We Thought They Were Chickens, but They Were Hens!

We bought beautiful organic mushrooms from the Asian market. My husband was excited because they were called “Hen of the Woods” or “Maitake”. He thought he was buying the hard to find “Chicken Mushroom” and hence the confusion!

We brought them home to make an old recipe that my husband has been wanting to make for years “Fried Chicken Mushrooms”, a dish that utilized the technique of frying chicken and a buttermilk dressing to dip the fried mushrooms in.

Well, upon beginning to write this post, I decided to do a little research on the Maitake mushroom and sure enough they are easily confused with Chicken mushrooms. Well, it turns out that these mushrooms are really quite cool and have some promising medicinal value and we are just going ahead and making them in the fried chicken style anyway.

The basic recipe needed alot of doctoring. There was virtually no seasoning and the recipe for the buttermilk dressing didn’t call for enough sour cream.

To begin with, Shawn made the dressing. Sour Cream, Buttemilk and herbs from our garden and plenty of black pepper. Meanwhile, I cleaned the mushrooms and set them to rest in salt and pepper, buttermilk and a sprinkling of cajun style seasonings. The recipe called just for salt and pepper. We decided to let them soak a little bit in the buttermilk knowing we could drain it off and reuse the buttermilk. That’s one of the beautiful things about cooking with vegetables. There is no blood contamination. I think that seasoned buttermilk would go great in buttermilk biscuits.

Next step is to dip the mushroom pieces in seasoned flour and fry. We simply stirred together about 1/2 cup each flour and cornstarch and the rest of our seasoning mix. Each piece was allowed to drain before dipping in the flour. My god. The smell coming out that wok was almost enough to make a vegetarian swoon! It smelled exactly like chicken fried steak or something and the mushrooms resembled fried boneless chicken thigh meat.

As soon as one came out of the oil, we just had to sample it! The crust was incredible and the mushroom hot and tender inside the very crispy, seasoned crust. Dipped in the home made buttermilk/herb dressing, this humble fried mushroom was absolutely superb. I would love to see something like this on a bar menu as they hold their heat and crispy-ness really well.  What a great Saturday night snack with a movie.  I think a squeeze of lemon would be great on this.

Looks like the Broccoli Fritters have competition!


“Fried Chicken” Mushrooms coming soon!

I promise…it’s what’s for dinner. Just have to go get some buttermilk.

Hello Strangers!

What a weird couple of weeks.

Sick, out of town twice, can’t get camera battery charged, credit card info compromised and then canceled and no FMB for 2 weeks! Luckily, I have a ton of stuff growing in my yard and quite a bit of citrus still left from previous bags. As soon as my card comes in the mail, I’m ordering my bag for next week.
My poor, poor blog has suffered so much. I feel like a total blog-loser.

On a positive note, I did go to frye’s and look at the video cameras. Shawn is not sold on the flip and of course wants me to get a nicer one that also takes still photos. I guess that makes sense, but I still can’t afford one anyway.

On a VERY exciting note, I contacted “San Diego Food not Lawns” and they are starting a new program called “Farmer on the Block”. They want to host monthly “backyard produce sales” at my place and a couple other homes. People from my neighborhood would come over and purchase my surplus organic produce directly from my garden. How cool is that? Plus, no farmer’s market booth to rent. Eventually, they could buy my Porchtime Pickles as well!

Last night, I wanted to write a post and take pictures but I couldn’t get my camera working. I made “Goin’ South Mac N’ Cheese”, which is a great way to use up veggies that are “goin’ south” , if you know what I mean. Oh well, next time!
Well, that’s all I got today people. Shawn and I are heading up to 99 Ranch Market to get mushrooms and fresh Chinese noodles. We always feel like eating Asian soup and noodles when it’s a blustery day like this.

One More Reason to Love the FMB!

Ah, the beauty of a simple, customer satisfaction based service!

I’m not getting a bag this week, and no I didn’t forget this time. Truth is, I’ll be out of town Wednesday and Thursday and then I’m Baby Sitting my little (actually, BIG) Grandbaby Dog, Stella for a couple of days. Seemed like a good time to take a one week break from ordering my bag and clean out my fridge. So, I didn’t order my bag….and it’s no problem! That is one of the huge differences between the CSA offered through Specialty Produce and the typical ones you can sign up for at local farmer’s markets.  Order when you like and pay as go, perfect for someone on a tight budget like me.

My fridge is a bit heavy with baby Leeks, Green Garlic and few left over root vegetables and I still have some lettuce left from last week. I will be doing a post a little later on about ways to use up your veggies that may not be so perfect anymore besides the obvious use of turning them into broth. I’m looking forward to completely emptying the fridge and getting rid of that bad breath it gets from having Chinese Chives in the drawer (pee-yew!).

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening this week and finally have the 30 baby cucumber plants for future pickles for the Porchtime Pickle Project in the ground and well as the dill started and about 20 or so Pepper seeds planted in the ground.
I love looking down at the newly planted pickle and pepper patch from my porch and imagining all beautiful jars of pickles I’m going to create. I think that next week I better get started on experimenting with the recipes.

Until next time, Thank you for reading and commenting!

Not So Lucky Irish

Totally forgot to order our bag this week. Oh the shame, the humiliation!

I remember reminding Party Partner (now Doghouse Daddy) to order twice on Sunday. He’s the one who usually places the order and It’s my job to remind him. Ok, so I’m to blame as well. Just kind of fell asleep around 8pm. Ridiculous! And I’m at least a few years from being 80+.

So with a heavy heart, I watch the video of what EVERYBODY else is getting this week.

We will no doubt be out of veggies this week, a good time to clean out the cupboards and the freezer and use up some of that broth I made.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade right? Too bad I won’t have any!

No worries, I’m ordering for next week right NOW.

Something Good

And doing so you can recreate yourself and you can also come up with something that is not only original and creative and artistic, but also maybe even decent, or moral if I can use words like that, or something that’s like basically good.-Lester Bangs

That is exactly what I’m going to do here, create something good! Something really good. Something so good you will hopefully become inspired to create something good for yourself! Along the way, I hope you learn something new, laugh, share with your friends, create, try new foods and discover for yourself maybe a passion you didn’t know you had.

I would say my passion level for food in general is “high” to “obsessive”. I have recently become obsessed with Local Food, specifically the Farmer’s Market Bag available from Specialty Produce. So much so that I have become inspired to jump on the blog bandwagon and share my passion with you.

Sunday evenings, my party partner (also known as my husband, Shawn) and I place an online order for a “Farmer’s Market Bag” or “FMB” from a local wholesale produce supply company,Specialty Produce. Every Thursday we walk down with our very hairy child (also known as our dog, Missy) and pick it up. Every week, the bag is filled with different goodies from local Southern California Farms. And every week, that’s pretty much what we base our meals on.

It works a lot like CSA (community supported agriculture) that is available at many farmer’s markets. The basic idea is to help support local farmers by committing to purchase a certain quantity of product.

I am so excited to share with you my ideas for meals based on the FMB of the week, recipes made with the goodies from the FMB, cooking and storing techniques, food wisdom and resources. In a way, I guess I’m virtually feeding you, which makes me happy.

I hope to be adding video very soon of some cooking demonstrations I plan on putting on for you every week, but for now, no video camera (darn!).

Please leave a comment or a question any time. I appreciate the interaction!


Spring Forward Pizza

We all love the eventual payoff of  longer sunlight hours after the initial pain of losing that precious weekend hour, but I don’t need to tell you that we all have our internal clocks screwed up for awhile.

The clock says it’s 11:30 already, so in an effort to get on the schedule asap, we are having pizza for Sunday Brunch today. Shawn and I often collaborate on our meals, but Pizza is really his gig. Looking in the fridge this morning, Shawn was happy to see that he had his pizza dough (yes, it’s homemade)  thawed already from the freezer, and so the idea was born for a Greens Pizza for Brunch. I helped out by remembering the Asparagus and Baby Leeks from this week’s bag, and going down to the garden to harvest a little Swiss Chard and Kale.

We then remembered we had some awesome Organic Mushrooms left and some Chinese Garlic Chives and Sundried Tomatoes to round out our Pizza.

Shawn like to make pizza dough in batches and freeze a couple for just such occasions.  I will post that recipe asap. Today’s pizza is made with a whole wheat dough that is rolled out quite thin. It ends up very cracker-like.

Shawn sauteed the vegetables first as the oven was heating up. We always put our pizza stone in the oven to get nice and hot while the oven heats up. That’s the greens, mushrooms, leeks mushrooms and Chinese Garlic Chives cooking away. It’s very important to let the vegetables cook long enough to “throw” their water. You do not want a soggy pizza, now do you?

Next, the dough is rolled out and placed on the hot stone. The sauteed vegetables are added, grated Pecorino Romano, and the asparagus. Shawn’s no sauce pizza tip: make sure your veggies are glistening with olive oil and no additional sauce or oil will be needed on the dough.

See? that is what he means by glistening. Our bodies need oil, you know, and olive oil is a great way to get beneficial fats into your diet.

Notice how the dough has a golden tint to it? It’s the whole wheat flour.

The topping is spread out fairly evenly, the cheese added and then we worked together to arrange the asparagus. Normally, we would cut the ends off of the asparagus so we could put it on the pizza like the spokes of a wheel, but this is pencil asparagus and there is no need (at least I don’t think so) to cut the ends off. The entire thing is sweet and tender. I actually snacked on quite a few pieces while the man wasn’t looking.

Just pop this bad boy into the hot oven and in just a short 10 min you end up with this piece of art for brunch…

Thin crispy crust, awesome with the fresh veggies and sundried tomatoes

So that was it, just add some crushed red pepper and eat!  We usually eat the whole thing between the two of us, but if you added a salad it would go a little further. Shrimp would be a tasty addition.

Note: if you don’t have the greens, spinach would work fine.  Just get that water out, ok?

(Don’t forget to order your FMB by midnight tonite for pickup on thursday)

Till next time, lovelies!