Wrinkles – week 28

“Waste not, want not” is a saying that I remember from my childhood in Australia. For years I had not thought about it but probably due to the increased attention of food waste in the media my memory had found this saying somewhere in my dorment mass of braincells and had pushed it to the surface.  Seeing all of the dried up shii-take mushrooms last week had made me feel a little sad because at first glance they could not be eaten fresh or sliced and dried. They were too small, too shrivelled and too hard. Hopeless.  On the way home from the Edible Log Farm I tried to think of a way to use these unappealing shii-take mushrooms and decided to make them part of my evening meal.  Normally the best way of drying mushrooms is to pick them, slice them fine and then dry them. This was the first time that I had used mushrooms that had dried up on a log. One of the advantages of dried mushrooms is that you can soak them in lukewarm water and after 10 minutes they will have increased their size and at least doubled their weight. With this in mind I decided to try to rejuvenate my shrivelled harvest and somehow create an appealing and tasty meal.  One of my favourite meals in the Netherlands is “stamppot”. Basically it is mashed potato and you can mash almost anything and mix everything with it. Looking back on my early days I was always making mashed potato cakes, colorful creations with peas, beans, tomato ketchup, onions, apple puree, sausages ….whatever was on my plate would end up becoming a whirl of unidentifiable objects. As an adult the drive to mix and mash had not diminshed and the choice was very quickly made to prepare a meal with mashed potatoes and shii-take mushrooms. I placed a handful of shii-take mushrooms into to small bowl with lukewarm water and went about preparing the other ingredients. To my surprise the shrivelled up shii-take mushrooms looked like that they had just come back from a beauty treatment. Instead of old wrinkled skin they resembled the creamy smooth skin of a young teenager. And it took just 10 minutes for the change to take place! Enthousiastically I placed them into a frying pan with hot oil and a sliced onion and added a sprinkling of pepper and salt. The mushrooms sizzled….. the smell was divine. They lost a little more moisture than usual but I could forgive them this time. After a couple of minutes they were ready and they became the crown on top of the mashed potato mixture (including goats cheese and herbs). The result – delicious!

 

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