Tag Archives: spring

Foraging begins—Mushrooms still sleepy—A happy consolation

People go crazy over these, but they taste pretty much like garlicky green onions you've had before but with a tender leaf. The reason we go crazy is because wild things are always better. It's not rational, but there you have it.

Week #2 of the 2011 morel hunt: no morels. Last weekend it seemed like it was still pretty much winter out there. But today we walked among shoots and sensed we were just a few days too early. The obsession is growing. But stay out long enough, and Mother Nature will always provide something. Sometimes it’s something unpleasant, like ticks. (Who knows, I may have those, too.) Today it was a lovely consolation prize: ramps. Continue reading


Give me some sugar, baby—maple sugar.

Just after boiling, the syrup was still cloudy. In the fridge it settled to the clear amber ambrosia we know and love.

Man-cakes with local syrup.

By now the sap seems to have stopped flowing, and we are taking in the buckets; the trees are hoarding sugar for their own selfish annual project of waking up and growing. This morning W. and I invited friends to polish off our first batch of Isthmus Maple Syrup atop some worthy buttermilk man-cakes and waffles. Once we saw how much sap it took to make that little half-pint jar, we had been hoarding it ourselves, like Gollum with his Precious.

In case you have syrup ambitions yourself, the vinyl tubing system worked pretty well, but next year we will try slightly larger holes and some proper spiles (the spouts you stick in the tree) to see if we get more sap that way. The turkey fryer is a must in the urban neighborhood, so often prejudiced against backyard bonfires.

Spring is bacon time!

Another local-pig-done-good story. Jordandal Farm, I think.

Honestly, what season isn’t? But it warmed up quite a bit last weekend, my friend Mike had a couple of pork bellies and a butterflied shoulder he’d cured, and I was the one with the smoker. As we learned, bacon is very, very easy to make (I direct you to Charcuterie). Especially since all I had to do was throw it on the smoker and wait a few hours.

In the meantime I went for a motorcycle ride in the sun, stopped by the Community Supported Agriculture crowd at Monona Terrace to pick out a CSA, and had a lamb crepe and espresso with my man-friend at Bradley’s, near the Capitol. When I got back there was a delicious smell, accompanied by only the merest twinge of potential guilt at the likelihood that one of my East Side neighbors is vegetarian. (It seems like that kind of place.)

As Sundays go, it was well spent.

For reasons I cannot yet disclose, I do not get to eat the bacon. The scraps I appropriated are divine, though.