Posts tagged fall
Lion’s Mane Mushroom and an Autumnal Charcuterie Board
Lions Mane Mushroom and an Autumnal Charcuterie Board

There is nothing quite like fall in New England. It’s so cliche to say it, but I can’t help myself. October is my favorite time of year and I look forward to it the way most people look forward to summer. Autumn makes me feel refreshed and brings about a whole new slew of ideas and thoughts that I tend to carry with me throughout the next 12 months; till October rolls around again. Perhaps it has to do with October being my birth month, or maybe it’s just my time of year. Either way, it makes me feel good and I relish the crisp days and the smell of the earth as it settles in for a long sleep.

This trip back east has admittedly not been the easiest. Money has been tight, transportation sparse and my health not so good. After a few weeks with a wretched cough, I decided to take the time and visit a doctor. While in the room, I was informed that I have bronchitis and was immediately put on a nebulizer and a hefty round of antibiotics. It’s never easy being sick, especially while traveling, but this diagnosis was a wake up call. It forced me to realize that it’s time to focus on my health and not just the book or my business. It had been nearly ten months since I allowed myself the time to see a practitioner and I was frustrated that I let it get to this point.

So I decided to let go. I cancelled my remaining book events and decided to settle into my existence as a person and not just an author or a business owner. I removed my shop from the site (don’t worry, it will be back), spent time with friends and booked a train ticket back to Montana. I’m fully taking this sweet month of October to better myself and in turn, be better for the people I love. The pressure I have put on myself in the last 8 months has turned unhealthy and I’m excited to make a change.

A week or so ago, my friend Laura texted and asked if I’d like to go on a walk with her. One of my favorite places in southern Maine is a riverside trail called the Bridal Path and without speaking, I knew that Laura would want to go there too. So off we ventured, armed with coffee and a years worth of catching up to do. On one particular side path, we discovered quite a few clusters of secret mushrooms and sacred ghost pipe, which we left behind. But the discovery of the Lion’s Mane caused Laura to squeal and run to the periphery of the path.

Lion’s mane is a funny, Seussical looking mushroom with a slew of health benefits. It’s quite delicious too which is extremely helpful. Lion’s mane is said to benefit brain function, enhance the immune system and alleviate depression. It’s a stark white little creature with a furry looking skin (those hairs are called the spines) and can be found growing on different varieties of dead or dying hardwood trees.

We walked around with the mushroom for a few more minutes before deciding to head back to Laura’s seaside home to cook it up for lunch along with some Maine chaga tea. While Laura did most of the cooking, the following method of cooking is similar to what I observed her do and what I would most likely do myself.

Lion's Mane Mushroom


How to cook a lion’s mane mushroom:

Ingredients

1 lion mane mushroom head
1-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to season


Method

Submerge the full mushroom into clean, room temp water and let soak for 3-5 minutes to clean off any excess debris. Once mushroom is clean, gently start removing the spines from the base of the mushroom in small or medium size chunks (compare size to the top half of your thumb) with a knife or your fingers. Set on a plate and pat dry with a towel to remove water.

Heat a small pan over medium low heat and melt 1 tbs of butter and add the shrooms. With a mixing spoon, gently coat the mushrooms in the hot butter (add more if needed) and continue to cook on medium/low heat until golden brown.

Place cooked mushrooms on serving tray or plate and serve right away. These would also taste great in a salad or a creamy pasta dish.

If desired: tincture remaining raw mushroom stem in alcohol or apple cider vinegar. Or place to rest outside to return to the earth.

Charcuterie Board

Gather an assortment of meats, cheeses, crackers/bread, spreads, nuts and jellies. Arrange them on a large serving tray or cutting board. Get creative with how to arrange your spread and make sure to have a decent variety of goodies.

Here’s a list of what Laura and I added to this particular tray so you can have an idea of what to do:

Raw goats cheese
Green olives
Homemade sun dried tomatoes from Laura’s garden
Crackers
Cabbage tempura from the Six Seasons cookbook
Peach compote
Bacon, broken up into small pieces for bite size consumption
Fresh plums, sliced
Lion’s mane mushroom (but you already knew that)

***

Charcuterie boards are quite possibly my favorite ways to consume my favorite foods. Add whatever makes you happy and feel good.


Lions Mane Mushroom and an Autumnal Charcuterie Board
My favorite view at the Bridal Path in Maine

My favorite view at the Bridal Path in Maine

Laura’s kitchen table

Laura’s kitchen table

Cinnamon Cider Cordial & Apple Cups
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It's been a while since I posted a recipe, but the past several months have been busy, to say the least. I finished my book, Blotto Botany, which consists of 40 new recipes, materia medica and a section on self care. Needless to say, my recipe mojo was rather dormant. But now that things have seemingly slowed down and my attention is not exclusively devoted to writing the book, I am excited about returning to serving up some new herbal recipes and other plant based offerings. 

With colder days upon us and the holidays rapidly approaching, I've been jonesing for warm spices and comforting tastes. I came across a video on Tastemade with a recipe for boozy apple cider cups and decided to kick it up a notch with a cordial of my own concoction and caramel sauce. These little apple cups are perfect for winter gatherings by candlelight or quiet nights at home with a good book. Plus, how fun and very Wonka world is it to eat your cup!? Who wouldn't love that?

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Cordial

2 large pears, cubed
3 cinnamon sticks
1 TSP allspice
1 TBS cardamom
1/2 TSP whole cloves
1/2 TSP whole allspice
1/4 cup coconut sugar
750 ml brandy or bourbon

Place all ingredients in a quart size jar and completely cover with the whiskey. Stir, cap tightly and shake. Infuse for 2-4 weeks in .cupboard or shelf away from direct sunlight. Shake daily. After infusion period, strain liquid and store in a clean jar.  

Side note :: I usually use a fine mesh strainer to strain my cordials, but a cheese cloth or colander will work as well. 

Apple cups

4 large apples
lemon juice

Using a knife, remove the tops of the apples. Then take a pairing knife and carefully mark the "rim" of your cup, leave about 1/4 of an inch for the rim. Scoop the apple out with a spoon or a melon baller. Once your cups are hollowed out, brush the lemon juice on the inside of the apples to prevent browning. 

To Serve

1/2 gallon apple cider
1 TSP cinnamon powder
1/2 TBS nutmeg powder
OPTIONAL :: maple syrup or caramel to sweeten

In a large pot, heat the apple cider on medium heat. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and sweetener and bring cider to a low boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add 1-2 cups of the cordial (depending on how boozy you want to get). Stir well and remove from heat. 

Using a ladle, transfer your cider into the apple cups and garnish with a cinnamon stick, anise star seed, rose petals or caramel. Serve while hot. 

I use this recipe for caramel sauce from my fave Dulce Delight

Serves 4

Use the #blottobotany on instagram to share your cordial recipes and photos!

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