The rainy fall weather has produced a bumper crop of wild mushrooms at #morningwood this year. The past couple of years, I’d find a handful of small puffballs, maybe see a stray parasol, no boletes at all. This year it’s been crazy. More than I can harvest, puffballs in 25 mushroom clusters, Fairy Rings of parasols and for the first time, delicious boletes so abundant I’m only able to harvest half of them. TLK even found a pair of giant puffballs, which I’ve never seen up there.
So, needing a great way to use the abundance before they go bad – wild mushrooms have less than half the shelf life of cultivated ‘shrooms it seems – I decided to make a big batch of creamy mushroom soup.
This recipe will yield 8-10 servings. Scale the recipe as needed if you have fewer mouths to feed.
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
2 1/2 medium white onions chopped medium coarse
1.5 lb wild mushrooms coarsely chopped. Obviously if you can’t find wild or not you’re not confident with foraging for edible mushrooms use some flavorful cultivated ‘shrooms such as Oyster, Crimini, Hen of the Woods etc
2T finely chopped fresh dill
4T hot paprika
2T Maggi seasoning or Worcestershire sauce if you can’t find Maggi
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup all purpose flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped de stemmed kale
1T sweet Dijon mustard
Black pepper to taste
In a large stock pot melt butter over medium heat. Saute onions in melted butter for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook them down for 7 minutes. Stir in flour, dill, paprika, Maggi, mustard and lemon juice until the flour roux evenly coats the mushrooms. Add chicken stock, milk, evaporated milk, cream and bring up to a slow simmer for 20 minutes.
Add sour cream and stir until melted. Stir in kale and allow to simmer for 15 minutes further being careful not to scald the soup or allow it to boil.
Serve in a deep bowl with a garnish of chopped scallions and a sprinkle of paprika.
September. I think it’s 2nd on my list of favorite behind October. Labor Day, the passing from summer to fall, football, the end of baseball regular season, crisp, clear evenings, warm low humidity days. Yeah, September is good.
With the purchase of #morningwood, September has come to mean a few new things to me. Mushrooms and new fall chores.
This is a new one. Time to get the boat out of the water. Leaving a boat lift and dock in a frozen lake is a bad thing. The ice flow will twist and mangle aluminum over the course of the winter. So, beginning in late September, early October the residents around the lake begin the ritual of lining up the boat trailers at the launch by the dam on the West end of the lake to pull the boats out for the winter. Prep for winter storage involves cleaning film of algae off the hulls or pontoons, cleaning the vinyl, shampooing the carpets, filling the gas tank and adding StaBil and draining the oil. TLK is working on finding a storage facility. Next weekend we’ll disassemble the dock and pull it out of the water. At some point the dock and pier company will come by with what amounts to a barge with a winch on it to pull the lift out and set it on the front part of our property. That happens in early October typically so the incentive to get the boat off the lift exists due to the fact that if they can’t take our lift out when they come to the lake to do their other contracts, we pay a $100 up charge.
I got home from #morningwood in the mid afternoon and about 5:45 TLK and I headed over to Wrigley for the final regular season game. The Cubs have had a magical season and it continued last night. Cubs fans have fallen in love with David Ross in the short time he’s been with the team. He’s basically a part time catcher, brought along in the John Lester trade as Lester’s personal catcher. He announced that this would be his final season at age 38. Last night we Cub fans enjoyed some truly a chill inducing, tear jerking moments with Rossy. His first at bat, the crowd erupted in a long, spontaneous standing O as Rossy was announced. He had to back away from the plate, and acknowledge the crowd with a doff of his batting helmet. His next at bat, again – crowd gives him a thunderous ovation and he knocked a dong deep into the left centerfield bleachers to give the good guys a 1-0 lead over arch rival STL Cardinals. The crowd was berzerkers and Rossy had to come out of the dugout for a curtain call. During the 7th, Joe Maddon walked out to the bump for a convo with the infield. Rossy walked out to the hill and Maddon give him a hug and an official Final Walk off the field as replacement catcher Wilson Contreras came on. Each of the infielders on the mound also gave him an embrace as the crowd stood once again for a long, long standing O. Once again, a curtain call. It was a classy way to acknowledge him, rather than just replacing him between innings. You could see Rossy moved to tears in the dugout afterward. It was such a privilege to be there. The Cubs went on to win 3-1 for win # 99 of the season.
Life is all about making memories. Last night was a good one.
Finally – Mushrooms
I’ve become a forager. The first spring we had #morningwood, we discovered a cache of morels on our lot. Later that year in August, we found a lot of tiny puffball mushrooms. I began doing a lot of study on identifying edible mushrooms common to Central Wisconsin in specific and North America in general and this year with the wet weather the wild mushrooms have gone completely wild. I’ve made Pasta Carbonara con fungi, Creamy mushroom soup, Omelettes, Fritatas, Sutee’d as a side dish with green beans…all from ‘shrooms on our lot and the neighbor’s abandoned lot. Click on the photos for description and a closer look.
Next time I’ll post the Creamy Mushroom Soup and Wild Mushroom Carbonara recipes
I spent the weekend at Morningwood with TLK installing cedar shake siding on the gable exposures. So, now we have a Shake Shack
That’s about 400 trips up and down a 6′ step ladder. You’d think a guy with my fitness and stamina would be able to spend a weekend using a pneumatic nail gun to nail up extremely light weight pieces of cedar to a wall without feeling like I used to the morning after a football game back in High School. My shoulders are tight, my triceps are sore, my quads and calves are screaming and I feel physically drained. Seriously, I can barely walk.
The East side of the house took roughly 5 hours with me cutting and nailing and TLK picking out the pieces so that each course up the wall staggered in such a way to avoid siding joints lining up with a joint below it.
We got up early on Saturday so after 6 hours of sleep and arrived at Morningwood about 10:00. I got the drain pipes under the kitchen sink done after maybe 6 trips back and forth into Adams (15 mile round trip) because I couldn’t seem to buy the right parts or if the right parts, the wrong sizes. Plumbing clearly is not my thing but the final result looks pro.
This doesn’t look all that complicated but it’s all geometry, calculus and spatial reasoning, only one of which I truly fluent with. That along with knowing the difference between 1.5″ inside diameter and 1.5″ outside diameter, thin wall or thick wall PVC. Christalmighty it’s a job too small to hire a plumber to do but after the time and aggravation, it makes me think maybe $200 would have been worth it. So, now we have after 2 years (when we last had a kitchen sink toward the end of the demo) a fully functioning kitchen sink and counter tops instead of plywood! It made TLK very, very happy to wash dishes in a real full size sink rather than the tiny basin in the bathroom vanity.
After getting the plumbing finished and fixing the tiny leak from an improperly set gasket, we hit the siding with full force and after 5 hours, the day ended with me dropping the siding nailer from the ladder which landed in such a way that the air hose ruptured at the coupling. End of day one. I made dinner of brats and brussels sprouts with wild mushrooms from the property and TLK made mac n cheeze and we watched college football till about 11:00.
Sunday I got up around 7:30, which is an early rise time at Morningwood unless it’s for fishing. I went back into Adams to get an air hose at the Ace Hardware store. It went exactly like this:
Druber walks into store looking bewildered.
Clerk: Can I help you find anything?
Druber: Yes. I’m looking for hose. Compressor hose. Hose for a compressor for air tools. Pneumatic..
Clerk points to aisle end cap display, next to which I’m standing.
Clerk: We have several different options right there next to you.
Druber: Jeez I clearly need more sleep or more coffee.
Back at Morningwood we got the tools set up and the boxes of shingles out and finished up the angle cuts on the East side and moved to the North side of the house. By 4:30 working mostly alone, I had it nearly completed. TLK was blowing leaves and debris and filling the rather sizable firewood box emptying an entire rack of seasoned firewood in the process. The Old Bats who owned Morningwood prior to us built a really nifty storage system into the chimney structure for firewood, with an exterior door for loading and doors that open on the inside next to the fireplace for access to the wood. It holds enough to get through a good portion of the winter with a fire going every night we’re up there.
Anyhoo. Got done with what I had the energy to do. I’d worked straight through without eating all day. It happens – I get preoccupied. I was wiped out as was TLK from the filthy grungy work she had done. She said “do you really want to drive home tonight or do you just want to stay up here again and leave tomorrow morning early?” I’d been thinking the same thing. I said “Baby, you just saved us from dying by me falling asleep at the wheel”. We had dinner at the Inn of the Pines because I was too tired to cook.
We sat and watched football in exhausted silence scarfing down our meal while an old drunk Wisconinite held court at the other end of the bar for the other 3 patrons at Inn of the Pines, droning on incoherently stopping only to laugh at his own stories. It was a perfect ending to a productive weekend.
I have about 2 hours of work left on the shingles, then my part of the exterior work is complete. All that remains is for stone guy to come and install the stone around the foundation and the lake facing side of the house. It definitely feels good to have the exterior completed before winter.
Did I mention that I’m exhausted?
I’ve been a Cubs fan for a very long time. I first began following the Cubs in 1973. Growing up in Champaign, IL with 3 broadcast stations and PBS available on our black and white TV I didn’t have much in the way of options. The local NBC affiliate, channel 15 picked up most of the WGN feeds of Cubs home games back in then. Of course Wrigley field didn’t have lighting until August of 1988 (a game that was rained out by a fierce thunderstorm adding to the Wrigley lore). I’d hustle home from school and watch the Cubs of Santo, Kessinger, Beckert and Peppitone around the horn, Cardinale, Monday and Billy Williams in the outfield and Hundley behind the plate with hopefully Fergie Jenkins on the bump tossing fire at the opposing batters high and tight.
I had to look this one up, never being much of a stats guy but that team finished 3.5 games below .500 with a record of 77-84. Back then, this was considered a very good season for the Cubs. My favorite player was Randy Hundley the catcher and whenever it was an option for as long as I played baseball into my mid 20’s I wore number 9 and became a fairly decent catcher along the way.
Over all those years, the Cubs have made it to the playoffs exactly 7 times and to the NLCS 3 of those times. Since moving to Chicago from Champaign, I’ve upped my game attendance from a couple of home games and maybe an away series to about 30 home games per season. Beginning in 2010 I’ve sat through miserable spring weather and records of 75-87, 71-91, the glory years of 2012 and 2013 61-101, 66-96 narrowly avoiding back to back 100 loss seasons then the dramatic uptick of 2014 73-89 and the playoff season of 2015 at 97-65. This year the team has won 93 games with 16 games left to play.
I was fortunate enough to be at the playoff game in 2015 where the Cubs, behind Kyle Schwarber’s massive home run that settled on top the the newly erected right field scoreboard, won the series over their arch rival Cardinals. I was also at the final game where the Mets completed their NLCS sweep at Wrigley.
I was at the game last night with my conservative (something that I don’t hold against him) buddy Curt Hartig. I don’t hold his conservatism against him because he’s for the most part intellectually honest about it and doesn’t indulge in conspiracy theories and half truths about body doubles and secret Muslims. Although, I did bust his chops for citing the Gateway Pundit on Facebook once. I digress…The Cubs lost to the Brewers but since the Cardinals lost out in San Francisco, the Cubs clinched the NL Central. We have high hopes in Cubby land.
The team has the best record in baseball. Will have home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. I’d expect the tough competition to come from Washington as they’re playing some hot ball right now but have potentially lost arguably their best pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
Anyway – when the playoffs start, toss out the regular season records because it all comes down to which team is playing with a hot hand at the time. Hopefully it will be the boys in blue and after 43 years of being a fan, I will finally be able to fly my W in November.
Working on the exterior of #morningwood has been a better experience than I thought it would be. Originally I lacked the confidence to do the work myself so I asked the contractor who framed up the interior and installed the windows as well as doing the base exterior work of 2×2 furring, 1 1/2 foam insulation under OSB then the tyvek wrap for a bid. He’s super busy building big homes up there so our project would be very small and late season. He never did get back to me with a price. As work progressed on the interior and I continued accumulating an Ultimate Set of Tools my confidence in doing the exterior work grew and I decided to take it on. The week before installation I back primed and applied the first coat on the siding and with a great assist from my friend Neil Thomas and his wife Ellette who stayed with us over Labor Day weekend I got almost all of the siding up.
Going for a mid century modern look on a lake cottage that was formerly a square concrete block structure seemed a bit far fetched, but with the low shallow pitched roof, it just made sense to try and get that look for #morningwood. As I ride my bike around the north shore suburbs of Chicago, particularly in Morton Grove, Glenview and Glencoe I see a lot of mcm homes. The thing that jumps out is the use of multiple materials, and asymmetry. I see vertical and horizontal siding with brick or stone or both. I see finishing on one corner of a home or gable that isn’t duplicated on other corners or similar areas of the home. For example this home in Glenview:
I decided to go with T1-11 which is a really durable plywood siding with grooves cut on 4″, 6″, 8″ or 12″ center for the vertical siding above where the stone will go up to the soffit and gable level. Above the 6″ on center T1-11 I wanted to go with a horizontal cedar lap siding stained with a contrasting color or the same color as the T1-11 but with semi transparent vs solid color stain. Kathy wanted to go with cedar shake siding with a clear finish.
I don’t really see any smaller mcm homes with shakes so initially I was against the idea but looking around on Houzz and other sites I started seeing some homes with that look. I began to warm to the idea and finally decided that we’ll go with the shakes. Those will be delivered this week. In the mean time, I’m going back up to #morningwood tomorrow to do a second coat of stain and to paint the corner trim and windows before the stone is installed.
I have a pretty good eye for color. Always have. When I had my painting company I used to mix and match my own paint colors and could find color chips that could match fabric or upholstery or whatever by memory. Anyway – when it came to picking the color for the siding, I knew what I was looking for and I knew I wanted to use Benjamin Moore Arborcoat stain.
I went to the local JC Licht, which is a huge dealer for Benny Moor and found a color based on the sample that was exactly what I was looking for. On the chart above, it’s the 6th chip from the left on the bottom row. Color name – not that it’s important – is Dakota Shadow. Nice, grayish mossy green that will blend organically with the surroundings of #morningwood. Well, when I applied the stain it went on like Green Bay Packer Green! I mean, trim the place in yellow and paint a big G on the sides. Seriously? How could I be that far off?
Needing to do a second coat anyway, I didn’t panic about picking the wrong color but did have to endure all of Kathy’s comments about her “Christmas Cottage” etc. We found a correct color at Home Depot, but I hate Behr stains, so I had the color matched at JC Licht today and it came out perfectly and ironically very similar to the color on the Dakota Shadow stain chip that I’d originally selected. Ah well.
Maybe next time I’ll back track a bit and get some info up about the place as it was when we first saw it and made the decision (got tricked by our friend) to buy the dump on a frozen lake.
Doing my best impersonation of Captain Obvious, let me state for the record that it’s been a long time since I wrote on the Druber Blog. Should I just let a sleeping do lie, or jump back in? Now that I’ve officially retired the (Feed)Zone over at Truesport, I figure this would be a good outlet to spout off and catch up and share food porn and recipes.
Observation: With Facebook and Twitter, the urge to keep the blog active died away. Posting to FB and Twitter requires so much less effort both in terms of time and creativity. In 10 seconds or less, I can get a point across, express an opinion, post a food photo or whatever. That’s become, I think; a poor substitute for actually sitting down to think and write. I’ll try to do this better and more regularly. So, if you’d like to follow, be my guest.
What’s happened in the past 3 years?
- Experienced and recovered from a ruptured disc in my lower back that forced some significant life changes
- TLK and I bought a dump on a frozen lake in Central Wisconsin that we’ve gut rehabbed. Nearly finished with the major stuff.
- We bought a boat for the few months the lake isn’t frozen
- Done some pheasant hunting with Ti$za
- My offspring has produced offspring and I now have two wonderful Granddaughters, Lutterbelle Gussie Mae and Screech
- The Cubs got good at baseball
The dump on a frozen lake. More details soon. Before, during and after stories to tell.
Glass block window on the master BR wall.
This is where the exterior of the dump is now. T1-11 siding and Tyvek. Above the siding I’ll install cedar shakes. Below the siding and on the corner, as well as the lake facing side will be ledgestone. We decided we didn’t like the hunter green so much so the second coat of stain will be a mossier gray green. The shakes will just be clear coated.The corner trims and window trims will be the same color as the soffit and fascia. Glad to get this done before another winter. Last winter is was just the Tyvek which got us through okay.
As I write, it’s raining up at the dump. BTW, we’ve named the dump #morningwood. Every place up here has a name. The Cottage Up North, Ma’s on the Lake, Labrador Retreat, The Fishin’ Shack etc. So, when I refer to #morningwood going forward you’ll know to what I’m referring. Anyway – no work, no riding happening today so voila – the Druber Blog is reborn.
This isn’t your Grandma’s (or Campbell’s for that matter) Cream of Broccoli Soup. Seasoned with a touch of Cardamom seed, Black Peppercorn and wonderful Stilton Cheese, it’s perfect for the cooling fall weather
1 medium Vidalia Onion coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
6 stalks of celery chopped
2 lb Broccoli Florets
2 Knorr Chicken bullion cubes
12 black peppercorns
6 Cardamom pods smashed and seeds removed
6 T butter
2 cups Buttermilk
5 T all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups shredded Stilton or other blue cheese
7 cups boiling water
In a large stock pot melt 3T butter. Add in onions, garlic and celery. Sweat this down until the onions are cooked and add the broccoli florets, cardamom seeds, peppercorns and crumbled bullion cubes. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot while you make a bechamel. Go back to the pot periodically and give it a stir to make sure all the veggies are coated with flavor of the butter and spices.
Melt 3 T butter in a 1 qt pot.
Add 5 T all purpose flour to melted butter and stir constantly until you have a rue that is thick and golden in color.
Add 2 cups hot buttermilk (heated to just shy of boiling)
Stir until the sauce begins to thicken and reduce heat to low simmer and cover.
BACK TO THE SOUP
Bring your 7 cups water to a boil and pour into large stock pot over the broccoli mixture. Reduce heat to medium and allow this to cook at a low boil until the broccoli is cooked soft.
Return the bechamel to low heat and stir in the blue cheese. Stir this thoroughly until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and cover.
Use a stick blender to blend the broccoli mix until smooth. Gradually stir in the blue cheese sauce into the blended broccoli and allow this to cook for 20 more minutes on very low heat with the cover on, returning to stir 4-5 times.
Give it a taste and add salt or pepper to taste, though I find the 2 bullion cubes and salty blue cheese give it all the salt it needs. Float some croutons on top and enjoy!
As with most things food related, eating really, really good stuff isn’t time consuming or complicated. It’s simply a matter of combining great, fresh ingredients in just the right proportion with flavor profiles that match. Take this tuna tartare for example. It’s really just a play on ceviche but cured for less time in whatever acid brine medium you choose. The most time consuming thing about this recipe is probably just sourcing AAA shashimi grade tuna, followed by the knife work necessary to keep the flavor of each bite consistent with the next throughout the dish. OK – this serves two.
What you’re need
1 Jalapeno pepper
1 nub of fresh ginger root
1 fresh lemon
1 fresh lime
1 White Onion
8 oz shashimi grade Ahi or Yellow Fin tuna
soy sauce, pepper oil, salt, pepper, habanero based hot sauce, plain yogurt, olive oil or chili infused olive oil
Slice 3 .5cm slices of cucumber and hollow out each disc by removing the seeds.
Very finely mince 2T white onion (you’ll almost want to make a paste of this) and combine with 4T of yogurt and fill the cucumber discs with the seasoned yogurt and lightly salt. Refrigerate the cucumbers while you prepare the rest.
Next, very finely mince 4t. fresh ginger, 1T fresh jalapeno from which seeds and pith have been removed and 1T fresh cilantro
Next: Cut some beautiful, clean, odorless shashimi grade tuna into .5cm cubes. Be patient, cut with the grain of the muscle as cutting across the grain will mash the tuna somewhat and leave you with some sinew that just won’t be right.
In a glass or stainless steel bowl, toss and thoroughly mix the tuna cubes with the ginger, jalapeno and cilantro and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. DO NOT use a smoky, red sauce such as Cholula or Valentina. As wonderful as those are, the smokey flavor will overpower the delicate flavors of the tuna. Look for a yellow or orange, habanero based sauce, preferable with a ginger component. Look for a Caribbean style hot sauce such as Grace or Howler Monkey brands which are pretty commonly available. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate this for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, juice one lemon and add to the tuna. Thoroughly combine making sure the lemon juice hits all the tuna and put back in the ‘fridge for 20 more minutes.
To plate over the cucumbers, use a 3″ spring mold, pack it and carefully lift the mold to keep the round shape. If you don’t have a spring mold, you can pack a 1/2 cup measuring cup with the tuna and carefully turn out the tartare over the cucumbers. Finish the plating by either zesting some fresh lime peel or if you have the tool, cutting some mini lime twists over the top of the tartare and drizzling with a really nice peppery olive oil such as made from coratina olives or a chili infused olive oil.
Use your imagination for sides. Baby greens, arugula, pico de gaillo (which is what I did with some cooked millet added) toasted bread will all work.
This dish gives you a delicate yet spicy tartare that will warm your lips but not burn. Over the cool cucumber and seasoned yogurt, the heat from the ginger and jalapeno will be perfectly balanced.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve made something new and creative so I’ve not done much posting to the Druber blog. I’ve done several really nice breads and some great sea food dishes and some pastas and risottos, but nothing that isn’t a variation of stuff already posted, but this chilli – this was inspired. I’ve made it twice just to make sure I got it right. Neither Kathy or I have had anything quite like it so, I figure it’s blog worthy.
I got the idea from watching a chili cook off on one of the Food Shows. Everyone was making tomato and beef and red bean based chilli with variations on the spices, but nothing variable on the the tomato and beans – so while I was out on a long training ride – which is where most of my inspiration hits, I guess hunger is the mother of cuisine – I got wondering – what if I made a chilli soup that was all green with white beans? Along the way, I decided to fortify it with some pearl barley and viola! Here you go. Hope you find it as good as we did.
In a large stock pot combine
8 cups chicken stock
12 medium to large tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
2 4-5 inch Serrano chilies with seeds and most of the pith removed – leave more pith to increase the heat.
6 gloves of garlic
Bring this to a boil for 3 minutes then simmer until the tomatillos are completely cooked through.
At this point you can take two paths. You can use a stick blender to mix everything until smooth or you can take a masher to it and give the tomatillos a more coarse texture. I prefer the former as it completely integrates the garlic and Serrano flavors. If you’re going to mash the tomatillos, I find it better to mince the garlic and finely chop the peppers to avoid leaving yourself with larger bits of those in your soup.
Add to this
1 large onion chopped semi course – about 1cm pieces
6 sticks of celery cut into 1 cm pieces
Juice of two fresh limes
24 oz of chicken breast cut into 2cm cubes (shredded chicken would be good for this as well)
1 cup of Pearl Barley
24 oz of mini white beans – I have no preference for this soup if you use high quality drained, canned beans or beans you’ve soaked overnight. If you use soaked, beans you’ll need to par boil them so they’re nearly done before adding to the soup
1 cup of chopped green onion, cut into .5cm pieces stopping at the white
2 T. Garlic Salt
2 T Onion Powder
2 T Ground Cumin
Simmer this for at least two hours. Serve garnished with broken tostadas and fresh cilantro leaves. This get’s better the longer it sits so if you want to cook and refrigerate it overnight to serve the next day, your patience will be rewarded