Catherine Bussiere: food and friendship

I was away this week end
amongst other things, I was visiting a good friend of mine who is moving away
it was a last chance to see her for a while
she is moving to Korea for several months and who knows where after that
as there is hardly anything left in her apartment I suggested that I would bring fresh goods from my garden and cook for her
aside from garden produce I had a prize item that I knew she would appreciate

for the past few months my husband has been passionate about wild mushrooms
if not everyday, every second day he will walk the woods to see what may have popped up
lately he has been searching for the great king bolete
it’s bolete season you see
in Italian it called porcini
whatever it’s called it is a star mushroom for any food aficionado

last Thursday my diligent men found “the king”
just imagine the excitement in the house
well that is for me and my husband
my lovely daughter could care less about fungus at the moment
someday maybe
so with whom could we share this wonderful treat?

turns out it was with my lovely friend Ambera

I do not have pictures of the meal I made for her in her empty apartment
where all that was left for tools was one small cutting board, two pots and a sharp knife
no more chairs or table
we were camping in the city
turns out all you need for a fabulous meal is a handful of fresh ingredients and good spirit

Before we left for the city I had picked : tomatoes, leeks, red onion, green beans, basil, parsley, I had a bulb of garlic and had brought some fresh homemade vinaigrette
Of course there was the king, all prepped up by my husband ready to be cooked
I bought red wine, cream and fresh linguini

Ambera had butter, salt and pepper
she had paper plates and plastic cups
and another bottle of wine

As soon as we arrived the first bottle was open
as they sat on the kitchen floor I got busy
First the leeks, cleaned and thinly chopped lengthwise
in a pan with melted butter I made them caramelize
just enough, then added the string beans with a little salt

that’s done
set it aside

chopped tomatoes, red onion and basil
put that on a plate with the vinaigrette

so exciting because you know when you make something for the first time and you just know it’s bound to be delicious,
I melted a good chunk of butter and threw the kings in
I had them sautéed for a while until just brown
I added that whole bulb of garlic (minced)
mixed it a little and put in the rest of the first bottle of wine

by then there was about 1/2 cup left

I let that reduce as Ambera opened the second bottle

the wine was going down nicely and so was the conversation

when my wine had reduced to about a tablespoon (the one in the pan) I added the cream (1 cup of 35%)
you can’t go wrong with cream
In the meantime I had had the pasta cooking
by the time my cream had reduced (not too much) I added the parsley and the pasta and lovingly tossed that ensemble

I served my love and my friend
the paper plates filled with a meal fit for a king
glorious in it’s simplicity

on the floor of Ambera’s empty kitchen
we savored our friendship
in the most beautiful way
without artifice

with warmth, king boletes
oh what the heck, lets open one more bottle





9 thoughts on “Catherine Bussiere: food and friendship

  1. A note on mushroom all you hungry people: do go out with someone who is well versed on the topic before you start eating what you find.

    Mushrooms grow in different environment and at different times of year. Ex: the Chanterelle in our area goes from say July to September. Bolete season is now. The king bolete is growing under a thick forest of evergreen amongst needles but the Chanterelle grows in a more open and mixed forest. Most mushrooms have look alike that may not be so good for you. Some mushroom are plain poisonous.

    And yes, once you find the jackpot you may keep it a secret!


  2. Pas de bolets près d’ici, à Québec mais des coperins chevelus, encore et encore. et des lépiotes lisses ( à ne pas confondre avec l’amanite vireuse, mortelle! ) Deux champignons 3 étoiles également. Mis je n’ai pas tes talents de cuisinière Catou. J,aurais bien aimé gouter “le king, préparée à ta manière. Je suis certain que ce devait être vraiment délicieux.


  3. Hm Porcini a star mushroom? Lucky you finding them. I remember finding Shaggy Mane mushrooms in our orchard among the old apple trees. What fun it was tip toeing through the meadow on a dewy morning, hoping to find what we thought were the creme de la creme of the mushroom family right there on our property. We sort of kept it a secret LOL Great blog as usual Catherine


  4. My goodness–I never thought to look in our woods for Porcini mushrooms—what if they actually grow here in Indiana U.S and I’ve been missing out all these years. I can see I’m going to have to get with one of the local fungi experts and follow up on this. I’ve only ever used the dried porcini, and then sparingly as they are rather dear to buy and it always feels like a bit of a splurge to use a handful in a dish. Loved the story of your loving “good bye” gift of a special meal for your friend. Pat Probst


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