February 16, 2010 by missmegany
The last few weeks have been fairly busy.
Two weeks ago we managed to make it to the farmers’ market AND the mushroom guy still had some available! (often he’ll be sold out by 10am)
I bought 800g worth of mushrooms.
I know that might not seem like a lot, but imagine how nice and light and fluffy mushrooms are compared to other food. A normal punnet/tub/whatever you want to call it from a supermarket is 250g or so.
So we had two massive paper bags full of mushrooms. We had some that day in an omelet, along with local eggs, local cheese, and a Riverford leek or two. We had invited our friends who had gone to the farmers’ market back with us and then invited a couple more along the way. I made homefries which were NOT as good as my mum’s ones, but were passable.
I had a big bowl of cooked mushrooms with rapeseed oil, sage and garlic last Saturday for lunch, and while chopping up the mushrooms realised that a) we had a lot of mushrooms left and b) they were going to get pretty gross if I didn’t use them immediately.
I figured you can dry them since you see super expensive dried mushrooms in the supermarkets a lot, and google came to my rescue. Actually, it was eHow, but I wouldn’t have known to look there without Google. I love the internet. Only 15 years ago I would have had to call up a friend who might know or trek over to the library to see if they had any homesteaders books or go to a bookshop and try to find something. For a fairly obscure topic like “how to dry mushrooms”, the internet is a godsend, although it is still quite fulfilling to flip through a book to find information. Nor would I pass up a chance to get advice from a real live person.
Anyway, before everyone loses interest (I’m sure some already have), the instructions are this:
1) slice mushrooms thinly (we had oyster mushrooms, so my slices were fairly small because they are odd shapes, but ideally I would have mushroom-shaped slices)
2) put on a dish, one layer at a time. Do NOT add oil or butter or anything to it.
3) Put in an oven on the lowest temperature possible (mine was halfway between 100 and the off mark.)
4) Keep them cooking for about an hour on each side. You can flip them halfway through, or flip them more often, but you need both sides TOTALLY dry.
5) Store in a net bag (save one from your onions or something).
I even saved the “crumbs” so I can add it to a sauce or stock or something.
Thank you, eHow.
They gave plenty of other ways to do it, but on an overcast winter day, the oven was my best bet. In better, sunnier weather I might try drying in other ways.
(However, I’m not sure about following this guy’s advice in other areas. He lists instructions on how to get your kids to start their “dream” business (like pet sitting) and suggests that you have them set up a business structure and talk to a CPA if they have any accounting questions. Seriously. )
Another addition to my kitchen is a Bel Cream Maker
I picked it up on Sunday when we went to the car boot sale (flea market for us Americans). It was 1, and the guy kept trying to convince me that it was a pretty antique but wouldn’t work. Lucky for me, there’s very little that can go wrong. Some instructions are here although my directions aren’t nearly as stylised. I couldn’t be bothered with their instructions for how to de-salt your butter, and we were using it in a savoury dish anyway, so I ended up with salty cream.
Still tasted good, though! (it was in a dish something along the lines of this)
Now I can have semi-organic semi-local cream (our milk is organic but not local, and our butter is local but not organic)! Not bad.
Our crown prince squash that I hoarded from a couple months ago when squash/pumpkin season was just ending are still holding up well. I made some pumpkin bread from some that was roasted and then frozen, but I’m hoping to make some more dishes out of the ones still in our pantry. And yes, they do look just that colour.