10.4.13 Mushroom Cloud
I've felt alternately bitter, frightened, vulnerable, defiant and beaten down. But here I am. Pity party notwithstanding, one thing I didn't do was lose sight of my commitment to my health. I still went hiking several times this week and looked at the beautiful changing foliage. I did my daily body scan meditation for my MBSR class. I went to yoga twice. I stayed with my regimen of supplements and ate pretty well. And I credit all this with helping me keep it together instead of collapsing into a black funk or throwing a tantrum (well, more than one). So, while I wasted a fair amount of time fuming and worrying, I'm still giving myself some credit for not sliding headlong into total despair or a tub of dulce de leche ice cream.
And the "spent" shiitakes? Do what David Chang does at Momofuku and turn them into delectable pickles. It's another take on making lemonade from your surplus of lemons. We all know how satisfying that can be for body and soul.
Have a beautiful weekend and don't forget to leave a comment here by midnight on Sunday to be eligible for my special fall giveaway of treats straight from my kitchen!
Shiitake Mushroom Stock
- — 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- — 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- — 2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
- — 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- — 1 dried red chile
- — 2 whole star anise
- — 1 3-inch piece kombu, optional
- — 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more as needed
Pour about 1/4 cup water into the stockpot to start the onions cooking. Add the onion, garlic and shiitakes. Give the vegetables a stir, then cover the pot and cook gently over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except soy sauce and kombu, and cover with 9 cups cold water. Bring the stock to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Let cool slightly, then add kombu, if using, and allow to steep for 1 hour.
Pour the stock through a strainer, pressing as much liquid as you can from the vegetables. Season with soy sauce to taste.
If you like, reserve the shiitakes to make pickles.
Shiitake Mushroom Pickles
- — 4 cups loosely packed dried shiitakes
- — 1 cup sugar
- — 1 cup sherry vinegar
- — 1 cup soy sauce
- — 1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled and smashed
- — 2 chiles de árbol
- — 3 whole star anise
Rehydrate the mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Lift them out of the soaking liquid; strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove any sand or debris and reserve the liquid. Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and discard. Slice the caps into 1/4" wide slices.
Combine the mushrooms with 2 cups of the reserved soaking liquid, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, chiles and star anise in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Allow the mushrooms to cool in the liquid.
Pack the pickled mushroom slices into a quart size container and add enough of the cooking liquid to cover. They'll keep in the fridge for a month or more, but they're ready to eat right away.