where the wild things are.bucatini with hen of the woods and ramp butter.

I am extending the ramp season a bit with more with a few more posts. Sorry guys! On our side of the mountain the ramp is late compared to some lower zones.

I made pasta I wanted to share that is so simple. You can substitute the ramp butter for any other compound butter you feel like making. I imagine nettle or spring garlic or mixed herbs would be quite nice as well.

I used Hen Of The Woods mushrooms but you can substitute any other kind. Maitake or Shitakes would be just as good.

Bucatini With Hen Of The Woods And Ramp Butter.

Serves two

1/2-pound pasta

1/2 pound of Hen of The Woods 

3 inch long piece of old stale baguette or other bread

Olive oil

Salt + Pepper

Pecorino Romano

Set your pasta water to boil. When boiling generously salt it.

Start your Bucatini. It will take roughly 11 minutes or so and in the meantime if you have everything prepped you can cook the mushrooms and the breadcrumbs.

In a cast iron skillet or low sauté pan. Cover the bottom with a good olive oil.

Heat the olive oil on low-medium heat.

When hot drop your cleaned dry Hen Of the Woods into the olive oil and cook until some are just crispy.

Remove them from the olive oil and set in a dish to the side.

Chop your stale bread into small breadcrumbs. Drop them into the olive oil and cook for a minute or two. They will begin to brown and absorb most of the olive oil.

Add a Pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs.

Add a good dollop of Ramp butter and just melt it into the breadcrumbs.

Add the mushrooms and turn off the heat.

By this time your pasta should be done.

Before draining it reserve a cup or so of the pasta water. Set it to the side.

Drain you pasta and toss it into the mushroom ramp butter and bread crumb mixture.

Turn the heat on low and add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the mixture.

You will want to toss the pasta until all the ingredients are combined and everything is hot. 

Add the rest of the pasta water if you need it.

Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and generously grate

xx

roasted concord grape two ways.

Oh dear, I have been so delinquent in keeping up the blog lately! Life is getting the better of me and the days are flying by. Here we are mid October already! I want to share some of the things I have been making and eating lately. There are no recipes to accompany these as they are meant more for inspiration. The first is Roasted Concord Grapes With Olive Oil Maple And Sea Salt, on top of Greek yogurt with maple and flax seeds.. You can do it with any fruit as I been doing since the first stone fruits arrived in the Summer and unless you are really wild about Concord grapes like I am you might be better off with a simpler fruit like apple or plum The Concord grapes are real pain with the seeds and they require some serious work to get them out!breakfast I know I said I wasn't going to give a recipe but here is the gist of it in the loosest sense; Take whatever fruit you decie to use and spread it on a lined sheet pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and top with a touch of maple syrup. Pop the whole tray in the oven and slow roast the fruit at 350 degrees until it is soft. (With the Concord grapes, you must carefully split the grape and remove the seeds once they are soft and roasted... this takes patience and diligence and a small sharp knife!)

Once your fruit is roasted, Place a generous portion of it on top of your bowl of Greek yogurt and drizzle with a little maple, a tiny hit of sea salt and a good heaping tablespoon or two of flax seeds!

My other grape inspired recipe is Concord grape and Hen Of The Woods Crostini.

Place a generous amount of hen of the woods mushrooms on a lined baking sheet or in a big cast iron frying pan. Drizzle with olive oil, seas salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Cut a handful of concord grapes in half and gently remove the seeds. toss the Concord grapes with the hen of the woods and olive oil mixture. Throw the pan in the oven and roast at 350 degrees until the mushrooms are soft and some of the edges are a touch crispy.

Toast some really good bread and brush with olive oil after toasting. Top the bread with the roasted mushrooms and grape mixture. Shave some Pecorino Romano on top and get to eating! 

That's it! 

Have lovely Tuesday friends!!

I promise to be back sooner than later! 

where the wild things are no. 9. wild pantry

The first time I saw mushrooms drying in great abundance was in Northern China in the Shanxi Provence. We stopped for some tea at a tiny morning market where the women had piles of wild mushrooms laid out on cloth drying in the morning sun. They had collected the mushrooms from the peaks of the Wutai Mountain, a luminous, foggy, pine and temple covered wonder. Though i don't speak their language, they managed to explain to me perfectly their continuous pilgrimage to collect the mushrooms from the mountain during the different seasons. I will never forget it, it was such a beautiful moment. I dried many wild mushrooms in the summer and fall of this year inspired by those women. It was my first time doing so and I am really happy with my stockpiled pantry of little treasures. Wild mushrooms are easy to dry. Though there are different ways of drying mushrooms I sliced most of mine thinly with a very sharp knife and laid them out to dry on a board. The oyster mushrooms I tore gently in long tin strips. Depending on the weather (if it was very humid for instance) I sometimes put a fan on the mushrooms or used a clip light to speed the drying process. In the end you want the mushrooms to be cracker dry before you put them up for storage. I know our children's friends thought us fairly insane with mushrooms drying all over the place but for the most part I think they kind of liked it, especially when I make them late night pizza or breakfast pizza with mushrooms and a fried egg on top! They are willing to put up with almost anything for pizza.

Some mushrooms dry and store better than others. Some of the varieties that dried well for me were; Black Trumpets, Chanterelles, Chicken Of The Woods, Hedgehog, Porcini, Yellow Foot, and Oyster mushrooms. Dried mushrooms should be soaked in water to re-hydrate them. Some mushrooms need to soak longer than others. Save the water that you soak the mushrooms in, never throw it away, it is like flavor gold! Once the mushrooms have plumped up from the water, Gently spoon them out of liquid and give them a rinse. Set them aside for your recipe. Put the remaining mushroom liquid through a sieve to get any bits out of it. You can use that liquid to flavor soups and broths. Dried mushrooms can also be pulverized in a food processor in order  to make a powder to use in soups and stews and other recipes. I recently made a gin drink with wild ginger syrup and used a mushroom salt for a little flavor on top. I am already fanaticizing about next mushroom season! In the meantime I am going to invent some new ways to use all these dried beauties.

When the mushrooms are cracker dry, I put them up in sealed weck jars for storage.

 A good source for wild mushrooms on line is wildgourmetfood.com

Recipes to come!

 

to see a gallery of wild mushrooms click here

 

 

where the wild things are no.3. the lovely mushrooms.

Les Hook and Nova Kim of Wild Gourmet Food are at The New Amsterdam Market almost  every last weekend of the month, barring hurricanes and other obstacles. Look on the New Amsterdam site for a list of weekly market vendors.

I visited their stall last Sunday and picked up some gorgeous mushrooms that they collected in Vermont where they live and work.

What to do with these beauties? I think I will sauté some in a cast iron skillet with butter, parsley and salt. I might roast some or perhaps if I am feeling really ambitious I will make a fresh pasta and a mushroom ragout. These mushrooms are begging for a Sunday get together.

If you are interested in wild mushrooms, you can find many varieties at local farmers markets or through local wildcrafters. Les and Nova do a wild CSA and Wild Mushroom Of The Month Club. You can check it out here.

Hen of the Woods/Maitake/Grifola frondos

Props Kim Ficaro