Thursday, July 8, 2010
Oooh doggy, if only every throw-together meal could turn out this good...but then, this grand success wouldn't have been nearly as satisfying. This savory, egg and mushroom stuffed crepe was the result of a perfect storm of components: a hefty paper sack of Morels bought from a local picker at the Saturday Farmers' Market, a solid Q & E crepe recipe I recently discovered on Closet Cooking, fresh local eggs, and a fat wedge of Ossau-Iraty --Hubs' fave fromage-- that was surprisingly for sale at Costco.
We had our first family visit at our new home last week: Aunt Pam and Uncle Win, the sailors you might remember from our Carribbean Adventures. Before they retired and became full-time sailors, Win and Pam ran the family cattle ranch in Wyoming. Anyone who has romantic ideas about ranch life, has probably never picked cow pie from the waffle-soles of their steel-toed boots.
As Hubs and I have been putting some serious love (read: sweat) into our own 1.7 acre "Ranchito", I've been thinking about the "big" ranch, and the kind of butt-busting, sweaty, grimy work involved in a regular day tending to so much land. Win and Pam spent a lot of time bucking hay, branding calves, mending fence, digging ditches, herding livestock, and fixing tractors. There is a lot of what we call, "Movin' dirt," involved in ranching. These guys have been kicked by enough cows to tell you all about the realities of ranch life, and what a tough and good life it can be.
Now, here Hubs and I are, three months into ownership of our very first home, and settling in to all that comes with that. We live in a sub-rural neighborhood that actually used to be a ranch (until it was sold and divided the 1970's). We've been trying lately to get our vegetable garden ready for plants, but with so many deer around, we've been warned over and over by the neighbors that we shouldn't bother planting without a 6 foot tall fence around the vegetable plot. So Hubs and I got to work.
We tore down and rebuilt a retaining wall, roto-tilled the dirt, shoveled two truck-fulls of gravel and sand, removed and disposed of 2200 pounds of concrete, and amended the soil with a ton and a half of Eko Compost-- a supreme and rich blend of black goodness.
We worked from sun up to sun down on every sunny day we could. And we moved a lot of dirt, one shovel-full at a time. I don't know if I've got the grit to be a real rancher, but Ranchito life suits me well. I'm a girl who doesn't mind a little dirt under her nails, sweat on her neck, and twigs in her hair. Few things in life are so satisfying as a hard day's work put towards growing your own food.
I do a lot of good thinking when I'm movin' dirt, and an idea crossed my mind out there, amidst the promises of hot sun and good soil, that this vegetable garden is something bigger than it's 400 square feet. In the swirl of a planet that is crying out in so many ways, both ecolologically and economically, I think our garden, and the gardens of our friends, neighbors, and peers, might be a small but substantial piece of a redefined American Dream. This is so welcome, at least to me. To unplug for a piece of each day, to move dirt, to witness the miracle of a sprout, to snap out of the technology-trance that has become such a regular part of my every day, brings me back to what is real. What I see in the garden, is the original version of the "world wide web". To bring that here, to the internet, and use this new-era version of the Web to share an idea, ....that's pretty cool. That is something to feel hopeful about, like a little green sprout that's just burst from the soil
So Win and Pam show up on the doorstep of the Ranchito and we're like, "Welcome! Here's a shovel."
We moved dirt.
Win and Hubs dug a bunch of post holes for the garden fence, and Pam and I got all the flower beds planted. I felt like a terrible hostess putting our guests to work, but they seemed happy to put their stamp on the Ranchito, and I tried to spoil them as best I could with good things to eat.
One sunny morning, after we all had slept in, I was digging around in the fridge for some breakfast fixin's. That's how this wild mushroom crepe happened. When people sit with full plate and fork, and all you hear from them are grunts of satisfaction, and mmmm's, and "so good", you know it's worth sharing. This is a Ginz and Hubs production, which is often how we manage to put things on the table that make you want to shut up and eat. We're still not done with the fence, but I'm sure we'll be out there getting dirty any minute now. There's so much to do. I'm coming to terms with the idea that we may not get the fence done in time to plant this year, but we have made great strides in preparing the Earth, and building some protection around it. Hubs and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, and it seems a fitting metaphor to spend time together this way, happily working hard and tending to our garden, filled with the promises of hot sun and good soil.
Morel Mushroom Breakfast Crepes
If you'd like a little go-along for these delicious savory crepes, I reccommend a simple salad: arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt,and freshly cracked pepper.
Crepes- This quick and easy recipe is fool proof and fast. Many thanks to Closet Cooking for this keeper.
8 eggs, whisked
2 cups sliced fresh morels
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1-2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon freshly minced rosemary
3 ounces Canadian Bacon, diced
1 cup freshly grated Ossau-Iraty cheese, or Gruyere
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper (white or black), to taste
Prepare crepe batter and set aside. Whisk eggs and set aside. Clean and slice mushrooms into 1/4 inch rings. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add Shallot and cook, stirring until soft and fragrant. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper (I like to use white pepper here). Cook stirring 1 to 2 minutes or just until soft and moist. Morels seem to lose flavor if cooked too long, so increase the heat to make this a quick saute. Add a splash of dry sherry to the pan, and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in half the minced rosemary. Remove from pan and set aside.
If you have a helper (thanks Hubs!), you can get them to make the crepes while you finish the mushroom scramble. Otherwise, get the crepes made, and hold them in a warm oven while you prepare the eggs.
Use the mushroom pan to saute the Canadian bacon over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes or until warm throughout. Add eggs to the pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining rosemary, and scramble. When the eggs are mostly cooked, but still moist, add the mushroom saute to the pan and stir to combine. Use this to fill the crepes. Roll the crepe up, sprinkle with a hefty pinch of the grated cheese, and a smattering of chopped green onions for color.