Oyster Mushrooms with Orzo

IMG_7538It seems like a funny time of year to be harvesting mushrooms, but I suppose as long as conditions are right, those little fungi are going to bloom! I’ve never been really confident on picking mushrooms, but there are a few that I know well, that are safe to eat. Oyster Mushrooms, Puff Balls, and Prince Mushrooms are so easy to identify in this region.

The oyster mushrooms were blooming all over a downed balsam-log. Mushrooms are the blooms of fungi that live in the ground, wood or organic matter (factoid).

There were about 8 feet of them, all over the top half of the log. I found them when they were perfect, the bugs and slugs hadn’t got to them, and they hadn’t started to dry out at the edges. A totally unexpected bounty! For dinner I made up a super easy orzo based risotto type dish. As we’d recently returned from travels, my pantry was quite depleted, but I had all I’d need to make an incredibly mushroomy dish.

I don’t expect that most people will stumble over an oyster mushroom laden log conveniently behind their chicken house, but if you do, harvest those beauties for your meal. If you don’t stumble over such a log, buy some at a grocery store. Continue reading

Moroccan Salad with Quinoa

IMG_4999We used to have a flat-weave picnic basket.  It was lined in green tartan, and had a place for everything that a family might need for a great lunch.  Today we tend to pack lunches into coolers or backpacks, with lots of ice or freezer paks.  Somehow our unchilled lunches of yesteryear never made us sick.  We would have a stack of sandwiches, maybe a salad or two, some pickles, and cookies and fruit for dessert.  A bottle of lemonade would be enough for us all.  No pop tins, fancy fruit juices, or iced teas.  How did we ever survive?

There is always time for a picnic.  Don’t go overboard thinking it out, just make some things that make you happy, and get outside!  Even if you just toddle down to the local park.

This salad would be an amazing picnic salad.  Salads are great when they can be used as a main dish as well.  This colourful salad, full of fragrant spices lasts well in the fridge, and works well as a side dish for dinner, or as a main course salad, for lunches or a light supper. It’s packed full of nutrition, and is pretty as well!

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Roasted Cauliflower with Farfalle

Cauliflower has never held much charm for me.  A little lack lustre, usually served with some overpowering sauce of some sort.  I do like it in Indian dishes, where it seems to have more strength, more depth.  Then I tried roasting it.  Wow. I love roasted cauliflower!  Who knew that that’s all it needed?  Here I serve it with pasta, a bit of crunch and a bit of spice.  Using a whole cauliflower head, it makes a fair amount, but it always gets eaten. Continue reading