Friday, May 14, 2010

What it Takes - Roasted Mushroom & Bread Salad

I think one of the milestones of growing up must be when you choose to do the right thing, even when that is the hardest thing to do. To follow your heart, because you hold onto the belief that if you do that, you cannot be steered in the wrong direction. To do your best to handle disappointment with as much grace as you can muster. To keep looking forward, believing in possibility and opportunity and to be ready to greet those things with a heart that is wide open.

It takes a lot of strength to do those things. It takes confidence, and peace of mind in knowing that you've learned from your past, and that those lessons weren't wasted.

It takes knowing that the possibility for change only happens when you let go. Clear the decks and open up. Letting go of the control you only think you have. Nothing changes when you hold on too tight. It's a scary thing to let yourself fall. To jump into the wide open of change and possibility without a net in sight.

It's scary. But I can't help but think I'd rather grow, and change, and learn. Even when it hurts. Maybe especially when it hurts. Another opportunity to make myself stronger.

How's that for a positive attitude?

It took years before I could look a mushroom dead on. Fungus. I hated the musty little things. I would never even think of eating one. There was something so creepy about them. I couldn't really put my finger on it, but I had an extremely healthy distrust of mushrooms.

Thank goodness for change and growth. Now I can't get enough of them. Especially when they're roasted with a bit of sherry, torn off pieces of bread, tossed together with loads of herbs and topped with a dollop of creme fraiche. It's a delicious dinner that comes together in a snap. I could eat this stuff for days.

Roasted Mushroom & Bread Salad

1 lb crimini mushrooms (a blend of mushrooms would be fantastic in this)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp dry sherry
1/2 lb chunky breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
creme fraiche (or plain yogurt) for garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 475. Put the mushrooms into a baking dish and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the mushrooms. Roast the mushrooms for about 20 minutes on the upper rack of the oven, toss the mushrooms once and de-glaze the dish with the 2 tbsp of sherry. Put back in the oven and roast for an additional 10 minutes, until the mushrooms have darkened and shrunk significantly.

Meanwhile, coat the breadcrumbs with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toast in the oven or a toaster oven. When the mushrooms and breadcrumbs are done, toss together with the herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with creme fraiche and serve.

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