For years, another mom and I parked beside each other every day as we waited for school to be dismissed. Our daughters were best friends. We both could back our cars into those parking spaces with the precision of experienced truckers. We had to back into the spaces so that we would have a hope of getting out into the crazy flow of traffic that started as soon as the children exploded from the school doors.
Parked side by side, we rolled down the car windows and talked about the ordinary stuff of life. Grocery shopping. Stain removal. Redecorating. Bargain hunting. And cooking. Kay was an excellent cook. One day she was telling me that she had made sauteed mushrooms the night before. I asked for the recipe. She laughed and told me that it was so easy that there was no recipe. So easy that her sixth-grade daughter would make them for an after school snack. (We make ours to go with grilled steaks.) And then she told me how she did it:
Melt butter in a skillet. Add a little Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice. Stir together. Gently stir in a package of sliced mushrooms and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their juices. Continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated and the mushroom are browned.
For two decades now, I've made Kay's mushrooms. I think about her every time I make them. And how I miss seeing her now that we are both grandmothers and our daughters are all grown up and they haven't needed an after school pick up in a very long time.
I never thought about making mushrooms a different way—until we were at the lake last weekend and I realized there was no Worcestershire sauce there. The lake kitchen is decently stocked, but there was no Worcestershire sauce. And the store is miles away.
I would have to make do. I checked out a couple of recipes on Google and found one that called for ingredients I did have in our tiny kitchen. I will give you the recipe I found—plus the adjustments I made. But let me say that I didn't measure anything. I just threw all in a pan and cooked!
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-oz package sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
good sprinkle of garlic powder
a splash of red wine
Stir together lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar and oil. Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot. Add lemon juice/oil mixture, then sauté mushrooms, stirring, until mushrooms release their liquid and it evaporates. Continue stirring until mushrooms are golden brown. Add butter, wine and garlic powder and saute , stirring, until butter is absorbed.
Kay, I love your mushroom recipe and always will. But this second recipe was really good. Like really, REALLY good. I'll still probably use your recipe often because I can do it without thinking. But I want to try this one again. Maybe it was the red wine that added the depth of flavor. Maybe I'll add a little wine to the original recipe. Maybe I'll call Kay and tell her hello.