"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Collaborative Effort

Wow, things have changed a bit since yesterday.  I believe it would be fair to say I was a bundle of stress yesterday morning, and then the Mister and I got some fun and surprising news:  We're off to Hawaii!  Tomorrow morning.  Work trip, but still...it's Hawaii, people!

So my focus has gone from "ack-get-the-cabin-ready-for-the-realtor-I'm-so-crap-I-can't-finish-sewing-a-garment!" to "Whatever, I'm off to Hawaii."  Guess who's not finishing the sewing I meant to?  This gal, that's right.

So, I'll be gone for a bit, but I do have a gorgeous recipe to share before I'm off.  And it's one of those cool, collaborative effort kind of recipes.  Our neighbors, avid mushroom gatherers, brought us some beautiful chanterelles the other day, check them out:

Yum.  Normally, I love wild mushrooms very simply prepared, a slow saute in butter & garlic, with some white wine, then served over toast.  But with the way the Kiddos eat these days, there weren't quite enough to feed the four of us, so I began to look around for a good recipe, and stumbled up a beaut at Smitten Kitchen.  Creamy White Polenta (aka grits) with Mushrooms.  Well, I don't have grits, but I do indeed have polenta, and I have been aching to try a trick I learned from another neighbor.  Matt, our New York-Italian turned Pacific Northwestern Brewer, was recently telling me about how his little Italian grandma always made the best polenta, because she zested a lemon into it.  You kind of have to trust an Italian on the subject of polenta, you know.  I wasn't quite sure whether I ought to zest it in at the beginning, or at the end, so I did a bit of both.

The polenta recipe I use is one I found on Orangette, which has resulted in the creamiest, most scrumptious polenta I've ever had the pleasure eating.  It involves cooking the polenta as normal, for about an hour, then holding it in a double boiler for at least half an hour, up to several hours (how great is that, being able to make polenta ahead of time?).  It takes on the loveliest texture from hanging out for a while, absolutely heavenly.  Go visit Orangette for that version, or use whichever recipe you're comfortable with.

Lemon Scented Polenta with Chanterelles - inspired by Smitten Kitchen and Matt's grandma
- feeds 4 as a main

cooked polenta (aka corn grits)
zest from one lemon
2 Tbs butter
grated parmiggiano reggiano

1 pound chanterelles
2 small, or 1 large, clove garlic
olive oil
3 Tbs butter
1/4 cup white wine
chopped parsley, for garnish
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
juice from half a lemon

Prepare your polenta according to Molly's directions, or your own, but with this addition:  after stirring the polenta into the simmering water, and once the grains are beginning to absorb the water, zest in half the lemon.  At the end of cooking time, when you add the butter, add the zest from the other half of the lemon.  Cover with plastic and set over a double boiler for at least half an hour.

To prepare the chanterelles, leave smaller ones whole, slice in half or quarters medium to large sized mushrooms.  Put a tablespoon or so olive oil in a saute pan, over medium heat, then add the chanterelles and garlic, salt, and pepper.  Cook for six to eight minutes, until the juices are released, then cook out again.  Once the mushrooms are cooked through, but not slimy, throw in the wine, and let it cook down for a minute or so, over medium high heat.  Next add lemon juice, and butter, and simmer for a couple of minutes, so that a lovely sauce results.

Serve the chanterelles atop the polenta, with grated parmiggiano, and parsley as garnish.  Oh, joy.  The lemon in the mushrooms is perfectly in sync with the lemon hint in the polenta...so wonderful.

Quite a good collaboration, I must say.

I'll be back in a week, or so.  Have a great one! 

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