Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Secret Weapon

Let's talk about men for a second. I may be generalizing here, or have maybe just dated a certain "type" of guy, but food has always been something that was most definitely, as they say, the way to their heart. Now as a very single girl that's writing this, you can take it with a grain of salt, but let me just set the record straight and say that never once since I learned to cook for realzies has a guy listed among my faults what I fed him. In fact this particular recipe was a special treat for he-who-shall-remain-nameless, and just the accolades I received from him on it may have been why I haven't blogged, or to be honest even made this, since that person has ceased to exist in my life. And the big secret recipe? Why, stuffed mushrooms of course.
For all you non-vegans that'd be some mushroom bases, chopped up and sauteed with minced garlic, herbs like oregano and rosemary, and of course the piece de resistance... bacon. Always a good secret weapon with carnivore significant others, but it especially works with the earthiness of the mushrooms.

Stuffed Mushrooms
4 button or baby bella mushrooms per person- the stem removed but saved
1 clove garlic minced
3 Tbl onion-finely chopped
1 strip of bacon per person
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary
3 Tbl breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Reheat oven to 375. Cook the bacon on stovetop until crispy. Drain and set aside. Discard all but 1 Tbl of the fat and add the onion, garlic and chopped mushroom stems. Add the herbs. Cook until mushroom is soft and onion is translucent. Add salt and pepper.

2. Remove all the cooked filling to a small bowl. Crumble the bacon into bowl and add 1 Tbl of the breadcrumbs. Mix and the fill each mushroom base. Set back into the skillet (provided it's oven safe) and top with remaining breadcrumbs. Bake for 10-15, can also broil for the last 2 minutes to get the tops nice and browned. Serve immediately.

*To make this vegan leave off the bacon and saute in olive oil

To be fair, there's a back story to all this and why I was feeling a little scarred in making this again. As a little appetizer before some main meal I'm now too traumatized to recall, I made some stuffed mushrooms. This I'd done numerous times, usually as my way of cleaning out the boyfriends' fridge from spur-of-the-moment grocery purchases. So this one time I baked the mushrooms in the same skillet I'd sauteed the filling in, as I usually did. In removing the pan from the oven after baking at a fairly high temperature for an extended period of time something in my mind disconnected that this pan had just been in an extremely hot oven, thinking it'd just been on the stove the handle perfectly room temperature, and I went to grab it with my bare hand. And oh the burn! It lasted most of the night. The boyfriend calling his brother (the ER doctor), my Mom (the burn unit nurse), alternately applying aloe vera while administering Advil and me just crying in pain while begging just to keep my hand in ice cold water. I still remember going to bed that night with my arm draped off the side of the bed in a bowl of ice water. It was traumatic to say the least.

Afterwards it was all chalked up as a very sweet and wonderful thing for a boyfriend to do, acting quickly and with a clear head during a crisis, and in a way it's what most girls want her guy to do in a similar situation. And that was one of the memories I kept going back to over and over after we broke up, thinking how the hell could I let someone like that go. But I think those memories, the ones that make you question everything, are the hardest to let go of. So there may not be a lesson in this, or any kind of single girl break through, other than I can write about this experience with a clear head and dry eyes and it's just become exactly what it is... a memory.

And here I am months later and this memory, this experience in general, him as a whole, just seems like small fish in a big pond compared to how my life is now and how drastically it may be changing in a very short period of time. But no matter what comes of the next few months, I'll always think well on what he did that one time and look for that same small characteristic in the man I'm meant to be with, whoever he may be. Because even though ultimately that guy ended up being a bad egg for me (I always think Veruca Salt when I say that... do you?) that one particular thing I'd love to see again in Mr.-whoever.

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