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TIP OF THE DAY: Chanterelle Mushrooms and Chanterelle Tacos

Chanterelle mushrooms are found year-round, but their peak season—highest yield, lowest price—is autumn (September is National Mushroom Month).

Meaty wild mushrooms that range in color from orange to yellow-gold, the unusual color is due to the presence of carotenoids, antioxidant pigments that also give color to bell peppers, cantaloupe, carrots, papaya, mangos, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.

In addition to their color, it’s easy to recognize chanterelles from their wavy caps with ruffled gills that flare upward along the stem—forming a trumpet shape.

They’re prized because they’re different, and not just for their looks. They have an aroma resembling apricots or peaches, and a nutty flavor. They can’t be cultivated but must be gathered by hand. This can make them more expensive, but wild mushrooms are invariably more flavorful than cultivated ones.

Cantharellus cibarius, commonly known as the chanterelle or golden chanterelle, grows wild on the forest floor, in old, deep, “leaf litter.” It grows in quantity along the Pacific Coast of North America, and in temperate forests around the world. (Note: Don’t gather your own in the forest, unless you have had expert training in how to identify them, or can get expert advice prior to consuming them.)

These meaty mushrooms also contain significant amounts of protein, plus chromium, iron, eight essential amino acids, potassium and vitamins A and D2 (the latter helps the body absorb calcium).
 
 
USING CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS

Chanterelles love to be paired with with pasta, risotto, anything with a butter or cream sauce, and in a ragout with other wild mushrooms.

As with all mushrooms, they shine with garlic and onions, and cow’s milk cheeses like Parmesan (the difference between Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano).

  • Add them to just about any savory course.
  • Sauté or roast them, and serve them as a side with grilled or roasted meats and seafood; or a first course, with grated Parmesan. The simplest preparation: Sauté in butter and garnish with parsley.
  • The latter preparation makes an easy sauce. Don’t hesitate to add a spoonful of Cognac.
  • Roast them and toss with a bit of olive oil, lemon zest, crushed pepper and optional parsley.
  • Have too many chanterelles and not enough time to cook them all? Cook and purée them into soup with a bit of milk, cream or broth; or pickle them.
  •    

    Chanterelle Mushrooms
    [1] Ready to clean and cook (photo courtesy Quinciple).

    Chanterelles

    [2] A simple sauté with salt, pepper and herbs provides a wealth of taste (photo courtesy D’Artagnan).

  • For a first course or brunch, spoon sautéed chanterelles over polenta or eggs (think of Chanterelle Eggs Benedict).
  • For a main course or side, use fresh chanterelles. For soups and sauces, you can reconstitute dry chanterelles.
  •  
    Chanterelles can garnish an elegant protein such as filet mignon or turbot; or it can fill tortillas, as in the Chanterelle Tacos recipe below.
     
     
    CHANTERELLE TIPS

  • Like most vegetables, mushrooms do not ripen further after picking. They’re ready to eat: Use them within a week.
  • Keep the unwashed mushrooms dry in the fridge, in a brown paper bag. If you purchased them in a plastic bag, discard it when you get the ‘shrooms home and place them in a Tupperware-type container on paper towels.
  • Like most mushrooms, chanterelles absorb liquids like a sponge. Be careful to wipe with a damp cloth, but don’t soak them.
  • Chanterelles should only be eaten cooked.
  • All mushrooms should be cooked over low heat.
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    CHANTERELLE TRIVIA

  • The name chanterelle comes from the Greek word kantharos, meaning vase.
  • The Pacific Golden Chanterelle (C. formosus) is the state mushroom of Oregon.
  •  

     

    Chanterelle Tacos

    [3] Chanterelle tacos (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press | Crown Publishers).

     

    RECIPE: CHANTEARELLE TACOS

    This recipe, sent to us by Good Eggs, is from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, by Heidi Swanson.

     
    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small serrano or jalapeño chile, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Fine-grain sea salt
  • 12 ounces chanterelles, sliced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (substitute regular oregano)
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to taste
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream, parsley
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, chile, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onions are translucent, a few minutes.

    2. INCREASE the heat to high, add the mushrooms, stir well, and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid. Then brown, about 5 minutes more. Stir just a few times along the way; with excessive stirring, the mushrooms won’t brown deeply.

    3. REMOVE from the heat. Rub the oregano between your palms and let it rain down into the mushroom mixture. Taste and add a bit more salt, as desired.

    4. WARM the tortillas. Wrap the stack in a barely damp kitchen towel. Place in a heavy pot over very low heat, cover, and let warm for a few minutes, or until you are ready to use them. If you want char on the tortillas, toast them directly over the flame of the stove.

    5. SPOON the mixture into the warmed tortillas and sprinkle the Parmesan over all of the tacos. Serve with the sour cream and parsley.

      

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    RECIPE: Chopped Fennel & Apple Salad

    This crunchy chopped salad is a smooth transition from summer to heartier winter salads.

    It’s based on what we think is an under-used vegetable, fennel, which is in season from early fall to early spring.

    Crisp fennel and crisp apple combine with crunchy pomegranate arils, which add a festive touch.

    (Don’t like arils? Try this fennel and arugula salad with apple and orange.

    We’re also fond of these fennel pickles.)

    This recipe comes to us from Beth Warren Nutrition. Beth is the author of two books, Living a Real Life with Real Food (2014) and Kosher Girl, due in spring 2018. Her focus is health-conscious kosher meals; but you don’t have to be kosher to enjoy every bite.

    Beth likes this recipe for Rosh Hashanah. It goes splendidly with yesterday’s recipe for Buttermilk Roast Chicken.

    Also take a look at this Orange Fennel Salad recipe, this Shaved Salad With Pear & Fennel, and these Fennel Pickles.
     
     
    RECIPE: FALL FENNEL SALAD

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 2 bulbs fennel, chopped
  • ½ thinly sliced green apple
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in glass mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
     
     
    FENNEL FACTS

    Fennel looks like the offspring of a peeled white onion and a bunch of dill. It’s crunchy like celery, with a slight anise taste.

     

    Fennel Apple Salad
    [1] A fall chopped salad: fennel salad, with apples and pomegranate arils (photo courtesy Beth Warren Nutrition).

    Fennel Bulb

    [2] A bulb of fennel. All parts can (and should!) be eaten (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     
    You can use every part of it.

  • If you only want to use the bulb, turn the stalks into pickled fennel, a.k.a. fennel pickles.
  • The fronds make a lovely food or plate garnish for any savory food, and can be dried and used as herbs.
  •  
    The History Of Fennel

    Fennel is highly aromatic and flavorful, with a long history of both culinary and medicinal uses. The bulb and stalks resemble celery, the leaves look like dill (Anethum graveolens, also of the same order and family), and the aroma and flavor resemble sweet licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabraa, a totally different order [Fabales] and family [Fabaceae]).

    A member of the parsley family* (Apiaceae), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and celery (Petroselinum crispum) are botanical cousins, members of the same order* (Apiales) and family* (Apiaceae). Both are believed to be indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, growing wild before they were cultivated thousands of years ago.

    Records of fennel’s use date back to about 1500 B.C.E, although its use far precedes the records.

    Fennel was likely first cultivated in Greece, and was used for both medicinal† and culinary purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans ate the entire plant: the bulb, the the seeds, blossoms and the fronds.

    Theirs was a more bitter variety. Florence fennel, also called sweet anise and finocchio in Italian, the variety eaten as a vegetable, wasn’t developed until the 17th century, in the area of Florence, Italy [source].

    Although many recipes make reference to fennel “root,” it is actually the stalk, swollen into a bulb-like shape at the plant’s base, which is consumed (the same is true with kohlrabi).

    Uses For Fennel

    Fennel can be substituted for celery in recipes when an additional nuance of flavor is desired. We also enjoy it as part of a crudités plate.

    Fennel seeds are a popular spice, for baking, bean dishes, brines, fish, pork, sausages and much more. We especially like them in cole slaw and cucumber salad.

    Plain and sugar-coated fennel seeds are used as a spice and an after-meal mint in India and Pakistan. If you don’t see a dish of them as you leave, ask for them at restaurants.
    ___________________________________________
     
    *We love this family, which also includes angelica, anise, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, cow parsley, parsley, parsnip and lesser known edible plants (sea holly, giant hogweed). It also includes the poisonous hemlock.

    In case you don’t remember plant taxonomy from high school biology, here’s a refresher.

    †Pliny The Elder mentions fennel as a treatment for stomachache, the “stings of serpents,” uterus health and other maladies. Those ancient homeopaths got it right: According to Web MD, modern uses include various digestive problems, such as heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite and colic in infants. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backache, bedwetting, and visual problems. Some women use fennel for increasing the flow of breast milk, promoting menstruation, easing the birthing process, and increasing sex drive. And yes, fennel powder is used as a poultice for snakebites.

      

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    RECIPE: Buttermilk Roast Chicken

    We have roasted chicken on our mind. It’s close to Rosh Hashanah (September 23rd this year), and we’re thinking back to Nana’s roasted chicken.

    Post-Nana, our roast chicken was never as good, even if we followed the same steps. Nana must have had an understanding with chickens.

    Until we tried the recipe below, soaking the chicken in buttermilk. Some chefs prefer to soak the chicken overnight. It creates a tender chicken with an extra punch of flavor.

    Marinating chicken in buttermilk is a time-honored pathway to moister meat, whether roasted or fried. With a bit of advance planning the night before to marinate the chicken, you’re virtually guaranteed a beautifully browned and richly-flavored bird the next day.

    The recipe is from chef/writer Samin Nosrat.

    Samin serves the chicken with a panzanella (bread salad with vegetables). In this case, panzanella comprises the greens and rustic bread cooked in the pan.

    If you’re off bread, simply roast, saute or steam triple the amount of veggies. Samin uses mustard greens. We highly recommend them—they’re a very under-used green. If you don’t like even a hint of mustard flavor, you can substitute collards or kale.

    Thanks to Good Eggs for sending us the recipe.

    Don’t need a while bird? Another of our favorite food writers and photographers, the White On Rice Couple, presents this delicious recipe for Milk Roasted Chicken Thighs, using whole milk.
     
     
    RECIPE: SAMIN’S BUTTERMILK ROAST CHICKEN WITH MUSTARD GREEN PANZANELLA

    With the chicken marinated in buttermilk, you need just 15 minutes of prep time, and 60 minutes to roast the chicken.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 3-4 pound chicken, salted
  • 1 quart buttermilk, well shaken
  • 3 tablespoons table salt or fine sea salt
  • 4 slices of rustic country bread, torn into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 bunches of mustard greens or kale, de-stemmed
  • 4 shallots, sliced or 1 red onion
  • Handful of fresh sage or rosemary leaves
  • 6 ounces king trumpet mushrooms*, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ preserved lemon†, sliced thinly
  •  
    Plus

  • Brining bag or other resealable plastic bag
  • Butchers twine
  • ________________

     

    Buttermilk Roast Chicken
    [1] With this buttermilk chicken, technique delivers a remarkable bird.

    Country Loaf
    [2] A country loaf, also known as a rustic loaf.

    Mustard Greens
    Mustard greens. You can substitute kale.

    King Trumpet Mushrooms
    King trumpet mushrooms. All photos courtesy Good Eggs.

    *King trumpet mushrooms, also called king oyster mushrooms and French horn mushroom and eryngii/eringii mushroom and other names, is the largest variety in the oyster mushroom family. It is now being cultivated in the U.S. You can substitute matsutake mushrooms (which may be even harder to find), or any meaty mushroom (perhaps portabella or baby bellas).
     
    †Here’s a recipe for preserved lemons; but you only need a bit in this recipe. Check your food store’s olive bar or a Middle Eastern market: You may be able to buy one already made.
    ________________

    Preparation

    This recipe requires some preparation a day in advance. Beginning the day before you plan to cook the chicken:

    1. SEASON it generously with the salt (more salt than you’d use for ordinary seasoning). Let the salted chicken sit for 30 minutes.

    2. ADD 3 tablespoons of salt into the container container of buttermilk. Seal it and shake to encourage the salt to dissolve. Place the chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk. Seal it, squish the buttermilk all around the chicken, place the bag on a rimmed plate or in a pan, and refrigerate. If you’re so inclined, over the next 24 hours you can turn the bag so each part of the chicken gets marinated, but it’s not essential.

    3. REMOVE the chicken from the fridge two hours before you plan to start cooking. When you’re ready to roast, preheat the oven to 425°F/218°C. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and scrape off as much buttermilk as you can without being obsessive (we used a rubber spatula).

    4. TRUSS the chicken by placing a 12-inch length of butcher’s twine with its center at the small of the chicken’s back. Tie the twine around each wing tightly and then flip the chicken over and use the remaining twine to tie the legs together as tight as you can.

    5. PLACE the bird in a big cast iron skillet or a roasting pan with, the legs pointing toward the rear left corner of the oven. Place in the oven and close the door. You should hear the chicken sizzling pretty quickly. After about 15 minutes, when the chicken starts to brown, reduce the heat to 400°F/205°C and continue roasting.

    6. WAIT another 15 minutes, remove the pan and add the shallots/onion, greens, herbs and chanterelles. Using tongs, mix the veggies around in the chicken drippings and place the pan back in the oven, this time with the legs facing the rear right corner of the oven.

    7. CONTINUE cooking for another 35-40 minutes, stirring the veggies with tongs once or twice so they cook evenly. The chicken is done when it’s brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh.

    8. REMOVE the bird to a platter and set it on a cutting board on your counter. Add the bread to the skillet or pan and toss with all of the veggies, making sure to coat the bread evenly in the drippings.

    9. RETURN the vegetables to the oven for 10 minutes. When you remove the pan from the oven, add the preserved lemon to the bread and mustard greens. The chicken will be ready to carve and eat immediately.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mix Spaghetti With Zucchini Noodles

    Zoodles - Zucchini Noodles & Pasta
    [1] Cacio e pepe, “cut” with zucchini noodles (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Zucchini Noodles
    [2] Zucchini noodles, spiralized and ready to cook (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Cacio e Pepe

    [3] A classic dish of Cacio e Pepe. Here’s a recipe from Philo’s Kitchen.

     

    Two years ago, when zucchini noodles became the rage, many of us ran out to buy spiralizers—simple gadgets that turned a zucchini into ribbons of vegetable “pasta.”

    You can now buy spiralized zucchini in bags.

    A big bowl of pasta with bolognese sauce and scads of grated cheese can be lightened, both texturally and calorically, is an attractive substitute.

    We’ve previously written about Cacio e Peppe (KAH-chee-oh ay PEP-pay, cheese and pepper), an ancient pasta dish (in fact, one of the most ancient dishes in Italian cuisine).

    The classic recipe is a quick one Grated cheese—cacio in Roman dialect, referring to a sheep’s milk cheese like pecorino romano—becomes a creamy, cheesy sauce when mixed with a a few spoons of the hot water used to cook the pasta.

    The result: creamy sauce, obtained combining best quality Pecorino Romano and a few spoons of the water used to cook the spaghetti. The starch that leaches from the spaghetti into the cooking water combines with the grated cheese in just the right way.

    But Good Eggs has taken it one step further in the name of lowering the carbs: They mixed conventional wheat pasta noodles with zucchini noodles.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF CACIO & PEPE

    Casio e Pepe, a Roman dish, was easy comfort food. The ingredients were very portable and did not spoil. Roman shepherds and travelers needed only water and a fire to create a stick-to-your-ribs meal.

    The classic recipe has no butter or cream, ingredients which are used to make creamy Alfredo sauce. There’s just pasta, salted water to cook it, cheese and ground black pepper. Some modern recipes use a bit of olive oil to bind the ingredients.

    All the ingredients are ancient foods:

  • Pasta has been found dating to about 2000 B.C.E.—a plate of rice noodles in northwest China. After trade brought the concept west, the Arabs, Estruscans, Greeks and Romans used their local grain—wheat—to make noodles similar to the pasta we eat today. The Romans kneaded flour into dough, which was cut into strips called laganum—similar to what we now call lasagna noodles.
  • Sheep’s cheese similar to pecorino romano has been made since at least since the time of the ancient Greeks (some sources date it to 3000 B.C.E.). Pecorino is the word for any sheep’s milk cheese; pecorino romano is an aged grating cheese.
  • Peppercorns, the fruits of a flowering vine, grew wild for millennia in India before being cultivated. About 2,500 years ago, pepper was traded to Greece, and then to the Roman Empire. Rare and precious, it was often used as currency. Peppercorns have been found in archaeological sites, and with the mummy of King Ramses III of Egypt (d. 1212 B.C.E.). To stop Alarico, the king of Visgoths, from sacking Rome in 408 B.C.E., he was given a ransom comprising 5,000 pounds of gold, a parcel of land and 3,000 pounds of peppercorns.
  • Salt, inexpensive and ubiquitous today, was so precious that throughout history, wars were fought over it. In addition to its value enhancing the flavor of food and drying food for lean times, salt is critical to man’s survival*. Salt comes from two main sources: evaporated sea water and the sodium chloride mineral deposits known as halite (rock salt), themselves the evaporated residue of dried-up underground lakes and seas.
  •  
    Ready to combine the ingredients into a hot dish of pasta…with some zucchini?
     
    RECIPE: CACIO & PEPE WITH PASTA & ZUCCHINI NOODLES

    Ingredients For 2 Main Course Servings

  • 8 ounces spiralized zucchini
  • Olive oil to sauté
  • 12 ounces fresh spaghetti (substitute† dried pasta, substitute any thin, flat or round noodle)
  • 6 ounces pecorino cheese, shredded (substitute any Italian grating cheese)
  • Black pepper, freshly ground (substitute red chile flakes)
  • Garnish: chopped flat leaf parsley to taste
  • Optional garnish: toasted bread crumbs (substitute croutons)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. While it heats, place the zucchini in a sauce pan over medium heat and sauté for about 2 minutes, until al dente. Turn the heat off and cover the zucchini to keep it warm.

    2. COOK the spaghetti according to package directions; then drain it, holding back a few tablespoonsful of pasta water. Add the pasta and half the pasta water to zucchini pan, and toss together.

    3. REMOVE from the heat and toss with the cheese and pepper to taste (Italians go heavy on the pepper). The heat of the pasta and the pasta water should help melt the cheese into a smooth, creamy sauce. Add more hot pasta water as needed to achieve the consistency you desire. If the water has become tepid, microwave it for 30 seconds.

    4. GARNISH with parsley and serve. It isn’t part of the official recipe, but we like the crunch of toasted bread crumbs or croutons as a garnish.

    ________________

    *Humans can’t live without some sodium. It’s needed to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscle fibers (including the heart muscle and blood vessels), and maintain a proper fluid balance. Here’s more about it from Harvard Medical School.

    †Long, thin spaghetti has different names in different regions of Italy; for example, capellini, fedelini, spaghetti alla chitarra and tonnarelli. In the U.S., you’re most likely to find spaghetti, spaghettini and vermicelli (angel hair, capelli d’angelo, is too thin for this rich sauce). The widths of all of these strands vary, but not in a significant way to impact the recipe.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Autumn Apple Spritz Cocktail

    Appletinis evoke spring and summer; mulled cider is for the chilly fall and winter.

    In-between, how about an Apple Cider Spritz?

    We adapted this recipe from one from Elegant Affairs Caterers. The basic recipe is very versatile, and a lesson in the ease of substituting ingredients.

  • Don’t have apple-flavored vodka? Use regular vodka and hard apple cider.
  • Don’t have apple juice or cider? Use hard cider or apple schnapps.
  • Don’t have club soda? Perrier or other sparkling water will work. So will 7-Up or Sprite, but it makes a sweeter drink.
  • Don’t have a Lady apple? Cut small round slices from the apple you do have with a cookie cutter.
  • Don’t have star anise? Use a cardamom pod or a whole clove.
  •  
    RECIPE: AUTUMN APPLE SPRITZ

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces apple flavored vodka
  • 2 ounces apple juice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) club soda
  • Squeeze of lime wedge
  • Garnish: 1 slice lady apple topped with 1 star anise
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vodka, apple juice, club soda and a squeeze of the lime wedge. Shake with ice until mixed and strain into a Martini glass or a coupe (the “sherbet champagne” glass).

    2. TOP a slice of apple with the star anise and float atop the drink.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF LADY (API) APPLES

    The Lady is an old French variety, which remains popular in Europe and the U.S. It is known in Europe as the Api, after the forest of Api in Bretagne, in western France, where it is thought to have originated.

    It is a petite apple—an adult can finish it in three large bites—with a pleasing aroma and flavor. In photo #2, you can see how many fit into a pint container.

    Throughout its history, the Lady apple has been used as much for decoration as for eating apple. Baskets of Lady apples were used to mask unpleasant odors.

     

    Apple Spritzer
    [1] An Apple Sprizer bridges the gap between warm-weather Appleton’s and cold weather Mulled Cider (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs caterers).

    Lady Apples
    [2] Lady apples, called Api (their original name) in Europe (photo courtesy Simply Beautiful World | Tumblr).

     

    Records suggest that Api appeared as a seedling some time before the early 17th century. It soon became popular in France, England and the U.S.

    Records also show that the U.S. exported large quantities to England in Victorian times under the name Lady Apple [source].

    In modern times, Lady apples are popular in the fourth quarter, as in centerpieces and other holiday decor, along with clementines, evergreen branches and pine cones.

    The Lady apple/Api is not directly related to either Pink Lady or Lady Alice apples.

      

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