Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yummy dinner and an interesting experiment

I really, really, REALLY like mushrooms. Whenever a package comes in the bi-weekly produce bin, I cook them and eat them right away.

Better Half really, really, REALLY hates mushrooms. She goes mushroom hunting with me, points at them, and yells "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, KILL IT!" She will not eat them. She once proposed that I get separate pans for mushrooms, that none of her food would ever touch. So the mushrooms, when they come, are all for me.

This tends to mean that I get to experiment more with mushrooms than with other food -- if I only have myself to please, I don't really care if I produce something odd.

Tonight I had a delicious lamb shoulder with greens and foraged field mustard florets and mushrooms cooked in butter:

The foraging was great. I took the dog for a walk and we climbed up an embankment after the mustard. I couldn't reach the biggest plant, but I definitely got a good workout hiking up and down the hill. I also picked some miner's lettuce, but decided it was probably dog-peed-on so I ended up tossing it.

While I was cooking dinner, I decided I would do something odd with the rest of the mushrooms. We had some bacon already (alderwood smoked no preservatives no nitrates and so forth), and we got TWO leeks in the box this week meaning last week's leek has no room. Leeks and mushrooms and bacon are always a winning combination. But what to do? Inspired by a memory of a fantastic 18th century British recipe once featured on Two Fat Ladies for a Mitton of Pork, I decided to layer the mushrooms and leeks, sprinkle them with mace, and enclose them, pie-like, in bacon, then bake.

Step one: line tiny deep-dish pie dish with bacon:

Step two: slice mushrooms and leeks and layer them in the dish, sprinkling each layer with a little mace. (Note: I used too much mace. 1/8 tsp is plenty. I shouldn't have eyeballed it.)

Step 3: Top with bacon, tucking in ends of other pieces to make a little parcel:

(Note: You can see that, like an idiot, I put still MORE mace on it at this point. I don't know what my plan was, honestly.)

Step 4: Bake at 400 degrees until bacon is crispy and vegetables are soft, about 30 to 40 minutes:

So, other than HOLY CRAP WHY DID I PUT SO MUCH MACE IN THIS (I really like mace, but I got a little carried away), this was pretty good! It was easy, the flavors blended well... yeah, good stuff! Better Half suggested trying the same technique with apples and onions instead, which just sounds awesome and I can't wait to try it.

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