Well its time to stop mucking about with all my #FEELINGS and get down to it and write about some food.
The sun has returned to the land of seemingly endless winter and we’re feeling less and less like hibernating walruses rolling from bed to car to couch and back again every day. I’m back on my bike and moving freely through the world (at least the part of the world without hills, since its a single speed cruiser).
Lovely small green things are popping out of the ground, and so are those lovely lascivious ever-so slightly penile harbingers of spring; morel mushrooms. I’m am not kidding you when I tell you that my heart skipped a beat when I saw them on Saturday morning, chunked right in there between the homenji and the miatake. I let out a small gasp and bouncing on my heels got right in line behind a gentlemen in a small and interesting hat.
The lady in front of us was taking her time, examining every single mushroom available, chatting about this and that, I was practically climbing out of my skins wanted to just reach over and touch just one morel…to make sure it was real.
I chatted with my line-mate, I’d seen him around with his curious hat and fancy basket- from the first word out of his mouth…I knew – a fellow New Yorker, a member of the tribe- its strange how the accents of your youth can affect you. We chatted about mushrooms and NYC and Long Island and Maine, and that’s how long it took the lady to select and pay for her mushrooms.
A Feh-tarsec : The amount of time it takes newly acquainted NY Jews to trade jokes & information.
But back to my mushrooms, my mushrooms, my $7 worth of luxury (an eighth btw). All of the sudden a world of possibilities had opened up. Before the mushrooms I’d been obsessing over lamb, and a desperate need to explore the Portland Whole Foods on my own, without my husband hurrying me along whilst pretending to die from over exposure to overpriced condiments and self satisfied shoppers.
I understand why he feels that way, and I agree that there are people in the world who believe that since they shop at Whole Foods they have filled their decency quota by purchasing non GMO fair trade coconut oil and therefore do not have to be respectful in the parking lot but I don’t care because I LOVE WHOLE FOODS, always have, always will. If there was a bus from where I live to Whole Foods, even if it took over an hour I would take it just so I could be there alone to explore every aisle. But there’s not and I am still not ready to drive to Portland by myself.
Back to my MUSHROOMS…. now cradled in my greedy little paws…
I felt free to explore the market and start to plan out the what to cook this week. I picked up some tiny tiny radishes with luscious greens, a small chunk of salami made with orange peels and honey, a dozen eggs, a purply bunch of mustard greens and two fat leeks, two wedges of locally made cheese, tiny potatoes, a watermelon radish, a stubby diakon, a quart of buttermilk and a loaf of ciabatta and before I knew it my alotted $40 was gone- POOF. (ok, I cheated I put another $8 on debit card)
I took a few moments to construct this weeks menu.
We had lunch with my husband’s Aunt Nat at The Dolphin, she is lovely and it was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with her.
I had an excellent Bloody Mary and some serviceable fish tacos. The fish was fresh but too many things in that taco, I like them with raw cabbage, lime & crema ..these had an overly complicated red pepper salsa nightmare and avocado chipolte crema. Also I think they cost like $20 for 2 little tacos and some crappy rice.
The Dolphin is great for drinks though, only problem is it’s SUCH a drive that you need a chauffeur if you’re going to really take advantage.
Then we napped for too long because of the Bloody Marys and so we were cranky and didn’t finish our errands until 7:30 – we fell back on an old standby Fried Chicken from supermarket- (I was cranky because I did not get to go to fun butcher or to Whole Foods and Xtian was cranky because of me), I wanted asparagus and mint fro my morel pasta but our supermarket had been ravaged of mint, asparagus and cilantro by Bowdoin students, which added to my crankiness,
In an attempt to stave off further crankiness we had some Champagne, we LOOOVE Champagne with fried chicken and watched Reds 2, which wasn’t that bad. The night before we watched the last Hobbit Movie which SUCKED so badly it made us even more crabby.
I was tempted to just have my shrooms on toast or scrambled eggs but my morels wanted to be pasta- so after I cleaned the bathroom, my room, our bedroom, the kitchen and the dining room table I made:
Sweet Pea Tortellini
I made pasta with the lovely fresh eggs and “00” flour, and while it was resting I made ricotta with leftover milk from last week that was about to turn. I am always so damned pleased with myself when I make cheese and pasta, it’s just so fucking cool. Making food is awesome!!!!!
I pureed some defrosted peas then mixed them in with the ricotta, a green onion, lemon zest, bread crumbs & Parmesan (it was a bit thick so I used the whey to thin it out a bit).
I sauteed my morels in butter, cubed the last bit of some Bisson’s slab bacon, rendered those into crispy cubes, then I sauteed a bit of leek, de-glazed the pan with sherry until it was dry. Once the tortellini were cooked I added them to the pan with a good glug of pasta water, some whole peas and swirled it all around with a tablespoon or so of cream, a dash more butter and finished with more parm, the buttery morels, the bacon, a good amount of black pepper and it was very good, it was very good.
I had Welsh Rarebit on the brain, I actually have never even eaten Welsh Rarebit but I watched April Bloomfield make it on Mind of a Chef and I have SUCH a girl crush on her, that I was sure it would be absolutely delicious, just like she said.
I made “bechamel” with Guinness in place of milk and added the two local cheeses + some grainy mustard & Worcestershire sauce, I quick pickled a bit of red onion and made a HUGE salad with watermelon radish, carrots, red cabbage & arugula in an aggressive red wine vinaigrette. Also very good.
Here is a terrible, out of focus picture of said Welsh rarebit.
I’ve had a little organic chicken marinating in 1/2 buttermilk 1/2 whey from the ricotta + garlic and lemon zest for two days. I’m going to spatchcock it and roast it, along side my tiny potatoes and the carrots I have left from last weeks farket visit. I think I’ll make a salsa verde with parsley, capers, anchovy, garlic and pistachios to give it some green.
Warm soba noodles with crispy tofu in black bean vinaigrette with red cabbage, watermelon radish & sauteed mustard greens
How virtuous of me.
We’ve been doing pizzas alot and I’m a bit bored of them also we are bad at portion control. This week I’m making individual calzones filled with ricotta, chunks of salami and sauteed radish greens and a salad of tiny radishes and arugula in a punchy anchovy vinaigrette.
I have a small slab of pork belly in my freezer- and my husband LOVES having sandwiches for dinner, and that totally fits our Friday vibe. Thursday night I’ll Bo SSam the pork belly till its soft & unctous. Friday night I’ll crisp thick slices slathered with gochuchang on the grill . On to crisp baguettes they’ll go with raw jalapeno, pickled diakon + some fresh cilantro & mint (which hopefully have returned to the shops) + a bit of mayo MAYBE there will be pate maybe not depends on what I can find, and so the week that started with morels will end with Korean pork belly banh mi.
This week the farmer’s markets move from only Saturdays to Tuesday, Friday and Saturday… I can’t wait to see what’s popping out all over!
Sunday is our 1 YEAR Anniversary of moving to Maine. It’s unbelievable, yet it seems like we’ve always been here. (We are celebrating with fried clams, frappes & cheeseburgers at Fat Boys- after which we should probably do a juice fast)