light bright + airy pomelo-lime mousse

pomelo lime mousse

Two years ago, I had a dream about this recipe. [Like an awake sort-of dream. Why rely on my subconscious to dream up recipes when my conscious is all hey man how bout this schnazzy somethin’?] Pomelos had appeared in the exotic fruit section of the grocery store, and I was intrigued. I jotted some notes down, but by then I was too late – I had missed my chance to buy any of the mysterious fruit. Last year, I missed my chance again, because I was too busy acclimating to my new life in the woods. But this time around, I sprung into action.

Larger in diameter than grapefruit, but close to if not smaller in edible volume due to a thick spongy membrane, pomelos are juicy and mild tangy, and sweet-not-too-sweet. Shedding them of their thick outer skin is half the fun, though eating them is plenty good too.

pomelo lime mousse

I used to have a violin teacher who also worked in the real estate industry. One of his favorite pastimes during our lessons was debunking realtor slang for me. “Light, bright, and airy” was one of the ole standbys, used to make homes with small plain rooms sound welcoming, large, and nice. Bright and airy could refer to new large windows…. or perhaps old windows that were leaky and drafty.

In this instance, light, bright and airy connotes nothing but the best. This pomelo-lime mousse is creamy yet light, decadent though not cloying, fruity and fragrant but not overly laden with flavor. It is like a grass-is-growing flowers-are-sprouting bees-are-humming birds-are-singing sheer lacy dream in whipped cream+curd form.

Pomelo-Lime Mousse
Serves 8-10. Could be served as is, or as a component in a cake or trifle. Oooh, trifle. <–Look, my conscious just had another awesome idea.

++Ingredients:++

5 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
~3/4 c. pomelo juice (juice of one pomelo)
Zest from 1/2 a pomelo
Juice and zest from one lime
2 c. heavy cream
Additional pomelo and lime zest, to garnish

++Directions:++

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy, light, and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes if using an electric mixer. Set aside. In a double boiler set over high heat, melt butter.  Add egg mixture, stirring very frequently over a lengthy time period until the mixture turns custard- or curd-like. It will likely take the better part of 20 minutes. Don’t leave the mixture attended, however, or gloopy over-thickened bits will form on the bottom of the pan. When custardy, remove from heat.

Stir in juices and zests, and let cool to room temp, 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, whip cream past the stiff peaks stage. Gently fold in the pomelo-limey mixture until just incorporated. Mow down immediately because it is delicious! …or chill 1-2 hours in the fridge first.

Store well-covered in the fridge for one day if you must, but the mousse will quickly lose its dream-like qualities if you abandon it for much longer. It will grow lonely and watery. Don’t let that happen.

pomelo-lime mousse

Everything has been nice lately. It’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a dog. Poor maligned dogs, I should say it’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a sicky. Now I’m just back to being me, scampering about in the woods and loving my incredible life.

Things I’m thinking about:
Gardening! the cute lil seeds that are sprouting in my cabin right now. Yesterday, it was Oregon Spring tomatoes and Heshiko bunching onions. What will it be today??
Activity! after 5 weeks of doing nothing, I feel like a soggy potato without any starch, aka a wimp with no muscles. I’m getting back into my pushup/squat/insert other fitness here routine. I’ve taken to doing quick rounds of tabata youtube videos, sometimes even in the pre-dawn moments before work when I can wake myself up early enough. And last weekend, we went downhill skiing. I’d only been once before, when I lived in France in 2007. This time was much much much better, as I knew beforehand not to solely rely on “the snowplow” to get me down a steep hill.
Material goods! i have had the same face for the past five years. And so, after much contemplation, I have decided to get a facelift! JK, I just have a new pair of glasses on the way. JUST a new pair of glasses you say, beautiful glasses, gorgeous trendy in-your-face, heck, in-my-face new glasses I reply. My face is going to be a new face! A face all my own and yet nothing like me! I am pleased as punch.
A car! every since we broke the last one, I’ve missed having a car. Only having my truck is inefficient and fuel stupid. A car is on horizon – I hope.
– The Treats Sheet in the bottom photo! two pounds of mallowy goodness. Today my boss asked if I could eat the whole thing, and after prefacing with “I don’t even really like Rice Krispie treats,” I hypothesized that yes, I could easily eat all of this. Especially if sectioned off and stacked, to create a rarely-seen triple decker treat (TDT).

fernskiingtreatsapizza

chanterelle duxelles turnovers

chanterelle duxelles turnovers

It’s been so long since I used my DSLR camera that it took me two days to find the USB cord to connect it to my computer for these photos. Since I last used the camera, I’ve packed up all my things, moved house, unpacked some of my things, been across the country and back, and put in a lot of hours at my job. I’ve also been falling less and less on my bike, and even competed in a 12-hour bike race last weekend, fighting a nasty case of strep throat to put in many miles on the bike, all the while also fighting just to stand up and stay awake.

Thankfully this weekend, all are healthy in my household, and we’re tucking away pound upon pound of freshly-foraged chanterelle mushrooms. Here in the Northeast, it’s the perfect year for these orangey gems, as the rain has been incessant for most of the summer. Summer? What’s that? I find myself wondering, as week after week cool temps reign, and precipitation cascades over my head and the tops of the trees at work.

Thank goodness for this delicious bounty that the forest provides. Every week it’s something new to admire and enjoy. This week, chanterelles.

chanterelles

If you want to forage for chanterelles, beware of lookalikes, including false chanterelles and jack o’lanterns. The mushrooms you want to pick will have a solid stem, an apricot aroma, and wrinkly false gills. I find that they grow well under forest cover in mossy areas near compacted sites, such as trails and roads. I find them in fir stands, as well as stands with a hardwood component. There are plenty of online resources for learning chanterelle identification, as well as finding recipe inspiration.

To give you a few ideas, since chanterelles have appeared up here, we’ve made a chanterelle + beef stew, a chanterelle omelette, chanterelle, onion + fresh tomato pizza, and what you see here, Chanterelle Duxelles Turnovers.

Duxelles. Have you been so lucky to have enjoyed this before?

Duxelles is perhaps my favorite recipe that my mum has passed along to me. A mushroom spread or paste, depending on what you add to the mixture (cream/no cream), duxelles is an absolute smash hit when spread on crackers, and creates just about the best dinner party appetizer ever. It was one of the first things that my boyfriend and I cooked together nearly three years ago. Awwww. And it is just so delicious, those of you who are mushroom-inclined will love it.

duxelles

I upped the duxelles a notch here by pairing it with creamy goat cheese, and wrapping it up in phyllo dough parcels. Once baked, these turnovers are crispy, crunchy, juicy, and overflowing with the goodness of wild mushrooms. If you don’t have access to chanterelles, whether foraged in the woods, at the farmer’s market, or the grocery store, use any kind of mushroom for duxelles. Oysters and shiitake work very nicely as well, as do everyday button mushrooms. I feel like when it comes to mushrooms, you can’t go wrong.

Chanterelle Duxelles Turnovers

For the duxelles:

Makes ~2 c.

6 c. chanterelles mushrooms, chopped fine or minced in a food processor
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter
1 large shallot (1/2 c.), finely chopped
5 scallions, finely chopped
Heavy cream, if desired
2 tbsp flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely cut
Salt and pepper to taste

This could be called finelychoppedelles rather than duxelles, and it would make sense, no? Make sure to squeeze your mushrooms well before or after chopping, to extract as much juice as possible.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Before the foam subsides, stir in the shallots and scallions, and cook until soft. Add mushrooms, and cook for 10-15 minutes. When cooking wild-foraged mushrooms, make sure they are well cooked – any sickness you might feel from eating wild mushrooms is more often due to bacteria on the mushrooms than the mushrooms themselves. In my mum’s words, cook until the mixture is inspissated, and on the point of browning. If inspissated isn’t in your vocabulary, it means thickened or congealed.  Depending on how much liquid is left in your mushrooms, though, the chanterelles may not thicken as much as other mushroom varieties might. If you’d like, add a few splashes of heavy cream to work on that inspissation.

Remove from heat, and mix in parsley and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

For the turnovers:

1 rolled sheath of phyllo dough, or phyllo cups if you’d prefer, thawed
1 recipe duxelles, above
1 package goat cheese (I used a mild, creamy cheese)

Unroll phyllo dough, and cut into whatever size you’d like to use. You have a few options: you can make rectangular-shaped parcels, as seen here, you can create large triangular turnovers (which I recommend because they are extra stuffed with goodness), or you can make/use phyllo cups and bake in muffin tins.

Using three or four sheets of dough, fill with 1-4 tbsp of filling, depending on the size of the parcel you’re making. Top with 1 tsp goat cheese per tbsp of filling. Wrap up as desired, whether rectangularly or triangularly, and set on a baking stone or other prepared baking sheet. Spray with baking spray to achieve a golden brown crisp once baked. Repeat with remaining filling and sheets of phyllo.

Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of your turnovers. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly before serving.

chanterelle duxelles turnovers

This non-summer has been passing by much too quickly. Will my tomatoes ripen before we get a frost? Not sure. But I’ve been loving every minute that this season has to offer.

I’ve been overseeing road construction and a large harvesting operation, I’ve walked down sweet and quiet wooded trails, and I’ve done a fair amount of harvesting myself. Summer is beautiful. Bring on an equally lovely fall.

constructiondelimbertrailpile o mushrooms
A day’s harvest of many pounds of chanterelles, one pound of king boletes (porcini), and a solitary puffball.

fiddlehead fern tortellini with nettle pesto

fiddlehead fern tortellini

If there’s one thing I can’t ever eat my fill of, it’s sugar. Oops, no, we talk about that all the time. What I meant to say, was pasta. Chewy, wonderful, homemade pasta. It is my absolute favorite.

Long long ago last month, back when there was still snow on the ground, I caught myself salivating at the thought of foraging for fiddlehead ferns. Well, now is the time, and there is no time like the present. Haste makes waste for good eating. And other such foodie proverbs.

I had the genius idea to stuff homemade pasta with garlic-buttered fiddleheads as I was on Mile 265 (approximately) of snowshoeing for the winter. Now snowshoeing is but a distant memory, as is this pasta dish. Thank goodness I still have tons of fiddleheads frozen from last year…

hackmatackromance

The past few weeks have been weeks of big change. I am trying out contacts for the first time. Ever. I am subsequently trying to push glasses up on my glasses-less nose about fifteen times per day. I just tried to do exactly that, thinking I’d act a bit facetious and then, oh so humorously, tell you about it. Turns out I actually am wearing glasses today. Moving on.

I got an iPhone. Dude, how long have I been waiting to Instagram my life away? About five weeks. I lie, it’s more like five months. Or a year. Or more. Moving on.

I decided that wiling away my evening hours reading a 1987 romance novel entitled “Strictly Business” was a good idea. Turns out when you’re a 1987 romance novel, you settle for one (1) passionate stolen/unwanted kiss, and a marriage proposal. After the Strictly Business debacle, I decided to stick with my modus operandi and read 1967’s “Episode in Rome,” by the forgotten Teri Lester. Part of an enticing Double Romance(!), the first sign of trouble was when the words Strictly business appeared on page 7. Not to be deterred, I finished the story off in a few hours, again settling for a kiss (this time on the forehead) and a marriage proposal. I wish I could say I won’t, but I’ll probably dig into “Sylvia’s Daughter” once I finish up with this post.

fiddleheads and nettles

Had I found more nettles, I would have incorporated them into the pasta dough as well, because nettle pasta is tasty. But since they were only starting to shoot up last weekend, I found just enough to make a pesto.

Yes, by nettles I mean stinging nettles, those awful plants that make your skin itch if you touch them. When young, they can be picked and eaten no problem, and they are quite tasty. Just be sure to wear gloves while harvesting, and to blanch them before eating.

Fiddlehead Fern Tortellini with Nettle Pesto {recipe by myself}

Serves 2-4

Fiddlehead Fern Tortellini:

2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6-8 c. fresh fiddleheads, cleaned (brown chaff removed)

In a large frying pan, melt butter over low medium heat. When hot, add garlic and fiddleheads. Cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, ten to fifteen minutes. Set aside to cool. Note: some sources recommend blanching fiddleheads prior to sauteeing them, for safety’s sake. Do this if you are concerned about food safety (especially if you purchased fiddleheads rather than foraged for them).

1 c. flour
1/4 c. semolina flour
2 eggs
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine flours. Make a small well, cracking into it the 2 eggs, and adding the olive oil and salt. Mix by hand until the mixture comes together. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface, and knead for five to ten minutes, until dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of extra oil. If the dough is too moist, add some more all-purpose flour – depending on the day’s temperature and humidity, I have to alter my ingredient proportions slightly.

Let dough rest in the bowl, covered, for one hour. On a clean countertop, roll out a quarter of the dough at a time. Roll dough as thinly as possible (this is difficult). Alternately, use a pasta machine if you have one to roll your dough out extra thin (if you do this, you may need to cook an extra 2 c. fiddleheads or more). Using a 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter or glass, cut out dough rounds.

Not possessing a pasta machine, I gave each dough round a final roll with the rolling pin. Fill dough rounds with two to three fiddleheads, depending on size. Flip top half of dough over bottom half, and press to seal. Bring corners together, one over the other, and seal tightly. Repeat with remaining dough rounds, and with remaining quarters of dough, meanwhile bringing a salted pot of water to the boil.

Boil tortellini for two to three minutes – it won’t take long to cook the dough.

Nettle Pesto:

2 very tightly packed c. nettle leaves
Heaping 1/2 c. walnuts
Heaping 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
Salt, to taste

In a pot of boiling water, briefly blanch nettle leaves (no longer than 4-5 minutes). Set aside to drain and cool. Combine all ingredients except salt in a food processor, and pulse until homogenized. Add additional oil if mixture is too dry. Add salt to taste.

fiddlehead fern tortellini