My family and I spent the long weekend in Vermont. Every year my aunt and uncle invite us to their cottage for Thanksgiving dinner. They provide us with an incredible meal, and we bring the pie.
For years my parents rented a cottage that was just a few minutes away. The area is surrounded by water and woods. My mom would often come back with chanterelle mushrooms. This year I decided to go with her, and before we new it we had a whole foraging party.
Foraging for mushrooms is sort of like looking at those pictures that look like nothing, but if you cross your eyes a certain way an image pops out at you. (Does anyone remember what those are called?) At first it seems like there is nothing there, but the next thing you know there are mushrooms everywhere.
Unfortunately the chanterelles were not in abundance. We weren’t able to identify any of the mushrooms we did find, so nothing was kept. Mushrooms are not something to take chances with. Despite not finding anything useful, I still had a great time walking in the woods. I haven’t spent that much time in there since I was a kid.
I had hoped to find enough mushrooms to make a soup. Obviously that didn’t happen, so when I got back to Montreal I made my way to Atwater Market and picked up some chanterelles and criminis. It wasn’t quite the same as picking them myself but it was still delicious.
I used a recipe from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything. One of the good things about not having a computer for a couple of days was that it reminded me I actually own cookbooks.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 2 ounces dried chanterelle mushrooms (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms ( I used crimini and chanterelle), cleaned, trimmed and sliced (reserve a few slices for garnishing)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp minced shallots
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups stock
- 1 cup cream (you can use heave cream or half and half)
- Chives for garnish
- If using dried mushrooms, rehydrate them by covering them with hot water and soaking them for 15 minutes.
- Place the butter in a large deep saucepan on medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the mushrooms and increase the heat the medium high. Cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown. Drain the now soaked mushrooms (keep the liquid) and add them to the cooked mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the shallots and garlic and cook for one minute. Add the stock and reserved soaking liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in cream. Garnish with chives and mushroom slices.
My laptop died about a week ago. For the first couple of days I felt completely cut off from the world, despite having a phone that gives me access to Facebook, Twitter and basically the entire internet. I don’t keep a lot of information on my computer, I’ve heard enough identity theft horror stories to know better. I do however keep pictures on it. Lots of them. And I never backed them up. My trips to San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, and a few random moments in life are all currently in limbo. I know, I know, I should have backed them up, I promise I’ll never make that mistake again. My brother says he might be able to salvage them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
The loss of these momentos had me very stressed, but I realized there was more to my computer withdrawal than that. I missed blogging. I haven’t been doing this very long, but it seems it’s become an important part of my life. So I decided to pick up a pen and some loose leaf paper and start writing up posts to be retyped once everything was sorted out. I’m probably dating myself by saying this, but there is something very soothing about actually putting my thoughts on paper. I think better with a pen in my hand; I can chew on the cap when I’m stuck, cross things out, draw arrows linking thoughts. I think I might actually keep writing my posts this way. I know it’s a waste of time and paper, but I find it relaxing.
You know what else I find relaxing? Apple pie.
I love the feeling of the dough coming together in my hands, the sense of accomplishment when I roll it into something that resembles a circle, the meditative time spent peeling the apples, and putting my face up to the oven window to watch it brown and bubble. Don’t even get me started on the smell of cinnamon and apples. And the best part, the first bite of crispy flaky crust and the sweet yet tart filling.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups butter, cold
- 1/4 cup shortening or lard
- 1 tsp salt
- 6-10 tbsp milk, cold (more as needed)
- 5 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- Make the dough. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter and shortening into the flour. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it has a crumbly texture. Stir in 5 tbsp of cold milk, keep adding milk until the dough comes together.
- Form dough into 2 disks, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Once chilled, roll out one disk until about 1/4 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Chill.
- Make the filling. Toss the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, flour and cranberries. Pour into pie plate.
- Roll out second disk of dough. Place over the pie plate, cut off the excess overhang. Press the edges of the top and bottom crust together making sure the are sealed. Cut air vents into the top crust. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.