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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

mushroomboree




video

We found so many mushrooms on our little hike today and as an added bonus we found several pounds of Hen of the Woods. Hen of the Woods or Maitake are right up there in the choice department and they are so good for you that I finally made some mushroom soup, and boy do I like soup, really I do.


Monday, September 29, 2008

pretty colors



Fall brings with it some of the most splendiferous colors of the year. Spring is nice and all with the blooms and new grass but nothing beats all the golds and yellows and reds and oranges of the fiery fall.






I was out enjoying some of these colors today at the farmers market, thinking about all the rich and hearty stews and ratatouilles in store for the coming months when I thought "too bad you have to buy this stuff," I would love to just wheel my way through filling up a big basket just for fun, that way I could pick things I was unfamilar with and not feel bad when I mess it up.



Two days off from school for the guy coming up, Jewish Holiday, and I think we are going for a hike in the woods, we shall see, but talking about 'the guy' he had a fantastic shortbread, bananas foster concotion last night. Tearin' it up.


Little did I know that this afternoon my mushroom buddy was going to bestow upon me a gift.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/__lDmovorSk0/R5Pj6wu-f5I/AAAAAAAABJA/bYvwhkWWaZg/IMG_1071.JPG

More than 5 pounds of Shaggy Mane mushrooms. Its like I died and went to fungal heaven and for me thats a place I frequent.



I cleaned these bad boys and began sauteeing them pronto since they continue to breakdown. They are relatively hearty once they get in the pan and the flavor, I guess like all wild mushrooms, is indescribable, they have an asparagus texture and a mild and unique flavor.



I cooked these for a few minutes in olive oil and butter with shaved garlic, salt and pepper. They will later get chopped and added to a cream of mushroom soup. I had to partially process them so they would not disappear into a gob of ink.



See how white and fresh they look. These are abundant right now!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

copycat



Light,



dark, you choose the lighting you like.

When I wasnt copying Buffalodick I wasnt really doing much of anything else. Sure I copied him, I openly admit it, he posted I copied just like that.



I used Cocoa Pebbles, hazelnuts, almonds, toasted coconut and multicolored marshmallows, because thats what I had on hand and well, I 'blew up his spot' (this means I outed your secret, or whatever) as they say on the street. If you looked at my inspiration lately you would see why.



I even had my own 'hood rat' shelling nuts. (we buy them in the shell, what can I say)



I had beets that I wanted to do something with that are well, still, beets.



I ate too much apple pie with melted cheddar cheese...



and I ate egg sandwiches with Hen of the Woods mushrooms also known as Maitake. Lets Pause at Maitake for a moment. This particular mushroom is, well, particular and its particularness adds to its appeal. It is so good so many ways it would be silly for me to list. Go look under oak and elm trees right now and you might just find this particular beauty.

Friday, September 26, 2008

sunshine

http://shaunb.blogs.com/photos/produce/tomato2.jpg


What do you do with too many tomatoes? Sauce, canned, eat em'raw, whatever, are all my first choices but do you ever dry? I used to grow cherry tomatoes in my window box years ago and I would take strings of them and dry them right there in my window giving me sunshine all winter long. Blind as a Bat was faced with this very problem and she made me want to have the same problem - problem here is my problem came from the store.



Salted up and in the dehydrator they went.



Dried and into extra virgin olive oil they bathe. These tomatoes will sit here until about January when I will crave some sunshine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

white eggplant



I made some sandwiches out of that little white school child and they were heaven on a bun. Sauce free, like I like it, with fresh tomatoes as my sweetness.....mmmmmmm goodness.

geography joke

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/europe/finland_rel96.jpg

Guido, The Italian Lover


A virile, middle-aged Italian gentleman named Guido was relaxing at his favorite bar in Rome when he managed to attract a spectacular young blonde woman. Things progressed to the point where he invited her back to his apartment and, after some small talk, they retired to his bedroom where he rattled her senseless. After a pleasant interlude he asked with a smile, "So, you finish?" She paused for a second, frowned, and replied, "No." Surprised, Guido reached for her and the rattling resumed. This time she thrashed about wildly and there were screams of passion. The sex finally ends and, again, Guido smiles and asks, "You finish?" Again, after a short pause, she returns his smile, cuddles closer to him and softly says, "No." Stunned, but damned if he was going to leave this woman unsatisfied, Guido reaches for the woman yet again. Using the last of his strength, he barely manages it, but they end together screaming, bucking, clawing and ripping the bed sheets. Exhausted, Guido falls onto his back, gasping. Barely able to turn his head, he looks into her eyes, smiles proudly and asked again, "You finish?" Barely able to speak, the beautiful blond whispers in his ear, "No, I Norwegian...and I think I love you..."

booty

http://www.korin.com/superfile/knifes/HKR-CD-SA165.jpg


I got some booty for my birthday and I didnt have to make a booty call to get it, now thats some good booty. Pirate booty that is, I got some goods. I got some beach trekker shoes since I prefer barefoot or sandals this was a happy middle. I got an azurite necklace since I am hippified like that and I wear that kind of thing with my barefeet or sandals, and I got a new knife and a case to carry my knives around in from this guy that I have known for 30 years now.




All in all it was a great haul and the knife gift was out of the blue and a big surprise, I even got to pick it out. This Japanese beauty came from Korin. It is a fine damascus steel santoku gem that I will cherish forever. I dont have a lot of knives but I dont have a few either and each one is treated with care from my humble little pocket knives up to my custom made sushi knives. I have had a knife in my pocket for as long as I can remember. My grandfather gave me my first pocket knife when I was about 8 or 10 and I still have it. I have some inexpensive kitchen knives that I use constantly and my good kitchen knives that I use as much, all my knives get some 'play' now and again, and a rag tag collection it is!

Monday, September 22, 2008

my kind of day

I did not do anything different today than I would have done on any other day making this a perfect day, and since this was my version of a regular day Chinatown was in order. I had breakfast from one of my favorite street vendors and I had a breakfast not like any other. (it is at this point that vegans and vegetarians have the option of leaving the room)



Chow fon with spicy tripe. I have to tell you that this sounds bad out loud and looks worse on paper but boy o' boy does it taste good and this size, which is ample, is only a buck seventy five.




Look happy customers leaving and happy customers ordering.



Once I got the belly happy its easier to shop, I dont feel so impulsive and I wander more and while wandering I noticed these happy fruits - any one care to guess what they are? If you said 'dragon fruit' you are right. They taste like kiwi (sort of) but they look like who knows what. The pulp is a grey white with black specks and it is so sweet and so fruity that you dont mind paying $6 a pound for the best ones.



Fish heads anyone? These salmon heads go for a couple of bucks each and are used to sweeten the soup pot, and sweeten they do, salmon is so rich and oily and a soup made from these is so hearty.



Sometimes the offerings are so pretty that you wonder whose fish tank they came from. They blend right in with the ice and they were so delicate and - well - pretty. These fish are as big as your palm.

video

It was a nice slow morning in Chinatown and it lent itself to questions I dont normaly have to deal with on busier days, like explaining my camera, for example.



Then I came home and made a cake. This bad boy is a chocolate coconut delight with a buttercream frosting. For the liquid I used coconut milk so it has double impact on the coconut. Go have a listen - this touched me.

pirate name



My pirate name is:


Iron Harry Rackham



A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

atole cakes



Celebratory breakfasts were in order so why not have pancakes and since it is me why not have pancakes with a southwestern flair?



I made buttermilk pancakes with blue corn meal and sunflower seeds. Blue corn meal was a breakfast staple for me at my grandmothers house, it was pueblo malt-o-meal as I called it, since we bought the corn meal on the pueblo, but it is actually called atole. My grandmother made it just a little thicker so it was a cereal rather than a drink, and if I asked for atole I got the drink not the cereal.



Anyway on to the pancakes. I sifted together the normal pancake ingredients but with the addition of blue corn meal and hemp nuts.
(I know, I know, so uncarnivourous of me but we dont have to eat meat all the time)



The pancakes turned out real nice and a magical drop landed and got cooked up to resemble a little heart, ready, all together now......awhhhhhhhhhh.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

puffball



I had so many things I wanted to post about in the food department.
I have a fantastic white eggplant and some fresh from the garden tomatillos and chiles and tomatoes and I had moussaka and salsa and caprese salads all dancing around my little head. I remembered I was going to do a mushroom post and then my memory kicks in and I remembered I made a chile promise, dont worry it will get there, probably when you least expect it. It was a year ago exactly that I posted about the very same thing but without the same results..... Remember on Wednesday I said I was going mushroom hunting on Friday? Well I did.



When lo and behold I find not one not two but four giant puffballs. I knew they were going to be where they were from last year when I got there too late and they had already 'puffed' so this year I got on the early bus and boot scooted right on up to these big boys. (early bus is just a figure of speech, I drove) I have the biggest tomato I could find, to give you some size reference, cuddled right up to these giants.



Well I talk a big game but truth be told this is my first ever experience with the giant puffball. I always fantasized about finding this gem from way back when I was a kid. I grew up in the desert 'aint too many mushrooms out that dry way. So this was a mini nirvana, so to speak. These fun guys slice up like bread for starters but once they are cooked they are like the most flavorful tofu you have ever imagined - thats right they have a tofu consistency when cooked - strange- o- rama.



I had to test one, since I had never had it, so I made a 'steak' with wild garlic chives, I find wild garlic chives almost everywhere I go. This is when I discovered it was like tofu, I splashed a little truffle oil just to ramp it up and I ate this like a king. But that wasnt the end of my experiment.....



I made giant puffball parmesean. I cant believe what I am eating when I bite into each and every pillowy, soft and creamy bite, trust me it is not like anything ever, except tofu, the best tofu you have ever had! I sliced a few large hunks off the biggest one and still had all this left over(background) before they got old fast and I tossed most of it except the smooth one. I didnt photograph when I finished slicing and frying the remainder but stay tuned these slabs were cooked with garlic and are awaiting both freezing and the food dehydrator, separately and respectively, so that I can see what I can do with them come January. Ever had this mushroom? It was my first time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

buttermilk bath

A buttermilk bath sounds like just the ticket as I ease into my golden years. Golden years? When are the golden years anyway? No matter lets get back to bathing in buttermilk. Isnt it fun to say - buttermilk. I wish I liked its tangy creaminess but I dont and the only time I like it is in pancakes and chicken.



This chicken bathed in this buttermilk for more than half the day before I fried and then baked it to perfection.



I fried it just enough to crisp up the crust then while still 'blonde' it sat in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes to tender up the middle and continue to brown - result was buttermilk heaven. This chicken jumped in your mouth and begged to be eaten, it laughed tenderness and cried flavor, golden, hot and delicious.

bull

http://www.theblackbull.org/bull.jpg/bull-full.jpg

NEW YORK - A bull went running through the streets of Queens before being captured early Thursday morning.

The bull eluded police for 10 blocks before they were able to corral it. The bull charged at one officer, but he was not injured.

The bull was first spotted near 107th Street and Park Lane South and was eventually captured on 116th Street and 85th Avenue in Richmond Hill.

Police tied the bull up and it was transported to Animal Care and Control in Brooklyn.

Police do not know where the bull came from.


Isnt that something? A bull running through Queens and Nobody knows where it came from. Love it!

Isnt this an Everybody Loves Raymond episode?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

hot and bubbly

I am going mushroom hunting again on Friday so we will see if and what I find and then on the weekend it will be the polenta, cream of mushroom soup extravaganza. So until then, since I said lasagna I had to make one. This is mushroom free as it is simply ricotta, pesto, parsley and tomato topped with mozzarella, a very simple dish loaded with flavor and perfect to pack for the kids lunch.



After it came out of the oven I drizzled a little homemade basil oil over the top. Lasagnas give me so much comfort, they remind me of my hungry college days when out of the blue my mom would come to my apartment and surprise me with a big pan of lasagna and she somehow knew that the timing was perfect to ward off my starvation.



This may not look it but this is a 12 ounce hunk.
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