Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cake, Craziness and Looking forward to Calm!

September has been a crazy month. Between several ridiculous heat waves (I swear when you're pregnant the hormones make you experience hot weather on an entirely new burning-from-within level) my kids going back to school and birthday parties galore, my head truly feels like it is about to explode. I've been meaning to sit down and write, but demands of my kids schedules which I've finally seemed to have gotten under control and work, just wouldn't allow me to stand still for 5 minutes let alone sit down at my lap top!

September 7, 2011. First Day Of School! Lia started
Every year as September approaches I get both excited and filled with tremendous fear all at once. Excited to celebrate all the wonderful events and eat cake, fearful I may pass out and sleep all of October once the month is ever. To name a few, four of my amazing girlfriends all have their birthdays this month, two on the same day! My brother in law's birthday, my sweet co-worker Lianna (Happy Birthday! Hope you're enjoying Italy!), and my wedding anniversary are all in September. Oh and of course this year Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) kicks off the Jewish Holiday season on none other then the eve of September 28! My daughter's and mother's birthdays!

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake
There have been quite a few of these this month!
This is my absolute favorite from Sweet Lade Jane Bakery
Wow, I got exhausted just typing all that. Its not that I don't adore these joyous events, the delicious food that goes along with the celebrations, the birthday songs, cakes, etc. Its just that September doesn't leave much "me" time. My "me time" doesn't necessarily involve "being alone". I just want to be able to breathe, sit and write for a bit and prepare a good meal here and there. So after doing some thinking and embracing the fact that September is almost over, I've decided to make do with what I've got. Meaning, I will use its remaining 7 days the best I can and enjoy!

I will cook a great meal for Rosh Hashanah, and celebrate my mother's birthday by taking her to see this super cool acrobatic extravaganza  And on the last day of this eventful month I will finally find out the sex of our baby and wrap it all up with what I hope will be an amazing meal at Bouchoun for our anniversary! I promise after a long nap, October should be a month filled with much more frequent posts and tasty recipes. That's after Lia's 5th birthday party on October 1st! OK so it looks like September will spill a bit in to October after all :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Golden Treasures-Chanterelles

Walking through my neighborhood farmer's market  this past Sunday, I nearly jumped for joy when I spotted this vendor I stood mesmerized, staring, as in front of me was the most amazing selection of mushrooms. And front and center on the middle table was a pile of gorgeous, fresh, stunningly beautiful and perfectly golden Chanterelles! My absolute favorite fungi in the entire universe.

The joy was quickly replaced by shock when I saw the price per pound. Not to say I didn't expect it, after all they not only look like gold but are priced like it as well! Every year however, when the season for these incredibly earthy, buttery and deep flavored mushrooms begins (August through December), I secretly hope that this time it will be different. Maybe the price will drop? Sadly just like real gold these days, chanterelles are holding their value.

After a brief contemplation with myself, I decided to forge ahead, take the plunge and invest in roughly 1 Pound! I justified it simply as a MUST. An investment of sorts. An investment in my appetite. I was going to share with my husband after all so it wasn't a completely selfish decision. I paid $34 for slightly less then half of a paper bag, and skipped home ready to cook and devour. I quickly stopped only to grab a few chippolino onions (they are super duper sweet when sauteed or caramelized) from an organic vendor near by, for I wanted only the best for my golden treasures!

Chanterelles sauteed in a little butter, olive oil, white wine,
onions and a touch of garlic

I swooned over every single bite of this simple and quick saute with flavors so luxurious and decadent they made me moan. Chanterelles are really special and I highly recommend you try them. I know it's the Russian in me that craves them probably more often then I should as growing up in Kiev I had them almost daily in the fall months. Until today I remember going to the Bazzar (a marketplace selling anything and everything under the sun, including fresh food items ) with my grandma who would by pounds of these bright golden orange mushrooms.

My grandma would slow cook them in to a delicious stew with potatoes and onions until they were velvety smooth. Oh gosh how I remember it as if it were yesterday although I was only 7 or 8 at the time! We called chanterelles "lesichki" in Russian which literally translates to "little foxes". A perfect name for these mushrooms. Aside from their orange golden color like that of fox, their surprisingly rich flavor creeps up on you as cunningly and deceptively as a "lesichka".  So get ready to be blown away!

Simple Chanterelle Saute

1 lb Chanterelles
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Sliced Onion (Chipollino if possible or other sweet variety)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Cup Chardonney (one you would want to drink)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Step 1
In a large saute pan, over medium heat combine the butter with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Once the butter has melted add the minced garlic and sliced onions, sprinkle with kosher salt and cook until translucent for about 10min.

Step 2
Add the cleaned mushrooms to the pan, stir well and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Step 3
Add the wine, and drop the heat to low. Continue until the wine cooks down, another 8 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste an serve while warm.

I ate the mushrooms as is for I simply could not focus or take the time to prepare anything else. However, feel free to spoon mixture over mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, home made pasta such as linguine or on top of a nicely charred piece of crunchy baguette.