Yes, we have no criminis

Thursday, Dec 01

This is the mushroom blog I warned you about :)–but first, an important update on the bone broth discussion yesterday.  I left out an important ingredient–apple cider vinegar–with is added at the beginning of the simmering process.  As one of you commented, ACV does help dissolve the bones.  Who knew?  Most recipes recommend about 2 tablespoons.
Now begins my mushroom saga (so far), and I’m sure several new arrivals are figuratively scratching their heads and asking themselves, “Isn’t this supposed to be a blog about books?”  🙂  (The answer: Yes.  This is a blog about books, and books are about–everything!)
I mentioned Marco Canora’s cookbook yesterday–it’s the best I’ve seen, so far.  Perusing the recipes (I must be in one of my foodie phases), one for Mushroom Risotto caught my eye.  Ever since I spent considerable time in northern Italy, years and years ago, I have been fond of ANY kind of risotto.  Suffice it to say, it’s delicious, and I’m always thrilled to find it on a menu.  As it happens, my handsome nephew, Chef Luke Burgess, makes a wonderful risotto, along with many other dishes.  If you should happen to be (or live) in the Spokane area, stop by the Latah Creek Bistro.  (Tell Luke Aunt Linda sent you. )  But I digress.  
Reading the ingredient list, I was confronted with several kinds of mushroom.  To me, raised in Northport, Washington, any kind of mushroom was exotic–while a few little fragments showed up in Mom’s tuna casserole, which called for a can of cream of m. soup, they remained an unknown quantity for a long time.  Unlike the wild aspargus that grew alongside the railroad tracks, shrooms were in the do-not-pick-and-NEVER-eat category.  I was, in fact, so shroom-ignorant that when I was a bride, one of my sisters-in-law (hi, Karen) asked me why I didn’t add the lovely fungi to a certain dish.  My reply?  Brace yourself for a rush of stupidity.  I said, “I don’t know how to peel them.”  Laughter ensued and, like the time I made—well, another story for another time, the statement shall live in familial infamy forever.
Okay, so by now I recognized most of the names–button, shiitake, portobello, etc.  But the ones called “criminis” threw me, so I Googled.  OK.  Criminis are basically portobellos that haven’t reached the age of reason.  Gotya.  Except nobody seemed to have them, or even know what they were.  Huh?  I defaulted to the internet.  Believe it or not, I ordered two pounds of the things, because darn it, I needed criminis, and would accept no substitutes.  Confident of quick delivery, I gathered the other ingredients, and, a day or two later, got out my largest stock pot, set to go.  I received the customary notice on my phone that my order had been delivered, though this proved untrue.  The postman had apparently placed the package in someone else’s mail box, which happens sometimes and is really no big deal–unless you’ve already chopped the carrots and celery, etc.  I would be forced to substitute, I decided, and made a quick trip to my nearest supermarket, to buy portobellos, the nearest relation, and, voila, there were my criminis!  Piles of them.  The quest was over!  Back home, I fired up the stove and put the wide-mouth Mason jars through the dishwasher.  I was ready to roll!  (Note: mushroom broth requires a LOT less cooking time than bone broth–it simmers around 2 hours, as opposed to the 24 my bone broth takes.)
The mushroom broth turned out….fabulous.  I added some to that batch of chicken soup I mentioned last time, and put the rest in the freezer.  I will be attempting my first risotto this coming weekend.  Cross your fingers!
So, what did I learn from this experience?  Well, for one thing, I really, really like to cook.  For another, it would probably be simpler to head on down to Latah Creek Bistro for an order of Luke’s risotto next time the craving hits.  🙂 

About Linda

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West.

Raised in Northport, Washington, Linda pursued her wanderlust, living in London and Arizona and traveling the world before returning to the state of her birth to settle down on a horse property outside Spokane.

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