Of certain luxuries I am beyond temptation. The creative departments of many a food corporation continue to go through all kinds of contortions in an attempt to lure the consumer, criss-crossing tastes and textures ….Buffalo Wing Potato Chips, Steak and Kidney Pie Doritos, Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookie Cheesecake, Bacon-Lime Light Up Spray Candy…. desperate antics. These seem more like stage props, not actually meant to be ingested.
What gets my antenna going is the prospect of food that is either fresh off the farm or foraged. At the market recently I was salivating at the sight of a mushroom with a brilliant orange frill that goes by the name of “Chicken of the Woods”.
The world of fungi has its own hybridized nomenclature. Other enticing examples: Lobster Mushroom, Beefsteak Fungus, Fried Chicken Mushroom, Saffron Milk Cap, Apricot Jelly Mushroom. I want some! Down, girl. They’re only offering Chicken of the Woods. Does it really taste like chicken? Only one way to find out.
Going for just the half pound (this was gonna be expensive chicken!), I tucked the precious quarry into my bag, feeling some weird kind of elation in my brain as though I were transporting valuable gems, cautious and yet nervy. (Which unearthed a distant memory of wearing high heels.) I hightailed it home without further drama and set to searching recipes. The majority of them called for sautéing with olive oil and butter. Sounded like a good accompaniment to the Golden Nugget squash, leeks, and chard I’d been intending to make a dinner of.
It was a decent meal. The squash was stuffed with brown and wild rice, leeks, and raisins. Almonds topped the garlicky chard. As for the mushrooms….they were definitely not brought into this world to substitute for chicken, regardless of what the mycology sites might have led me to believe. I think I prefer a less dense texture as well as more moisture in my fungi. Yet there was something fabulous, haunting, about this wild organism that endures, and I am still savoring the enchantment of looking upon it, touching it, partaking of it.
LATE BLOOMING JAPANESE ANEMONES…….