Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall-time Fricassees: Autumn & Chanterelles

Fricassee of Chanterelles with Egg Tagliatelle

There are so many things to love about this time of year.  September and October in the middle latitudes are bountiful - not only in that late-summer, early-autumn-harvest kind of way either.  The climate changes in a pretty marked manner, not entirely for the worse.  As sad as I always am to say goodbye to summer, the Autumn is the earth's way of saying, "Come on, it's not all bad!"

In Autumn I start craving all sorts of fall-y things like sweet and savory pies of every sort, squashes and pumpkins, and mushrooms galore.  Ah, my crazy love affair with mushrooms.  It never ends, nor does it vaguely begin to wain.  It's like a hopeless addiction.  Proof of which is the fact that despite the painful $19.99/lb price tag, I cannot help myself from going for a small bag of Chanterelles at Whole Foods these days.  It's almost too much to ask myself - like I'm doing my family an active disservice by NOT buying them these meaty, yellow-y, most-definitely-autumnal mushrooms right now

I've had Chanterelles on the brain for a while now.  A couple of weeks ago we went to a fantastic dinner double-date at Bresca in downtown Portland.  One of their starter choices was a wild mushroom (locally foraged, btw) souffle.  That night was a classic example of my tendency to overthink my menu choices.  It was obvous that I should have gotten it from the moment I saw the menu but instead I opted for the "Braised Tuscan Black Kale with a 6 minute egg, crispy pancetta, kombu butter, and charred multi grain bread."  It was delicious.  But it was no Chanterelle souffle.  Maybe that's why I'm still obsessing over the mushrooms.

Either way, in my latest Bon Appetit magazine was a recipe for Fricassee of Chanterelles, and it looked good enough (even better than that, actually) to eat based solely on the picture.  I was enticed all the more once I read the recipe.  So I broke down and indulged my grubby little hands in some Whole Foods foraging.  It was absolutely worthwhile.  I highly recommend it.  Even Roman ate it!  Autumnal indulgence #1: check.  If you can find fresh papardelle I would say go for those over tagliatelle (it's all I could get last-minute).

Now for my top five other Fall-time Fricassees - things that make this time of year worth living for, not just just living in.

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My Top 5 Favorite Fall-time Fricassees!
 take that as you will

All done!
5. The Fairs / Festivals are coming.
It seems like literally every single day we find out about a new festival or carnival going on in the next town over.  This week is the apparently infamous Cumberland Fair which we will hopefully be hitting up tomorrow evening for some rides and good Fall food.  The Fryburg Fair is coming up and this past weekend was some kind of Gardner's fair where all they have is Maine-produced food.  Apparently they didn't serve coffee for a couple of years because there isn't any native Maine coffee!  Kinda neat.

4. The Foliage (already!)
There is one tree on our street that is painfully beautiful already with its bright red and orange leaves.  Having taken a drive through the countryside this weekend I can say it is the exception at this point in time, but yes, the foliage is coming!  The foliage is coming!  Don't you want to come visit me? :)

3. Fantastic Apples & Orchard
This past weekend we went apple picking with Roman and his nursery school.  It is one of those things I've wanted to do since I first heard about Johnny Appleseed when I was in elementary school.  If there are apple orchards in Texas we never went.  I had so much fun seeing Roman run around eating about as many apples as he could hold.  And the orchard was just beautiful.  Pictures to come.

2. The Freakish Pumpkins
We were going out for a "family dinner" the other night at the Longhorn Steakhouse (yes, it has come to that) in South Portland when a small pick-up truck drove by with the largest pumpkin I've seen in my entire life.  Roman and I jumped off the car and ran after him.  He happily allowed Roman to jump up on the bed and pose with the pumpkin.  He'd just come from one of the many fairs where he'd won 1st place for largest pumpkin in Maine: 950lbs my friends!  Crazy freakishness. :)
1. Halloween!
Ahhhhhh!  I LOVE Halloween!  It is one of the many reasons I am particularly happy to be back in the US after our 5 year hiatus.  Let me tell you, Halloween in Abu Dhabi sucked.  Especially because some Sheikh died the day before and our neighborhood promptly "postponed" trick-or-treating until the first weekend in November due to a week of national mourning.  What the hell is that?!  Anyway, I've been diligently slaving away on my Viking Sewing Machine making Roman his first-ever homemade Halloween costume.  It's super cute.  No, actually, it's so much more than that.  But we'll save that juicy tidbit for another post. :)

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And on a tangentially related note, Matt and I are heading to Prague this coming week for our first-ever Roman-less vacation (thank you In-Laws!).  I have a lot to update on when we get back so hopefully that means my posts will be a little more frequent.  Until then, go buy some mushrooms and make me proud!

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