Tuesday Treats!

I have so much food stuff to discuss!

First of all, look at this lemon from our lemon tree– no, seriously, it’s not a grapefruit.  I swear it!  By the way, it’s sitting next to a large tomato.

Giant lemon next to large tomato.

Giant lemon next to large tomato.

When I was in Montana, my daughter’s father in law brought us a bag of what he called ranch mushrooms, but my son, who considers himself a bit of an expert, called them meadow mushrooms and said they are related to the mushrooms we buy at the grocery store.  As a general rule, I refuse to eat mushrooms picked by, well, by anyone who is not me.  I pick morels and oyster mushrooms, but I’m wary of strange mushrooms.  Too many people die of liver failure from Amanitas out here in California.  However these mushrooms had dark pink-brown gills, not white gills so I thought, eh… Why not?  White gills= bad outcome.

I cleaned these, cooked these in butter, and tasted them.  They were pretty darn good.  I even went out hiking the next day and picked another bag for my daughter and son in law.  Apparently they are indeed nonpoisonous.

Meadow Mushrooms.

Meadow Mushrooms.

I’m not a big pie fan, mostly because I don’t like crust.  I know many people, including my dad, think crust is the best part of a pie.  My dad is a crust snob.  There’s an art to making good crust, an art I really don’t care to learn since I pretty much just eat the filling, but my daughter encouraged me to make a banana cream pie with some of my over-ripe bananas.  So I did.

I used a super easy crust recipe – no rolling required… pressed it into the pie plate.

Super Easy Pie Crust.

Super Easy Pie Crust.

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup Cannola oil

2 Tbs. milk or cream.

When dough is mixed well and sticking together, form into a ball and press into pie pan.  Bake at 400′ for 15 minutes.  Cool.  Fill with:

Vanilla Bean Pie Cream

2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup cream

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbs. cornstarch

3 Tbs. unbleached flour

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

5 egg yolks

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla or 1 vanilla bean sliced and scraped

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.  In a separate bowl beat egg yolks until thick.  Cut butter into small pieces and set aside.  In a large saucepan, bring milk and cream to simmer over low heat.  When milk is simmering, turn down heat to very low.  Mix egg yolks into dry mixture – the mixture will be thick.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg mixture to temper.  Whisk.  Add another 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture.  Whisk.  Pour egg mixture into the saucepan and whisk continuously until thickened, 10-12 minutes… may take more time, may take less.  When mixture thickens, add pieces of butter one at a time.  Whisk until incorporated.  Add vanilla.  (If you are using a vanilla bean, cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the inside.  Add to milk mixture before you heat it.  Toss in vanilla pods as well.  Remove the pods when finished making the vanilla cream.)

Vanilla Cream.

Vanilla Cream.

Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least two hours.

To put pie together – line crust with thin slices of ripe banana.  Pour vanilla cream over all.  If you like top with whipped cream and more sliced bananas.

Vanilla Banana Cream Pie.

Vanilla Banana Cream Pie.

Oooh!  Almost forgot.  I had to harvest a few things in order to make room for the tomatoes, besides it was time.

Last gallon bag of Swiss chard.

Last gallon bag of Swiss chard.

Red onions curing outside.

Red onions curing outside.

Garlic curing in the garage.

Garlic curing in the garage.

One last thing… The wonderful nutty semi-soft cheese my daughter suggested – tastes like a combination of cave-aged Guyere, cheddar and Gouda.  Challerhocker.

Challerhocker - Yummy!

Challerhocker – Yummy!












A Hike with Wild Fungi.

Pretty sure this is a Death Angel. Growing out of an egg. Bad sign.


A cluster of Death Angel mushrooms. Note the egg…

Oyster mushrooms.

Cluster of baby Oysters.

I’m stumped. Literally.

Possibly a blurred image of a Candy Cap. Not certain. Could be Big Foot.

Maybe Witch’s Butter? Along with something else?

Jake and I were hiking at our favorite park.  The mushrooms are everywhere this year.  I will only harvest two types because I can only identify two types with any certainty – True Morels, which are not common here, and Oyster Mushrooms, which are very common.  That’s it.  Nothing else – definitely not those very pretty and very deadly white mushrooms.

*I wouldn’t recommend harvesting and eating any mushroom unless you know exactly what you’re looking for.*

They do make for some lovely photos though.