Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Nachos

Alex made these nachos. They were awesome. Just a bed of corn-chips smothered in onion-garlic-pepper-black-bean deliciousness and then topped with a mixture of Golden Glen Creamery's JalapeƱo Cheddar and Red Pepper and Onion Cheddar. That all went under the broiler and when it came out we topped it with sour cream, cilantro, green onions, and cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soup in Stormy Weather

It's stormy out and I got inspired to make something I don't make very often: soup! Nothing fancy, just sweet Italian sausage, white beans, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, ginger, chicken stock, and some chopped up carrot tops. Simple, quick, and delicious....I should make soup more often!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fruitful Fall

This has apparently been a fabulous fall for mushrooms. I got a new one at the farmer's market that I've never tried, the Saffron Milk Cap. Though, I think the Latin name is more telling: Lactarius deliciousus - Delicious! Lactarius and Russula are the two main genera with a crunchy texture. The difference is, when raw, Lactarius has a milky juice that oozes out when the flesh is broken (thus the name). Russula on the other hand has no such juice. Enough mycology, here are the gastronomic stars of the Russulaceae:

Lactarius deliciousus on the left bruises dark green when touched giving them a sort of spooky appearance that I think is totally appropriate for October! On the right is my old friend the Lobster Mushroom - Hypomyces lactifluorum (parasitized Russula brevepis).

I diced these mushrooms up along with some onions, garlic, and patty-pan squashes and sauteed these all together in some butter. Once the mushrooms were fully cooked, I added some flour and then milk and then white cheddar to make a cheesy cream sauce. Lastly I mixed in some cooked rice. What resulted was fantastic comfort food on a chilly autumn evening with the welcome crunch of the Russuloid mushrooms!

Deliciousus indeed!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ready for Winter

Two years ago Alex and I decided that we were going to start shopping only at the farmers market for meat and produce. When winter came, we were horribly unprepared - kale and potatoes all winter long gets pretty rough. So last year I went nuts canning and freezing everything summer had to offer. Canning was a hugely involved process that didn't produce the best product, I thought. So this year, I've filled our freezer with corn, peppers, huckleberries, raspberries, ginger, broccoli, and chicken stock. Bring it on, La Nina Winter! We're ready:

Monday, October 11, 2010

A fungus on a mushroom that looks like crustacean

This year I was lucky enough to befriend someone with the scoop on local lobster mushrooms. They're near Mt. Rainier and the Hood Canal... It's a tough choice, but I think lobster mushrooms might be my favorite mushrooms ever. The mushroom part of it belongs to the genus Russula that is known for it's unique cellular structure that makes it's raw flesh "break like chalk". I think it's precisely this cellular structure that gives lobster mushrooms the perfect texture, the perfect "al dente" crunch that almost seems impossible with something so tender. It's the parasitic fungus that attacks the Russula to give it a lobstery complexion, not to mention a sweetly fishy flavor. Here's what it looks like in the wild:

Lobster mushrooms are utterly fabulous breaded and fried, but I decided to do something different this time. A professor of mine mentioned his favorite way to have lobster mushrooms was in etouffee - a classic Cajun dish, so I took that idea and ran with it. Etouffee came from the French method of slowly cooking vegetables and meat in a small amount of liquid inside of a closed vessel (pot with a lid). I essentially did just that with onions, garlic, corn , peppers, oyster mushrooms, and lobster mushrooms. By slow cooking with a small amount of liquid (veggie stock), everything was essentially slowly steamed, so the structural/flavor/color integrity of everything remained.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


It's a special time of year...

Ginger! Fresh out of the ground! Grown in Wapato, WA by Mair Farm Take. Absolutely magical!

My Kitchen-Garden

I took a mushroom class at UW over the summer, part of which was creating our own edible-mushroom kits from scratch. My professor made the Reishi mushroom kit and gave it to me at the end of the quarter. Reishi mushrooms are much more common in Asian cultures and used as a daily health elixir, tradition says if you drink Reishi tea every day of your life you will live a longer and healthier life. I haven't made Reshi tea yet, but I will soon! Then there is the kit that I made completely from scratch - starting with a mushoom, isolating individual spores, mating germinated spores, and cultivating the mycellial mass that has gone on the bear many Oyster mushrooms.

Ganoderma lucidum
Reishi mushroom!

Pluerotus sp.
Oyster Mushrooms!