HMC Day 8: Week 1 Reflection and Smitten Kitchen

It’s been a full seven days since Home Made Challenge began.  The first half of the week was great – I was energetic, I baked a lot, and cooked a lot.  But what I didn’t anticipate was that my lifestyle would become less spontaneous.  Already I’ve had to turn down spur-of-the-moment snack outings and postpone lunch/dinner dates.  My friends and colleagues have been super supportive though, bringing me their home made apple pie and nanaimo bars, which was a boon.

Variety was another lesson.  Living in a single household downtown, I am used to being able to obtain a lot of varied single-serving ready-to-eat items.  On a whim, I could pick up some artisan baked goods (anywhere between bread, scones, cupcakes, spanakopita, baklava, samosas) within a 3 block radius from my apartment.  What this challenge is teaching me is to get back to basics and eat within my own means.

Really, I went into this challenge without a lot of hypothesized outcomes.  One thing that is really surprising me is that it has forced me to remember the other sweets – FRUIT!  Good thing my office is right across the street from a green grocer that sells local fruits.  Usually in the afternoon I crave a sweet snack.  In the past, that has come in the form of baked goods.  But I can’t possibly bake every other day of the week in order to provide myself with enough variety to satisfy my cravings.  Someone kindly reminded me of the magic of fruit, and I realized, that I don’t actually buy or consume a lot of fruit.  This challenge is reminding me about fruit, which is ridiculous!  Because fruit is one of the food groups!

It’s starting to feel a bit like Autumn here in O-Town, what with the recent dip in temperature and lack of sunlight.  Throughout summer I’d been missing my favourite dish to make and eat – Smitten Kitchen’s Mushroom Bourguignon.  I couldn’t bring myself to make it in the summer because it is an Autumn dish.  So, feeling the need for some comfortable stewy food, I decided that last night would be the night.

The recipe is almost perfect.  Below is a list of things I changed, for maximization of nutrition and minimizing of cooking time:

  • I doubled the amount of portabello mushrooms from 2 lb to 4 lbs (about 5 caps)
  • I added 4 veggie-burger patties sliced into thin strips like the mushrooms (add to the pot at the same time as the cooked mushrooms)
  • I did the wine reduction at the same time as cooking the mushrooms – saves a TONNE of time because it takes the same amount of time for the wine to reduce to half of its original volume as the amount of time it takes to heat up another pan, slice the mushrooms, and throw them in.  You can even just leave the mushrooms in their pan while working on adding other things to the wine reduction.
  • Omitting onion and garlic was ok – although I imagine softened pearl onions would boost this dish to heavenly from fantastic.

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