I tend to commute home on autopilot, taking in very little around me as I zone out to music so loud that my Health app insists I turn it down. So when I emerged from the subway the other day just before 6 p.m., I was startled by what I found: near complete darkness.
When on earth did that happen, I wondered. For all of the reasons that I love November (chillier days, cozier nights, better outfits for both), the increasingly early sunsets make me question if any of them are worth it. Spoiled by summer’s long days, when I could still manage a late dinner in the amber glow of the waning sun, the thought of cooking under kitchen fluorescents makes me not want to cook very much at all.
Still, I’ll shuffle to the stove for the promise of a savory, hearty mushroom dinner. Kay Chun’s recipe for mushroom piccata, in which your favorite combination of mushrooms (I’m partial to a mix of maitake, shiitake and cremini) is slathered in the classic caper-, garlic- and lemon-infused butter sauce. It’s the kind of dish that won’t keep you in the kitchen for more than 30 minutes, so if you’re able to get cooking early, you might reasonably finish while it’s still light out.
In keeping with the theme of traditional meat preparations that have been shroomified: Kay’s vegan mushroom galbi also grants you the freedom to work with your preferred mix, which you’ll roast along with scallions and green bell peppers. A toss in a garlicky, gingery soy sauce followed by the briefest sojourn under the broiler results in subtly smoky flavors that just might take you back to summer grilling.
If you happen to have more than 45 minutes to spare and few qualms about cooking by the light of a range hood, it doesn’t get cozier than Martha Rose Shulman’s adored recipe for farro with mushrooms. While risottoesque, this dish is hardly high maintenance, and if you use semi-pearled or pearled farro, the cook time will be cut down significantly. Just be sure to adjust the amount of liquid you cook it in. There are some especially helpful notes from readers beneath the recipe!
Because the grains don’t release starch the way that arborio rice does, they don’t require constant stirring or monitoring — so you can make like a mushroom and spend some time reveling in the dimming light of an early sunset.