Friday, February 17, 2012

Returning to My Roots


     Sometimes, you have to work with what you have. That sometimes is pretty much all the time regarding cooking and me lately. I need to start shopping based on things I want to make. Instead I shop like this: I need a fruit (bananas), I need a cheese (this takes the longest), I need 2 vegetables (mushrooms!...and something random), I need 2 frozen foods because I know I will not cook once I get home from Trader Joe's after starving all day today, bread, sandwich meat...and there we have the constants of my ten things I buy every week (I leave room for a little miscellaneous..eggs? pasta? what don't I have at home? Toothpaste. You know, that kind of thing).

     The issue with this grand new shopping system is that while I have the ingredients needed to throw together my everyday meals (there's been a lot of omelettes lately), I never seem to have the right things for a Recipe. But then I had a revelation. Isn't that what I used to blog about when I blogged everyday oh so long ago? I just used to write about my everyday meals because isn't that The Point. That everyday meals can be made in college, that they can be super simple and not require a Recipe? No more capitals in the middle of sentences from now on, promise.

     Here's another revelation. I totally missed my one year anniversary of blogging. I feel like I don't deserve it anyway due to my winter break hiatus... But this is my 100th post. Wow. You know, I constantly contemplated my 100th post, and how I would make something super fancy and super special. But in a way, this is much more fitting. Here am I, college student with fridge full of my 10 weekly items, telling you that a little thinking out of the box and scrounging around your apartment is all you really need to make a special meal just for any old weeknight.

     So, here's what I actually made: mushrooms (obviously) and pasta. Simple. But no jars of tomato sauce because just because we are in college doesn't mean we can't make sauce! It doesn't take that long, I promise. Here's what it took me: I chopped up mushrooms, I cooked the mushrooms, I took them out and used the same pan to cook down some red wine, chicken broth, and spices. I added my pre-cooked pasta (which I cooked to just al-dente) and my mushrooms, and simmered everything together. Grand total: 20 mins. Use what you have on hand! Google recipes and find new ideas! But keep cooking, and your everyday meals won't seem everyday anymore, they will be 100th post worthy.

Red Wine and Mushroom Pasta

Note: Feel free to use any seasonings you like. Thyme, oregano all go well with basil, or as substitutes. Red chili flakes are of course optional, but they don't add a lot of heat to this just a little flavor. Also, I used the honey because my wine was Super acidic and I really didn't like its taste that much, so honey is a good...rounder-outer of the flavor. Use your taste buds to guide you! Also, use spaghetti or any other long/strand pasta you like, I just do think the long-strand types would work better than other kinds.

1 tsp Crushed Garlic (or 1 Garlic Clove, minced) 
2 tbsp Olive Oil 
10 oz Baby Bella Cremini Mushrooms (or really, any kind of mushrooms you like)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Italian Seasonings
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
1/2 cup Red Wine
1/2 cup Chicken OR Vegetable Broth (Or 1/2 cup Water and 1/2 bouillon cube) 
1/2 tsp Honey
2 servings Linguine, Just-Cooked (i.e. take them out when they are still rather al-dente)

     Roughly chop your mushrooms, including the stems. In a very large frying pan, heat 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil at medium high heat. Once it is hot, and 1/2 tsp of the crushed garlic, and allow it to sizzle for a minute. Then, add in the mushrooms and salt. Stir them around well, and then let them sit evenly on the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, only stirring occasionally. Once they are darker and tender, and releasing some juices, transfer the mushrooms into a separate bowl. Try to the get the juices to stay in the pan.

     Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of the garlic to the same pan at medium-high heat. Allow them to sizzle for a minute, then stir in the basil, Italian seasoning, and red chili flakes if using. Stir in the pan for a minute or two, then add the wine and broth (or water and cube). Mix everything together well, adding the honey if needed, and then leave for 5 minutes. Allow the alcohol to evaporate off and the sauce to become thicker. Once it looks slightly (not A lot, just slightly) more viscous, add in the just-cooked pasta. Stir the pasta into the sauce, it will absorb the color and should start absorbing the flavors. Leave at a simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce has reduced further and most of it seems absorbed into the pasta, and then add the mushrooms. Simmer everything together for a few minutes until the mushrooms are hot again, and serve!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your hundredth post! That is so awesome