Sunday, October 02, 2016

Chicken of the Woods Mushroom Soup with Lemon and Dill

My son found a huge chicken of the woods mushroom near our lakehouse in the Keweenaw, right before MTU Family Weekend, when we came up to visit him.   I have never found this mushroom before; I've been looking for it ever since I got my wild mushroom foraging certification last spring.   The proper name for this mushroom is Laetiporous....the one he found specifically is called Laetiporous cincinnatus.

Isn't it a beauty?   The cool thing about Laetiporous is that it will keep growing back if you just cut the tips off of it.   Much more mushroom to come!

I was searching for a recipe to make with friend Gina suggested a Hungarian mushroom soup she once tasted that she still dreams about.    I didn't have any paprika, so I improvised on a recipe I found for one online, and I came up with this truly delicious soup that was easy to make.   I'm sure it would be great with any kind of mushroom, not just chicken of the woods.  

Mushroom Soup with Lemon and Dill
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 lb pound sliced fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dill weed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk 
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice from half a lemon

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook 4-5 minutes longer or until mushrooms are tender.  Stir in the flour, paprika, dill, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in the broth, milk and soy sauce. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Just before serving, stir in sour cream and lemon juice (do not boil). 

Makes 4 servings

Monday, September 05, 2016

Salsa 2016

This year, I looked at my pantry and I had exactly 1 jar left of salsa from last year, and my records indicate that I made exactly 3.78x of my best recipe Salsa #5.   So I decided to make 4x this year.  Sadly, my usual tomato purveyor for the past 10 years Ann Ruhlig is out of business, so I bought tomatoes from Goetz farm at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.   My yield was 31 pints, which is interesting because last year, I got 33 pints.  Oh well...maybe the tomatoes were more meaty this year.   I used a mix of poblanos and jalapenos; my trusty canning buddy Ellen decided to slice some of the jalapenos in rings to make them look even better in the jar.   Ellen and I have been canning together for years, ever since Ann moved away to upstate New York.  

I used my outdoor canning kitchen again which is the best thing ever!  When I am all done, I just have to hose off the driveway.   Plus it's so much cooler outside; in the morning I had to wear a jacket.  A new purchase this year, a flame tamer really helped prevent scorching.

It sits between the fire and the canning kettle to prevent scorching.   Great add to my canning supplies.   I also cleaned out my pantry and got rid of some of the old stuff that never got eaten, like the pickled green tomatoes or the peaches I forgot were there.  

bbq sauce from 2013?

So far, I've made salsa, strawberry and thimbleberry jam so far this year.   Not sure what I want to make next.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Thimbleberry Jam

When I was a student at Michigan Tech, I spent a couple summers in the Keweenaw, and I vowed back then that I would someday make my own thimbleberry jam.    It finally happened!

Thimbleberries...from the watercolor journal of Marilynn Brandenburger
check out her work here

Growing up downstate, I had never heard of thimbleberries, which I'd describe as a floral, tart raspberry with smaller seeds.   They are also much easier to pick than raspberries, because they have no thorns.   They come into season in the beginning to mid August, and so I planned a trip to our place on Lake Superior to hopefully be timed with the ripening of the berries.   All the souvenir shops in the Keweenaw sell thimbleberry jam, but my favorite place to get it is the Jam Pot  a bakery and preserves spot in Eagle River.   I've always been inspired by their preserves...everything from wild gathered chokecherry and bilberries and rose hips to thimbleberry, their most popular.    It's currently selling for $18 a jar.    I noticed American Spoon is selling it for $23 a half pint.   So I put the family, and our friends Ray and Jen who were up visiting, to work picking berries.   

Thanks to the internet, I found that thimbleberries, unlike raspberries, don't need added pectin.   The recipes I found said to use equal volumes of berries and sugar and to bring it to a boil.   I decided to use equal amounts of sugar and berries by weight instead.   Thimbleberries are very fragile -- we collected them in bags and then put them in a bucket.    They turn into a a sludge almost immediately upon picking them  I poured them and their juice onto a cookie sheet to pick out any detritus (twigs, stems, the occasional tick) and them combined it with an equal part by weight of sugar.   I brought the mixture to a boil for 3 minutes, which seemed to be the average out there on the internet.

After 3 minutes of stirring constantly, I put the jam in hot half pint jars with 1/2 inch headspace and processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.   

 We picked 7 lbs of berries, which resulted in 22 half pints of jam.....that's about $400 worth of jam!