Monday, December 31, 2007

dirty work with girly girl gloves

heading out to clean the gutters today!

the live oaks and the pecans have showered the rooftops with their precious leaves and it is up to me to clean out the gutters properly. i have installed mesh like covers which helps to keep the gutters from filling full but it does not stop the leaves from pilling up on top of the mesh cover.

lucky for me it's another beautiful day in smalltowncentraltexas. should get up in the low 60's today. go ahead hate me for it - we pay during the summer with temperatures that would fry a chicken.

so out with the ladder. on with the girly girl cleaning gloves and up up up she goes for a bit of winter clean up. the result - more leaves for the compost - more goodly goodness. can't lose.

tonight temps drop low and tomorrow lower into the 20's. so i'll be prepping my clear plastic garden covers while i'm out. the plastic will float atop of the tufbell row cover that's already there. today's sun will warm them up inside and give them a bit of head start for the coming weather conditions. sounds good to me anyway - never know till you try.


4pm good day today! got a whole lot done.

* hit the gutters, got a few more to do but the majority are empty and ready for the trees to drop more leaves or the rains to arrive to give them a clean sweep.

* extended the garden about 3'0" on the south side. used the extra space for cabbage seedlings and mache' greens. the cabbage seedlings needed a bit of extra space for true happiness - now they've got it.

* i cleaned out the garage, organized all the bamboo by height and width, gave the garage a good sweep and cleaned up the digging tools.

* gave the garden a sprinkle of rain water with emulsified fishy bits, trimmed the small flowering bushes, pulled down all spent vines on the back trellis, composted them (compost better heat up or i'll have thousands of vines everywhere!)

* added a small compost pile at the end of the south garden extension. this will eventually become the further extension to the south garden. bit by bit we are improving.

* reset the tufbell cover over all garden hoops and swept the garden pathways.

* got on the phone with the phone company to get my services back as they were, somehow, they all changed to an upgrade which included a higher cost - naw naw, not for me. i prefer the simple and less spendy option.
* all is well.

now? dinner of salad and boiled red potatoes, a bit of iced tea to wash it down.

i've pulled out the sewing machine mom gifted me earlier this year. going to have a sit, read through the directions as long as my patience will allow and poke around a bit, exploring the cool options built in.

big celebration tonight? naw, not for me so much, i'm more focused on the day to day round here. i am reflecting. but mostly i'm focusing on the forward thinking.

i do not plan on making any crazy resolutions, just thinking about the improvements on a priority scale. what to work on first? what is the most important? what is the best long term investment? what are the little no cost fun bits i can add to my life? how next to approach the adventure to sustainable happiness?

for me it's not a "solve the world in one day" deal. rather it's the everyday deeds that i'm trying to identify.

one thing i do know for sure.
i want to start making things in 2008. crafty bits, full of imagination that thrill me, are good for gifting and just plain fun to make.

got the garden - good eats
got the sewing machine- maka maka maka some-ting cool
got my hands - keep a fixin', keep a knittin', keep a cookin'
got my mind - hey wait a minute do i really got my mind
or have i lost part of that?
ooooh...

happy happy new year folks. ei ei ei 2008?
oh my!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

three's a charm

a sunday triplet today
three posts each their own

while nursing the bread, which now is baked and cooling, i worked between the front and the outback gardens. today an unusual 65 degrees, no wind, clear sky, beautiful sunday last of december 2007. i watered and weeded, picked greens which i enjoyed for lunch and will enjoy again this evening, and planted.

yes, i planted. beets and kale and chard and carrots and radishes of two kinds. maybe they'll venture upward through the soil, maybe they'll be strong enough to withstand cooler less temperate night's air, maybe just maybe they'll bless me with their company and allow a celebration of their bravery.

ah the little wonders they are of the world.

to help all the little wonders in the garden, i spread a bit of soft-rock phosphates about and watered them in. slowly these 20 million year old fossilized remains of prehistoric marine and terrestrial creatures will release calcium, phosphate and trace minerals to help the little sprouts along. garden with a history.

fossils in the soil. wonder if a t. rex now guards the cabbages, a gigantic squid minds the lettuces, an eel or a sea creature of immeasurable size sits well with the onions or maybe a crab or lobster takes terrestrial rest beneath the rosemary.

dinosaurs and sea creatures in the garden oh my!

greens of goodly goodness

went a pickin' this morning in the garden

look what i found

greens greens greens

greens of goodly goodness

amen!





renewing the loaf - bread part two

yeah well it happens. the first rise goes great. the second... the second... the second... hey wait a minute, what happened here? the bread is not rising. what have i done? can i fix this mess i'm in? yes i can! the question is how?

this is the quandary i faced this morning.

yesterday was bread baking day but the bread as you can guess did not make it's second rise after the kneading. i let it sit overnight thinking maybe because i had added seeds and such that it might take a bit longer. but i rose this morning to find out that unlike myself, the bread did not find itself fit to rise.

my gut told me that i had kneaded the bread too much after the first rise. i beat the life out of it. i had two choices; bread sticks and crackers or take a shot at renewing the loafs which i had never tried before. i chose to try to renew the loafs. reason being that i enjoy bread more often than crackers and darn it, i really wanted bread.

how to do it? with a few clicks of the computer i learned that if i started a fresh batch of yeast, i'd have a real good chance of reviving the not gonna rise, not gonna do it no more bread loafs. here's what i did.
  • i broke the not gonna rise no more loafs into small pieces
  • i added about 2 cups of water to the dough to soften it up a bit
  • stirred it up gently and added a bit more water until i reached a smooth consistency
  • in a separate bowl, i mixed up a fresh double batch of instant yeast with warm water, honey and a dash of salt and waited for it to get giddy and bubbly
    • why double? i had just increased the amount of wet dough by adding water to the first batch. this would lead to more bread, needing more yeast, wallah!
    • hey maybe we'll get a slight sourdough effect - who knows?
  • once the yeast proofed, i slowly added the yesterday dough to the new yeast bit by bit until it was fully combined.
  • i then divided the wet dough into 4 portions
    • each portion in a wooden bowl
  • i set each portion aside until it bubbled nicely
  • i then added flour to each portion, kneaded it in and set aside to rise
    • everything looked great
    • the dough had a good elasticity
    • i could feel the co2 build up
    • we were going to have success here - rock on!
this is what we ended up with
quite a bit of bread
looks like i'll be sharing with friends
nothing like yummy hot bread to cheer a person up
where's the soup!

here we are - bread rising looking good. the lesson - don't knead the dough to death after the first rise. gentle gentle, stretch and roll. ahhh the anticipation builds.

finis
success
a fine few loaves of loaf
satisfaction
breathe
rest
the day is good

Saturday, December 29, 2007

pumpkinsunflower wholegrain brain bread

finished off the last of the grainy bread i've been enjoying for the past few weeks at this morning's breakfast - poached eggs on toast - excellent morning chow.

after eating...
i started poking around to see where the next loaf of bread would come from. i took a peek in the freezer to see if any of the last baked batch was there. nope! all gone.

actually, it's been all gone since thanksgiving time (oh yeaaah? - brain clink clink) and since then, i've been purchasing bread from either the local farmers market or the central market in austintown. in fact, it's been quite a long while since i've baked bread of any kind. last round was a hearty whole wheat honey mix up that granted me 4 nice sized loafs and a small bag of dinner sized rolls.

i could i thought take a trip in to austintown for bread today but then again, why bother? the pooh like thoughts began... i should save gas, i've been out of town for the last week - it would be nice to spend a simple day at home with mr. purringcutiepiedogcat wouldn't it, do i really need to go all the way into town for a simple loaf of bread do i? nope! i could not think of any reason to go when love comfort and all the goods i need to make a good loaf are right here at home.

so within a few moments, i decided to hunker down here and make a home loaf. then the self doubt kicked it for just a few. i always worry for bread success. i have yet to bake a loaf that i've been incredibly proud of, not that the loafs are ever bad, they've been actually quite good, still i'm in search of the a lighter, bigger inside fluffy hole-ish result.


ok the mission
  • turn worry to adventure
  • continue the adventure toward the uber superior light big fluffy hole-ish loaf of bread
  • gather all the goods
  • get ready for another go
  • do it do it do it
  • and ahaa!
  • have some fun along the way
so again i started poking around and decided upon the following ingredients
  • yeast
    • 2 packets
  • organic brown sugar
  • warm water
  • sea salt
  • coarse ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • rosemary
    • dried from the home garden
    • 1 handful dried leaf bits
  • organic flour
    • 4 cups w/extra for kneading and such
    • white and whole wheat mixed 3:1
  • wheat bran
    • 1/2 cup
  • pumpkin seeds - a.k.a. pepitos
    • 1/4 cup
  • sunflower seeds
    • 1/4 cup
  • 1 egg
that's it.
wet mix: i mixed the yeast with some - 1 hand full of brown sugar, salt, pepper, rosemary and warm water in a bowl and waited for the yeast to bubble which took a bit less than five minutes.

dry mix: i added about a 1/4 cup + drips of olive oil to the 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of organic brown sugar, 1/2 cup of wheat bran, the remaining rosemary, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1 egg and mashed that up with my hands.

once the yeast was bubbly, i poured in the yeast sugar, herb mix into the dry flower seeded mix and mashed everything up once again with my hands. i made sure the whole lot was good and mushy, kneaded it up a bit and placed it into a round bowl that i had coated with olive oil.

now comes the waiting game. i have placed a towel over the dough in a bowl and set it aside. i'll check on it in few hours to see how she rises. be back later...


mid rise - looking good good good

why do i call this pumpkinsunflower wholegrain brain bread? well because whole grains and protein rich seeds are good for your brain. they help you think better! so think twice before you cut bread out of your life. why on earth would you do such a thing? eat a piece, kick up the brain juices and truly ponder before you make such a choice.

back later...

back again!
gave the dough a good kneading after the first rise. had enough for 2 full loafs. i got excited and mixed up a smaller batch of dough for rolls. the bread loafs are now going in for the second rise (top shelf) and bread roll batch (on the bottom in the bowl) is in for the first.


patience, patience.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

light lifting


ahh can you feel it? lengthening days? second by second, minute by minute the days grow in length. december 22 - the turning point for this year of 2007.


slowly surely
sun's stays
coax the horizon
urge her rise
coax the horizon
linger longer her visit

Thursday, December 20, 2007

pretty pretty morning


imagine lace woven snow
the sun begins to peak on the horizon
balancing on bleary eyed beginnings

may the gods bless all the iced coffee in the universe
my daily iced coffee helps me to enjoy my day

today is a clean up day. going to do a full house spray for the little leaping buggers. good news is i've seen very few as of late (1 or 2) which is joyous but i don't trust them and i'd rather stay ahead than to trust seemingly good fortune only to be forced to enter a full scale battle again. paranoid? you bet i am.

mr. t. is enjoying the sun on the screened in porch while this is all going on. he loves it out there. it's a lovely day, so all is well in his universe. he got a bit pesky earlier when i was trying to give him a capstar tablet. we had to make 4 attempts before he swallowed the tiny pill. i thought it odd since he had taken yesterday's and all preceding day's pills without too much of a fuss. only i found yesterday's pill on the carpet while vacuuming. the creature may be more clever than i know. then again, he is of the cat creature universe, they are all more clever than we realize.

i've spread diatomaceous earth around the yard in hopes to deter any outdoor fleas. i honestly don't know where the heck they are coming from. this is the first time we've ever had a problem. enough on those folks.

other tasks for today - spray garden with seaweed & fish emulsion vitamin mix (check), full house vacuum (check!), wash all dishes (check!), two loads of laundry (check!), compost food bit's (check!) and take out recycle bits and trash (check!). the major elements left to do are to finish grading all student projects, and put some things together for holiday gift giving (wrap and such). other than that, the day is mostly mine. ha ha ha!

life is good, a clean house is good and getting all tasks on the list complete, well that's great!

beautiful chard from the garden this morning
rewards a plenty

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

garden gifting the neighbors

i took my yearly stroll from neighbor to neighbor with this year's holiday gifting from the garden. this is a stroll i enjoy a great deal. if i catch the neighbors at home i'm lucky. most of the folks around here keep themselves as busy as myself.

don't know if i've ever mentioned this; most all of my neighbors keep their yards organic and free of pesticides. it's something we as an impromptu group have discussed and have decided that we will continue to do and to urge (nicely) any new comers to do the same of which there has only been one and she's on the organic natural yard train now too which is super cool. they are all nice folk. i'm a lucky person living where i do.

i brew compost tea throughout the year. i've got a 50 gallon set up that covers any of my needs and leaves plenty of extra for the neighbors who have started to stop by and inquire for the next batch's ready date. all they have to do is walk over with their own container and i'll fill it. works out nice. keeps things natural and the folks are pleased with the results.

seems we all enjoy the wild life that frequents the area too and do our part as individuals to keep things free, clear and welcoming to the creatures. a good number of us are real suckers for the creatures (me included) and will feed them faithfully throughout the tougher foraging months.

anyway, the goods for this year's neighborly garden gifting is a bundle of rosemary & a jar of hippychic basil pesto made with pecans. all grown here at home of course! (granted, i did not press the olive oil or make the cheese - maybe someday)

it's a simple gift. it smells lovely and tastes warm and smooth on tongue. i think it's nice for this time of year.


and if the folks were not home, then i just placed the gift in the mailbox. there is no card attached. i'm not worried about folks figuring out who it's from. i like to give garden gifts throughout the year so i think they'll be able to figure it out. if not, it will make for fun holiday wondering...

simple gifts work

art or necessity? born from a similar need

today i share found images of creativity.
above glass in an industrial forming machine.

art or necessity?
are they both born of a similar need?


the bottle house by jasmine zimmerman

bottle cap garlands

a grolsh bottle holiday tree

plastic water bottle fishing bobbins
and while you're gone fishing - litterally or just in the brain,
ponder this...

just how far behind the rest of world are we when it comes to the possibilities of re-cycle, re-use, re-create, re-imagine and re-define?

want to see more really cool re-use ideas?

visit the kevin kelly street use site.
Kevin's site features the ways in which people modify and re-create technology. Herein a collection of personal modifications, folk innovations, street customization, ad hoc alterations, wear-patterns, home-made versions and indigenous ingenuity. In short -- stuff as it is actually used, and not how its creators planned on it being used. As William Gibson said, "The street finds its own uses for things." I welcome suggestions of links, and contributions from others to include in this compendium. -- KK

and now for some great sculptural work by the yardartist!

are you sure only the "big one" can create a tree?
i'm not so sure.

beautiful on it's own
but wait until you see what this is but a small part of...

pretty cool huh? yupper!
visit the yard artist.

ba ba




Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the victory garden reinvented

for many of you north of the mason dixon the garden season is in it's rest period. if that's you, you may have a cover crop growing for protection and early spring feeding or you might have mounded leaves over your garden for protection. it sounds like lots of you might have snow covered gardens by looks of the latest weather reports.

if this is you, i bet i bet you are already dreaming about next season's seedlings, planning the layout, scanning the seed catalogs or stocking up on seed packets from garden centers throwing an end of the year sale.

we down here in central texas probably won't experience the snow. maybe several ice storms here and there and the occasional freezing temps but the days always seem to warm up enough that a true longer term freeze proves a rare event. most of us serious garden folk will not put the garden to rest as winter time is one of our peak growing seasons. we're not able to grow lettuce any other time than winter down here because otherwise, it's just too darn hot for the babies. carrots, beets, cole crops, greens, onions and garlic thrive through the winter down here. i had my basil plants kicken hard up until the past week, so we do ok this time of year. my artichokes are also doing well right about now, putting out a whole lot of green growth. i don't know if they should be, i'll have to ask some wiser folk about that.

still i'm dreaming about the planting of the new spring potatoes and the tomatoe and pepper seedlings. i'll debate once again about trying to grow squash. why? well as i above stated, we don't often experience long term freezes and longer term freezes really help kill off some of the bad bug's larva like squash vine borers which i have had real trouble with down here. i'm also learning this about fleas and ants and other such buddies i like to keep OUT of the house. it's now my third year down here and every year i tell ya, i learn something(s) new. i'm off topic - no surprise.
~image from revive the victory garden site - click the image to visit~

the point is - inside of the all the dreaming i'm doing about next year's garden, i'm also thinking about how my garden might help to benefit others in my neighborly community. and i've come up with this based upon the old idea of the victory garden.

victory gardens were those gardens many families and communities planted during the war years to supplement the government imposed rationing system. it allowed folks to enjoy fruits and vegetables they might not normally have access to and in many cases helped folks to survive thin living times.

once the war was over, many folks stopped gardening. the nation prospered and the need to grow your own was not so great with the rise of the supermarket.


nowadays there are folks that not only do not know where their food comes from, there are folks who do not ever cook for themselves; city folk living the take out or go out life. funny how so many have lost touch with one of our most necessary needs - food.

for those of you who have followed my blog, you may be aware of why i started to grow my own. but for those who are new, the reason is short and sweet. i want to know where my food comes from.

on top of that, i absolutely disagree with genetic food modification. i am uncomfortable with the extent to which gmo foods have infiltrated the national food market. and i'm furious with the "no label necessary" attitude for gmo foods.


so i grow my own. i am a careful selective shopper for everything else. i purchase my beef and eggs at the farmer's market. the beef is from an in town ranch that raises grass feed cattle and my eggs from another local farmer. i'm not often in need of veggies, i've got plenty of my own either growing, frozen or canned but if i am i do try to hit the farmer's market first not just because of freshness and the direct connection to the farmer but because i feel it is important to support private small farms. it's been an incredible adventure so far and i don't see an end to it anytime soon.


am i off topic again or is this all part of it? i think it is. expository but part of the whole. ok back to my quest to make my efforts benefit my neighborly community.

a victory garden reinvented. yes we are at war (don't get me started there!) but we have not to date been forced as a nation to rations. and i don't see that coming anytime soon. still we have folks who are daily hungry. (don't get me started here either!) breathe, girl, breathe. ok breathing...

~art by joe wirtheim - click the image to visit his site~
~make sure to download the "our story, our future" pdf - tre' interesting~


so what can one person do to help? give food to a local food bank, yes! give your time and/or dollars to a local food bank and/or soup kitchen, yes! another idea is to create a new victory garden dedicated to feeding those in need. that's what i'm planning for now.

i'm adding another raised bed just for this purpose. i have made arrangements with my local food pantry to accept the fresh veggies (whatever i've got whenever i've got them) as donations. i'll take care of it just as i do my other gardens only the purpose will be not for me but for others.

this is not a new idea on my part. lots and lots of folks are doing this. there has been an upward surge for a while now. here are some links that might inspire you too to dig your own victory garden. believe in the power of one.

  • victory garden of tomorrow
    • the victory garden of tomorrow: positive, constructive values for the future! designed for home, work, or community, the artwork has opened a can of worms on america.

  • revive the victory garden - for victory over global warming
    • each one of us may only be one person. however, we each have an impact on the environment and can make changes to reduce our impact.
  • victory gardens 2007
    • local to san fransisco but some great information to get you stared in sustainable food practices.
  • the victory garden
    • the long time mucho excellente' pbs gardening program with the movement's namesake
  • city farmer
    • a great canadian site offered by the canada office of urban agriculture
    • excellent excellent information here


and this my friends may be even more pertinent today than it might have been back in the 1940's.

think.

act now.

make a difference.

believe in the power of one.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

damn good day at the hippychick homestead



great day today!

great weather - morning cool in the 40's - afternoon hovering in the 50's - tonight expecting low 30's - sunshine booming all day - clear sky tonight - feels good - feels crisp - ups the cozy factor of a nice warm bed.

got up around 7:30am today, that's pretty much sleeping in for me. no complaints, made the coffee, read a bit of news, turned on the radio, scratched mr. t and got us both fed. then i just lazed about a bit. checked in on email, replied to none, that's for tomorrow, mixed up a batch of herbed wood ear mushroom spread (see entry from earlier today) and got dressed. the shower would have to wait. i had some yard work calling to me first.

may i repeat, it was a beautiful day. the temperatures outside were perfect for a good day's yard labor. the plan was to distribute the finished compost around all of the newly planted trees and bushes. newly planted translated as less than 2 years in the ground on the hippychick homestead.

this group included:
  • european plum tree
  • fig tree
  • crab apple tree
  • blueberry bushes (2)
  • pomegranate tree
  • texas sage bush (2)
  • creeping rosemary bush (2)
  • improved mayer lemon tree
  • bay tree
  • miniature bottle brush trees (2)
  • spanish olive tree
  • italian olive tree
once that project was complete the relocation of all the raked leaves was up. the above shot is from more than a few weeks back. imagine the ring of leaves around the trunk of the tree twice the size. there's a point where the pile of leaves moves beyond being a protective element around the stump and becomes more a place of an over wintering refuge for some of the bug creatures you might not want to see in one's near future. long story short - too many leaves - have to move the bulk of them to compost or to storage elsewhere. i did both.

two of the three compost bins were at about 2/3 full. these two bins are my old stand bys. it's where i bury in the weekly kitchen scraps and discard of any green bits i aquire while cleaning yard. (grass clippings, vegetable cuttings, etc.) i was hesitant to add much to either of these two. i did not want to weight down or compact the compost already in the bins so most of the leaves i collected moved into bin number three.

bin number three is primarily leaves. there are a few rotted mini pumpkins in there but i'm keeping it primarily as a leaf mold producer. it was able to accept three full leaf loads of the wheel barrow. the rest of the clean up (three more loads) got piled next door to bins one and two by the outback garden. they are the new reserves. nice thing about these leaves is that there's a good amount of dried up hay in there too from the bails i set out earlier in the year for the octoberfest party.

and then it was time for lunch. had a fantastic salad from the home grown greens. had to sit outside to eat. it was just too beautiful of a day to waste any time indoors and man oh man the sun was pulling out some outstanding effects. just look at these shadows of roo roo and henny hen hen. they look like movie stars. cohen brothers, eat your hearts out.


after lunch i had an idea...

roo roo and henny hen hen needed a little holiday interaction on their bit of the homestead so i crafted a bamboo pole tree and wrapped it up with cheery green holiday lights. i wish you could see it now. outstanding! outstanding!

then of course as always with me, one creative gesture leads to another. i had not yet pleased myself enough with the holiday decor of the front entry. now i'm not one who a designs in a formal manner. i'm a simple person, never been schmancy, don't really feel the need to be so and thus i like my decor simple too. i just had not hit upon what i would do until today that is.

i was in the garage cleaning, folding garden burlap, sweeping out the leaves and dirt and just general creating order from chaos when i stumbled upon my last two (missing - though not any longer) holiday garlands. there they were on the shelf exactly where i placed them last spring.

hello where' s the memory these days?

regardless, it all came together. the garlands would frame the front door, an old hat would hang on the front door and wallaa done! here's how it turned out.

all i can say is just look at the play of light and shadow here. killer man! and this light show's for free. ahh the sun, she's a brilliant thing she is. happiness, peace and more happiness once again on the hippychick homestead.

ah! almost forgot, changed all remaining incandescent lamps to energy efficient cfls. got the cutie round type with diffused caps. they are much easier on the eyes giving off a softer glow. now the only incandescents left in the home are those that need to dim (2) (cfls do not have dimming power) and those in the fridge and oven. i'll have to do some research before i change out the fridge lamp. i don't think i want to place a cfl in the oven. it would not be a good thing to have mercury leak in the oven. no no no



i got the cutie round cfl lamps at ikea. here's a great news article about ikea's take back program. ikea will recycle your used cfl lamps for you.
here's a bit about ikea's social and environmental programs; read on.

~ you can find out more about recycling lamps here ~

heated up some of the homemade chili for din din. enjoyed it with a couple of pieces of toasted bread. had a sit at the end of the day with mr. t in a warm home with pretty indoor and outdoor holiday lights. i'd say that all adds up to a damn good day wouldn't you?

special cheers to the nature lady for a pretty and wonderfilled day.

gotta give the greens a hey! hey!


before


not long after

you do the math
grow your own greens



Auricularia polytricha - a.k.a. the wood ear mushroom

today just a bit about auricularia polytricha also known as the wood ear mushroom, tree ear mushroom, cloud ear or black fungus*.

*(not the type of fungus that invades homes and gardens)

this is a culinary mushroom that i am particularly fond of. i like it's texture, it's ability to take on the flavor of the ingredients it's cooked with and it's flexibility in many types of dishes.

this morning i put together a simple wood ear sour creme spread. i was first introduced to this spread in finland. i spent time with a family who would often enjoy this spread on dry crackers in the morning as part of their breakfast meal.

i often observed the host's preparation process for various dishes. this one in particular caught my eye and has stayed with me though many years have since passed.
herbed wood ear mushroom spread

the ingredients are simple:
  • wood ear mushrooms - i use fresh
    • 1 or 2 handfuls chopped into small bits
    • wood ears are not so expensive
      • for me $1.14 for one handful
      • click the photo for an enlarged view
  • light sour creme
    • 1 1/2 cups per/handful of mushrooms
  • pepper to taste
    • i like lots
  • sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon
  • dill and parsley
    • add to your own preference
wash the mushrooms, chop the mushrooms to little bits, mix everything together, add salt, and pepper to taste, place it in a container and refrigerate for an hour or two to allow the ingredients to mix. that's if you can wait that long. I enjoy the spread on crackers and sometimes added to a hot batch of pasta as a creme sauce. it's great any way you choose. the spread may not prove ideal to finicky texture weary folk but you never know. gotta try it to be sure.

my favorite cracker is "finn crisp" crackers. they rock. you can see that there are times that i don't even bother with the spreading. i just dip right in.

here are a few photos that are click-able; each leading to further facts about mushrooms and relative factual and/or observed information.
  • click on the photo to take you to it's originating site




and a really cool site is rogers mushrooms. the site is based upon rogers work that lead up to his book Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain and Europe. you'll want to check it out. it covers the edibles and the inedible. it seems to be more for the scientific minded but the photos and the mushroom kitchen areas are not to be missed. the mushroom kitchen not only educates you about the specific edible it immediately links you to one or more tasty recipes. below is one of rogers photos. yes they are all this good!


mushrooms for me are a longed for addition to my winter meals. their meaty, earthy tones really hit the spot. i will often add them to creamy pasta sauces, i'll cook them into soups, as above i'll mix into a low fat sour creme and for those of you who crave a meaty texture but don't eat meat or are cutting back on the meat intake, consider mushrooms as an alternative.

take a walk in your local grocer's wild side.
explore explore explore
you never know until you try