I’m going really simple today, with a breakfast of duck eggs, maitakes, and dandelion greens — some of my favorite ingredients, all stacked upon a slice of toasted sourdough bread…
Duck eggs — when you see duck eggs at your local farmers’ market, you know that spring is just around the corner. Duck eggs have a large, creamy, bright orange yolk that oozes when you break it with your knife. Today, simply poached.
Maitakes — some of the tastiest and healthiest mushrooms on the planet. Earthy and mushroomy, and simply divine. Want to learn more about the magical powers of mushrooms, check out this book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World written by mycologist Paul Stamets (the king of mushrooms); or listen to his Ted talk. Some parts of the talk are a bit technical, but I guarantee you’ll be amazed.
Dandelion greens — yes, these same pesky weeds that you find growing in your garden are completely edible; some may find them a bit on the bitter side; perhaps an acquired taste. Give them a try, they may start to grow on you after a few tries.
Crispy pancetta — need I say more. The pancetta is from a great, little meat market called Three Little Pigs.
Also makes a perfectly acceptable lunch or even dinner.
This is my perfect meal. I love keeping things simple, just letting the ingredients shine. I plan to prepare simple (no fuss) dishes like this in the future. No need to complicate things (must remind myself of this from time to time). This just makes me even more eager for spring to arrive; to enjoy the simple pleasures of ramps, favas, peas, asparagus…
The mushrooms are surprisingly not from Kennett Square, PA (the mushroom capitol of the world); on the contrary, these maitakes are grown right here in Maryland. On another note, I have attempted to grow my own [oyster] mushrooms this past year. The thing about mushrooms is that they love humidity. Growing mushrooms is a lengthy process, with several growing stages (hence, the high cost). By the time I got to the final growing stage, the weather was all wrong (not nearly enough humidity for my mushrooms). So, with a little better planning, will reattempt to grow mushrooms in another few months, hopefully this time with much better success. Fingers crossed.
‘There is no sincerer love than the love of food.’ –George Bernard Shaw
Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta, Soft-Boiled Egg, and Herb Pesto
Polenta (recipe below)
Soft-boiled eggs (recipe below)
Herb pesto (recipe below)
Green garlic, sliced, sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper, ~2-3 minutes
Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Spoon the hot polenta into individual bowls. Top with a soft-boiled egg, herb pesto, green garlic, and toasted pine nuts.
yields about 4 cups cooked
6 ounces polenta (course cornmeal)
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons soft goat’s milk cheese
Place the polenta and water in a 2 1/2 quart saucepan and stir to combine. Set heat to medium-high and simmer stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 7-8 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and cook stirring frequently until the grains are soft, about 1 hour.
Whisk in the salt and pepper, butter, and cheese.
1/2 cup loosely packed basil (used Thai basil)
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon capers
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a mortar (or food processor) add the herbs, capers, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and pound until the leaves are well mashed. Slowly whisk in the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5 1/2 Minutes Soft-Boiled Egg
Eggs (chicken or duck)
Have ready a bowl filled with ice water.
Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Lower to a simmer and carefully drop in the eggs. Cook the eggs for 5 1/2 (chicken) to 6 1/2 (duck) minutes.
Scoop the eggs out of the water and immediately immerse them in the ice water to cool completely, about 5 minutes. Peel the cooled eggs, being careful to keep them intact.