Sunday, August 19, 2007

Beans and Mushrooms and More

There's something wonderful about every tine of year when it comes to vegetables and other plant foods. But right now, I am rejoicing about mushrooms, a fluke find, and the first shelling beans, chiles, and more.

I just got to go to Mendocino for a much-needed break with my Biz Divas group. We had a wonderful time at Crane Dance, a wonderful house by the ocean. We ate at The Ravens at The Stanford Inn by the Sea (go there if you can), an upscale vegetarian restaurant with spectacular view of the ocean and gardens below. The food was varied but fresh. We all loved our salads and found other items varied greatly. We didn't have dessert which I took to mean that we were satisfied with how much we ate.

On the way home we had to stop on Highway 128 to check out a brake light that came in on the car in which I was a passenger. That meant that the car following us stopped, too. Two of the divas took a walk. They came back to the road and told me that there were mushrooms on a log down the path. I didn't get too excited as these words usually turn out to be false alarms. But not this time.

I let out a whoop when I realized that the log had young and tender oyster mushrooms growing on it on one side and more mature ones on the other. I didn't pick them all but could have, if I had a bag or basket nearby. I did get quite a few and showed them off to the group. They were concerned about my eating them. I told them, "I'll eat some of them. If I don't die, I'll eat the rest." I explained that oyster mushrooms aren't poisonous but still they worried.

I had some for dinner that evening mixed with other veggies with only pleasant taste and no ill-effects. Yum. But do NOT pick wild mushrooms unless you know what you are doing.

Today at the market, I got some fresh cranberry beans. They are expensive and a bit of a pain to shell so I only got what amounted to just over a cup and a half shelled. I can't wait to cook them with some garlic and eat them. I will leave out the chilies, although I bought many of them this week.

I have varieties that include Hungarian carrot (very hot), chile de Padron (hot but sweet and tasty), aji amarillo which I haven't yet tried this year but it varied wildly last year, bulldog, Cyklon, and more. I usually buy them red because they have more flavor and agree more with my system. I eat them in small amounts but truly enjoy them for their heat, and because they are good for me, or so I have heard. I do know that the capsicum in them is good for you plus they contain plenty of Vitamins A and C. The flavor can't be beat as long as it doesn't overpower the other food with its heat.

Produce here is just bursting with flavor and the tables at the market are just about overflowing with items from squash and onions to corn and lettuce, and lots of tomatoes. A neighbor dropped off a bag of apples and the pears are ready, too. One can eat so well and fresh. I hope that you are able to do the same.

No comments: