It’s a little hard to admit, but my collection of cookbooks has now swelled to almost 300. And yet, I still can’t resist a new one. The glossy pictures and the promises of delectable treats and innovative ideas for dinner are irresistible. It’s truly an addiction. So even though I made a (sort of) promise to myself not to buy any more unless I got rid of a few, I was weak, and recently added two more to my collection. (OK, so it was not as much a promise than it was a feeling of determination, I guess.) Even when there is just one new dish, or one new idea, if I can add just one or two new recipes that work, well, then, it’s certainly worth the price of the entire cookbook. Right? Oh, and while we’re at it, should I also confess that I almost always buy a food magazine when I’m standing at the checkout line of a supermarket? OK, forget I said that.
Casual recipe reading must be hereditary. I can remember my grandmother looking through the latest recipes in her Good Housekeeping magazine, showing them to my mom, and with a knowing look, saying, “Now that is delicious!” Their two heads would nod in unison. Yes, that looks good. But how did they know? How could they predict from a list of ingredients whether the recipe was going to be good? And they derived such pleasure from the “knowing.” They didn’t even have to make the recipe. They just clipped it for another time. It was just a joy to read it and know. And imagine. I would bet most of the clipped recipes were never made.
But now, I find myself doing the same thing. Reading a cookbook, or a food magazine, for pleasure, without any real intention to actually cook. Is that weird? The thought that I might actually make something from the book is so exciting. Even if that recipe just becomes a starting point for a variation, or the basis of another recipe. The possibilities are endless. And the clipping folder grows and grows, and I will have to live a thousand years to get through all the cookbooks and recipes I have been collecting. But in the meantime, I will keep imagining.
Here is a recipe which, with your imagination, can become a salad, a pasta dish or a main dish. It was inspired by an O Magazine article (Dec. 2016), which I didn’t clip, but the recipe looked delicious and was definitely used as a starting point. Quantities can be easily adjusted to taste, so do what works for you and enjoy!
Portobello Mushroom Salad With “Bacon” and Oranges
- 8 ounces turkey bacon
- 12 ounces portobello mushrooms (I used small caps), cleaned and sliced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Sections of 1 or 2 oranges
- 2-3 ounces leafy greens (mesclun or arugula)
Heat a large skillet and lay out pieces of turkey bacon in a single layer. When the turkey starts to shrink and brown, flip over and cook the other side. Turkey should be dried and crispy. You may need to do this in several batches depending on the size of your pan. Reserve the cooked turkey on a plate. In the same pan, add the sliced mushrooms and stir until the mushrooms begin to give off their liquid. Add the white wine, orange juice, soy sauce, rosemary, orange zest, chili powder and salt. Continue to stir until the liquid is reduced and thickens a bit. Drizzle the honey on top of the mushrooms and stir another minute. Slice the turkey bacon into strips and toss into the pan with the mushrooms. Arrange greens on a platter and spoon the mushroom bacon mixture on top. Garnish with the orange slices.
By Rachel Berger