Monday, June 27, 2011

Cooking with Friends: Tommy


Meet my little brother.  Isn't he cute?  Well, he doesn't really look like that anymore, obviously, but I still think he is cute.  Just in a more grown up, manly way.  (And yes, I know, my glasses were awesome.)

Tommy is not a cook.  He can cook, I guess, but I have never really seen proof of these skills.  No wait, I have...  one day, when I came home from high school tired, Tommy said, "Sis, I am going to make you dinner!"  He had a big smile plastered on his face.  Being six and half years younger than me, that would put him at about 5th or 6th grade at this time.  I was curious to see what cooking skills an elementary schooler would have, so I sat down at the table and waited.  It didn't take long.  About five minutes later, beaming from ear to ear, Tommy presented me with my dinner: a bowl of Easy Mac. 

No bowl of mac n' cheese could ever beat that one.

Later, when he was in high school and he was visiting me at my place, he said those typical words of a teenage boy:  "I'm hungry."  So I told him to go into the kitchen and get something to eat.  "What am I supposed to eat? (grumble grumble)"  Suggestions went up, grilled cheese, tuna sandwich, quesadilla... each one was met with, "I don't know how to do it."  "Alright," I said while pulling him into the kitchen, "I am going to teach you how to make a quesadilla.  It is really easy."  (Grumble grumble)  And then he asked me the question that I hope he has learned by now to never ask the other women in his life: "Why do I have to make it?  Why can't you?"  Ha!  Yeah right, Buster Brown!  Well, Tommy learned how to make a quesadilla that day, and although he wasn't outwardly showing his happiness, I am sure on the inside he was oozing with gratefulness that I was helping him survive against future starvation.

Or maybe not.  Whatever.

This week he was back to visit, a little older, a little wiser.  Now he is a married man with a career and a life of his own.  And from what I hear, a little more cooking skills than before.  After I begged and pleaded gently suggested, he decided to help me cook dinner one night.  It was no new recipe to you (if you have been following this blog) but I will put the link to it  HERE so that you, too, might try. 

The store was out of large Portobello's so we used stuffing sized ones.

Proof that I am working, too.  He is busy making the sauce while
I am fixin' up some mashed potatoes.

The look of success!
(Or maybe, "Yeah yeah, I did it, now let's eat!!!)

INGREDIENTS:  (My changes are in italics.)

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, stemmed and gills scraped out
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup cognac or brandy
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard


  1. In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the flour and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In an extra-large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Rinse half of the mushrooms quickly and shake in the bag of seasoned flour, then add to the pan and cook, turning once or twice, until golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Add the onions to the pan, lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Carefully pour in the cognac, simmer until nearly evaporated, then stir in the peppercorns, bouillon base and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the cream and mustard. Return the mushrooms to the pan and simmer, turning the mushrooms occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to serving plates and continue to simmer the sauce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the mushrooms.
I always make mashed potatoes and use the extra sauce as a gravy.  I serve with green beans.  Mmm mmm good!

COST: $8.65      PER SERVING (4): $2.16
Plus potatoes and green beans: $3.30


  1. there's something gratifying about cooking, especially cooking with friends. you'd be proud of me, tiffany! i helped prepare some good ol' loaf, with pasta & string beans. it was heavenly.

    glad another dinner was a success!

  2. I am proud of you! Maybe you will be a "featured friend" on this blog one of these days ;)


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