Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Morels, Freeze Dried Chives, Crochet

 I am sure many of you have heard the saying, "She is like a hen on a hot rock!" And so, it is true with me. I just do not know where the times goes. It is like I am set on a "fast forward" mode. There is always so much to do, and I am over-whelmed. I get tired just thinking about it all. Some days I spend more time just thinking about what needs to be done than actually doing anything. I spend a lot of time complaining to myself about it all, then feel guilty for complaining, especially since so many people are worse off than me. Then I humble myself and thank God for my blessings.

Forgive me, I am kinda all over the place when it comes to any sort of timeline for today's post. I am more concerned with just getting the happenings documented than when this or that happened. Just know that everything has been recently in the past several weeks. We have had warmer weather with some cold snaps here and there. The farmers have been out plowing and planting, a good sign. There have been rainy days. Birds are chirping and singing. I love that. With the warmer weather and the spring rains comes the mushroom hunters and the prized morel. I have been mushroom hunting once in my life and that was with a friend. She literally ran me to death and it was a wonder I did not get lost from her because she managed to stay a good distance ahead of me. I guess it served her right that she never found one, but I found about three. This year my next door neighbor's son brought me a Ziploc bag with 4 very large ones that he had found minutes before he landed at my front door. How sweet of him to share with me. All week his family had been out hunting and found quite a few. His father told me they went with his mother and his son found one the size of a Coke can. WOW to that!

You have to soak them for a few hours in salt water to remove any insects that might have taken up residence. It will surprise you when you see what comes out of there. They can be on the inside and outer portions of the fungi. There are a lot of places for them to hide and that is why it is important to give them a good soaking in the brine water.

After that is complete I rinse them well under running cold tap water. I take a knife and split them down the center from top to bottom. I do inspect them just to make sure there aren't any stragglers lurking. I then let them drain a bit on paper towels. While they are doing that I put some flour in a bowl and about 1/2 to 3/4 stick of butter in a skillet to melt on medium heat.

I  dredge the mushroom in the flour and coat it on both sides, making sure the flour is in the small pour-like surfaces of the mushroom top.     

Then fry them in the skillet with the hot butter. Oh they smell so good!              


After frying, drain them a bit on a paper towel. This is what they look like when they are golden brown and ready to eat. Some people like to eat them plain on bread and myself, I prefer to just eat them just like this. If you have never eaten them before you are missing out on something wonderful. After you eat just one you will understand why mushroom hunters guard their hunting grounds with sealed lips. It is such a short window of opportunity when they are available to be found, usually about a week and then it is all over till the next year. If you are fortunate enough to find many then you can clean them and then freeze them on a cookie sheet, then put them in a container in the freezer.

I went out to my herb garden and the chives had gone wild. I chopped them down and decided to freeze dry them.

I went on the internet of course for instructions. I have always dried mine in the dehydrator before. I washed them in 3 separated washings of cold water, then allowed them to dry on paper towels. They tell you not to rub them dry because chives are delicate and it will crush them. It took them about an hour or so to air dry. I did kinda fuss with them a bit so the air could circulate around the stems better. Then I got out my kitchen shears and some Ziploc snack bags.

Those bags are just the right size for the amounts I will be using at one time. I like to snip the chives in small bits and add them to sour cream for on baked potatoes. They can also be added to garnish soups such as  potato and cheese-based ones. Another little hint, if you don't care for the thinness of sour cream and like something a bit more firmer on your baked potatoes, I discovered years ago if you take 1 pint of sour cream and dump it in a bowl and then add 1 package of Philly Cream Cheese to that, you beat with an electric mixer and then fold in the chives. It makes a firmer topping for potatoes much like you will get in a little side paper cup they bring with your meal in a restaurant.

I find the best way to gather the stems is to put the larger root ends all together and kinda tapping them all to compact them. Then I take the shears and cut the stems into thirds.

They fit well into the snack bags at that length.

Use your own judgement on filling the bags. I try to poof as much of the air out of them as I can.

Then I take several of those filled snack bags and place them in a quart freezer bag. When I need some chives I just pull out one of the smaller bags.  

Into the freezer they go. It takes very little time for them to freeze fast and mind you they also thaw out fairly fast so when getting out the amount you need from the bigger bag make sure you put the portion you plan to use at a later date back in the freezer as soon as possible. 

In an earlier post I expressed some concern over my hostas, and if they would come up this year after the all the stomping around on top of them by the guys doing the renovations to my out buildings. Well, I guess my worries were for nothing because awhile back they started to show themselves even though the ground was packed down like concrete. I guess if a weed can grow up through concrete then these determined plants can make it through packed soil. They look a lot better now and I need to get a more recent picture of how good they are looking.      

I also got busy and filled my twig ball with left over bits and pieces of yarn, twine and string for the birds to use as nesting material. I know I have birds nesting and one day soon I will show you the beautiful blue bird that has taken up house keeping in a box my brother Michael insisted we cut down last fall. I was not happy with his suggestion and so glad I vetoed that crazy idea.

No matter what, I always find time to work with the hook, needles and yarn. It is one passion that soothes my mind and comforts my soul. Without it I would be lost. I have made this pattern design before and because I am swamped once again with so many colorful skeins of yarn I decided to do another blanket. I have also done another knitted moss stitch scarf with some Hobby Lobby yarn and working on a small baby ripple pattern for a blanket. I will share photos on my next post. I also got busy today and started to de-clutter my sewing/craft room. What a mess! I am way too ashamed to even post a picture, but I made a nice dent in the work only because it rained today and I told myself that I had procrastinated way too long. I have many irons in the fire right now but to post more would bore you all to tears and that is the last thing I want to do to you dear friends. Until next time, take care. Love you all ♥

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quick Note

Hi everyone. I am taking a minute to touch base and let you all know that I am fine and been busy as all get out, trying desperately to find time for everything and to write a post on the blog. I promise to slow down this weekend and catch you all up on what I have been doing. Where does the time go??????? Until then keep the faith and hang in there. Love you all.
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