From my notebook…
I love hanging out with you in the kitchen…I love celebrating the diversity of textures and flavors, taking them in, arranging them, marveling at the science and delighting in the sensory experience. I love eating poetry that I created…I love the freedom that comes with the time to concentrate and the space to let go. I love fiddling, experimenting, using basic ingredients in different sorts of ways to achieve contrast, harmony, cohesion, surprise, intrigue, comfort, interest, nourishment. I love that this time with you is more about learning through intimacy rather than complexity. I love that carrots are more carrot-y when roasted simply with olive oil and sea salt on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. I love knowing that tomato paste makes red lentil lemon soup eversomuch more punchy without leaving a trace of tomato taste and also knowing that something would be discernibly missing without it.
I love cooking with you and I love writing with you and I love that those two activities are not so different, really. Putting a thought to paper or screen, putting a meal in a bowl or on a plate, and sharing them via blog or print or the place setting across from me… They are manifestations of your delight made known in the universe; your love made known to the senses.
Somehow especially these days when the world around me has been shrouded in fog and steeped in rain, these simple wonders, these deep joys, have been like the brilliant “new green” leaf bundles at the tips of the branches brushed clean by the wind outside the room where I pray: a great delight, most welcome, and dearly satisfying.
Mushroom and Red Pepper Stroganoff over Rice
A bit less than a tablespoon of oil and a small blop of butter into a hot skillet
Two handfuls of chopped onion into the skillet to cook for some minutes
A healthy teaspoon and a half of paprika and a good pinch of chipotle pepper into the skillet
Stir and shoosh around
Add a handful of red bell pepper (in pieces about a quarter inch wide and about an inch long)
(START THE RICE—I SUGGEST A STICKY RICE LIKE CALROSE)
Add sliced/whole mushrooms (cremini hold up well)
Shoosh around until mushrooms have reduced in size and most of the liquid is gone
Add a glug or two of cooking wine or dry white wine and stir
Sprinkle a bit of flour over skillet contents and stir to thicken
Cook until a good gravy clings to everything and there isn’t too much extra liquid.
Add cooked rice to skillet, stir, and serve