Vertigo B Strikes Out

Mushroom Bourguinon

Last week I went to see Julie and Julia. If you like to cook or bake, go see this movie. It is such an interesting story and Meryl Streep is just a delight to watch.

I have always loved Julia Child. I remember watching her show, about a million years ago, on PBS with my mother. I don’t think my mother ever tried any of her recipes, but she loved to watch her, both of us on the edge of our seats, never knowing what Julia would do or make next.

After seeing her brought to life again, I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be as adventurous and daring about eating as Julia was. Her enthusiasm, her willingness to embrace the unfamiliar was so contagious!

In this vein, I started poking around, looking for new recipes to try. I found this one on Smitten Kitchen’s blog.

So, I did the leg work, assembled the ingredients (after a couple extra trips to the store to procure enough Portobellos…not the best at planning, it turns out). Did all the necessary cutting, chopping, etc. Followed the recipe exactly.

It looked gorgeous and smelled even better. Unfortunately, we are not mushroom people. Well, one of us is, but really this makes far too much for one person to eat easily. We may not be as adventurous as Julia, but I think she would be proud of us for being willing to try something new.

I can tell you, if you are a mushroom person (and in my opinion, you either are or you aren’t) you will love this recipe. There is just no gray area on this issue.

The moral of the story: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

On the other hand, I decided I could no longer live my life without this cake also from Smitten Kitchen. So, on top of everything else I was juggling today, I made it as well. If you are into chocolate and peanut butter, go make this cake. If you aren’t, I ask you, what in heaven’s name is the matter with you?

I skipped the chocolate/peanut butter glaze that you can pour over the top. It just seemed like too much. In hindsight, I am glad I did. This is a super rich cake and super rich frosting. I can’t imagine the jumbo jug of insulin I would need to compensate for the cake with the glaze!

Sure, I can deal with two needy children, one of whom can’t stop bumping her head on every damn thing while whipping all this food up. No problem!

Notice the giant welt in the center of her forehead.

Her record in the ring for today: Furniture-2, Baby C-0.

She started off by smacking her forehead on the leg of the kitchen chair. The judges deemed that one a technical knock out. Decision goes to the chair.

To round out her day, she smacked her left temple/cheek bone on the headboard of the bed. Decision goes to the headboard.

Today, as a reward (yes, bribery does work) for being brave and getting his hair cut, H discovered the virtues of Rockem Sockem Robots. That classic toy is still a hit with the crazy kids. He and Mr. Smith were very loudly playing with them this afternoon. Just look at their faces, locked in fierce competition! Hilarious!

Check out the snazzy new hair cut!

And last but not least, Francesca, this one is for you! Sorry. I intended to post this one this week, but got sidetracked by something shiny! Enjoy, even if you can’t get the smuggled veggies!

Pasta with Vegetables in Salsa Fresca


1 pound pasta (I used fortified penne, but the original recipe calls for fettucini)
2-3 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise paper thin (use the vegetable peeler to cut ribbons)
2-4 carrots, sliced lengthwise paper thin (also use vegetable peeler)
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced peperoncini peppers (green, pickled in a jar, but optional. Gives a little zip to salad)
1 garlic clove, minced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. After about 8 minutes, add
the zucchini and carrots; cook until the pasta is al dente and the vegetables are tender, 2-4 minutes longer.

2. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, oil, cheese, minced pepper, garlic and ground pepper in a serving bowl. Drain the pasta and vegetables, then add to the sauce, tossing to coat.

I added the haricot verts, but you can use any vegetables you have/like.

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