Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mushroom Ragù on Gruyère Toast

Slip some baguette with Gruyère under a broiler.  Saute some mushrooms with garlic, shallots, herbs, broth and wine.  Spoon the mushrooms over the cheese toast.  Dinner is served.

After this post, Dinner Place will be on vacation while we move house....
I grew up in a house that revered mushrooms. In any form, but mostly on their own--just cooked up in a big cast-iron skillet with some garlic or onions.  Eating them on their own was his favorite, but my Dad also loved them with some rice, eggs, or chicken.  He'd have mushrooms any old way.  As a little kid, I wasn't buying.   It didn't take long, however, for me to jump on his bandwagon.

My first mushroom love was the famous mushroom stuffed with sausage.  That gave way to (Lord) the deep-fried variety with sauce.  All the while, regular old mushrooms slowly began to take part in my kitchen pageant.  One day I saw that I was buying mushrooms pretty much every time I went to the store.  Talking with my oldest son the other day, I woke up and realized he was talking about cooking up a big pot of mushrooms.  Never know what you'll pass on.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Steak Pappardelle

Maybe you've been to a wedding and brought home half a filet or you might have splurged and cooked a big steak or chop to last a few days.  The things you can do with that gorgeous hunk wrapped up in the fridge are precious and myriad.  Of course you could make one of these...

Steak Cobb Salad
  • steak and fried eggs with toast and jelly
  • steak sandwich with cheddar and sour cream horseradish sauce
  • steak-filled omelet
  • Philly steak sandwich
  • hash 
  • pepper steak
  • steak and mushrooms on toast
  • stir fry and rice
  • steak and blue cheese grits, or
  • Alyce's Steak Cobb Salad
  • Alyce's Homemade Potato Chip-Steak Salad
  • your favorite
Alyce's Homemade Potato Chip-Steak Salad with Blue Cheese

In fact, there are those that feel the things you later make out of that leftover jewel are most likely the best thing of all. (Maybe we should call them something besides leftovers.) My friend Chris' husband, Dave, is like that.  Leftovers are treasures, gold in the fridge.  For instance, I adore pork tenderloin. But I think I'm most happy to make it just knowing I'll have lean pork fajitas or a dish I make where I sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms with rosemary and then add some broth and cream for a sauce to serve over rice. That dish needs a name.

On Sunday nights, we don't truly cook.  Not from scratch. I work Sundays and by Sunday get it.

 Dinner is wine and cheese.  Leftovers thrown in a pan. Frozen chili heated. A quick one-pan wonder.  It's our night to watch a movie with tv trays or "Downton Abbey" (when in season) or, like now, "The Newsroom."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grilled Oregano Shrimp-Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Crostini

Honest is the best policy:  I was too hungry to take much time with a photo.
It seems when I'm out with friends on some version of the protein and vegetable diet, they often end up with a Caesar Salad and Grilled Chicken or Grilled Salmon, if they're lucky.  I don't eat Caesar salad in restaurants a lot because they're often goopy-- soft and unappetizing.  And, truly, I love my own salads. Even more, I love homemade vinaigrette.

Yesterday Dave and I were at the grocery looking at fish for supper and I saw a great buy on large, gorgeous uncooked shrimp.  (Since shrimp takes two minutes to cook, why is there so much pre-cooked shrimp for sale?)  I remembered I had a bag of cleaned romaine at home in the frig, and asked for a pound of that shrimp for $9.99.  When the shrimp are large, there aren't that many in a pound; I figured whatever was leftover, we'd have the next day for a snack.