Archive for October 2010
We’ve got such meaty fresh chanterelles at markets this season, I can’t find enough ways to use them. My default recipe is Ivy Manning’s whole wheat pasta with chanterelles, which always appeals. I’ll have to also check out this salad recipe of hers. Then we’ve topped pizza with sauteed chanterelles and slip them into tomato pasta sauce. But I’d never tried them in an Asian stir-fry, until tonight.
Sauteed chanterelles cook down into velvety morsels with concentrated flavor. They’re so much more dense and complex than the shiitakes I usually use in stir-fry. For this impromptu dish, we began with hot peanut oil in the wok, in which we quick-fried some minced ginger in garlic. Then in went the cleaned and sliced chanterelles, then the carrots, then some salt, then after they fried a bit, some Shaoxing wine to deglaze the pan. Then we added chunks of a whole fresh tomato, which cooked down into a sauce, and fresh banana pepper and finally some wilted beet and turnip greens long neglected in the fridge. And pieces torn from a bunch of browning Thai basil, which reminded me to later add a splash of fish sauce. As it cooked, I splashed on a drop of sesame oil, light soy sauce and honey. Just before turning off the wok, we mixed in some day-old Basmatic rice. It was a Chinese-Thai fusion dish, which isn’t uncommon. At our local Thai restaurant, Dan likes to order “drunken noodles,” which is basically stir-fried broad-cut Chinese noodles or chao fan.
Any other suggestions of what to do with chanterelles before this fleeting season runs out? I’d love to go foraging again sometime. But I’ve lost some motivation since they’ve been relatively inexpensive at the market, often less than $10 a pound.
For some reason, I thought the local sweet corn season was over. Or that it never really happened, with all the poor weather we’ve had this year. So I was happy to find delicate fresh ears of corn at Luke Beene’s stand at the farmers’ market today. I arrived at closing time (as usual), rushing around in a panic to buy this sweet end-of-season produce (corn and raspberries) before it’s too late.
Finding the corn meant I could make Diana Kennedy’s Chileatole De Elote (Chileatole Of Fresh Corn) soup. I knew Mexicans made soups with floating chunks of corn still on the cob, but I’ve hardly tried them. This recipe is from Kennedy’s beautiful-sounding new love letter to Oaxaca cuisine. The recent NPR piece set in her lush vegetable garden and kitchen cast a spell on me. There’s just something about Oaxaca. Of course, it’s the only place in Mexico we’ve been, but we’re not alone in believing the cuisine, with its moles, is among the best in Mexico. That’s where we did the Seasons of My Heart cooking school. And we continue to enjoy Oaxaquena comida here in Corvallis, as a majority of our Mexican immigrant population hails from that state.
Somehow blogging has gotten away from me again, with the start of the new term. Evenings are chilly here now — fall is in the air. Pumpkins and other orange-fleshed winter squashes fill the markets, while we’re still enjoying the last of this fickle summer’s (mostly green) tomatoes, cukes and zukes. I’m trying to enjoy it all (and put some food up as time allows) before it slips from our grasp.
I’ve been reporting from the Coast some for KLCC. In Newport recently, I had a chance to pick up some extra-fresh (and sustainable!) tiny Oregon pink shrimp at Local Ocean. I thought they might most resemble the sweet, Chinese river shrimp you can’t find here. I needed them for the Longjing xiaren (Dragon Well green tea shrimp) recipe I ran with my recent NPR Kitchen Window column. Only problem is the Oregon shrimp only come pre-cooked. So I just cooked them as quickly as possible with my recipe. They fell apart a bit, but still had a sweet, mild taste. I especially recommend dipping the sauteed shrimp in sherry (or similar brown) vinegar for an umami punch. That’s how the Longjing Xiaren were served at the tony 28 Hubin Road restaurant at the Grand Hyatt in Hangzhou.
Just whatever you do, don’t use canned Oregon pink shrimp from Trader Joe’s. I was excited to find them, but they’re disappointingly mushy and fishy. I tried in vein to make a shrimp salad with them. There are other salads I’d like to try with the fresh specimens, such as this Asian shrimp salad from Portland-based Newman’s Fish Company.