We all have one. It’s that elusive special something that makes your chili, or strawberry preserves, or banana bread, so very popular. And you never tell, but not because you’re afraid that everyone you know will be able to replicate your chili, or strawberry preserves, or banana bread and you won’t have any friends. It’s because you’re too embarrassed.
This morning, as we were driving to an estate sale that promised boating gear, Kevin was talking about Ken Lewis’ resignation from BofA and how it would be viewed by history. Mid-sentence, he said, “Did you see that?”
No, of course I hadn’t seen it. I’ve written about Kevin’s bionic peripheral vision before; I never see what he sees.
“It was a giant hen-of-the-wood!”
The last hen-of-the-wood he’d spotted from a moving car turned out to be a delicious black-staining polypore. This one turned out to be a cluster of honey mushrooms. At least, I’m pretty sure they were honey mushrooms. (If posts stop abruptly, remember that I died with my boots on.)
It was a good-sized clump, and once I’d de-stemmed them and removed any moth-eaten pieces, I had a pound of mushrooms. I sautéed them in preparation for making a soup. They were tasty, but a little bland.
This is often the problem with mushrooms, and I have a solution that I’ve been falling back on ever since I discovered Star porcini cubes: Star porcini cubes. They’re the fungal equivalent of chicken or beef bouillon cubes, and I use them in soups, stews, sauces, and plain old rice. They taste like mushrooms, but they’re small, square, and individually wrapped.
It feels pretty ridiculous, I’ll admit, to go to the trouble of harvesting wild mushrooms, cleaning and cooking them, and making them into a wholesome wild mushroom soup, only to adulterate it with bouillon cubes.
I’d do it again, though. The excellence of Star porcini cubes outweighs the mortification of resorting to a salty, highly processed food additive.
If you’ve got a shameful secret, now’s the time to ‘fess up. And I don’t want to hear that you put anchovy paste in your beef stew to give it that intangible oomph – that’s just a creative use of a perfectly respectable ingredient. I want to hear that you use Marshmallow Fluff in your Key lime pie or Froot Loops in your apple crisp topping.
If you’re willing to confess your deepest, darkest, secrets, I’ll tell you what I put in my babaghanoush.