Friday, October 23, 2015

cooking from the wild

thee are many things that i will take that grow wild,
concord grapes are a simple one, dandelion greens in the spring are another, but around this time there is something special that comes out here in the New England area, giant puff ball mushrooms.
I know, you are suppose to be an expert in order to harvest wild mushrooms, but for this giant, there are no equal in the toxic world, yet there is some information you need to enjoy your meal.

First they are big, big enough to be mistaken for a soccer ball.

this one is over 9 inches and it was not the largest!

second pick them when they first show up and cook them the same day!
The insides MUST be all white!  Any discoloration means the spores are beginning to ripen and they will upset your stomach.
this is how white they should be!
you notice the different dates on the pictures?  Normally there is only one crop and this year there were two, i did not mind!

Cleaning is as any other mushroom, but you want to minimize the skin, which is tough.
Cut 1/2 inch pieces of steak and discard the ends.
Now to cook them.
It should be noted that they absorb any butter, oil or cooking liquid in large quantities - a single 1/2 inch slice will completely absorb 1 stick of butter!
Use a non-stick pan or grill them getting a crust with a small amount of cooking oil or butter.
I add salt, pepper and tarragon to my pan to add flavors i like.

They also taste different than any other mushroom you have ever had, the outside crisp and tender and the inside, while it still has the mushroom texture, taste very much like a pudding (especially if you add to much butter, like i did on the first slice.)
this is a full meal and just needs some vegetables to round it out.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

what to do?

I had a really good crop of tomatoes this year,
all shapes and sizes, but we are getting a freeze tonight and to i have picked them all!

What to do now?
Many will ripen and still taste better than the store's tomatoes.
some i will make into a green tomato relish (no recipe yet)
and some i will smoke and serve with southern style food.
I do not do fried foods, so no fried green tomatoes.

Yes, this is my smoker!  4 years in service and in this picture smoking some beautiful pork ribs and eggplant - ...
hickory, maple, hazelnut, cherry and apple woods are what i have available.
This is maple with onions skins.
I also keep my onion skins, oregano stems and sage to add extra flavor when they are warranted ...Onion skins work with everything, fish, beef, pork, sausage and chicken
oregano works with sausage, pork and chicken
and sage works mostly with sausage and chicken.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It is not like i have not been cooking

I have, but just forget to take pictures, write down the recipes here and so forth...
that apology given, i share the following: 24 hour smoked brisket and this is all that is left after 2 days:
firm yet fork tender and juicy!

I changed my rub and went with something very different:
I also cooked 2 full briskets at a time

Brisket Rub 2

3 chipolte peppers, dry, crushed fine
6 paprika
1 rosemary
6 black pepper
6 salt
1 cayenne pepper
1 turbo sugar

The method was slightly different

 - the brisket is slow cooked 24 hours (200 F) with a liquid barrier between the brisket and the heat
rub applied the previous day.
smoke is from Hickory
After 8 hours in the smoker, the brisket is wrapped in tinfoil and cooking continues for the remainder of the 24 hours at 200 F

no extra wood is added for smoke

this is a keeper and reminded me of the best i ever had in Texas