Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Zeitgeist

I know it’s been quite awhile since I posted an update.  At some point during the spring, I had the profound feeling that my posts were getting redundant; how many updates on canning, goats, and dinners are truly interesting?  Since a great deal of my life is unbloggable (teaching), those are the things I feel comfortable writing about most days.  Let me assure you that my “country life” is only part of the picture!

If I had to choose a theme or two for the summer, I think they would fall under the category of faith; though my interpretation of faith may not be quite the same as many of my friends’. For the last several months, we’ve experienced a rollercoaster of jobs for Peter, and an awakening of purpose for me.  Peter lost a job, was on unemployment for awhile, got a job that lasted 3 months, and was once again on unemployment (this time for just a few weeks), then found his current temporary job…in Texas.   This one may or may not last until March of 2012.

He left for the Dallas area last Friday, as I was in my classroom, during the first week of school for this term.  He made the trip, all packed into the 1999 ragtop Miata (and I DO mean RAGS…the top is held together with duct tape!) and miraculously arrived in one piece on Sunday, to begin work on Monday.  What a guy!  I have never known such a positive spirit.  To travel alone, across the country on a wing and a prayer, at 63 years old is a testament to his youthful soul. 

That’s only one of our many synchronous adventures this year; it seems that every time we have an actual need, the universe complies somehow.  I have been aware of the concept of manifestation for quite some time now; the process seems to have become a part of the zeitgeist, as it’s coming to me from all over.  We have been manifesting slowly and steadily, which has been working just fine for us.  As I said to my friend Arlene Curley, the day before he lost his last job: “Change is in the air!”

For me, that means a concerted effort to habit-bust.  I’m making our house more user friendly while Peter is away, by reassigning some dedicated space for his office, and by sorting through much of the weighty STUFF that’s holding us down.  Arlene’s journey was inspirational to me; at the age of 60, she decided to remake herself.  She unloaded her possessions, and followed her muse to Alaska, where she encountered her future.  The rest of that story is hers to tell, but her courage truly moved me.

So, at 53 (me), my husband is in Texas, and I’m still teaching, but with my eye on my future.  I’ve begun the first baby steps at writing my book, and spent a good part of the summer researching.  I’m deciding upon my “voice” right now, balancing the academic with the “historical pulp” if you get my drift.  It’s such an exciting story to tell. 

Pierre Bourdelle was the child of history, and the bridge to the present for us; I want to share that feeling with others.   To be able to touch living history through your own bloodline: the passion of Rodin and Claudel, the apprentice system in action, the migration of the center of the art world from Paris to New York, the advent of Modernism and the waves of change it brought to education and world culture…it’s all there.  I can feel it in my pulse.  I can see it in Peter’s profile.  And I have the ability to write it for others; it’s just a matter of time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm back!

Fiona and Fauni Dell
Fall is nearly here, and with it, some time for reflection.  I'll be posting again soon.  In the mean time, check out how much the girls have grown!  They're still BFFs, as you can see.  Inseparable.

I'll post an actual update tomorrow.

Friday, June 17, 2011

In June

In June ’tis good to lie beneath a tree
While the blithe season comforts every sense,
Steeps all the brain in rest, and heals the heart,
Brimming it o’er with sweetness unawares.

–James Russell Lowell (1819–91)
Elderberry Blossoms

I'm JUST THAT CLOSE to summer vacation...
One more day...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Squash Blossoms; a Guilty Pleasure

Squash Season is Coming!!!
This is admittedly NOT the plant I took my male blossoms from; that plant had a huge headstart, being grown in the high tunnel, however I didn't plan ahead and neglected to photograph it.  Them.  They're taking over. (I'll insert a picture here at a later date!)

Squash blossoms are an early summer delicacy.  I only pick the male blossoms, the ones without the ovary attached (swollen base), because that's what will eventually become your squash.  And I only take a few; they're a guilty secret. For this recipe you'll need a simple egg batter (like the one you use for pancakes), a stuffing, some vegetable oil, and some salt.

Open the blossom, then remove the pistol.  Or is it the stamen?  I don't remember.  Remove the phallic polleny thing in the middle.  It will be bitter if you don't. Stuff the flower with something you love: crab, shrimp, mushrooms, cheese; I chose fresh mozzarella, because that's what I had. Wrap the blossom around the filling.  Really tuck it in.

Heat up your oil and get a plate ready with paper towels to catch the drips.  Dip the entire blossom in the batter, and make sure the petals stay around the filling as you rotate it for coverage.  I found it easiest to do by hand, but if you grip the open end of the blossom with a pair of tongs, you may be able to finesse it into compliance without messing up your manicure.  Having no such manicure, I wasn't terribly concerned about using my hands.  Place them in the hot (but not smoking) oil. The stuffed blossoms.  Not your hands.

Make sure to turn them as they get brown.  Don't fuss with them too much or you'll lose your stuffing.  Well, they will...not you. 

These are NOT chicken wings.  Meat-free goodness.
Drain on paper towels or whatever you use for lapping up oil, then salt to taste and enjoy.  If you have a favorite dipping sauce, now's the time to break it out.  I used harvard beet glaze, because that's what I had.  And that was just fine.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Berry Berry Good.

Putting Food By...
It's become an obsession of mine.  With the imminent collapse of the fossil fuel system, combined with my "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" mindset, the natural course of things is to preserve foods that will be accessible sans power. Also, since I'm particularly sensitive to sugar for some reason, and have found through personal experience that freezing diminishes taste and texture, I've decided that dehydration is the way to go.

I bought this dehydrator about 20 years ago.  It's still kicking. Of course there are natural ways to dehydrate food; I'm currently dehydrating some elderflowers in my shed as we speak; but I digress.

Nearly Antique Plastic Dehydrator (I'm Getting Old. YAY!)
First, you clean and half the strawberries.  Mine were grown in Amish country (just a hop over the county line in Kutztown), and are natural and local.  Beautiful, aren't they?

You KNOW I Ate Some...
After you cut them, place them on the trays, seed side down.  NOT cut side down.  They'll stick.

Stack those trays up.  If you have multiple trays, you'll save energy, because it will take the same amount of time to do 6 as to do 2.  The trays weren't cheap, as I recall (it's been awhile), but they have more than paid for themselves.

Use the Proper Heat Setting
They shrink way down.  Down to 20% of their original volume, as I calculate...

I almost always dehydrate overnight, and that worked fine for these goodies.  I found that 5 quarts of fresh fruit equalled 1 quart of dried.  So I made 2 dried quarts for the winter.  That should hold us.

They taste wonderful: concentrated strawberry goodness.  I can just imagine them in oatmeal, on cereal, in cream-of wheat, or bread pudding...spring goodness in the deep winter. Yum.

Beauty is Only Skin Deep

By the way, the Farmer's Almanac has this tidbit to share about the aforementioned topic:

"The month of June's full Moon's name is the Full Strawberry Moon. June's Full Strawberry Moon got its name because the Algonquin tribes knew it as a signal to gather ripening fruit.
It was often known as the Full Rose Moon in Europe (where strawberries aren't native)."


Sunday, June 12, 2011


Most of you already know that each animal on the farm (any farm) has their own distinct personality.  Yesterday, I decided it was time to showcase Gazelle, who has recently become the Belle of the Barn.
Last year was Gazelle's first freshening.  I recall carrying her, trembling, to the milk stand, where she'd barely tolerate the process.  She had to be lifted onto the stand for weeks after that, afraid to jump up, afraid of any different sounds; just afraid.  She was a small, trembling bunch of nerves, for no reason other than it was in her nature; being born and raised on the farm, she has never encountered abuse or neglect.  She was just wired that way. 

So, I began a season of psychotherapy for Gazelle.  I told her how good she was, how smart and beautiful.  I rewarded her efforts with handfuls of sweet feed, and laid my hands on her whenever she was in the stand.  I stroked both her body and her ego (if you have to ask if goats have egos, you don't know goats), and as the season grew warmer, so did her spirit.  Though she was never queen material, being a diminutive goat, Gazelle was beautiful, and soon lost her fear.

Then winter came, and with it, the long gestational wait.  Gazelle ripened with the rest of the girls, and gave birth to twins in March. Big, hungry twins.  She was relieved at weaning time, like most of the mommas.  And milking time began again.

Miss Gazelle is now the Lolita of the Lower Barn.  She bats her eyes at you, nuzzles your ears, kisses your lips.  She gazes into your eyes, hypnotically implanting that one thought, paramount on her mind: "GRAIN...GIVE ME GRAIN".  She has been called "the best goat", "my favorite goat", "a sweet goat", etc., by everyone who encounters her.  I believe it's her own psychic ability, recently developed, which she has learned how to focus on her minions (us).  See for yourself:

GIVE...ME...GRAIN...(You're getting SLEEPY; SLEEPY...)
Just look at that face.  Don't you just want to plant one on those fuzzy lips?  I often do, and Gazelle often kisses back.  And then, of course...I give her grain.

Who could resist?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fauni Dell

This afternoon, after I finished milking the 24 Flint Hill Goaty-Babes, I decided to visit with the kids awhile.  They were sleepy and adorable, and all too ready to socialize. Frank has grown a bit aloof, though he still comes for a nose scratch if he sees his sisters talking with me.  Fiona is vocal and opinionated; she has a pouty sort of call that reminds me so much of her mother, my first goat (this time around!) Faith.  Fairly (our adopted daughter, the only Toggenberg in my familial herd) always comes to me for a cuddle and a suck on my fingers, though last time, she chomped down and drew blood, so she's officially finger weaned.  She was always such a frantic nurser; perhaps because I had to tube her to bring her back to life after her mother abandoned her.  One doesn't forget that feeling of starvation.  Ever.

And then there's Miss Fauni Dell.  Fauni was the middle birth of Faith's triplets, and I had given her up for dead.  She presented sideways, and Kathy pulled her that way after trying everything else she could (after I did the same).  Little Fauni's head turned to the side as she was born, and we feared the worst; I had given Kathy the go ahead to just pull her to save Faith's life.  I thought she'd have a broken neck; but she was small, and had no permanent injuries.  She slept with her head to that same side for the first few weeks of her life ( I bottle fed the triplets and little Fairly), but she was up and running with her sibs in record time.  And now she thinks I'm her Mama.

Fauni came out to play awhile tonight.  I brought her out of the kids' stall (they stayed in because of the heat today), and put her on the ground for a few minutes.  I stepped away, and she followed me.  I took 5 steps, and she followed me more.  Then we sat in the hammock, watered the garden, walked down to her goat-Mama's stall, and she followed me.  Talking the entire time. Maaaa.  Conversational.

We both heard Fiona complaining back in the kids' stall.  Fauni even answered her a few times.  I'm wondering if my little herd will follow me en masse; that's a game I'll attempt to play later this week, when I'm ready to videotape them. :::::LIVE UPDATE::::: CLICK HERE

Until then, I'm happy to be much loved by my little Fauni Dell, the wonder goat; our little miracle, who has Much To Do.  And I'm hoping that by the time she's ready to be a Mama herself, I'll have a place of my own to keep her in, and I can know her family even better that I know her.  My sweet little girl, who Was Meant To Be.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pennsylvania Oysters

This same tree, and this same farmer shared their bounty with me last fall.  I recall that my hands were very cold when I pulled the mushrooms from the tree last fall; today, I was feeling springtime fresh.  We just had a week or so of hot, rainy weather, followed by two days of sunny heat.  TREASURE!!!
I saw them driving by...
 Though I admit that I stopped by his farm, Mr. Unnamed Farmer wasn't home yesterday, and I didn't trespass.  I went back this evening.

There they are.  Same tree, different season.
 They were a day or so past prime.   A small price to pay to maintain my integrity.  The farmer was still willing to give them up, despite my praise of last year's crop, though he did welcome my "payment" of milk and eggs, due on Sunday.  A fair price, at my insistence.  He was willing to just give them up.  Nice farmer.

After cleaning, a short soak; they were a bit dry on the edges.

Note the gills that travel right up the stem, which is minimal.  And they smell so good!

They typically grow on hardwood.  The tree these are on is WAY DEAD, but I'll ask Mr. Farmer
what it was when I see him on Sunday.

Recipes and storage tips to follow...
Life's good. Bb.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Spring has suddenly morphed into summer, as it seems to do every Memorial Day. With the torrential rains, tornadoes, subsequent sunlight and heat has come the inevitable greening of Pennsylvania.
Trimming the Garden: Feverfew, Lemon Balm, Spearmint, Sage, Kale, Spinach, Lettuce, Strawberries...
and a Few Weeds.
I'll discuss my vegetable garden in a later post, as I'm way behind on taking the appropriate pictures.  What I want to discuss today is the natural bounty I've experienced so far this spring.  Wild harvests have been possible for months already, with the first garlic mustard, ramps, morels, dryads' saddles, watercress, nettle, etc.  On Sunday afternoon, as I was waiting for the shuttle to arrive for our post-paddle trip home (we had a wonderful 17 mile paddle trip on the Pine Creek, near Williamsport, with a most-excellent group of new friends), I spent a few endorphin fueled moments gazing at the "weed" bank by the water.  It occurred to me that I could actually create a fairly decent meal from the abundant plants growing there.  There was stinging nettle (par-boiled and sauteed, a better-than-spinach green), burdock (the root is a prized vegetable in Asian cultures, though I've personally never tried it because it's a huge taproot, a long, deep dig...and I'm lazy), garlic mustard (spicy greens and root), upland cress (peppery), and some wild carrot.  We need never go hungry in the summer, if we know what we're looking at. 

Back at home, the herb garden in my tiny back yard is in full swing.  I harvested the comfrey because it was threatening to move into the kitchen, and I've begun harvesting the feverfew flowers.  The valerian is about to burst into bloom, and the tansy and pennyroyal are looking promising.  I have enough mint and lemon balm for the entire block.  My more traditional culinary herbs are holding their own; I've been topping the basil, parsley, rosemary and oregano for a few weeks as I need them for my cooking; the thyme is a little slower to get started, and my new chives are lagging behind. The perennial strawberries are enjoying a renaissance this year, after last year's hiatus, and the snow peas I put in after a glass of wine sometime a few weeks ago are doing surprisingly well considering their inappropriate position.

It's amazing to me how much you can harvest from a tiny spit of land, if you simply adjust your expectations about what a backyard should look like, and use your culinary and medicinal herbs and vegetables for greenery and flowers instead.  I have more than enough for my husband and myself, on a piece of land smaller than most people's living room; of course, my more expansive vegetable garden is off-site, and I'd dearly love to have that right at hand, but I'm happy to have it, regardless.

Gratuitous Snow Peas
More pictures to follow!

P.S.:  On the way home from the farm this afternoon, I saw two tiny spotted fawns.  What a blessing!  AND: a beautiful bloom of oyster mushrooms on the famous farmer's tree from last fall.  I stopped by to ask if he was still disinterested in them (!), but he wasn't home.  I sure hope no one spots them before tomorrow!

Watermelon Juice with Plum Vodka, a Watermelon Ball and a Backyard Mint Sprig. 
YUM!  When the Watermelon is Local, it'll REALLY Rock!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It Was the Best of Times...and so on.

Soooo...after a reasonably uncomfortable union meeting (I won't go into details as per my personal rules), I was enroute to the local fresh market for some fresh protein and a much needed adult beverage (next door to the fresh market), when I spied a police car in my rear view mirror.  Lights ablaze.  For me.  ME????  I pulled over, no idea of what was going on; it was about 4:20 PM, on my way home from a day of gainful employment, finally in the clear of the gazillion things I've been juggling in my head, and's the MAN.

Long story short, I spaced out on my registration and inspection.  Now, a few years ago, I used to receive registration renewal notices in the mail.  I counted on them to remind me to prepare for the whole process.  They don't come anymore for some reason.  That was the first strike.  On April 27th, just THREE DAYS BEFORE MY INSPECTION RAN OUT, my brakes started grinding, and I had them replaced.  At my dealer.  Who charged me big bucks.  $650 of them.   Do you THINK they'd mention the soon to be due inspection?  JUST MAYBE?  That's strike 2.  Strike 3 is my own complacency.  I've been contemplating the meaning of life and stuff.  Planting a garden.  Milking goats. Teaching kids (both human and goat).  Making and matting house tour drawings.  Writing papers. Taking care of maternal visits. Working full time. Something had to give.  Sheesh.  I even forgot to RSVP to an impromptu dinner invitation until the night-of.  Sorry El, once again, and I hope you call me back one day when the dust settles.  I'm overloaded. Expensively overloaded.

In his defense, the officer could have been MUCH more vindictive.  He was kind, and professional, and I could have owed much more.  But was a pricey lesson.  So what will I do next year?  Well, the cell phone is now programmed to go off weekly starting April 1, reminding me to deal with it.  My husband's is too.  And any other bells and whistles I can locate will soon be employed likewise. 

Of course none of the service stations are open at this hour to make an inspection appointment.  So what's a girl to do? 

Make aebleskiver. 

What's that, you ask?  Only the best alternative to gut-wrenching stomach anchoring pancakes in the history of Scandinavian cookery.  Why now, you might ask?  Because I picked up a cast iron aebleskiver pan at the thrift store two days ago, and am currently housebound due to my illegal truck.  I'm making lemons into lemonade...or traffic fines into pastry.  So to speak.

Is is an Egg Poacher?  A Biscuit Pan?  No, it's an Aebleskiver Maker!
I had everything I needed.  The recipe is easy; I found a simple one that didn't require "stiff eggwhites" online here at  I don't do stiff eggwhites.  But I DO do aebleskivers from now on!  All you need is regular pantry items, some sort of filling (I used some awesome raspberry jam, given to me by Kate, over at Living the Frugal Life.).  You make the batter per the directions, spoon a little bit into the buttered concavity, let it rise a bit, spoon in a little filling, top it off with more batter, turn it with a chop stick (or other pointy object), and let it brown.  Holy cow.  It made those tickets seem so much less important.

There they are, filled and turned once.
Browning off the sides.
What you don't see is me, popping one in my mouth as soon as it's finished, and burning the heck out of my tongue on the jam.  It was just that kind of a day.  I'm not a big fan of baked goods.  But I was vulnerable tonight...and oh, so willing to be self-pampered.  And that was darn good jam, Kate!  Thank you!

So, the moral of the story is this:  If you foul up in an expensive and embarrassing way, and get confined to quarters, raid your pantry and try a new culinary experiment, preferably involving starch, butter, and fruit preserves. This is a good example. Then, you can take it camping, impress your friends, and potentially regain your self-esteem!  Hey!  Hopefully your truck will be registered and inspected if you do, though.  You know mine will be. 

Sheesh, what a day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sandy the Goatherd

Cover Art: Heidi
You know, I've been thinking about Gene Logsdon's post, over at The Contrary Farmer, all afternoon.  In it, he discusses the connection communication relationships between our livestock / friends and ourselves.  I actually had this conversation over a glass or three of wine with friends a week or so ago.  I, being a little quite left of center, contend that all is not as we imagine it: that it's quite possible for animals other than ourselves to experience the world through a sixth sense, and communicate psychically.  I find it awfully shortsighted and speciest to imagine that everyone is equipped with the same tools we are, and that our sensory organs are the end-all measure to reality. My engineer friend, however (you know who you are!) contends that animals simply pick up our non-verbal clues, and are much better than we are at understanding body language.  I'm not quite so stuck on empirical data; I believe there's more.  That's just me. 

The Day Fairly Was Born
Today, after teaching, I arrived at the farm to find that all of the yearling goats had escaped their pen and were busy grazing with the milkers. The kids did it last week; this week, the yearlings decided to jump ship. Just like that. This could have been an issue, had we panicked, but Kathy and the others calmly waited for me to arrive, and I separated milkers from doelings by opening a gate and inviting the "mommas" in.  I said, "Come on, Mommas". The yearlings, appropriately waited outside.  Then I opened the outer gate, and asked them to follow me.  My favorite phrase for the 18 young does has always been "hurry, hurry!" when I brought them in from the fields, so I said, "Come on, kids!  Hurry, Hurry!"  They'd follow me anywhere. And they very sweetly followed me back up to the stall area, where I directed them into a waiting area. Was it my body language?  Why didn't they follow anyone else?  Do they know I expect it of them?  Did they expect food?  Maybe...all I know is that I know the ways of these goats; and they know the ways of this human. 

Sleepy Kids After Last Week's Mutiny
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books was "Heidi".  Maybe it was because my mother is German, and she delighted in the story.  Maybe it was the way I could see the story as it unfolded before me.  But MAYBE (and by this I mean probably) it was because I loved Peter the Goatherd.  I wasn't IN love with Peter the Goatherd.  I was too young for that.  I wanted to BE Peter the Goatherd.  It's true.  So now, I have a husband named Peter.  But I'm the goatherd.  Go figure.

Peter the Goatherd and Frankie the Goat
Gene Logsdon wrote about the interpersonal interactions between himself and his animals: the treats, the scratching, the conversations.  He wrote that on a small scale, a small farm, your animals "almost" become friends and interacting with them isn't work, but visiting.  I feel more like that in the summer, when I'm not so rushed; but I do understand the emotion, and I do feel the affection these animals bestow upon me.  I know their moods, and their temperaments, and those blessed moments when they welcome you into their world are indescribably magical.  There's nothing empirical about it.  There are times when we connect on a purely emotional level.  Just ask any goatherd.  Or any lover of animals.  They'll tell you the same.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fauni Dell Attends Her First Opening

I know I don't usually blog about my school functions, but I'm going to bend my rules just a bit today.  Today was the opening of our annual school art show, which is a community and school event held at a local historical site, the Heller Homestead.  I've drawn the homestead; my notecards serve as a fundraiser for framing our students' work.  If I can locate a scan of the art, I'll insert it later.

There were several other events going on today; there was a craft show, a flower/plant sale, food, and a Civil War encampment.  I thought that a little goatie girl would be a perfectly fine addition to the hoo-ha, so I bundled her into the S-10, and away we went.

Fauni and a Friend

Miss Fauni Dell was a debutante. Everyone loved her, from the moment we arrived.  Students were happy to hold her, and she climbed on several of them.  One little boy said he just LOVED goats (I know how he feels!).  Several adults shared stories, and spent time stroking her.  Between grass sampling sessions and snuzzles, Miss Fauni Dell sat calmly in my lap and chewed her little baby cud happily, ever the lady. We even found a woman who had a little herd who came from Fauni's parents' herd!  Small world! Cousins!

The local digital press was there.  If we become overnight sensations, I'll update; but if not, all I can say is that today, I "let my freak flag fly" so to speak.  And it made me so happy.

:::::::::::::NEWS FLASH:::::::::::

Fauni Dell Made the News!  Hellertown Patch: Read All
About It!

I'm not a fancy dresser; I don't use makeup, or wear heels, or color my hair.  I don't care if you do...I just don't understand why people do it, so I don't.  My colleagues do.  I'm an island.  I'm OK with that.

I let the guilt go today, and dressed my way, and brought my goat.  I feel whole.  Good day. I'll sleep soundly tonight.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring Dinner!

Although I spent the majority of the day writing (with a brief goaty interlude and a quick morel run), our dinner tonight was appropriate for today's earthy holiday!  May Day, aka Beltane, a traditional celebration of spring is my favorite time of year!

Breaded morels and dryad's saddles, roasted asparagus with Parmesan/Romano cheese, and home fried sweet potato chips with mineral salt.  Local onion-horseradish sauce for dipping.  And fresh goat milk. Yum!
Unfortunately, I'm all out of words today, and almost out of eyes as well, so I'll just leave you with this thought: we are blessed by our tenure on this planet; we have a sacred responsibility to know that, and to respond respectfully.  We are stewards.  We need to remember that.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dryad's Saddles

Are pretty good utility mushrooms.  And plentiful...just when we're searching for morels (the Holy Grail of culinary mushrooms). According to the many bits of research I've uncovered, these polypores which grow on wood, were imagined to be saddles for the wood-sprites.  If you find young ones, you'll see why.  Or, in my case, great big COMFY ones, like those shown below.

I first noticed these ubiquitous mushrooms last spring when searching for morels with my good friends Stephanie and Mike.  The one I brought home last year was past prime, but gave me a taste (literally) of what they had to offer.

During my walk yesterday, I found scads of them, from tiny buds to HUGE specimens, like this (a generous "saddle" indeed!):

That's Mike.  Outdoorsman-extraordinaire.
DISCLAIMER: Always be absolutely sure before you eat ANY mushroom.  Check.  Check again.  And again.  If in doubt, throw it out.  Don't rely on me to clear them for you.

And that's the bottom Dryad's Saddle of the two Mike was posing with.  Looks more like a tractor seat to me! Note: don't bother harvesting if they're this large. My mistake.
Though I did harvest this large mushroom, I was only able to use the outside 3" of it.  Those below, also large, were equally disappointing.  They're simply too tough when they're large.

Here are some little sweethearts!  Small and fresh.

Bottom View
When they're small and tender, Dryad's saddles are good utility mushrooms.  I follow Steve Brill's (literal) rule of thumb: If you can dig into the flesh with your thumbnail, it's good to harvest.  I also follow his method of preparation.  I marinated mine for 24 hours, and had a lovely dinner tonight.  Thanks, Steve! 

Mikey with morels.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Semi-foraged Dinner: Nettle, Shrimp (!) and Ramp Frittata with Goat-Milk and Farm Egg Custard

A Keeper
So, you already have most of the ingredients, but here's the official list:

Bacon (browned)

       Start with the bacon. I used about 1/6 of a pound, cut in 1"chunks.  Fry it up, pull out the bacon, reserve the fat.  Saute the following in the bacon fat:
Nettles (blanched then sauteed in bacon fat)
Shrimp (~1/2 cup sauteed in bacon fat)
Ramps (small amount, sauteed, et al)
Sweet Peppers (small amount, sauteed, et al)

        When all is tender, transfer to a colander and press out the liquid.  Transfer the mixture to a well-buttered glass pie pan, then add the mixture that follows:

Eggs (2-3)
Goat Milk, 1 cup (or cow milk, if that's the way you roll!)
      Beat these together, and set aside.

Cheese (I used a rather salty farmer's cheese sparingly, and a Lancaster cheddar), approx. 1 cup, to taste.
seasoning (I used pepper only, because the cheese was salty and I wanted to taste the veggies.): Sprinkle evenly over the shrimp/veggie mix, then soak with the egg and milk mixture.

Bake at 350 for ~ 45 minutes, or until the custard is firm and rises.  Remove from oven and let set for 15 minutes before cutting.

As my students would type: OMG!

As I would type: YUM!

Try It!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two-WordsThursday: Morels!