Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I Like Whiskey
That will not come as a surprise to people who know me. What may surprise is that I don't drink it much any more. In my far away youth, I could down my share and still be able to undress and put myself to bed. (We won't discuss the next morning. . .) No, I didn't become an alcoholic, but one stinkin' hang-over too many and I decided enough was enough. Occasionally I do enjoy a beer or Rye Presbyterian. Anyway, a few months ago I found a bottle of Irish Whiskey I'd bought, oh, 30 years ago when Irish coffee was all the rage. Since I don't do Irish coffee any more, I wanted to come up with some use for the half-full bottle. Everyone knows wine is not only good to drink, but it's also an excellent ingredient in recipes. Being a daring type, I discovered that chicken cooked with Bourbon is even better. Irish Whiskey didn't work as well. As I often do when working up a new recipe, I went sniffing. Yeah -- I would be totally unable to cook without a sense of smell! How better to figure out what combination of ingredients will end up as a satisfying dish? Mushrooms and sour cream ended up partnering with my Irish Whiskey. Along with angel hair pasta and a few seasonings, it makes a tasty side dish or main course. The recipe is also quick, easy to make and inexpensive. Here's how it's done: Clean 8 oz. of button mushrooms by quickly rinsing them in water, or use a mushroom brush to remove dirt. Trim stems. Here's where you have a decision to make. Spouse doesn't like the texture of cooked mushrooms so I chop them in a food processor. You can do that or slice them -- it's your call. Cook a pound of angel hair pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, over a med. high flame, heat up a large skillet and add 2-3 Tbs. butter. Add the mushrooms and a couple large pinches of kosher salt. Saute til the mushrooms start to brown. Lower heat and carefully add 1/2-2/3 cup Irish Whiskey. Add freshly ground pepper, more salt and onion powder to taste. Stir in a generous cup of sour cream and warm through without boiling. Add cooked pasta to the skillet along with a cup of the pasta cooking water. Cover and warm an additional 5 minutes. Serve. Don't be afraid to experiment with booze. DO be careful when adding it to a hot pan!