by Jen Maiser, Editor
When friends give you chanterelles, you make a fabulous brunch! Last week, I was gifted a couple of pounds of wild chanterelles by a benefactress friend. She and her partner had foraged about forty pounds of chanterelles from Santa Cruz.
It's a bumper year for this wild, native mushroom and the stories of large swaths of chanterelles in local forests have been whispered among the food community here.
"Let them dry out some," advised a friend, "they're really wet and heavy right now." I kept them out in the kitchen, drying, for five days before cooking them for brunch this weekend. They lost a full 50% of their weight, and their flavor concentrated down to a decadent, meaty flavor.
Once I had the chanterelles in hand, I called up my friend Jeanne and invited her over for a weekend brunch -- belatedly ringing in the New Year.
One of my favorite things to do is to plan menus, and this one came together over a couple days. When we sat down to our all-local brunch, we ate:
- Sauteed chanterelle mushrooms topped with poached eggs (Soul Food Farm),
- Fatted Calf bacon,
- A salad of Star Route Farms little gems, roasted beets (Heirloom Organics), Oro Blanco grapefruit (Tory Farms) and frico made from Capricious Cheese (Achadinha Goat Cheese),
- Della Fattoria bread,
- Apple cider (Hidden Star Orchards),
- a non-local (and delicious!) prosecco and Gewürztraminer from Navarro Vineyards.
This was a decadent, awesome meal eaten over a slow, lingering, laughter-filled couple of hours. It was a fun way to celebrate the amazing bounty of our area. "If these are the Dark Days," Jeanne said, "bring 'em on!"