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Baker. Cook. Gardener. Animal Lover.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


So I am over at our local natural foods store this morning..waiting to pick up Buddy's cough syrup prescription at the pharmacy next door......and I am cruising in the produce isle and there they were. PURE GOLD ! Right there next to the lettuce. Chanterelle Mushrooms. I could hardly believe my eyes. There were only 3 of them. So I grabbed a bag and scooped them up. I could feel my heart race. I would rather have these than a bag of diamonds.

And what perfect timing. I was planning on pizza for Sunday night as the storm slams in from the Pacific Ocean. With El Nino out there...we are suppose to have a real downpour.

I saw the produce guy and asked where they came from...just as I thought...Big Sur.

When we lived in Cambria..which is about an hour and a half south of Big Sur on Highway One, a kid who worked for John knew where the "special secret spot" was in Big Sur. John went with him one time and he said they walked back into the woods for an hour... although no forager worth his salt would ever tell the truth about where to look....unless he's a really good friend.The kid would sell them to restaurants up in the bay area...he told me he used to sell them to Alice Water's restaurant Chez Panisse. The mothership..to be sure....

Julie and I have eaten there a few times...and it is all they say..and more.

To tell you the truth, the kid's name was Jim, but I called him Zipper. I have no idea where that came from either. But Zipper would show up at my back door when we lived in Cambria with bags of freshly picked chanterelles. I usually just kept it simple...I would make some fresh pasta...saute the mushrooms in butter, add a little cream or chicken stock, salt and pepper, add the pasta to the mushroom skillet, grate some parmesan over the top and serve. That was it. Simple. And it was GOOD !

For our Sunday pizza night....I will roast the sliced mushrooms in the oven with just a toss of olive oil and sea salt, then scatter them over the top of the pizza with just a simple tomato sauce ,gruyere cheese and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley from the garden.

We'll build a fire in "woodstove",make our pizzas, light some candles..and wait...for RAIN !At Last !