I needed some comfort food on Monday night but was not in the mood to get too involved in cooking anything that took longer than … what, a few TV commercials? I fell back on my reliable go-to instant comfort food, Mushrooms on Toast. This is a pretty simple recipe, but still works its magic when needed. I try to mix up the variety of mushrooms in the recipe and I happened to have left over shiitake, button and baby bellos used in a mushroom tart on the weekend, so they became the mushrooms of choice. If I were being ambitious I would serve this with a small green salad and Green Goddess Dressing.
Onion dip is readily available at any grocery store silently sitting beside the ranch dip, like an old married couple. But if you look closely to the ingredient list on the bottom of the tub, you might think twice on taking it home to serve family and friends. Why? Just check out some of the ingredients found on the label: trio calcium phosphate, guar gum, xanthan gum, vegetable gum (really needs 3 GUMS?), corn starch, distilled vinegar, sugar, caramel color, onion flavoring, dried onion flakes, dried parsley, malteddexrin, and a whole lot of other things that don’t look either nutritious nor appetizing. With homemade caramelized onion dip you know exactly what you are eating, and will enjoy pungent flavors of robust onion and garlic with a touch of lemon zest that provides a delightful freshness to this dip.
Had enough turkey? I know I have, so I turned to the other “white meat” and made pork chops. In the summertime I take large pork chops and make a pocket, insert stuffing and then grill them. In winter I do them a little different as they are being cooked indoors and I don’t want them to end up tough. So instead I purchase “thin”, and I mean thin, pork chops and then lay one in the pan, add stuffing, and add a second on top. Works really well, cooks quickly, which means, not a tough chop in the bunch.
I don’t know if the Russians consider Beef Stroganoff comfort food or not, but in my house, it sure is. Although the recipe originated in St. Petersburg in the 19th century, it became popular throughout Europe in the early 20th century and landed in American cookbooks mid-1930s. Because red meat was rationed during WWII in the 1940s, this recipe was considered a “gourmet” dish served by those who had money. Legend has it that the recipe was named after Count Alexander Stroganov. His chef created this dish since the Count had lost all his teeth and could no longer chew steak. He then submitted his new recipe in a culinary competition and won first prize in 1891. But wait……there is a recipe
UPDATED Recipe Am doing an update to the San Francisco-style Potato Salad (aka Herman’s Potato Salad) blog as I followed the suggestions of Paul Rogers, who commented on my original blog (see comment June 27th). He remembers Herman adding thin slices of radish to it – I was quite skeptical on this as I don’t remember any type of crunch when I ate the potato salad and he didn’t say I was to cook the radishes. I bought radishes, peeled and tried to slice them – too small to handle so I decided to grate the radishes (I used 9 radishes to 2 pounds of potato). Also, he mentioned slicing the potatoes same as for scalloped potatoes (this was familiar the minute I read it). Well, I have to say the salad now looks identical to Herman’s and I think the radishes brought the flavor as close as I can possibly get to the original recipe (the radish idea is likely the clincher for me). I am happy with the recipe and hope you will be too, just in time for July 4th picnics. …
Herman’s Delicatessen on Geary Street in San Francisco featured what I, and many of the locals, considered to be the world’s best potato salad. It was a basic recipe of potatoes, carrots, mayo (Best Foods of course), parsley and vinegar. It had a silky consistency to it, very thin slices of potato, and was very white in color, as it did not contain any mustard or eggs. No celery, no onions, no pickles, no pickle juice either.