushrooms looked beautiful, I couldn’t bring myself to use them. I know, I know. I normally love mushrooms, but they smelled rather, well, weird.  As if they would somehow poison me. So I did something I’ve never done before – I tossed them. Look, I’m not proud. But sometimes you need to know when to say when. Cooking is something you should enjoy, eating even more so, and you should be excited about the end product – not afraid. So I forged again, sans fungi.

This recipe was pretty straightforward (after my epicurean scavenger hunt) and I appreciated the simple instructions. Would you believe that the leeks were sauteed in peanut oil? Interesting, no? I would’ve assumed olive.

I served these yummy potatoes with a roast chicken and greenbeans. Seemed similar to another dish I’ve made before. Maybe next time I’ll work with the mushrooms. Regardless, I looked forward to trying more recipes from Tom’s book. Enjoy!

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One Response

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  1. Sabina Calhoun said, on March 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Ramps are fab– a lot more “garlicky” than leeks. I have never seen them in the store, but have been given them by foragers. Of course, everything is probably available in NYC! Morels are also usually hunted rather than bought around here. You can find them in the store, but they are crazy expensive.


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