Welcome to What Our Friends Are Cooking, where we call up our favorite people to find out what they're cooking and how they're fairing under quarantine.
Colu Henry is one of those people you meet and then just want to hug forever and ever. Not only can she cook delicious things on the fly (speaking of, have you seen her cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta?!), she is also hilarious and kind and a creative genius we like to keep close. Read on to hear what quarantine has been like for her and why she is so obsessed with sour cream these days...
Q: Tell us a bit about your quarantine life. Where are you quarantined? Who are you with? How much do you want to kill them on a daily basis? Or are you a zen master?
Colu: I've been home at my house in Hudson since March 6. I got sick about a week before the world went on fire, pretty sure it was Covid (who knows, no tests), so I took precautions early. I'm in my 7th week already! My husband Chad was asymptomatic, so he followed suit and stayed home too. He's a fine wood worker and and furniture designer and has recently returned to his studio (alone) in Ghent and goes pretty much daily, but I make him stay home on the weekends. Even though our day-to-day lives haven't changed dramatically because I work from home, they have -- I'm lonely in a different way, it's complicated, it's disruptive, it's sad. We've been getting along pretty well for the most part, but I'm not going to lie, emotions are high and it's a stressful time, so we've certainly had our moments. But, I do believe some good will come out of this. We've all been stripped of our bullshit filter, which I find empowering. If I don't want to do something or don't feel like doing it, there is no excuse I can use right now. It's simply a no, because I don't want to - there's strength in that and I'm trying to honor it.
Q: What single food have you consumed the most of since quarantine?
Colu: Sour cream. I know it's an odd one, but I've been craving it terribly. I think the creaminess is offering me comfort? Get ready for a lot of sour cream recipes like the one I'm sharing with you! I've also (bear with me here) been raging at the crypto currency bots on my IG (@coluhenry). It allows me to be unfiltered about how I'm feeling and cracks me up at the same time. I don't know, it's working! I'm laughing again right now...
Q: Prior to quarantine I know you were shooting the images for your forthcoming cookbook! Can you tell us a bit about it?
Colu: We were! I had a shoot scheduled the first week of May, which clearly isn't happening. The book is called Please Bring Dessert, because I don't bake, although like everyone else right now, I've been trying! It's a book of sophisticated recipes for everyday. There are also some essays on how to live life well that I'm proud of. The dessert chapter is being written by friends. It was supposed to be out next spring, but because we can't actually shoot anything right now, the book is being pushed. As soon as I have a pub date, I will let you know.
Q: Where do want to travel to first when all bans have been lifted?
Colu: Chad and I are also supposed to go to Nova Scotia in August, we rented a house on the water and plan on making a road trip out of it. We're driving all the way up to Cape Breton as well as to PEI. Joshie, our 16-year-old pup, will also be coming along. I'm very much hoping that trip will still happen. It's a magical place and honestly I need a vacation. I just want to grill fish, eat fried clams and sip on a cold beer.
Q: What would be your dream party to throw once all social distancing has ended?
Colu: I think a celebration dinner with the friends that I've been the closest to during this time. I feel very lucky to have many strong, incredible women in my life and we've done a really great job checking in on each other. It would likely be at my friend Jenn's house. She has a beautiful piece of land and a fire pit, which we cook over often. Nothing fussy, some grilled oysters and sausages with (hopefully) summer produce, which you really don't need more than olive oil, salt and pepper for. There will also be a lot of wine and so many hugs. I really miss hugging my friends.
Q: And finally -- the question we ask everyone -- what's the best party you've ever been to?
Colu: Such a tough one! We threw a pretty epic holiday party this year with friends who at the time we didn't know that well. We had had a few too many over Labor Day and put it on the calendar. As the date got closer we all were like, are we really doing this? We haven't seen each other in months! But WE DID and it was amazing. We had caviar, potato chips, ham, homemade biscuits, a martini bar and a lot of champagne - it was pretty special. We all worked so well together over the course of planning and became really close in the meantime. A double win. Needless to say, but it's on for next year, we just might all be wearing masks, which would make the drinking and eating part extra interesting...
Colu's Famous Roast Mushrooms with Sour Cream, Herbs and Lemon:
- 2 pounds mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, oyster, or maitake, torn into bite sized pieces
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mixed herbs such and mint, chives, parsley, tarragon, torn or roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- Flaky salt
- Chili oil for drizzling (optional)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
On a large rimmed sheet pan toss the mushrooms with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing half way through, until the mushrooms have lost their liquid and they become brown and golden in spots, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the sour cream onto the bottom of a wide shallow mouthed bowl or platter. When the mushrooms are finished roasting, gently spoon them on top. Top with the herbs, lemon zest and season with flaky salt. Drizzle with chili oil if using. Serve right away.