When I was in 10th grade, we lived next door to a family of gourmands. They knew how to eat, and they really liked to eat. I believe the Mrs. died early of a heart attack, and I doubt the Mr. is still alive at this point. I'm not saying food did them in, but they were not known for restraint. Liquor, cigarettes, butter.
I don't think I'd actually tasted real butter before I met the Gregorys. Their daughter Kathy baked up a batch of rolls one day after school, slathered something unctuous onto one, and popped it into my mouth.
Whoa. My brain twirled, trying to identify that unknown dairy sensation (we used margarine at my house). Cheese? Cream cheese? I was baffled, but I played it cool as my eyes scanned the counter top, finally alighting on the unfamiliar butter wrapper. Ah!
Butter played a role in another food sensation chez Gregory: One night for dinner, my family was treated to a first course of whole, sauteed mushrooms. Sauteed in butter, of course. My mom couldn't stifle her outburst: "These are cooked in butter!"
"Well," said Mr. Gregory, "naturellement."
And why not?
What was even more baffling for a 10th grader — me — was the idea of mushrooms as a "course." We'd only ever had mushrooms from a watery can, or in salty condensed "cream of" soup, or maybe in meatloaf or in a pot pie. Well, that's not entirely true. We'd had good Asian preparations of mushrooms when we lived in Hawaii, but that had been so long ago.
A confluence of food happenings leads to today's post. No, nothing to do with butter.
But everything to do with mushrooms as a whole course.
A few weeks ago, Jack and Joanne at Fork & Bottle gave me a taste of a very special Japanese soy sauce, Ohara Hisakichi Shouten, available only online from The Grateful Palate. Oh my. It's deep. Perfumey. Roses. Wine. Evil. Luscious.
So I ordered some, and it arrived the day before yesterday.
OK, then yesterday I bought a sack of mushrooms.
Completely without coaxing, I dreamed up the idea of marinating the mushrooms in a combination of soy sauce and sake. And just to make sure I was somewhere within reason, I googled "soy sauce sake pickles."
First thing that turned up was a recipe for mushrooms. So, clearly I was on to something.
Here's how easy it is: 1/2 cup dark soy sauce. 1/2 cup sake. 1/2 pound cleaned mushrooms. Simmer, until you like the flavor of the mushrooms. The recipe said "until the liquid is almost gone," but that would be too salty.
I drained off the liquid, and I'm going to use it to pickle some radishes and turnips.
All gone. Already.