Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mushroom, MUSHROOM

I have the nicest neighbors in the world.

We recently came in to a new clothes dryer (thanks Mom!), leaving us with an older, yet still functional dryer that needed a home.  The easiest solution was of course the neighbors, whose laundry room is about 2 feet away from ours and who hadn't acquired a dryer yet.  The change out was pretty quick, and after letting them know about the dryer earlier in the week, we slipped it in to their laundry room when they weren't home for the sake of taking advantage of what precious little daylight we have.

The next day, I got a knock on the door while I was cooking dinner, and was greeted by my neighbors, holding a big bowl of orange mushrooms.  They looked vaguely familiar, and quite fancy.  They explained that they had spent the earlier part of the day collecting these from the surrounding woods as they've done for the last 10 years, and they were chanterelles.  Had I heard of them?

Being that I obsessively watch Food Network, and that I spend a remarkable amount of time at the grocery store, I had heard of these, and knew that they are quite not cheap when you're not scavenging for them yourself.  Here I was easily holding $50 worth of mushrooms, one of the most beautiful in-kind payments I had ever received.  I thanked them profusely and started brainstorming.

Dinner was already on, and my husband doesn't like mushrooms anyway.  Not to mention, a holiday weekend was fast approaching and I knew if I didn't cook and preserve them TONIGHT, it wasn't going to happen.  Scouring the internet, I stumbled on some very easy cooking methods (simple is best when you get such amazing ingredients) and got to work!

I roughly chopped my chanterelle mushrooms and dumped them all in a big pyrex, adding an entire container of chicken stock, half an onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of truffle oil that I had also been given earlier that day (my day was a Chopped basket).  I let them sit in my already-hot-oven (I think it was at about 350) for 20 minutes, and after cooling moved the lot to a ziploc bag for freezer storage. 

As I was in this process, my husband came home and asked what it was.  I gushed about our amazing neighbors, and offered him a bite that I knew he would decline.  In my head, I planned for solo meals with the reheated mushrooms over some pasta or rice, and was quite pleased at how awesomely easy and delicious that would be.  I can't believe what a wonderful treat I have waiting for me in cold storage!  I'll be sure to follow up when I actually get to enjoy it!

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