Feminist Chef

9 Oct

WELL HOWDY, MOTHERFUCKERS! I’ve been gone for so long! I got a promotion in April, from sous chef to head chef, which means I haven’t written a thing in the past year that wasn’t menu specs or some flowery verbiage on an item’s description. My new job is both deeply challenging and profoundly empowering, but my other creative pursuits have all but fallen off the face of the earth.

You know how there’s about 940 examples of people writing about their jobs on the internet and then their boss finds out and said writer gets fired? Well, I have to remind myself of that. Its not that I want to shit talk or even criticize my place of employment, in fact I’m remarkably proud of the restaurant that I’ve come to feel is my restaurant. I love it there. But being an impassioned feminist means that I find unintentional, massive, structural flaws in all sorts of establishments, and mine is no different. If anything, I believe that the restaurant industry has a lot to overcome before I’d consider it a socially equitable industry. I would love to have a creative outlet where I could share my viewpoints on what its like being a feminist chef… but I don’t think I can do it here. Unfortunately in my small town, everyone knows everyone and what I’d call (imperative) constructive criticism others would call slander. That, or I’m a damn coward. Not sure which. So while I try to get back into the hang of writing I’m going to play it safe. I’m going to write about food. And stuff that’s related to food that I think is insane. And maybe some garbage food I find of Pinterest.

…and maybe, if I’m feeling saucy, I will write about the assholes. Because the industry knows no shortage of assholes!

For now, let’s talk about some fucking mushrooms!

Last weekend I was supposed to go chanterelle picking with my two buddies, which I found VERY EXCITING because NO ONE WILL EVER TAKE ME MUSHROOM HUNTING. Dude, people who pick mushrooms are so territorial about their little hidey holes of mushroomery that its damn near impossible to figure out how and where to safely hunt for mushrooms. I know plenty of people have taught themselves from books and internet resources, but since I’m fairly averse to the idea of the paralytic, diarrheal ocean that is toxic mushroom poisoning, I’m only interested in ingesting things I find in moldy old stumps if someone smarter than me tells me its ok.

Go figure I forgot I had to work that day, so while I sprinted around in the florescent lights of the kitchen, Steve and Danielle combed the Mount Baker wilderness in the dappled sunlight like a couple of goddamn enchanted forest gypsies. And it paid off! After three hours they arrived back in town with 12 pounds of beautiful golden chanterelles. They dried them on their counter tops and the next day Danielle handed me a full grocery sack to do what I wanted with.

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Over the next 48 hours I made gruyere and chanterelle biscuits, a rich, simple chanterelle cream pasta, chanterelle bisque, and this sexy little thang, the chanterelle and gruyere quiche. It’s not hard, I’ll tell you how!

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Firstly you need to make some dough, which is actually a lot more open to interpretation than most people think. I put two cups of flour and a tablespoon of salt into the food processor. I cut up half a stick of cold butter into little pieces, and while the processor was on I dropped them in piece by piece until the flour looked sandy. Then I grabbed 3/4 cup of ice water and drizzled it in until it clumped together into a ball. Took the ball out, rolled it onto a floured surface, put it in a buttered pie pan and VOILA YOU MADE A CRUST, LOOK AT YOU GO, YOU BEAST! The crust needs to be par baked so it doesn’t so out when you add the filling, so throw it in the oven at 350 for like, 12 minutes or until its firmed up and showing a little color. The bottom of it will be puffing up in a little air bubble, so stab it with a fork a few times and now that problem is solved!

Oh yeah, you have to saute the mushrooms! Put them in a pan with nothing else and let them sauté  until they release all their water and the water evaporates. Then, AND ONLY THEN do you toss with butter and salt and pepper. If you do add butter at the beginning the shrooms stay soggy. And if you add salt at the beginning they just sweat it all out anyway.

Ok, add the sautéed, not soggy/not wet shrooms into a bowl with 5 eggs, a fistful of grated gruyere, and whatever else you have lying around. I added half a bunch of nearly dead rainbow chard and some scallions. I seasoned it with about what you’d expect, plenty of salt and pepper, some red pepper flakes, and a bit of rosemary. Stir all that around, put into par-baked shell, and bake the whole mess for about 40 minutes, until the eggs are firm and a toothpick comes out free of any egg-goo.

There you have it folks. Also, you can put literally anything into a quiche so do whatever the fuck you want! As long as you don’t add butter to mushrooms before they’ve released their liquid you’re good. If you DO add butter at the beginning of a mushroom saute then fuck you because you’re the reason people think mushrooms have a gross texture. Do a favor to all the mushroom haters out there and please stop doing that immediately. K Bye!

One Response to “Feminist Chef”

  1. Matt October 10, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    Oh so THAT’S why mushrooms have gross texture! Butter too soon… non-intuitive but perfectly explanatory. I lurve you so much, Sal 🙂

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