Monday, October 19, 2009

NC Mountains to the Sea

CHANTERELLES are still in season, being foraged for a few more weeks from mountain forests and believe it or not, front lawns, from Asheville to Charlottesville. In the forthcoming THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK, I talked with Asheville's MUSHROOM MAN, Alan Muskat, about searching for these tasty wild specimens, and also Chris Weihs, a former restauranteur from Charleston who now scours his property near Cashiers for all types of mushrooms.
At $29.99 a pound at Whole Foods last week, it'd be so much cheaper if you can find them yourself. Just beware that some wild toadstools are fatally toxic. Know what you're doing, or take a hunt with Muskat who leads folks into the woods to forage all sorts of wild mushrooms.
The above dish of wild mushrooms or just chanterelles with roasted apricots will be featured among 150 recipes in THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK. I'll keep you posted as to when/where it's available - hopefully in March.
In the meantime, purchase just a few ounces and saute them in butter. Yum! What a fall treat.

Beautiful swimmers, our Blue Crabs, are still available at seafood markets by the basket or dozen. Or nicely cleaned in one-pound tubs.
Crabmeat is my all time favorite. Best way to cook it? Melt enough butter to moisten the crabmeat well, spritz it with lime or lemon juice, a sprinkle of Old Bay, and heat. Serve with toast points or how about just a fork???? Died and gone to heaven....
GREEN TAIL SHRIMP are still gaining in size and should be showing up in the Pamlico Sound within a few weeks.
I stopped at Atlantic Beach Seafood this past weekend and put in my order for my winter stash. I am all about eating fresh and local - and shrimp does not suffer from freezing, if it's done correctly. In the winter, it's so handy to have one-pound bags of frozen shrimp that do not take long to thaw.
Brown shrimp are still being caught just offshore around Morehead City and Swansboro. They range in size, but all are absolutely firm and delicious. Support NC's shrimping industry, and never, ever, eat imported shrimp!