Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spelt Flour Muffins

Spelt Flour, "A Grain From Antiquity," is the statement on this bag of flour I received as a gift. I had never used or heard of spelt flour before.  What an intriguing statement!  Reading further on the bag, I find spelt is an ancient relative of present day wheat and dates back more than 9,000 years!  Checking online I found that spelt flour is considered  very nutritious--its nutrients being absorbed more quickly than present-day wheat.  For my first use of this flour I adapted the muffin recipe on the bag.  The result was very very good!
Oh, and the little French Chef--he'll be there whenever I bake bread to make sure I don't become careless in my baking.  I just found him in a little French shop.

Spelt Raisin Muffins

2-1/4 cups Spelt flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon fiori di sicilia (citrus/vanilla flavoring), optional
1/4 cup dark raisins
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 425 deg.  Grease and flour 12 muffin cups. (I used paper cupcake liners instead and they really stuck to the muffins after they were baked.)  Combine the dry ingredients.  Beat the liquid ingredients and mix into the dry just until moistened.  Fold in the raisins.  Fill muffin cups and bake 17 minutes or until light brown.

I loved the raisins in these muffins and would add a couple extra tablespoons of them next time.  These were good warm with a little butter and a hot sweet cup of tea.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Wild Mushrooms, Agaricus campestris

I found more today.  This time I'm adding some onion and thyme.
I start these by peeling off the caps and slicing them.  I add a little butter and olive oil to a pan and saute some chopped onion.  When it's translucent, I add the mushrooms along with some fresh thyme leaves.

When the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are cooked, I finish them off with just about a tablespoon of cream to give a silky texture.  These mushrooms are not as firm as those from the store--they have thinner caps--but they have such a delicious woodsy mushroom flavor!  The first few times I had cultivated mushrooms I thought they were rubbery compared to these.

My absolute favorite way to eat these is just over boiled, fork-mashed, salted potatoes. And, today, I treated myself to some marinated herring in sour cream on the side.  (My husband said I just lost him there--he wants no part of the herring.)  My drink of choice for this meal is cold fresh buttermilk.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Field Mushrooms, Pieczarki

We've had several days of heavy rain and cool temperatures.  Today was a beautiful day with the definite feel of very early fall.  I walked behind the house to feel the fresh air and spotted a couple field mushrooms.  We usually find a couple in early fall but this time I kept finding more and more.  I didn't even have my apron on to gather them up in so I balanced as many as I could on one hand but had to give up and go for the basket--and a knife.
We always gathered these mushrooms when I was young and always heard the stories of the beautiful mushrooms that Mama and her sisters gathered in the woods in Poland.  They were of all colors and would look so pretty in a pan together she would tell me.  She didn't know the wild mushrooms here so these were the only ones we gathered.  The Polish name for these is pieczarki.  We had a black iron wood stove in our kitchen at that time and we liked to lay a couple mushrooms right on the stove itself and let them sizzle with a little salt sprinkled on top and ate them right off the stove.  Mostly, Mama fried them gently in butter and added a little flour, cooked a little more, and then poured in some light cream to make the best mushroom sauce.  The only seasonings she used were salt and pepper. 

Since they have soil and grass over their caps, we just peeled the thin skin off each one. 

I sliced them and prepared them just like my mother did.  These mushrooms are more delicate than the cultivated ones in the grocery store and have a little deeper flavor.  If they were from the store I might add onion or thyme, but I want these plain with just a little thickened cream and salt and pepper and I'm having them over plain bread, toasted.
  The only thing I wanted with this fall lunch was an icy cold glass of fresh, sweet apple cider from the farmer's market.  

Note:  There are white wild mushrooms that are quite poisonous--don't even taste a mushroom that you don't know for absolutely certain is edible.