Sunday, February 7, 2010

Things I like and things I don't

Everyone has their preferences, and some cannot be changed.

I have very few foods that I outright dislike, but there are a few combinations I can't stand, such as fruit and chocolate. I realize that this is verboten for a foodie. But I've adhered to this opinion for more than three decades and I just don't see myself changing my mind. It doesn't matter what kind of fruit you pair with what kind of chocolate: the idea of any of it turns my stomach. So please don't start listing in astonishment all the different kinds of fruit you adore with chocolate; it will only make me dig my heels further in my anti-fruit-and-chocolate stance.

I know I'm not alone in having immutable preferences. The husband, for instance, doesn't care for eggplant. I can offer it in parmigiana, moussaka, or baba ghanoush form, all of which I find absolutely delicious, but he holds fast to his belief: eggplant is no good. And given that he eats pretty much everything else, I don't foist eggplant on him. Although I love it, I can understand why he wouldn't.

So when I mention the recipe I made the other night, yet another old faithful from Marcella Hazan, if you don't like mushrooms, you may as well not bother with this post. Mushrooms play a starring role here and there is no substitute.

But if you do like mushrooms, this might up your alley: creamy mushroom and ham sauce, tossed with fettucine. Mushrooms and ham happen to be two things I like quite well, and if you add shallot, parmesan, and cream and toss it with beautiful strands of pasta, I'm sold.

This recipe taught me how to coax mushrooms to give up their liquid. It goes like this: Start them in a pan with some butter and salt over low heat. Once they begin to release their liquid, crank up the heat and boil it off rapidly. You're left with pure concentrated mushroomy goodness.

I'm feeling a little lazy and am not going to type out this recipe. But as I said with Marcella's pot roast,  feel free to email me and I'll scan and send it to you. I cross my cream-and-butter-logged heart.

On Friday, after a long week, this was the perfect dinner to send us into the weekend. It's important to have a relaxing Friday evening, as it shapes your mindset for the weekend. So whatever that means to you--creamy pasta with mushroom sauce or chocolate-dipped strawberries-- make sure it's something that makes the work week recede rapidly into the distance and lets you focus on the delicious plate in front of you.


  1. To each their own I say (although I do secretly think the choc-fruit thing is a bit weird ;P). Our family has banana issues and custard issues, but I've finally convinced both kids that mushrooms are a good thing :) Your mushroomy pasta would be very welcome

  2. well, i don't like mushrooms, but i decided to bother with the post anyway. who knows, maybe they'll grow on me. (not literally, i hope...) :)

  3. Hungry Dog, I think that each and every one of us has quirky food preferences. I personally hate foie gras. Ew. But around here it's pretty much grounds for shunning to admit that out loud. I just smile and refuse it when it's offered. Or I give it to Dan.

    This pasta looks wonderful. I've just started to enjoy mushrooms in the past few years. Right now we've got beautiful wild mushrooms.

    Stick to your guns! No fruit and chocolate on this blog!

  4. Things I didn't like before I started getting a CSA: beets, green bell peppers.

    Things I have since learned to like: beets. (As of a couple of weeks ago!)
    Things I have since learned to tolerate: bell peppers (but they must be in something like Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, fajitas, or jambalaya)

    Other things I used to hate but now like, at least some of the time: asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, fennel.

    Things I have always liked: mushrooms, ham, and cream! The pasta looks great, and sounds perfect for a relaxing Friday night.

  5. As another "cream-and-butter-logged heart", there are few things in the food category that I don't like. But the one thing that I dislike is calf's liver. Maybe it is a texture thing, I don't know.

    Your pasta dish here sounds like a great way to use leftover ham & mushrooms with a bite of butter & cream.

    Great quick recipe to keep handy, thanks...

  6. Heh, well I don't care for mushrooms, but I promise won't try to convince you to like fruit and chocolate. ;)

  7. I am actually close to changing my opinion on mushrooms... after 52 years, I am close to almost enjoying them.. sometimes

  8. We all have food preferences and dislikes, but I have once in a rare while reversed a previously held opinion. Unfortunately oysters never made it to the re-educated list. I've tries oysters once a year for 40 years and still can't get them down. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. Hilarious! I posted a lasagna Marcella recipe today using the same base flavours. Ham, Mushrooms and creamyness. Yum!! So good.

  10. I like chocolate paired with fruit, I like eggplant, and mushrooms rank really high on my list too. Your creamy pasta dish looks very comforting on a Friday eve after a hard week. If I bring a bottle of wine, can I pull-up a chair and join you?

  11. shaz: I like bananas, but not in things--just plain. And I don't really like custard much either!

    grace: thanks for sticking with the post. I can totally understand not digging mushrooms but I sure do love them.

    kate: I sort of like foie gras but feel bad about it so don't eat it.

    camille: I like everything on your list except green peppers but like you will tolerate them in certain things--like fajitas. That's about it though.

    george: liver seems to be a common dislike--it does have an unappealing, mealy quality. Yuck.

    Bob: thanks, man.

    A Year on the Grill: I totally get it--sometimes your mind/palate just can't be changed.

    Mary: thanks for visiting! I can understand disliking oysters--I like them but they are weird.

    Katerina: I'm on my way to your blog in a moment!

    Velva: please do! :)

  12. Every family has their likes and dislikes...mine does too. One doesn't like mushrooms, one doesn't like beef and list goes on and on.
    I LOVE mushrooms, eat them every chance I get- even in my breakfast omelet.
    And I admit it, I love eggplant. So you can come to my house when I make it. ;)

  13. You don't like fruit with chocolate? Even candied orange peels dipped in dark chocolate? Oooh, those are heaven!

  14. Hungry Dog, I love mushrooms, tolerate eggplant, peeled only, if not it's like biting into aluminum foil. Hate calves liver, nasty bit of meat! But mostly I despise eggs.....deviled, scrambled or poached, just can't get them down. However, after 50 odd years, I did meet an omelet I liked in Paris this last trip. Fluffy, filled with Gruyere cheese served with Dijon mustard and a glass of Muscadet. Lovely, simply lovely. It gives me hope. But I must say, I live for the chocolate covered ginger from Lilac Chocolates in Greenwich Village. That would be the ultimate Valentine's gift. (Hopefully someone in my family is reading this.)
    I love this pasta dish. As a fellow Marcella Hazan lover, I know it well.
    I'll be over with Velva, I'll bring dessert!

  15. Barbara: I wish I *could* come over to your house for eggplant...I almost never eat it!

    Food Gal: ugh, no.

    Pam: Hey I don't like eggs either! At all! Well, I can eat the deviled, although I wouldn't seek them out. But I don't care for them any other way. You're practically the only other person I've ever met who shares this dislike!

    I thought you might be familiar with this Marcella classic... :)

  16. Hmmm, how about candied ginger? That's not a fruit though... still curious! It's funny you chose mushrooms for this post, because that is yet another food item that many people can't stand (me, I'm a foodhoe I love everything... ) Looks delicious! p.s. I always have such a hard time commenting on your blog - very good security

  17. Hmmm, how about candied ginger? That's not a fruit though... still curious! It's funny you chose mushrooms for this post, because that is yet another food item that many people can't stand (me, I'm a foodhoe I love everything... ) Looks delicious! p.s. I always have such a hard time commenting on your blog - very good security

  18. foodhoe: sorry you have trouble posting comments! I just have the default security set up here but maybe I should change it...I don't want to make it hard for people to comment. Thanks for letting me know!

  19. Much love to the 'shrooms. I have a couple of friends who get a little freaked by them -- texture perhaps -- but they don't mind it when they're chopped up and not in giant pieces. This dish would be great even for iffy mushroom eaters, because it's mixed with so many other om-nom-nommy things!