Nov 11, 2008

mushroom mania! (day 6 - guest spot, part one)

to celebrate foraging season and "mushroom mania," this week's TABLETOP TUESDAY is full of "mushroom love." table-wise, this adorable dinner plate was designed by nathalie lete, an artist living + working in paris. her colorful, poetic ceramics are now affordably brought to us by anthropologie. and....lest we forget that mushrooms are the way to a snail's heart, i have a special guest with us this week who will share fungi words of wisdom + some yummy recipes with us. without further adieu....

the who: jude lutge
jude is one gifted + energetic gal: food writer, caterer, editor, marketing maven, publicist + more! currently, she is an associate at branding salon, a collective of talented women who are building and promoting brands for clients big and small. she is also the public relations director for maccallum house inn & restaurant and personal assistant to its executive chef alan kantor. she lives in a woodsy cottage off the coast of mendocino, california. 

the where: mendocino 
mendocino is the secret spot for wild mushrooms. located on the northern coast of california, this idyllic seaside village sits adjacent to lush redwood forests full of mushrooms to harvest. eric "king of the candycaps" schramm (owner of mendocino mushroom company + author of the mushroom book) lives here. lore has it that he ships up to 60,000 pounds of nearly two dozen kinds of edible 'shrooms to various clients on the west coast each year! lucky for us - one way or another - many fungi make it to our hometown grocery stores not located in the west. full of flavor + fun to eat, let's get cookin'!

the eats: savory wild mushroom bread pudding + porcini butter
these divine recipes were provided by jude, compliments of chef alan kantor at maccallum house in mendocino. however, jude has treated us to some of her own mushroom tips + tricks to make our menu planning + preparations easier (trust me, her ideas are foodie-licious!).

on a side note, check out chef kantor's special dining events held throughout the year at maccallum house. intimate and delicious, they should not be missed. this thursday, he will be hosting a "wild mushroom winemaker dinner." he also has savory menus planned for thanksgiving, christmas + new years eve. book now - these soirées (+ rooms) sell out fast!

the tips + tricks: pudding + porcini per jude
"mushroom bread pudding is fabulous with the annual turkey or alongside a roast anything (chicken, pork, beef or lamb) or with a grilled or sautéed steak. for the steak i like to cusinart up some dried porcini into a powder and pat it on the steak with some sea salt + freshly cracked pepper before cooking. the good thing about sautéeing is that you can deglaze the pan with some good red wine or port and end up with a nice sauce. i like to sauté it + finish it in a hot oven while i make the sauce...mmmmmm."

"another easy trick with porcini is to make a compound butter with it, form it into a log and keep it in your freezer. you can just slice off a pat and put on top of the 'roasted anything' or steak."

i don't know about you, but i'm hungry!!!

(recipes to follow...)

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