Archive for September, 2009
In your dreams.
Or, of course, through the magic of time lapse photography. It actually looks pretty good. Has anyone tried the recipe yet?
pie - it's what's for breakfast
This is actually cherry rhubarb and takes the usual hour or so ( counting picking the rhubarb, not counting baking time). The one minute is open faced, with a pre-cooked filling in the French style.
As you’ve no doubt noticed if you follow these things, the current fashion in bouquets has oneness at its heart. Either it’s one kind of flower – roses, say or gerbera daisies – or it’s one color: white or pink or (in the higher rent districts) green.
Not usually purple, it must be admitted, but …
Otherwise this is typical
Or typical of one colorness, anyway. Gladioli and sweet peas are not typically buddies but this has been a weird summer.
This year, the kind of bouquets my old friend Sharon calls “ It must be August,” only became possible in early September. Most of the good annual cutting flowers take time to start producing in earnest, and that goes double for the ones you get by letting things like Verbena bonariensis and nigella self-sow.
Not subtle, but satisfying in it’s own way.
- Be in Maine
- Be in an area of open woods with water near, somewhat away from human activity but not necessarily far away.
- Be in such places frequently for other reasons: fishing, say, or hunting wild mushrooms.
- Look up when you hear a noise that sounds about like squirrels in the leaves but maybe not quite.
5. Notice dark shape in the distance.
6. Pull the string around your neck to lift the camera out of your shirt pocket so you can send your wife a picture of a
Baby bull moose.
Experience and photos by Bill Bakaitis
A lot of wild mushrooms have delicate flavors that are easily overwhelmed. And a lot of them are typically found in small numbers or purchased in even smaller ones (except by the possessors of large dollars). As a result, a lot of wild mushroom recipes have what might be called a reverential attitude about the signature ingredient.
Nothing wrong with that – except that it tends to carry over where it isn’t essential, as in the case of sulfur shelf, Laetiporus sulphureus, aka chicken of the woods. When you find that, you generally find many pounds, plenty enough to play around with.
This curry is an example. The mushroom flavor is only one among several, but it's one that would be sorely missed if it were absent. The rice happens to have red peppers, gold raisins and pistachios. Just plain would be just as good or better.
I put “of the woods” in parentheses because I’m sure the curry would be good – albeit not this good – with genuine chicken. The shortcut is prepared spice mixtures and the multi is Indian and Thai. Cooking the mushroom in coconut milk without a preliminary saute is what brings out the reds and pinks.
Thank you to all the demo visitors I met at Maine Fare Saturday – what a lot of great questions!
In answer to the most pressing one, here’s a link to the recipe for the zucchini squares you tasted and the instructions for freezing the raw material.
zucchini material as cake, cooked thicker and broiled browner
ideal for making applesauce and (when very fresh) Always Right Apple Pie and Big Chunky Apple Cake with Pecans, among other baked items, also terrific fried in butter – to say nothing of simply eating out of hand.
I was actually shopping for tomatoes to sample (our bout with the blight means we’ll be buying whatever I put up for the winter), when there right in front of me among the more usual offerings were bags of Gravensteins.
They’re called Red Gravensteins, I guess because that’s easier than ” the strain of Gravenstein that’s green with stipplings and smudges of red and red-orange”
This happy discovery was made at Schoolhouse Farm, in Warren, Maine. The owner, Bill Beckwith, has a high opinion of Gravensteins for fresh eating. He put in the trees 25 years ago and has continued to sell the fruit, even though it’s not a fast mover. “Not very many people know about them,” he said.
Gravensteins are the first early apples with real sweet-tart apple flavor, able to hold their own for deliciousness with the best of the later harvest, although they’re far less firm. But their season is short; they don’t keep well – in fact they hardly keep at all – and almost all of the commercial crop is grown in California.
On the Slow Food Ark of Taste they’re called ” Sonoma Gravensteins,” and I learned to love them in my Berkeley days, so they’re sort of California in my mind, too. Yet there’s no reason the left coast should claim them.
aka eating local in the winter in a cold climate.
That’s me: at noon on Saturday, 9/12, in Camden, Maine at Maine Fare.
The mushroom class is of course taught by Bill: from 9:30 to 4:30 on Saturday, 9/12, in Cold Spring, New York, at Glynwood.
one of the (so far) few harvest delights that’s appropriately abundant, and very welcome it is. Here’s the lowdown from out resident mushroom expert:
BRIGHT HARBINGER OF FALL, Laetiporus sulphureus: AKA The Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom.
By Bill Bakaitis
What a dismal summer! Here it is Labor Day and farmers have yet to complete their first cutting of hay. Late blight destroyed many a tomato crop and those not affected have all of the taste and consistency of wet cardboard. Corn here in Maine is but knee high.
Behind the fields the fruits of the forest have also languished. Perhaps it was the long stretches of cool wet weather that put a stop to the saprophytic mushrooms, for few litter- decaying fungi of any species appeared in the coastal forests near us. Scant too were the usual mycorrhizal species of summer: the Amanita, Russula, and Lactarius.
But in the last few days, walking along the bench of a nearby mountain, and again at the edge of a large lake, there came a sight that warmed my heart and seemed ready to fill the cusp of autumn with promise and pleasure: Sulfur Shelfs, bright as neon, sprouting buds with flesh as tender as brie, scent fragrant as a ripe peach.
Can any mushroom better announce the approach of the equinox than the Sulfur Shelf? It heralds the end of summer with a burst of beauty and energy that stops us dead in our tracks. “Here it is. Here I am” it seems to say. “Get ready, we are about to turn that corner into a bright and bountiful fall”.
The Sulfur Shelf, bright harbinger of fall
I was all set to go on about how this is primo planting time and then discuss a few must-haves. But then I woke up: discussing Fall Planting is like discussing Volunteers, a book, not a post. Last time I tried, “volunteers” became ” shirley poppies” with everything else on the in-a-minute list.
A minute having gone by, this will be about Italian parsley, a must-have volunteer.
But first the annual reminder: time to get those bulb orders in! And that includes the garlic, if you want to try something new from the dozens of types available.
As usual, garlic is the least of it. We’ll mostly be planting tulips and alliums, including more of
tulip 'Mount Tacoma,' not generally sold in stores
for the white garden in Maine.
For New York, there’s yet more crocus, both species and giant Dutch, and of course a few more lilies – primarily trumpets.
this one is 'Golden Splendor,' rock-solid reliable
and Japanese lilies (L. speciosum) the last lilies to bloom.
Lily Speciosum rubrum. Bill just brought these up from New York; the ones in the Maine garden are fewer and later.
Mercifully, it’s not time yet to plant or move peonies (although it is time to clean them up), and …what was I just saying about too much?
Onward to the parsley! Can’t have too much of that.
Self-sown Italian parsley; the full carpet is roughly 12 square feet