Sunday, August 8, 2010


This is the other thing I'm stuck with in vast quantities. There's an entire case of 4 oz Brandywine stems & pieces. Plus, several other varieties. And I don't really like mushrooms. Actually, I liked canned better than fresh, but only when heavily seasoned with pretty much anything.

Today, I tackled the 21 oz jar of marinated button mushrooms. Reading the ingredients, I realized that the seasonings were much like what you add to tahini paste when you make hummus or baba ghannouj. So, I figured I'd try to make some kind of a dip along those lines.

Tahini is wonderful. Basically ground sesame seeds, it has a nutty flavor that is very peanut-butter like. To make baba ghannouj, you roast an eggplant at 400º until it's a mushy purple lump, scoop out the insides, and puree it with generous amounts of tahini, garlic, and a little lemon juice. Yummy dip. Hummus is pretty much the same recipe, but sub in a can of garbanzo beans for the eggplant. The tahini isn't cheap, but if you have access to a middle-eastern market, it won't break the budget.

When I opened the jar of mushrooms, they smelled more like salami wrapped around a pickle. I rinsed off most of the garlic and herbs and tossed them in the food processor with about half a cup of tahini paste. Not my best experiment. After an hour in the fridge, the flavors melded into something palatable, but I'm guessing I shouldn't have used the marinated ones for this idea. The tahini couldn't balance the strong vinegar in the mushrooms.

At least I'm not out any money for this experiment. The one thing I hadn't anticipated when I started this project was how cheap my trips to the supermarket would get. I thought I'd be spending more, getting all sorts of ingredients to make the pantry items work. Instead, I'm still buying the sorts of things I always do, but the pantry is those stray rare ingredients that tend to run up the grocery bill.

The next time I have an opportunity to cook is Tuesday. Think I'm going to check out a produce market I recently discovered and buy an eggplant. Baba ghannouj sounds really good right now.

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