Sunday, May 22, 2011


I've been wanting to try to make bagels for years now, and inspired by this post from Marzipan Mom, I decided to give it a go. The first round I didn't take pictures; they tasted great and had a good chew, but they were kind of flat and just didn't look right. This round I must have used a lot more flour and the pictures looked great, but the flavor didn't have as much depth and they just tasted kind of dry. I think next time around I would not add quite so much flour (I was really fighting to knead in the last bits - maybe I counted wrong), and I would try to allow the dough more time to develop some flavor. Although I was pleased to turn out such lovely bagels, it was enough work that we decided we just need to buy good bagels more often.

P.S. As a side note, I just posted photos for the morels, in case any of you were waiting with baited breath.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm not sure what's better about hunting morels - eating them or walking in the woods. Morels are nearly impossible to find commercially, but in the spring you can find these flavorful mushrooms in the damp woods (often near elm trees). They're easy to identify and are not easily confused with any toxic mushrooms, so they're a fairly safe bet for inexperienced mushroom hunters like ourselves.

C, whose friend took him morel hunting a couple of years ago, scouted out a good location, then took Z and her friend L one Saturday, then took me again the next week. We got to eat a batch of this simple morel pasta each time.

I tried to keep it simple so that the rich earthy flavor of the morels dominates the dish. The leeks and asparagus came from our garden. I just eyeballed everything, so the amounts here are just estimates. When I made it a couple of years ago, I didn't add any alcohol, and I didn't have as many morels, so I stretched them with regular mushrooms. There's really no substitute for morels, but this pasta would probably be good with other kinds of mushrooms, but you'd need to use more because their flavor is not as intense.

Morel Pasta

1 Tbs. butter
1/4-1/2 cup leeks, chopped
a handful of asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (optional)
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. dry vermouth, dry white wine, or sherry
1/2 lb. pasta, cooked
1 lb. fresh morels, cleaned and chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt to taste

Start the pasta water boiling while you prepare the ingredients. About the same time that you throw in the pasta, start cooking the sauce. Saute leeks in 1 Tbs. butter. After a couple of minutes, stir in the asparagus. When those are almost done, add the garlic and cook another minute, then add the morels and cook until they release most of their juices. Add the vermouth and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated, then stir in the cream, salt to taste, and stir it into the cooked pasta. Serve!

I've finally posted some of the photos, but it turns out I don't have shots of the hunt in the woods - those are on Z's friend's camera. Sorry!