You'll also grab my FREE Insider's Guide to Shopping!

Kitchen frustration and mushroom carpaccio

Living in Miami sometimes is like living in a third world country. It has nothing to do with the language, or the fact that my Spanish is a bit rusty. The shops on Lincoln Road in South Beach are very modern – there’s a Nespresso and a Pottery Barn, two Starbucks, a pole dancing studio and two salsa studios.

It’s more the attitude. In India it was easily detectable in the head waggle. You kind of knew that whatever it was you were requesting may or may not happen because the answer you were getting wasn’t really a clear yes or a no. But Miami is technically America, and yes or no should mean yes or no. But this is Miami and it doesn’t. It just means maybe.

I have been trying to have a bench built for my veranda. I knew what I wanted it to look like. I knew the measurements, the material, the color and how much I wanted to spend. I spoke to four carpenters. I chatted back and forth with the first one for about four weeks until he finally apologized for wasting my time. At least he apologized. The second never showed up for the appointment. The third came to measure and then disappeared. The fourth came to measure, disappeared and then reappeared only to tell me he needed a permit and more money and then emailed me to tell me he was put in the hospital. The third reappeared, came to measure again, took a deposit, said it would take a week and I believed him.

And guess what? It did! He actually just left after dropping off my brand new bench. When I told him that he is the most reliable carpenter in South Florida, he said, “I know.”  I wish I could hire him to build a whole new kitchen for me because the one I have is so frustrating. I’m still waiting for permits so I can begin construction, but considering I live in this third world country, who knows how long it will take. Hopefully, not as long as my bench.

When frustrated, a very soothing recipe to create is carpaccio. It requires full concentration, as the slicing is very precise.

Mushroom Carpaccio

6 Wood Ear Mushroom sliced very thin
(or any mushrooms with long stems)

With a sharp knife or a mandolin, shave the mushroom stems into very thin slices.

Arrange the slices on a plate in thin layers

Top with very good olive oil and truffle oil.

Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar (VERY few!)

And a few sprinkles of paprika, salt and pepper to taste.

Let sit for at least 20 minutes to marinate and serve at room temperature.