This week’s Share is Lion’s Mane. This mushroom has spines that cascade down towards the ground. It is a beautiful white mushroom, but bruises brown very easily. It is still fine to eat if bruised; it is best chopped into 1/4 inch slices or torn into bite size pieces. It is being studied for its impact on nerves and their growth, potentially showing the capability to stimulate nerve growth.
by Marykate Smith Despres, Salem Depot
For someone who doesn’t like tomatoes, my husband makes a mean sauce. Sauce, or red gravy as my grandmother calls it, is the only way he’ll eat the delicious fruit that I will gladly nosh right off the vine, or in big juicy bites interrupted only by a pause to wipe my mouth or add another shake of salt.
Like the good grandchildren of Italian grandmothers that we are, both he and I will claim that our respective grandmother’s sauce is, or was, the best. Both matriarchs could be called purists when it comes to the stuff and both grandchildren would gladly and forever eat heaping plates of it ladled over manicotti, baked in ziti, or, if we were lucky, off a wooden spoon come straight from the pot. He will tell the story of the giant ziplock bags of his nana’s sauce sent to school with him at the end of visits home from college, and I of the time my grandma ate red gravy from a jar and spoke of it only while crossing herself and rolling her eyes skyward in apology to her mother.
With such seriuos sauce legacies looming, my husband would be hard-pressed to call his sauce anything other than something fast and easy to do for dinner, but he is too modest. It is a very different sauce from the ones we are used to, but that is as it should be. He uses fresh tomatoes, adds vegetables rather than meat, and cooks it quickly in a pan instead of all day in the pot, enabling each ingredient to maintain it’s individual form and flavor yet still marry with the rest. Just like our grandmothers, however, it is made in the throw in some of this and a little of that form, so this recipe is an eavesdropper’s approximation of a particular evening’s version.
about 4 tomatoes (or slightly more tomatoes than green beans), diced
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
6 – 8 oz white mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3-5 leaves fresh basil, torn
salt and pepper to taste
Combine tomatoes, garlic and basil in a pan over medium low heat. Shake in a little salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften. The beans are last. Cook it all a minute or two more. Serve over your choice of pasta.
Here’s my recipe for the Ravioli with chicken dish from the Farm Direct Annual Meeting. This is a recipe that I got from my husband’s great-aunt. The proportions are pretty flexible but I have provided some here:
•Cooked chicken, can be all white meat or white and dark meat – 2 cups
•Raviolis – 1 13 oz. package
•Garlic, 2 large cloves, sliced (not chopped or crushed)
•Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
•Tomato sauce, to taste
•Optional: Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers
1) Cook ravioli.
2) Heat olive oil and add garlic. If you are going to use vegetables, remove the garlic and cook mushrooms, onions and/or peppers.
3) When vegetables are sautéed, add garlic back in and set aside to cool slightly. Combine cooked chicken with garlic and vegetables (or just garlic if you choose not to add vegetables).
4) Drain ravioli and add to chicken, garlic and vegetables. Add tomato sauce, enough to coat everything or as thick as you like. Dish can be warmed in the oven or served at room temperature.
Please note: the proportions can be increased or decreased as needed in this dish. For the annual meeting, I used 125 raviolis, one small whole chicken, 6 garlic cloves, 4 onions, 3 red peppers, 1 large package of mushrooms and 1 ½ jars of homemade tomato sauce.