Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Falling Gently In Love

Summer may be a time for passion and exuberance and general shameless raunchiness (oh yeah), but in my opinion, the fall is a time to gently drift into love. Although my hormones may not be the same as they were when I was a horny teenager (thank goodness for that), DH still makes me melt in so many delicious ways. And while my feelings for him are in constant bloom throughout the seasons (that's almost poetic - oh drat, now I've embarrassed him), there's something rather special about standing with your loved one and being enveloped by the beauty of a clear fall day. I know this sounds cliche, but it is incredibly romantic! I never realized what autumn/fall was really all about while I was growing up in the Middle East - where the temperature typically ranges from scorching hot to mildly comfortable. Sure, you know the theory behind the four seasons, because that's what you learn in geography class, and you see the pretty pictures and watch movies. But it never really hits home until you're actually confronted with it. After living in this part of the world for so many years, you do get a little cynical and start thinking of fall in terms of flu vaccines, the back-breaking work of raking leaves, and ridiculously chilly weather when you're still not ready to pack away your sandals. Dear readers, let's all be optimists this time around. Let's stop and stare in amazement at that tree in front of your house that's turned a bright shade of yellow/orange/red seemingly overnight. Let's enjoy the simultaneous cold breezes and warm sun. Best of all, let's embrace the flavors and smells of fall - especially with that special someone who still makes your toes curl (here's lookin' at you, DH).
Mother Nature sprinkles her magic dust all over Connecticut, as bright splashes of yellow, orange and red take over the landscape.

Along Kennedy Drive in the Northeast corner of CT.

Zipping along the famous Route 169 in CT - which claims to be "the last green valley".

This isn't my house, but man o man, you know I wish it was!

Red leaves do more for me than red roses.

Puts me in the mood for something rich and flavorful - and carby of course!

Mushroom Bourguignon With Egg Noodles (this budget-friendly recipe is from Two Spoons, who adapted it from one of my foodie blogger crushes, Deb from The Smitten Kitchen)
Serves 2-4

Click here for printable recipe

2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp butter
1 lb portobello mushrooms, sliced about 1/4 of an inch thick
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 - 2 cups beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp of salt (or more, depending on the salt level in your broth)
Freshly ground black pepper
Egg noodles for serving
Sour cream and chopped parsley or chives for garnish

1. Heat half the oil and butter in a large, deep saucepan on medium high heat. Throw in the sliced mushrooms and stir till they are darkened, but do not give off any liquid (about 2 mins). Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Lower the heat to medium and add the rest of the oil. Saute the carrots and onions with thyme, salt and pepper, until the onions are golden. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Add a 1/2 cup of beef stock to the pan, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom. Turn the heat up and let the mixture reduce for 2 mins. Mix in the tomato paste, the rest of the broth and the browned mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let the whole thing simmer for 10 mins.

4. Add remaining butter to the pan and sprinkle flour over the top, quickly stirring in. Simmer for another 3-4 mins. Taste, and season further with salt & pepper if needed. To serve, get yourself a bowl of warm, buttery egg noodles, spoon the mushroom bourguignon over the top, and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives or parsley.
Verdict: I like how the portobello mushrooms give this vegetarian bourguignon such a meaty feeling. Although, to be honest, I think I prefer the old-fashioned bourguignon, with lots of tender beef! I didn't use any red wine, which is probably why mine doesn't have the same dark, rich color as Deb's. Maybe next time I'll add a little red wine vinegar instead, and punch it up with some cippollini onions - oh yum! But don't knock this mushroom bourguignon till you've tried it. It's light, yet warm and filling, and just perfect for this in-between, crazy, schizophrenic season we love - fall.
It's been a while, but I'm submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by the effervescent Girlichef this week.


Foodiewife said...

Are you psychic?! I have some portobellas in my fridge, and I want something vegetarian. OMG! Bless you, bless you! Yes! This week, it's on the menu. Muwaaaaaaaaaaah!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful autumn scenery! The bourguignon with mushrooms & noodles sounds wonderful, great seasonal dish!

Joanne said...

Let me tell you a secret - Smitten Kitchen is one of my foodie crushes as well. But SHHH don't tell anyone! Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the food. Now I just need to find someone to cuddle up to and I'll be all set. What a lovely recipe, although I must say I might miss the meat as well!

Foodiewife said...

I had to tell you that I made this for dinner last night. I did add the red wine, and it was delicious! I'll be posting this in the next day or two. What a wonderful meatless dish. Thanks!

Maria said...

Love the photos, love the dish. I am so hungry right now and it is only 9:25 am.

The scenery is beautiful and I swear I can smell the mushrooms over egg noodles from here.

Velva said...

I really enjoyed your blog post. I smiled,then laughed. Great fall recipe too!

Unknown said...

What a romantic post. And hey, thats man food if I ever saw some lol. I think my hubby would love that. I would love it too, looks delish!

Varsha Vipins said...

I love how comfy this dish looks Muneeba..:)..always love your posts for that humuorous n passionate tone..:)

Doppelganger said...

I love the pictures of fall! They are just gorgeous! and that mushroom bourguignon looks so rich and hearty! I hope you and your DH continue to enjoy all the seasons of many many years to come! We girls just get so lucky sometimes, don't we!? ;)

Heather S-G said...

I can see it!! :) And yes, I love the scenery, the food, the whole mood!!

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

I love your Autumn pictures!! Your dish looks beautiful too!!

I also love your napkin!!! Very cute!!

Donna-FFW said...

Oh the scenery, the colors, that house, all just beautiful, love it!

And the dish, it screams fall, deliciousness and eat me.

Kerstin said...

Awww, what a sweet post, I also love fall. And talk about the perfect comforting dish when there's a bit of chill in the air - yum!

Foodiewife said...

Psssssssssssst! My version of your recipe is on my blog! I gave you a shout!

Duchess of Tea said...

Hello darling, I will start this comment by telling you how much I have missed you these past few weeks. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and prayers. I am one lucky girl to have you as a friend; you truly are the gem in my teacup. I read your comment regarding your visit to a tea shoppe , he laughed and told me to write to you and say that my cooking is as good as my photos…well that’s dad for you, always has a sweet compliment. I also held up my laptop so that he can see your delicious photos, he was fascinated by the recipes and has asked me to prepare them for him. I tell you your blog kept my dad busy for well over an hour, so thank you for having such an interesting blog. I am now off to stroll around your blog to see what I have missed.

I truly missed you luv
Love & Hugs

Jamie said...

Oh wonderful wonderful autumn, mushroomy dish! I love it! And I could eat a plate of this sitting on the porch and staring at the beautiful scenery!