I made my first trip of the season to the Minneapolis Famer's Market yesterday, total blast. I strolled around with a big grin on my face, happy to see such bounty so early in the season. I carried home garlic chives, pea shoots, asparagus, rhubarb, and a whole pound of freshly picked morel mushrooms.
The garlic chives and pea shoots were a buck a bunch, the morels...more than a buck. But so worth it, I sauteed half of them for lunch as soon as I got home and ate them over savory French toast (a tip I received from the fabulous Donna Menne a couple of years ago).
Wow. It's as easy at it sounds - the (carefully cleaned, these were very fresh) morels sauteed in good butter with some salt, the bread dipped in egg/milk batter and also sauteed in butter until browned. Morels meet French toast. Decadent. Delicious. Sorry for the lame pic, it was dark as night yesterday afternoon. Today my plan is to saute the remainder and eat them over grilled bread rubbed with raw garlic. (Pic on right shows two things - one, how dark it was at noon. And two, a pair of mallards hooking up in our pool. I hope the female is Wanda, our planter-nesting hen, whose nest was destroyed by raccoons Friday night. Perhaps she's remated and trying again in a better spot?)
I baked the rhubarb into a strawberry-rhubarb pie, recipe via the simply awesome Simply Recipes. Tender, sweet-tart fruit under a buttery-flaky crust will have you softly declaring, Yes, it is summer...summer! I'll post the recipe below and note that since I didn't have instant tapioca, I used cornstarch as a thickener, worked like a charm. I ooh-ahhed through a slice for breakfast this morning. Licked my fork. Sipped my coffee. And remembered that pie elevates a cup of hot coffee to nectar-of-the-gods' status. Zeus wishes he'd known strawberry-rhubarb pie with coffee. Sorry man.
Post-morels and pie, I abandoned my destroyed kitchen, threw on some heels, and headed out with Suz for a Minnesota Blog Pantry event (#MNBlogPantry on Twitter). Thanks to Elissa at Little Bean Photography for hosting - and snapping headshots of all the lovely local bloggers in her sunny studio! And thanks to France 44 for the delicious wine, and Mom's Best Naturals for the wholesome - local! - cereal samples.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Via Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes
3 c. rhubarb stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces (trim outside stringy layer of large rhubarb stalks; make sure to trim away and discard any of the leaves which are poisonous; trim ends)
1 c. strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. quick cooking tapioca (Stephanie's note: I used 6 Tbsp. cornstarch instead; pie set up beautifully)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tsp. of grated orange peel (Stephanie's note: I used 1/2 tsp. cinnamon instead)
Unbaked pastry for two-crust, 9-inch pie (if making a 10-inch pie, or just want more filling, use 4.5 cups of rhubarb, 1.5 cups strawberries, and 1 1/4 cup of sugar)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, tapioca, salt, and orange rind. Let sit for 10 minutes. Turn into a pastry lined pan. Top with the pastry, trim the edge, and crimp the top and bottom edges together. Cut slits in the top for the steam to escape. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F, and bake an additional 30-40 minutes longer (40 to 50 minutes longer if doing a 10-inch pie). Stephanie's note: place a baking sheet on the rack under the pie to catch overflow juices. Cool on a rack.
Serve warm or cold. If you do cool to room temperature, the juices will have more time to thicken.