Wednesday, October 27, 2010


If you are *dying* for something creepy to do this October, hasten to the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. Located in a decent part of Baltimore (I assure you that your car will not be stolen) and the admission is free! It is a cute and quaint little kirkyard where a few crumbly tombstones and some truly beautiful tombs are in evidence. Bring some whisky or brandy and sneak a few sips. I promise no one will notice. And if you pull out a copy of "The Tell-tale Heart" for an outburst of oratory no one will mind. Get your creep on!

I did.

Monday, October 25, 2010

elementary mycology

Brown Oyster mushroom, or Pleurotus cystidiosus

from left to right
crimini Agaricus bisporus
enoki Flammulina velutipes
white button Agaricus bisporus
shiitake Lentinula edodes

Yellow oyster mushroom Pleurotus citrinopileatus

Mushrooms are freaky things and I love them. They are mysterious and do not fall into the same category as anything else we eat.

For all of you paying close attention, you may have noticed something funny about the Latin names of the white button and crimini. You get gold stars!

So lets clear up some myths about mushrooms that your local grocer would not want you to know...
White mushrooms--old pedestrian staple--the fancy criminis and those gourmet portabellas...well they are all the same mushroom!

White buttons are the babies all fresh and tender, then the gills darken and open and the cap turns that lovely silvery brown and it is a crimini then its a whole dollar more per box but essentially the same thing and then when they mature they turn into the juicy steak thick portabellas. Hulking and delectable and so expensive. So just one type of mushroom has so many different flavors, it is amazing!

I admit, it has taken me years to appreciate different flavors and types. My hardwon love of shiitakes is proof of this. Much to the chagrin of multitudes of Japanese gasping at this admission...
anyway there are multiple eclectic and generally scruffy looking folks who sell mushrooms at my two local farmers markets. I found these gorgeous specimens at the seldom visited JFX market (we usually head to 32nd street) I was enthralled with a container of brilliant orange lobster mushrooms, but they were quite pricey and I settled instead on the mixture above. I nibbled some here and there, and ate some with eggs, but most ended up sauteed in butter with white wine and added to a delicious scratch chicken pot pie. Which turned out ugly as sin- but tasted amazing. So amazing in fact, that we forgot to take a picture of it before we ate it. In lieu of that here are the beauties sauteing...


here is a lovely recommendation for some fizzy bubbly.

In my opinion there is not enough fizzy bubbly drinking going on...this is a lovely prosecco frizzante, meaning that it is only slightly effervescent and it was only slightly expensive [$12 range] which is why I like prosecco and cava, much cheaper than their french cousin, champagne.
Pop this baby at parties and for breakfast (I mean brunch) and people with think you are witty and cultured. It is the perfect thing for all those looming awkward holiday parties and last minute gifts.