I was lucky enough to score some wild-foraged morels from my friend Tesia, after she came back from a good weekend of collecting them. Apparently, her s.o. even maps out last year’s forest fires to track where good spots to find some morel treasure. It definitely peaked my interest, especially after a stint earlier in the year at a local community garden prepping for summer, when we found a morel poking out through the cardboard laid over a garden patch for winter. No- I didn’t eat it, my fellow volunteers warned me it was ‘a city mushroom,’ with unknown consequences. Even NPR did a segment on it.
From Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.
“Sometimes we call it ‘chasing the burns,’ ” mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.
–After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters ‘Chase The Burn’
Apologies, much of the ingredients are amounts “to taste,” and I was trying to track too many things so don’t have any exact times on here. The Serious Eats article did not specify times either.
Now, a rare medium on this blog thus far: a video.*
Morels from your friend, the mushroom-gatherer (or from your friend at the farmer’s market)
1/2 onion, minced (alternatives: garlic, shallots, minced)
High heat oil for pan
Butter, about 1 pat
soy sauce, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
lemon juice, 1 tsp (to taste)
chicken stock, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
optional: chives, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
Optional but very useful supply:
pastry brush (or in my case, an extra toothbrush from my travels, because my pastry brush is silicone and the bristles would have been too big) Continue Reading
Related to the other top contender: I’ve had a lot of ‘random musings on exercise vs. food’ lately, and also ‘less calories for great flavor’ ideas to try and counteract a little lax indulgence while I was on vacation in Kauai recently. I found this one from Food Republic, they had a column called Crispianity, all about the crispy! You know I love me some crunchy..
Crispy-Bottomed Oyster Mushroom Steaks With Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
– 1 pound of oyster mushroom, get a cluster if you can
– 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (olive oil will smoke more)
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Continue Reading
My friend Chase made scrambled eggs for breakfast, “the Ramsay Way.” I played sous chef with the ham, and self-designated shutterbug, obvi. Below is the modified recipe per what we did. Thanks, Chase! Always fun to try something new!
Dear Readers -all five of you’s (besides the spammers),
Besides being busy with real life, I’ve had a few dud recipes I am still tinkering with before I admit to having tried them at all. I have more busy life adventures coming up too, so this blog may continue to fall off…
When I’m 80 and looking back (hopefully I’ll be so lucky), I’m pretty sure I won’t say, “aw man, I wish that instead of spending time with people in person I had updated my food blog more!” Plus, I’m pretty sure when you’re 80 and looking back (I wish you the same luck), no one in the history of the world ever said, “aw man! I wish I’d had more blog entries to read about food!”
Random Sunday brunch trial time! ..based in leftover rice from restaurant Revel‘s rice bowl dish with short rib, sambal daikon, and mustard green, plus inspirations from my “roommate”‘s meal selections on trips to Tokyo, and another friend’s rendition of Chicken Arroz Caldo (click here for a random example recipe). My mother would make me really bland congee as a kid when I was sick (or perfectly healthy). Along with fried rice, rice porridge can be a great dish to stretch the rice you have. I took a verbal test in Chinese language once involving a hypothetical dialogue at a fancy hotel, and I still remember my professor being surprised I ordered congee. That was when I learned it’s considered poor folk’s food. Little did he know, they still serve congee at the fancy breakfast buffets in high-end hotels in Asia, because people still like it there too. I seen it with me own eyes.
Leftovers Congee* with Faux Fish Katsu and Crispy Garlic
About 1 cup leftover restaurant rice (the more random delicious flavors in it from, say, short ribs, the better)
~2 cups chicken broth**
~2 cups boiling water**
3 frozen fish sticks
1 tsp chives, minced (could also do scallions)
1 raw egg
1/4 tsp shredded ginger (not included this time, but only because I’m pretty sure there was already ginger in the rice)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup frozen sweet corn
optional but recommended if you make the garlic: breath mints
*Note: this recipe is titled congee, but there are near-infinite variations on this dish across Asia, and even in Portugal (see wikipedia article).
**Liquid amounts are approximate, usually a 1:4 ratio is good for porridge, but it depends on how you like it. Various areas and individual people prefer from runny porridge, to really thick porridge. If you find it is too thick you can always add more water or broth.
1. Boil rice in broth and water until it reaches your desired consistency, 45-1.5 hrs. This can be done via a rice cooker, or in a more watchable format on stovetop. I actually started mine in my high-tech rice cooker so I wouldn’t have to tend it, then found it was too runny for my taste and boiled it on the stovetop another 10 minutes to thicken.
2. Meanwhile, prepare fish sticks per packaging. Toast for a few minutes at the end for extra crunchiness.
3. Set a frying pan with the olive oil to medium heat, once pan is hot, add garlic slices, flipping a few times and frying for just a few minutes until golden brown on both sides. Be careful to take garlic off the pan before it gets to burning.
4. Use the residual oil in the pan to fry an egg over easy on the pan.
5. Assemble toppings on rice (put the sweet corn on the bottom of your bowl before you load in the soup) and enjoy!
This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars
I usually have rice porridge with dried pork sung, but was abysmally low on it in the pantry (since I no longer will just eat it straight out of the package like I did when I was a kid, so supply habits are low), but was on a fish stick kick from yesterday, it was okay but I generally feel a little bad about eating such a processed food. The crispy garlic was quite novel and delicious, though. I may make that again next time i feel like making congee. Likelihood of Repeat: 65%
Unlikely to deign to make frozen fish sticks with this again, but it was worth the shot. I think next time it may be worth trying to boil it with all broth and not water. Lesson Learned: The egg did not need to be completely done to the level desired for eating, since it continues to cook once placed atop the rice porridge, some pickled vegetables might have been nice to try too. I think I would rather have done scallions than chives.. Post-script: I had dragon garlic breath the rest of the day, so it may be good to have some breath mints or a toothbrush and toothpaste on hand.
Do you make a ridge porridge? What variations do you like to do, and what are your favorite things to top it with?
1/2 a jicama, julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/6 red onion, sliced in thin strips
~1 Tbs orange juice
~1/4 tsp lime rind
~2 tsp lime juice 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
a dash of salt to taste 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)
substituted: 2 sprigs mint, stems removed and leaves cut in ribbons
Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently to coat. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in the mint just before serving. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.
Today’s Recipe #1 Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Never made this before, and it has quite a strong sweet flavor even without sugar. You really get to taste the jicama, which was a novelty to me. I only started buying (and identifying) jicama last year. Likelihood of Repeat: 80%
I think I have a strong bias for salads that don’t involve any leafy greens, bonus points for the use of multiple citrus items. I think I would like to re-try this with some orange slices thrown in too. Lesson Learned: 1/6 of a red onion may still be too much onion to rejoin humanity after eating this.
(2) Summer Rolls & Peanut Sauce
based on an altered recipe based on one from Chow.com
For the peanut sauce:
3/4 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 1/2 medium limes)
4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons chili-garlic paste
1 medium garlic clove, mashed to a paste –okay, I cheated with pre-chopped garlic from the jar, fresh garlic is too spicy sometimes..
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
For the summer rolls: 24 medium shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled and deveined fried or firm tofu, sliced
1 hank dried rice stick noodles or rice vermicelli
5 (8-1/2-inch) round rice paper wrappers
1/8 cup mung bean sprouts**
4 sprigs fresh mint leaves
32 fresh basil
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-by-1/4-by-2-1/2-inch sticks
3 medium scallions, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2-1/2-inch pieces (white and light green parts only) -used chives because i had some
8 butter lettuce leaves cut in half
jicama, julienned (same portion as cukes)
a dash of rice vinegar
For the peanut sauce:
1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
For the summer rolls:
1. Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain, try rinsing, then tossing with rice vinegar and salt; then separate in clumps for each roll lest the noodles get all stuck together during assembly.
2. Place all of the ingredients in separate piles and arrange them in the following order around a work surface: rice paper wrappers, tofu, rice noodles, bean sprouts, mint, basil, cucumber, scallions, and lettuce.
3. Place a clean, damp kitchen towel on a work surface, or lay out a damp wooden cutting board. Fill a medium frying pan or wide, shallow dish large enough to hold the rice paper wrappers with warm tap water. Working with one wrapper at a time, completely submerge the wrapper until it is soft and pliable, about 15 seconds. Remove the wrapper from the water and place it on the towel/board.
4. Working quickly, lay down ingredients sparsely atop rice wrapper (see picture), adding lettuce last, and mint and chive leaves near end of roll for aesthetics.
5. Fold the bottom half of the rice paper wrapper over the filling. Holding the whole thing firmly in place, fold the sides of the wrapper in. Then, pressing firmly down to hold the folds in place, roll the entire wrapper horizontally up from the bottom to the top.
6. Turn the roll so that the seam faces down and the row of tofu faces up. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings. Leave 3/4 inch between each summer roll on the sheet so they don’t stick together, and replace the water in the pan or dish with hot tap water as needed.
**If not serving immediately, keep the summer rolls tightly covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 hours, OR wrap individually in plastic wrap, then in tightly-covered tupperware to keep overnight (see below for photo). Serve with the peanut sauce for dipping. If you are worried about it drying out, another precaution is to barely coat the outside of the rolls with sesame or olive oil, then wrap. The oil helps hold in the moisture.
Tip 1: Even when I scale down the amounts for the rolls, it’s been good to do the full or at least half portion of the sauce, since that is really the flavor that adds depth to the light crisp summer roll. Tip 2: I keep my coconut flakes in an empty spice container for easy sprinkling over this, yogurts, and desserts. Tip 3: I find my wrapping is more successful when I stretch the wrapper a smidge more than I think it will take. Definitely err on the side of less ingredients when you are first practicing the rolling.
Note: I first tried making these in the height of the Seattle summer (when I didn’t want to cook anything and add heat in a brief “80-degree heat wave”), and I am still using the same bag of rice wrappers, so yes, you will have more leftover, and you can stuff it with whatever leftovers you think will go well.
Today’s Recipe #2 Rating:
Novelty Rating: 2 of 5 stars.
I’ve made it before. I think it’s tasty, but definitely getting a little stale to eat in the winter when I crave potatoes and meat dishes. ..but it tastes so…healthy..
Likelihood of Repeat: 90%
As I mentioned before, I am still using the same packet of rice wrappers from the summer, and plan on continuing to put random ingredients together for a slapdash lunch. You will note the significant difference in length of steps between the two recipes above. That alone may indicate that #1 is going to win out in repeats.. Lesson Learned: I will always, always have leftover filling after I run out of those tasty rice noodles. This, in fact, was the original reason for recipe #1, as jicama only comes in certain sizes, so you’d have to make tons of summer rolls to actually use it up.
**Stay tuned for a future blog post on sprouting mung beans! I’ll do it so you don’t have to try it.