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Holy Fungi

12 Jul

Every couple of years I’ll wake up to find a giant fungus growing beneath the oak tree outside my living room window.


Well, last year, my son’s interest in fungi let me recognize it as chicken-of-the-woods when it popped up this year.

my hand for some perspective

That means I harvested it.  Do you see how huge this thing is?  I had to use my machete to cut it off the ground.

I cannot tell you what a chore it was to clean it up.  It completely grew around the grass.  It was embedded in there.  I ended up throwing half of the thing away because I just couldn’t get the grass out of it.  I did also promise my son that I’m sure I missed some grass.

By the time I had finished, I had two 9×13 glass baking dishes full of mushroom.  I tried giving it to him just cleaned, but he informed me that he didn’t know how to cook it.  Um…

I called my mom, and we spent a lot of time preparing this thing and breading it and turning it into popcorn chicken-of-the-woods.

It really is delicious.  We pooped out, and we still hadn’t finished the first pan.  Of course, another marathon day of working on it followed, and the whole thing has been prepared and frozen (or eaten).

Since I had a lot left, and it was some of the big chunks, I decided to try turning it into bacon.

I started by slicing it as thin as I could.  By the way, you can use this recipe with  a portobello or shiitake mushroom cap as well.

Then I made the glaze.

Whisk together:

  • 4 Tbsp. Tamari sauce (or soy if you don’t care about sodium content)
  • 4 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Dip or brush both sides of the mushrooms slices with the glaze.  Then place them on a baking sheet.  I did get smart with the second batch, and I put parchment paper in the pan to make the cleanup easier.

Bake it at 375°F for 20 minutes. Flip them over and bake another 10 minutes.

It’s delicious like this, or you can fry them in a skillet with a bit of oil to crisp them up.  Thank heavens they freeze well.

I am so bad at food photography.

I must say, as much work as it was, I’m probably still going to harvest it the next time it pops up because it was delicious!

Old Fashioned Cornbread

18 Feb

By now, you should know I like easy baking dishes.  Cold weather is the perfect time for baking, so you get a new recipe. Ironically, I started this post in 2012, and I’m just now getting around to taking pictures and sharing it.  That’s how desperate I am for pictures/posts with the cold snap.  Anyhow…

This one is another throw all the ingredient together in a bowl and mix them up.

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg

Pour the batter in a 9″ square pan that has been greased/sprayed.  Bake it at 400°F for 20 minutes.

Another Aside:  This was my answer to a new toaster.  Bet the cat can’t put a mouse in this one!

corn bread and chili on a cold day

Anyhow, this was the perfect answer for a meal on this cold, snowy day.

In the Works

30 Nov

I keep posting recipes here occasionally.  I have to say, I’ve become a much more creative cook since I started blogging.

chocolate macaroon beet cake

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but growing up we were a pretty basic meat-and-potatoes kind of family.  Now I’m vegetarian.

My reason for giving up meat–MJ

I love using herbs and spices and being creative.

Some of my recent playing in the kitchen is trying to find ways to use all the squash from my garden.

This one is spaghetti squash au gratin.

I’ve decided to try and pull all of my recipes together and put them into a book because I can’t find anything right now.  I’m constantly searching two recipe boxes and the blog to find the recipe I want.  I wanted to have it done this fall, but I’m enjoying playing in the kitchen during the pandemic.

As I do this, I’m also trying to get more healthy with my vegetarian cooking.  Right now I use a lot of processed foods, and I’d like to change that.  I just tried a new recipe for homemade “meatless” crumbles as a hamburger substitute.  I tried it as sloppy Joes.

It turned out pretty darn good!  I think I’m going to have to keep playing for a while before I print it out.