Saturday, September 20, 2008
Saturday mornings have taken on a new meaning. They used to be the one day of the week with no school for the kids or church (read perfect excuse to lounge in bed, roll over and lounge some more). But now they have become my favorite day to shop and forage for the best food we will eat all week.
The Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in Orleans is small, but offers an abundance of really good food and interesting choices. With my handy dandy green mesh bags in tow, I browse, chat and buy. Carrying those heavy bags back to the car makes me so happy.
Last week the Hubby and I went foraging for beach plums and hit a bonanza, so this week I hit the best spots that had unripe plums again. Found five more cups! So in addition to beach plum brandy and beach plum jelly, I will be making a beach plum cordial.
The Hubby has such bad poison ivy from last week’s excursion that he would have been excused on sheer sympathy alone, but he was actually working today so I went alone. As I wandered among the dunes, looking up from my careful search for beach plums to catch the water view, I compared my morning of “shopping” to my experience at the grocery store. Uh, no contest.
Obviously this is true for my sensory experience, but it actually proved true for the food too. One vender at the Farmer’s Market was selling quail eggs in tiny egg cartons that were so darling they looked like they belonged in a doll house. Another vendor sold locally grown shiitake mushrooms and those two ingredients were the basis of an incredibly unique and yummy appetizer for the family dinner party we had tonight.
The food genius Hubby came up with a recipe that is an upscale version of a mushroom omelet. Kuddos to him, but he had a harder time with one aspect of implementing it. Cracking those itty-bitty quail eggs just isn’t a job for big man fingers. He broke two yokes. The first egg, he tried to crack the usual way. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room here and the shells have a thick membrane that makes this task hard.
After his first broken yoke, he tried to cut the top off the eggs and lightly shake the egg out of the top. It was kind of painstaking, and if the cut is too small the yoke doesn’t want to come out. Meanwhile I used a steak knife and sliced through the shell, just enough to “crack” it and then carefully opened the egg with the same motion I use with regular chicken eggs. Works like a charm if you have slender girl fingers, manicures welcome.
In other blog news, I’ve spent the past few days researching food blogs and there are SO many good ones out there. I’ve found my peeps! My blog was accepted on the Foodie BlogRoll (check out the new cool widget on the sidebar – and be sure to visit some of the featured blogs).
Today I was featured on the Most Recent 5 Blogs section. My visitor count expanded times ten. Thanks so much for all the visits, Foodies! And thank you to Michele at "Life, Lightly Salted" for leaving a comment. Her blog is actually so cool looking that while I was reading it , it actually caught the attention of the Boy who asked with disbelief, “Is that YOUR blog?”
Look for the surprise retro Binghamton main course of our dinner party tomorrow…
Serves 6 as an appetizer
Quail Eggs in Mushroom Nests
3/4 pound of shiitake mushrooms (about 3 cups sliced)
2 medium shallots
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil’
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese
1/4 cup light cream
Heat skillet and melt butter. Add olive oil and turn burner to medium high. When skillet is hot add mushrooms and shallots and sauté for five minutes or until tender. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Stir, then add gruyere cheese and cream. Stir until well blended.
Divide mushroom mixture among six custard cups. Press down with a spoon and create cavity in center to make a “nest” for the quail eggs. Carefully crack one quail egg into each mushroom nest. Bake at 350 degrees for about five minutes. Check to see if eggs have set. If not, check again in one minute. Take out of oven and let rest for three minutes to continue to cook eggs.