Entries in hungryghostfoodandtravel (5)


where the wild things are. the blue pearl.


One afternoon, a couple years ago, around a tiny fire outside their farmhouse in Southern Vermont, Les Hook and Nova Kim cooked up some wild mushrooms we had gathered that morning nearby. In a  large cast iron pan, they seasoned them with nothing more than a little butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper. It had just begun to snow steadily when we set out to gather. Large fat flakes  floated around us amd landed on our eyelashes.Les pulled over in his red Subaru, flashers glowing in the wild flurry of white. He deftly put up a twenty-foot ladder against a slippery maple tree and quickly climbed up. He pulled of the biggest Blue Pearl Oyster Mushrooms I have ever seen off that tree. We drove back to their place and lit the fire. It was then that Nova told us about her non-turkey, perfect for vegetarians on turkey day or for any feast any time of the year for that matter. You must start with a large fan of a mushroom, as you can see from the photo it kind of sweetly resembles a turkey's tail! Though I have roasted many a mushroom from them, it took me two years to get to this post. I asked Nova to save me a large Blue Pearl that I would pick up from the New Amsterdam Market. Luckily my snail mail reached her in time and I was able to get a beauty from them the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I kept in a paper bag on my fire escape until cooking day. Now I know I have sung their praises before but people, if you have not been to the market on a day when they are there then you are SERIOUSLY missing out. If you are interested in finding out when The Vermont Wild Food Gatherer's Guild will be in town go to The New Amsterdam Market website and check the vendor and calendar listings! They always have something special and if you have never been to the market then what are you waiting for? It is every Sunday from 11-4pm.

Back to the mushrooms...

The mushroom I got from Les and Nova was held together by a stretch of bark. I left the piece of bark on the mushroom while I roasted it.

I brushed the mushroom with a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkled it with French sea salt cracked black pepper and thyme.

I put in my largest Cast iron pan...this was a BIG mushroom 14 inches across at least. I threw it in the oven at 350 degrees for a slow roast and when it started to brown at the edges I put about a 1/4 cup of water in the pan and covered it with tin foil to add a little more moisture. Mushrooms are essentially like sponges so they soak up all that moisture. I may not have needed to do this if I had roasted it right away but since I had waited a few days I thought it might help to add the additional moisture.. I took the tin foil off for the last five minutes or so of cooking. I can't give you a specific cooking time because it depends on how big or small the mushrooms are that you are roasting. So use your intuition. You want it to be moist and almost meaty when you slice it.

We loved this so much that we could almost forego the turkey next year and just eat this!

It was really good with gravy... 


Thank you Nova for this brilliant idea!



Roasted Wild Blue Pearl Mushroom Tail

Set your oven to 350 degrees 


1 large Blue Pearl Mushroom fan approx 12-14 inches in length

1/4- 1/2 cup olive oil brushed and drizzled on the mushroom

Seas salt to taste

Cracked black pepper to taste

Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

Gently brush any dirt or debris off the mushroom with a small mushroom brush or a small pastry brush

Place the mushroom upright in a large roasting pan or cast iron skillet

Brush and drizzle with olive oil. Mushrooms really soak it up so be generous with your application.

Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper

Add some fresh thyme leaves and a sprig or two for looks


Place in the preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of our mushroom.

Put about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water in the pan and cover with tin foil

When the water is all evaporated the mushroom will be done. 

Uncover for the last five minutes or so.

The mushroom should be moist and easy to slice along the grain.


Cooking time really depends on the mushroom size so keep and eye on it!@ You don’t want it to be too tough!!!


As always, a word of caution where wild mushrooms are concerned. Leave the gathering to an expert!!











cider and babes



 This morning as I look out on the grey city skyline, I am anticipating some extreme weather. I can't help but think what a perfect sky we had last Saturday as I headed up to a small town in Western Massachusetts to visit friends and babes. The remnants of summer’s leaves had turned a brilliant yellow and were positively glowing and illuminated. We did not even wear coats as the weather was so unseasonably warm.. It was pretty much the perfect fall weekend. Plans were a little loose, as they have to be with so many little ones around. So we kept things mellow and cooked quite a bit. On Sunday, we made a big brunch and went to a fall festival at a local CSA, Natural Roots, which is a horse powered small family farm on The South River in Conway. At the festival, the kids participated in feed sack races and beet in spoon races, which was pretty cute. We all climbed up onto the wagon for a horse drawn ride through the river and into the woods beyond the farm. We bought local apples and when we got back to the house I hunkered down and made a pie with Odette, one mini one for her and one big one for us. We were a little short on the crust due to the mini pie and a little underestimating on my part, so I winged the top and just made triangle shapes, something I picked up from the blackbird girls during our book shoot.


In the afternoon, Anna arrived to make cider with her recently purchased cider press. We started with five bushels of apples of a mixed variety. In the end after an hour or so we had ten gallons of cider. We bottled it up in a hodgepodge of old bourbon bottles and mason jars. After one last meal, we headed out into the early blue evening and wound our way back to the city.

























the deconstructed.

Lately I have been working on a new project of deconstructed organic debris. I have always found beauty in piles of compost, the fecund and fetid forest floor, negleted peonies and poppies left to fade and rot, this is my inspiration these days.










rhubarb ginger coffee cake.




 I have always loved a coffee cake. It reminds me of my grandmother who used to make a particular one for me which she sent via the mail! This one is inspired by my love of rhubarb. I made this cake three times trying to get the ratios right. I can confidently now say that it is pretty tasty. The first time I made it I used all whole wheat flour. It was a little too dense and almost a bit bitter. The next I added half whole wheat pastry flour and half white flour and a bit of dried ginger powder. The last and final time, I added more rhubarb and grated fresh ginger. 


Rhubarb Ginger Coffee Cake


1 cup all purpose white flour

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of ground ginger


 Combine the first six ingredients



1/2 stick of  softened butter 

1/2 cup  heavy cream

2 eggs

1/4 cup of grated fresh ginger 

3  cups chopped rhubarb 

Chop the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces


Mix  by hand until all combined


Put the batter in a 9 inch round cake pan or 9 inch a cast iron skillet

Place 1/2 batter the batter in the pan

Spoon some of the topping over the batter

Add rest of batter

Spoon remining topping over the batter



1/2 stick butter

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon



Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.

 The gorgeous black porcelain plates and little blue bowl in this post were lent to me by the uber talented Marcie McGoldrick.


strawberry rhubarb cardamom shortcake. maple whip cream.

Nothing signals the beginning of summer for me like strawberry shortcake. I love the smell of strawberries and sun!

This is  an adapted twist on the classic. The cream biscuits have just  hint of cardamom and the rhubarb adds a bit of tartness to the sometimes cloyingly sweet strawberry. It is topped  with a hit of woodsy maple whip cream!




  Alice Water's Cream Biscuits (With Cardamom)


Adapted from Alice Water's Cream Biscuits The Art of Simple Food


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Stir together in a large bowl.


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of salt

4 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of cardamom



6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter

cut into small pieces


Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or a small pastry blender until they are the size of small peas. Measure:

3/4 cup heavy cream

Remove 1 tablespoon and set aside. Lightly stir in the remainder of the cream with fork until the mixture just comes together. Without overworking it, lightly knead the dough a couple of times in the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and roll out about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into eight 1 1/2 inch circles or squares. Rerolll the scraps if necessary.

Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchement paper and lightly brush the tops with the reserved tablespoon of cream and a sprinkle os sugar.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cooked through and golden.



Strawberry Rhubarb

For the Fruit

Halve 4 cups of  washed strawberries 

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sugar and set aside

Cut  2 cups rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar

Place rhubarb and sugar mixture in a pot on low heat with 1/4 cup of water

Heat on low stirring occaisionaly until the rhubarb is completely broken down

Add more water if needed

Set aside to cool

Once cool, combine the rhubarb and the strawberries and mix together well. Set aside.



Maple Whip Cream

1 pint of heavy cream

3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

Whisk  together in a bowl until a light whip cream forms