Monday, November 17, 2008

Champion Champignons (et Tomates)

People have preferences; I understand that. Some people prefer crunchy peanut butter to creamy. Some people don't like to eat meat. I personally shy away from foods served with eyeballs still attached.

However, I have noticed a disturbing commonality amongst the dislikes of many people I've met in my life. For some reason, a flabbergastingly large number of my acquaintances list mushrooms, or tomatoes, or even both among their "foods to avoid." This is an atrocity. Aside from reasons due to allergies (I am so sorry), I do not understand how a lifetime of fine dining experiences can be enjoyed when one does not like mushrooms and tomatoes. I, personally, have the two listed on my "must have at all times" ingredients list, along with milk and eggs and avocadoes, and use them for nearly every dish I cook. Continuing to live sans these two delectable gifts from heaven is simply unacceptable.

If you are one of those who match this outrageous description, consider the following:
  • Imagine a normal hamburger, done the way you like it (medium, rare, etc.) Pretty yummy, huh? Now imagine it with some fresh sliced mushrooms, lightly sauteed in butter or olive oil and sprinkled with freshly ground peppercorn lying atop your burger, perhaps with some melted swiss cheese and a dab of horseradish sauce. Vegetarian? Then imagine the perfect stir fry, with crunchy snow peas and water chestnutes and baby corn, perhaps some fried tofu, and then tossed with whole mushrooms lightly browned in sesame oil and a bit of soy sauce. Without the mushrooms, it would just be crunch and not very satisfying.
  • Now for the tomatoes. Tomatoes are one of those gems from the earth where, even without adding external flavoring, has a sweet and delicious flavor all of its own. When you bite into one, it both quenches your thirst and satisfies your taste buds all in one while instantly filling your mouth with all natural goodness. Imagine some home grown deep red tomatoes, sliced and decorated with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese... you poke your fork in so that you perfectly skewer one slice of cheese with one slice of tomato and the perfect amount of basil... the perfect bite. Could there be a more perfect flavor combination? I think not.
Merci beau coup.