Mushrooms, Noodles, Love, and Kisses

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Recipes which use shiitake:
snow at the bottom

dried shiitake



















car windshield as a snow magnet

In a cooking forum recently someone asked how many fresh shiitake to use instead of dry.
Several suggested how much to substitute. (Note: names have been changed, but the conversation was real (ok virtual and really, paraphrased or edited in parts).)

Achen: The two are not interchangeable. Dried mushrooms should be soaked the night before, not the 30 minutes in warm water most recipes instruct. The long soaking makes them a luxuriously plump and yielding product not unlike softly biting into a person’s lip. They have a smoky pungency, a huge hit of flavor, and the soaking water can be used as a base for braising liquids or sauces in Asian cooking. Fresh shiitake have a wine-like complexity to use in western style dishes and gravies.
Tess: Dried shiitake are very different from fresh. Substituting one for the other will yield very different results. … The big difference is the texture and the bonus of flavorful liquid from the dried shiitake… braised dishes are nice with the dried shiitake/or even just the liquid for dashi…

Does that umami taste/flavor/sensation (??) make you just sort of click your tongue?

GAK or am I nuts!
Achen: Click, click!
You and I must be from the same nut.

Tess: You know, that is funny.
Husband has a jaw-tapping impulse for greens: cabbage, kale, chard, any leafy greens…
me, I like those things but have no click click kiss kiss sort of reaction or longing for them.
Neither does he have that tongue desire for the foods I crave.
Mari: What foods do you crave, Tess? Just curious. ;-)
Tess: LOL— the “tongue desire” part may be a bit of artistic ‘over-exaggeration’?
Is that why you ask me about foods I crave?

Mari: Yes, that is exactly why I asked what foods you crave. I crave different things at different times, and I have food allergies, so right now I’d love some good crusty rye bread. I used to make almost all of our bread before the advent of my allergies.
I crave summer melons, especially watermelon but only if they’re perfect. Whole wheat matzoh with sweet butter. I’m driving myself crazy, which is not too difficult at the best of times. I do often crave rice of different kinds and I can eat all sorts of rice.

Tess: #1 without a doubt would be pasta of any sort, anytime!
Even the act of eating long noodles or spaghetti involves sort of kiss-shaped lips to eat them.
When I was 4 that my mother served spaghetti one night. I wanted seconds because it was so so so delicious that I didn’t want to stop eating it. But my mother wouldn’t give me more until I drank a glass of milk. My grandmother must have been there because my mother didn’t usually force us kids to eat anything we didn’t like. So I drank the milk as fast as I could…gulp, gulp, gulp…so you can guess what happened: my stomach did not feel good at all. After the mess got cleaned up, I still wasn’t allowed to have more spaghetti!
I’ll even admit to loving chef boyardee raviolli, that’s how much I love pasta!Spaghetti sauce was the very first thing I learned to cook by myself. I was 10 and got distracted by a TV show (Leave it to Beaver?) and the sauce almost boiled away—water to the rescue just in time. I didn’t care, and everyone else ate it so it was probably adequate. I didn’t have much sauce so I would have room for more pasta.
I do ramble, don’t I?

Your post is charming.

A discussion of food preferences followed with an agreement that, “Food is so personal, yet we don’t understand why one person likes this and another prefers that…”
It’s that sort of forum: advice, recommendations, chat, and friendliness.

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