Archive for the ‘friendship’ Category

Tortellini with Mushrooms & Sage (finally!)   Leave a comment

Just before Thanksgiving, we finally managed to get together for dinner with our friends Molly and Romanus and their sweet little baby, Ramogi. We’ve been trying to do this for months–literally since August–but have been plagued by illnesses, unexpected house repairs, and general busyness. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, we came within one hour of having them over, but Mimi woke up from her nap with a fever of 102 degrees and we didn’t want to subject their new baby to an unpleasant bug.

When we finally did manage to have them over for dinner, we discussed all of those things that parents are obliged to talk about whenever they get together: sleep schedules, eating patterns, gadgets. But our talk was not limited to child-rearing. Romanus is from Kenya, so we talked about Kenya and Kenyan food. Molly is writing a dissertation in applied economics and we discussed her work and the difficulties of writing for a committee (something I know one or two things about myself). Naturally, we talked about politics.

We also ate well.

I served a dish that I often make in the Fall: Tortellini with Mushrooms and Sage. It’s a good meal to make for entertaining (unless your guests are lactose intolerant) because it looks impressive (my photograph doesn’t do it justice), but is really simple to make. You cook it in one pan, which speeds clean-up; it’s made without meat, making it vegetarian (if not vegan). Of course, the best thing about it is that it tastes good. Serve with some crusty French bread and a salad.

For dessert, we had this:

–a chocolate honey tart, another well-loved stand-by. I’ll post that recipe some time soon. Until then:

Tortellini with Mushrooms & Sage

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tbs. butter
2 8 oz. packages of baby portobello mushroom, chopped into quarters
2/3 cup vegetable stock
2 9 oz. packages of prepared fresh mushroom tortellini (I use Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnoletti, which I highly recommend for this dish)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry vermouth (optional, but a worthy addition–dry white wine will also work here)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms by completely submerging them in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain them, chop them finely, and reserve the soaking liquid. Melt the butter in a large pan with a lid and sauté the shallots until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the portobello and porcini mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and allow to cook until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and mushroom soaking liquid. Add the tortellini and simmer, covered, until the tortellini cooks through (usually about 5 minutes, but consult the package directions and test them for doneness). Add the cream, stir and simmer for about one minute. Add the vermouth, sage, salt and pepper to taste. You could also grate a bit of nutmeg over the top, if you’d like. Stir and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Posted December 7, 2009 by Admin in friendship, Main Dishes, Vegetarian Meals

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Essential Community   Leave a comment

Alas, Thanksgiving is over. Our leftovers are nearly finished, and I’m hearing holiday music in the coffee shop and all the stores. We’ve turned the corner.

But I hate to leave the turkey behind. I love Thanksgiving, but have decidedly mixed feelings about the more commercial season that follows it, so I’m always a little sad as I wash the dishes after the big meal, a meal that seems so simple, straightforward, and lovely. What could be better than an entire day set aside to eating well and feeling grateful?

I’m going to try to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive this year by maintaining and expressing gratitude as often as possible during the next few weeks. To that end, I’d like to begin the season with a simple expression of gratitude to my friends and family. Thank you for sharing your time with me~such a rare commodity. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I may not say it often enough, but I’m grateful to you all.

So, here’s a poem to inaugurate my season of gratitude.

Love Like Salt

by Lisel Mueller

It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher
It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought

It spills on the floor so fine

we step all over it

We carry a pinch behind each eyeball

It breaks out on our foreheads

We store it inside our bodies

in secret wineskins

At supper, we pass it around the table

talking of holidays and the sea.