Category: Foraging

May 10

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Yesterday a friend took me to a morel spot he found last year. A novice forager but avid hunter and outdoorsman, he has quickly become a much better mushroomer than I am because he knows the area intimately and spends more time in the woods than I do.

Read the Post Morel Values

March 25

Apart from a couple of gloriously warm days, winter’s death throes have been pretty assertively shitty. On Monday, the first day of sugaring, the sun felt warm enough that I was able to work outside for a few hours as I tended the fire and kept an eye on the sap’s progress so Danny could mix a record inside. The fire needs stoking every twenty minutes to maintain a rolling boil; that’s not a long enough interval for him to sink into his magic studio reverie, but it’s easy for me to get up from the laptop and throw a few logs in between sentences. And I obviously have my author photo taken care of, so there’s that.

Read the Post The Sappening, Part Two: Turning Fire To Steam

March 7

Despite the fact that it looks fairly glacial around these parts, signs of the impending thaw can be seen everywhere. Actual bare ground is visible at the edges of roads, where the plow scraped wide and the sun-warmed asphalt shares the love with a slightly broader margin every day. Even a winter as mighty as this one can’t fight the light; it’s reaching spots that haven’t felt it since around Columbus Day. The upside to these arctic days we’ve been saddled with has been the cleanest, clearest air on the planet: cloudless, endless azure framing a sun that gets higher and warmer every day.

Read the Post The Sappening, Part I: Drill, Baby, Drill

April 16

While the garden is just beginning—tiny sprouts popping up over the last couple of days in the early beds—the lawn is nobly stepping up to shoulder the verdant burden of providing actual green things with which to adorn our dinner these days. The chervil deserves mention, since it always bounces back from winter faster than anything else, and provides great garnishes right out of the gate, but the wild garlic takes the prize for the most useful wild plant in both early spring and late fall (and winter, really, as long as there’s not so much snow that it can’t be seen).

Read the Post Shoulder Season

September 13
September 10

I was taking pictures at Fish & Game on Sunday, and they had a giant puffball in the kitchen that they were running as a bar snack: brushed with olive oil, grilled, and served with lamb sausage and a scallion-chili salad. Zak gave me a couple of slices to take home, because as I ate one of the soft, slick slices it occurred to me that the mushroom could out-wonder Wonder bread as a grilled cheese substrate.

Read the Post More Puffball

June 3

I decanted last fall’s vinegar crop over the weekend, and it was a good one. Three kinds, all fully fermented and super sour: straight cider, made from biodynamic apples, cider macerated with sumac for a few days and then strained, and blackcurrant. Half a gallon of each should last us a while. The cloudier bottle of cider was from the bottom of the jar; it has settled now and is quite clear.

Read the Post I Love To See You In The Morning Light

May 19

Sloppy Joes are usually a pretty lowbrow punt of a dinner, but they can hit the spot. And when they’re made like this, they become a different sort of animal altogether.

Read the Post Sloppy Smokey

May 15

When I imagined this meal, it was rather a lot like the poulet fermier aux morilles I had back in Paris on the night I got plowed tasting Burgundies at the huge agricultural fair. While that meal was a perfect drunk-thirty chilly March comfort food home run, this iteration ended up being a pretty perfect conclusion to a rainy yet balmy May Saturday.

Read the Post The Pleasure Principle

May 7

Lovage is a new favorite of mine in the garden. Apart from the fact that it’s a perennial, roaring back in early spring for some of the first new domestic greens, it has a beguiling aroma that’s like celery and citrus and fenugreek all rolled into one. As it’s peaking right now, ready to flower, I cut some stalks thinking that since they’re so fat they might take well to being treated like a vegetable. Cutting them released their perfume, which combined with the scintillating sunlight and the parch in my throat to unleash a savage hankering for an icy gin-based beverage featuring lovage.

Read the Post Love-Ache