Creation is based on necessity.
I developed a Meat Loaf which was fine as far as it went.
I did not get around to a sauce for it.

Here’s how I thought it through.
A “Mushroom Sauce” immediately popped into my head.
First, traditional.
But second, several meals I ate recently might have been improved with an excellent Mushroom Sauce so it was on my mind.

I remember researching a recipe for a Mushroom Sauce, not finding one that appealed to me.
I could do it without someone else’s recipe(s) as a template, using my experience in combination with a pretty definite idea of the type of sauce I wanted.

As a start, I wanted a pronounced viscosity in the sauce.
Paraphrasing Wiki’s definition: a measure of the liquid’s resistance to gradual deformation by shear stress or tensile stress, corresponding to the informal concept of "thickness."
For example, honey has a much higher viscosity than water.

Easy solution: the tried and true roux, from my own store in the freezer or make it to order. See the recipe for Roux on the Web Site, Recipes.
In this case, it’s easier to make the roux to order than unpacking my frozen container of roux, that container very handy when a sauce I’m heating is too loose.
A teaspoon or so of the frozen roux into the hot sauce is often exactly what the chef ordered. 

So butter and flour will start the recipe.
And tomato paste for an unobtrusive layer of flavor. And color. And so easy.
Both the flour and the tomato paste like to be caramelized, so butter first and then the flour for two minutes cook and then the paste.

Result is a tasty, thickening, coloring agent, although not useful for sautéing the mushrooms.
Set to the side.

I do like my mushrooms well-browned: more appealing to look at, tactilely more resistant, and a more concentrated taste, being somewhat dried out of their water.
So a separate fry pan, with a touch of oil to brown the mushrooms, which should be cut into ¼-bites.
The mushrooms could use some enhancement, some additional layering of flavors.
Shallots are the best option for that, onions being too assertive.
Halfway to browning the mushrooms, I’ll add an equal amount of shallots, cut into the same small pieces as the mushrooms.

We can deal with the herbs and spices when we finish the construct of the recipe. 

We need liquid for the mushrooms and shallots and that quickly reduces to wine and stock, red wine for color and chicken stock because I always have it on hand. A substantial amount because we may plan on using the resulting sauce more than once.
For an extra bit of layering, let’s add ¼ cup each of Madeira wine and French brandy.

If we end up with extra sauce, we can puree it and add a quarter cup to each of our beef, lamb, chicken, and duck gravies stored in our freezers.

So, into a saucepan, a cup each of wine and stock, and ¼ cup each brandy and Madeira.
Add the roux, the mushrooms and shallots, and herbs and spices: salt and freshly-ground black pepper, ½ cup or more of chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, and a teaspoon of herbes de Provence, finger-crushed into the palm of my hand.

And there it is: the base to thicken the sauce (butter, flour, tomato paste,) the solids, mushrooms and shallot cut into small pieces, the liquids, wine and stock, madeira and brandy, and the herbs and spices.

The creation of a recipe.

Appropriately, today’s post is the recipe for the resulting Mushroom Sauce with some minor tweaking of the Meat Loaf which gave birth to the Mushroom Sauce recipe.


Reader’s comment from Colleen Getty who submitted this idea to improve the blog:
“I was thinking that instead of only giving a link to your blog every day, perhaps you could pick the opening sentence or two so readers at least get a glimpse of what they may want to read about and click. Just an idea.”

A great idea. Am trying it immediately.
Colleen also gave us a shout out on her blog, "Room to Write."
A reminder that Colleen has a page on our website, in the Contributing Writers’ section, her page being “Room to Write.”

Thanks, Colleen.
Hope to have the savvy to post the piece with the shout-out to Dom tomorrow.

As soon as I check out the technical issue, I’ll be posting the shout out and other info on her page.
And I’ll put a reminder when I get it done.
Technology so painful to some of us.


BOOK SUMMARY: Of “The Goldfinch”
LEFT OFF: Theo visits Hobie and Pippa, she being the red-head who caught Theo’s eye at the museum.
CHAPTER 4, SECTION 3:  Theo tells Andy of his visit and about Pippa; Andy tells Theo of his crush on Theo’s mother.

Note that the entire summary from the start of the novel to date can be found on the Web Site: Pages; Goldfinch, The – Summary.

Today is Friday, July 20, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my 103rd consecutive daily posting. 

This appears to end a streak of terrific weather in Boston. After today, a streak of wet days will be on us.
I’m at my desk.
Dinner is out at a restaurant called Gaslight Brasserie du Coin. Will report.


“Scarface” (also known as “Scarface: The Shame of the Nation’ and “The Shame of a Nation”) is a 1932 American pre-Code gangster film starring Paul Muni as Antonio "Tony" Camonte.
It was produced by Howard Hughes and Howard Hawks and directed by Hawks.
Written by Ben Hecht, the screenplay is based on Armitage Trail's 1929 novel of the same title, which is loosely based on the rise and fall of Al Capone.
The film features Ann Dvorak as Camonte's sister, and also stars Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, George Raft, and Boris Karloff.
Based on the life of Al Capone, the plot centers on a gangster named Tony Camonte who through his aggressive and violent methods, manages to move up the ranks in the Chicago gangland world. A version of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre is depicted.

Believing that the film was too violent and glorified the illegal acts of the gangster, Hollywood censorship offices called for major alterations of the film including a alternate ending that would greater condemn and shame Tony Camonte.
The secondary title of the film Scarface: The Shame of a Nation, and the prologue condemning gangster crimes at the beginning of the film were both added by request of the censorship offices. Due to the censors, the film was released a year late, but was released with the original, violent ending.
Audience reception was good, but censors banned the film in several cities and states, forcing Howard Hughes to remove the film from circulation and put it in his vault. The rights to the film were recovered after the death of Hughes in the 1970s.
Along with contemporary classics, Little Caesar, and The Public Enemy, Scarface is regarded as one of the greatest gangster films ever made and significantly influenced the future of the gangster film.

"Scarface" was added to the National Film Registry in 1994 by the Library of Congress. In 2008, the American Film Institute listed Scarface as the sixth best film in the gangster film genre in its "Ten Top Ten". Out of 27 reviews, the film holds a 100% "Fresh" rating on the review website Rotten Tomatoes. The film was the basis for the Brian De Palma 1983 film of the same name starring Al Pacino.


Today’s Post

In a fry pan:
Melt 2TB butter.
Add 2TB flour and cook for 2minutes
Add 2TB tomato paste and cook for 4minutes.

In a saute pan:
Heat 1TB olive oil
Add 4oz fresh mushrooms, chopped to medium dice
Brown the mushrooms.
Add 4oz shallots, chopped to medium dice and soften.

In a 12-cup saucepan:
Add 1½ cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine
¼ cup Madeira
¼ cup French brandy
¾ cup fresh, chopped parsley and/or basil

Bring to simmer.

Use the wine/stock to shovel the roux into the saucepan.
Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and shallots.
Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes

Stir and serve

Note that a touch of heavy cream just before service adds richness.
Gilding the lilly?

Post Scripts

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God bless!
Be good.
Be well.
Love you.