A Curiosity


“Odd yet savory” works when describing tonight’s concoction, Mushrooms Fester.  As the dish’s title hints, this is among the recipes Addams Family creator Charles Addams collected and intended to put in a macabre-themed cookbook.  Unfortunately, Addams died before he could complete the project, yet his widow gathered what Addams had found, and published it in the Half-Baked Cookbook.

Among its pages are many unusual items a modern cook would be hard-pressed to create, even if the will to do so were present.  Here you’ll find instructions for “Potted Woodland Squirrel,” as well as a recipe for “Influenza Punch,” calling for, among other items, rum and syrup of cloves.  “Mushrooms Fester” stands out, unusual name aside, as being uniquely achievable, a variation of stuffed mushrooms.

Here’s  closeup, providing a little more detail than what’s in the main photo:Mushrooms Fester Detail

It is a wonderful creation, as mushrooms are bathed in lime juice and are baked stuffed with chopped mushroom stems, butter, garlic and “brown bread crumbs.”  A couple slices of pumpernickel, toasted and crumbled, work well here and compliment the other flavors. Before serving, the mushroom caps are sprinkled with sherry to enhance the taste and to moisten the filling.  Likely, this would make Gomez Addams exclaim,Gomez Addams

 “Fester, old man, what a capital dish!”

The cookbook suggests sherry as an alternative to the original ingredient, hare’s blood.  Seriously.  Apparently, before renaming the preparation for one of his characters, Uncle Fester, Addams found the recipe in an 1840s cookbook, New Things to Eat.  Maybe hare’s blood was something cooks used 175 years ago, but it’s unthinkable nowadays.  Particularly on a personal level, as my first pet was a rabbit.  Besides, sherry is quite nice.

Unpleasantness thus avoided, the preparation comes together well.  Butter and sherry make the filling succulent, while chopped mushrooms and bread crumbs give it substance.  Cilantro, pumpernickel and garlic lend ethereal wisps of flavor.  A quick and perfect warmer for a chilly night spent among the neighborhood’s little ghosts, vampires and witches.

Enough talk.  Morticia trims roses for the dinner table, meaning it soon will be time to dine.  Let’s eat!Morticia Addams

*****

Mushrooms Fester

  • 24 small mushrooms
  • juice from 1 large lime
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (*1)
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, grated (*2)
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons hare’s blood, or sherry (*3)
  • 1/2 cup brown bread crumbs (*4)

Remove and set aside the mushroom stems, then sprinkle the caps with the lime juice.

Mince the mushroom stems and set them aside.  Place a small skillet over a medium flame and melt the butter in it.  Sauté the minced mushroom stems, stirring constantly until tender and golden-brown, about two minutes.

In a mediums bowl mix the sautéed mushrooms with all the other ingredients except the sherry and the mushroom caps.  Stuff the caps with the mixture, mounding it slightly.  Place the mushroom caps, stuffing side up, in a baking dish.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then plate, sprinkle with sherry, and serve.

NOTES:

1 – Cilantro has a superior taste, as it lacks parsley’s bitterness.

2 – Sorry, Fester, I went with a medium shallot.

3 – Shudder.  Where would one even get hare’s blood, even if one were so inclined?  Plus, why give up the opportunity to cook with booze?

4 – Pumpernickel contributes a complimentary flavor, and it definitely qualifies, being a “brown” bread.  Toast two slices, then crumble them.  It adds up to half cup, maybe a little more.

 

66 thoughts on “A Curiosity

    1. Well…much appreciated, Mia! Sincerely, I have nothing to say (yeah, that’s real likely).

      Doesn’t the goblet complete the scene? Very nearly never happened, but the day of the shoot, a shipment arrived, packed in dry ice. Which led me to wonder, “Wait. What if…?”

      Oh, and those mushrooms! Packing them with bread crumbs and garlic, and sprinkling them with sherry is the way to do it. The plan was to make a batch, then to save half for lunch the next day. Yeah, things didn’t quite work out that way…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Parking Garage Guy: “Gentlemen, relax. I’m a professional.”

        Cameron: “Professional what?”

        No, just a hobby. I actually get paid to do something else entirely. Something so mundane, I’ve already forgotten what we’re talking about.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. yum, this is so me … may have to invite myself to a neighbours in order to half-bake them! What a great title for a cookbook 🙂

    But as I don’t use sherry I’m off to look for your pet rabbit to revert to the original recipe ❤

    Happy Halloween everyone 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No, not Thumper! Use my blood, not his!

      I tell you, though, Kate, if there’s one thing that could get me to give up my beloved poultry and shellfish, it’s mushrooms.

      Yeah, yeah, talk is cheap, but you’ve put me on the trail of vegan-friendly recipes, Kate. Sure, it’s only one dish in twenty, but it’s more that I would’ve tried without “meeting” you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re on to something, Kate, though my “big four” would be mushrooms, avocados, artichokes and asparagus.

        Sweet potatoes (not yams!) get pride of place too.

        Wait, we haven’t even started on fruit yet! Let’s see…there are peaches, raspberries….

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Much obliged, JoAnn!

      Thanks, too, for noticing the cutlery. It caught my eye too. I purchased mainly for the thrill of knowing it was tucked away in a drawer, just out of sight. Hoping that someday, somehow, I’d find a use for the set. Well guess what? That “someday” came this weekend!

      Didn’t give the mushrooms nearly the attention they deserve, because I wanted a shot wide enough to offer a glimpse of the silverware. Remedied that somewhat with the closeup later on, but in this case, the “props” nearly outplayed the lead actor!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve found that the set design and staging is as important as the food itself. It can be fun finding little things to add to photos to give it extra interest. 🙂🥣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed, JoAnn, definitely! It’s an ongoing process too, in that weeks sometime separate nomination and realization. It allows time to think about dinnerware, cutlery, etc., not to mention the text that accompanies. More mundane tasks, too, like scouring the markets.

        “What, you actually planned this? Because this has a “Thrown Together in Haste” feel. If you’re saying you actually gave this some thought…”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Right. It shouldn’t looked planned but rather like it was just supposed to look like that. I haven’t done it lately but I used to have a lot of fun scouring second hand stores looking for unique items to put in my photos.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Nice way to spend an afternoon, JoAnn. Sounds fun.

        At times, I considered searching flea markets for interesting plates, tableware, etc., but then I remembered flea markets scare me. For now, Target, Kohl’s, etc. will have to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You know, JoAnn.

        30,000 ties for $2? Twinkie Fan Club – Join the Struggle! After the Revolution, You’ll Be a God!!!

        Takes a mettle much more formidable than my own to withstand such challenges.

        Or maybe it’s just my WASPy reticence.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Most flattering, Tamara, to read of your plans. You won’t be disappointed! The bread crumbs are, above all else, what distinguishes the dish. If you like pumpernickel, use it. There’s a reason why the recipe calls for “dark” bread crumbs after all. They make a splendid stuffing mixed with minced stems, garlic and melted butter. What wouldn’t, actually?

      You’re in luck vis-à-vis the mushrooms too, as none of the fancy, pretentious varieties I favor would work here. No, “plain old” snow caps, overwhelming produce departments in their thousands, are what this recipe needs.

      If you try it, please share your conclusions. OK?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right. I’m in eastern North America, and if I recall, the UK is five hours ahead,, most of Europe is six hours, while the Eastern reaches are seven hours.

        What this means for our conversation is that, when Halloween next arrives for you, it still will be the evening of the 30th here. It’ll be Halloween, but not! Spooky, huh?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not much of a draw for me either, to be honest, but the relatively unexplored culinary aspects do captivate.

        Will this blog still be around next autumn? If so, I’m going to need to find another Halloween recipe!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If only you knew, Eliza! Do you realize everything you see on the screen is made of confetti? Just one sneeze and I have to start again from scratch. There has to be a better way!

        Like

  2. 😂 Well now who doesn’t need 30,000 ties. You’ll always have plenty of choices. Twinkie fan club? Haven’t had the pleasure. Will decipher rest of message tomorrow… brain needs rest now. 😴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who DOES need 30,000 ties? Not I anymore. Ever since the office went to business casual, at least 15,000 of them languish in my closet, forgotten. Save one or two of them being called forward for the occasional wedding, they’re relics of an increasingly distant past.

      As for the rest of the comment, I’m flattered, but don’t even try. Pretty much can guarantee I was more tired writing it than you were reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, definitely the tie problem!
        Tie hoarding is an obsession that I’m frankly surprised isn’t get more attention in the news considering, as I think you already mentioned, that tie usage is on the sharp decline…. especially in Florida where beachwear is generally considered acceptable at any and all occasions.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Board meetings, weddings, embezzlement trials…why not?

        “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as sure as I’m wearing swim trunks, my client didn’t take that money. I mean, where would she have hidden it? She’s wearing only a bikini.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lol, now that would be something. 😀
        I’ve never worn a ballgown to the beach myself but it does sound like fun now that you mention it. 👗

        Liked by 1 person

    1. For crying out loud, Daniela, you’re an author! You’ve put together paragraphs with more exquisite skill than this site has summoned in its entire existence. Then, beyond that, you give us stories, novels…

      Mushrooms Fester is pretty achievable, actually, especially by this site’s standards. Mushrooms, pumpernickel, cilantro and garlic, and you’re there.

      Oh, and sherry. Best not forget the sherry!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing “aspiring” about it, you are an author! You just have to give the accolades a few moments to catch up with you.

        Yes, we agree on Sherry. As every should. We need to discuss this with them over a Sherry or two. Pretty soon, everyone will agree. How easy was that?

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s