Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pat Pat on the sholder

Bad things have happened to me sins last time, my computer…my lovely computer, it used to be so nice and helpful, but now it has turned into a hard drive munching monster devouring any new hardware that comes close to it. This would have opened up a lot more food and nature time for me since I am a bit of an internet addict and you cant really spend to long surfing on a media center tv screen because it gives you terrible headaches due to resolution and things like that. Anyways, nature it was…or well due to all of us polluting way too much (especially you people with way to many and to big cars)…nature here has been a very wet experience, and I’m not talking a bout the good waterfall/supersoaker/any other good wetness either. It has been pouring down. This does, however have its advantages, its great for the mushrooms.

So after a decent little walk in the woods hunting chanterelles I whipped up this little dish.

If we have to name it I guess it would be a chanterelle and zucchini pasta with a hint of thyme. I’m feeling pretty proud about myself actually because this was really really tasty. Here is what I did:

Start your pasta water, and when it boils don’t skimp on the salt…it should be like the ocean at least. Penne works well although I used another kind (think about 3 portions worth).

Take two generous handfuls of clean chanterelles and start sautéing them in butter and a tiny sprinkle of salt on medium heat (no scary low fat substitutes please).

Take your nice..ehm I’d say John Holmes sized zucchini but I guess we shouldn’t mix such things in with the food so about 30cm worth or I I guess a bit over a pounds worth. Halve and quarter, cut away the seedy bit because it becomes mushy, and then cut into pieces somewhat resembling the size of your pasta.

Peel and finely chop two cloves of garlic (one would probably be enough but hay garlic is good for you)

When all the water has been evicted from the mushrooms and has jumped ship on the pan as well, add your garlic and pieces of zucchini. (you might have to add a bit more butter so the garlic has something to play around in and wont go all burnt on you)

Let everything in the pan heat up a bit then hit it with a splash of cream. The amount depends on how much you have in your pan I guess but it should not be running all over the place. The cream is the to blend the flavors and should be added to just a bit over coating everything nicely once the initial heat reduction has occurred. The pan will look way to dry to be able to coat your pasta but don’t worry. This is also where I would add a nice bit of fresh time to the party to enable it to perfume the creamy mushroomie goodness.

Take the “sauce” of the heat once the thyme has gone in as not to overcooked the veggies. The zucchini will go all mushy on you if you give it to much heat to quickly and we do not want that happening. At this point your pasta should be rapidly approaching that perfect al-dente phase by now anyways, and when it does start lifting it over to the pan you made the sauce in. not rinsing the pasta will allow the sauce to cling to it better as well as some of that salty pasta water coming into the mix as well creating a silky smooth sauce that finely coats everything. At this point all you have to do is serve and eat…but if you want to go all fancy I guess you could add a nice little bit of parsley for that added green effect which my picture is obviously lacking.

Its really tasty I promise…and soo easy to do…so don’t sit there in front of your computer, go out and enjoy what nature so generously offers.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nostalgic foraging

With the luxury of all this nature we have in Sweden combined with a warm day at my families summerhouse i thought i would revisit some of the tastes of my youth. Granted that i did not cherish the surroundings while growing up there (i mostly wanted to play computer games as is the fashion of the youth of this time) i still remember that some things in these here woods are edible.

First of two classics...wild strawberries i think would be the English term for these rubies of the forest. Wonderfully sweet and intense in flavor, i wouldn't want to cook with these though, they demand eating right there and then...or maybe, just maybe if your feeling decadent have them in a bowl with some full fat cream (none of that light stuff here) its so delicious it should be enjoyed more often.

The more readily available blueberry is another forest favorite of bears and Patriks alike. However, these are the real deal. Not those scary frankenberrys we got in the college cafeteria or that you can buy bloated in the supermarket. These are, like so many wonderful things, tiny! And the inside pulp is intensely colored and flavorful. They taste great directly of the bush or in a pie or as soup...YUM YUM YUM

This is the flower of a Dog rose, a wonderful flower on its own but what you want are the rose hips that are great dried and then boiled to make an excellent brew or soup. I'll be sure to post a recipe for this later on. The book I'm reading (a “neo-paganistic” rewrite of the Arthurian legends, thank you for this one Anna) also claims this concoction to be beneficial for pregnant women, i'll have to remember that for the future so i can enjoy it together with the future mother of my children.

The above should not in any way be confused with real dogs....which although considered delicateness in some countries would, at least to me, make morally fouled brews. (Bad joke i know, but a good reason to post a picture of my aunt's cute little doggy)

Ok, so this isn't exactly a childhood snack but my dear grandmother taught me to spot this spice, its caraway, which is a traditional bread spice, and also appear in a lot of traditional Scandinavian not so child friendly beverages, Islandic brennivin anyone?.

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