If anything has become apparent in the last week, it is this: Neva gives Yuki courage and Yuki helps Neva relax. When Yuki is uncertain or confused, she sits down or gets to a safe place. This is how she has learned to deal with stress and it’s a pretty good coping mechanism.
On a hike last week, we crossed a narrow footbridge that spanned a raging mountain stream. Jeremy and Neva led and then Yuki and I followed. Yuki was doing just fine until we got to the middle of the footbridge and she happened to glance down at the frothing white water below. She froze and crouched low, backing up until she was safely off the bridge. I tried to encourage her, but she wouldn’t budge. I didn’t want to pick her up and carry her across because she needs to learn how to cross bridges. [Note: Neva also had issues first crossing bridges as a puppy – she barked at the bridges, too.] I whistled to Jeremy and had him come back with Neva. Yuki watched as Neva gracefully trotted across the bridge to her. They touched noses and then Jeremy slowly led Neva back onto the bridge, just a few feet in, and waited. Yuki really wanted to be with Neva. You could see her mustering up her little puppy gumption as she placed her front paws on the first boulder step leading to the bridge, tail wagging. She paused, and then went for it! She clambered up onto the footbridge and followed close behind Neva, never looking back. We were so proud of her and proud of Neva for leading by example.
my sweet girls
We brought Yuki out to Crested Butte for the first time this week. It’s a 5+ hour car ride from house to house, and we didn’t know how it would go down. When we packed the girls into the car on Monday morning for our road trip, they each settled into their dog beds. Neva usually cries for a few hours then paces about in her dog bed as prey drive kicks into gear with every vehicle on the road or field of cattle we pass. This time, Neva sat quietly, sniffing the air when the windows were open, and even lying down for a quarter of the trip. Yuki snoozed most of the way. It was by far Neva’s best road trip. My friend, Ellen, says Yuki is Neva’s stable goat. I had to google what a stable goat is, and she’s absolutely right!
yukes and neeves resting on a hike
little pups, big views
Even though it’s early season for porcini, I keep my eyes peeled when I’m on the trails in summer. There are always some early bolters. I recently managed to spy a handful despite wrangling a puppy who is low to the ground and likes to pick up all sorts of things with her mouth. It was nice to introduce Yuki to the porcini because “porcini” is her release word (“raspberry” is Neva’s release word).
remember this scent, young padawan
I don’t know if the kings (porcini, king boletes, boletus rubriceps) will flush this year like they did last year. One can only hope for two consecutive years of crazy goodness. If they do, I plan to make more of these Italian marinated porcini because I cried real tears when I polished off my last jar from the 2017 season. The recipe comes from Hank Shaw’s most excellent Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog. It’s a winner. There aren’t many ingredients, but the technique requires time. It took me about a day. Do you need to use porcini? Hank recommends meaty mushrooms, like boletes or cremini or shiitake. Meaty.
fresh porcini, salt, olive oil, vinegar, lemon, oregano, red chili
slice the porcini 1/2-inch thick
If you’ve worked with porcini before, you’ll know that the more mature mushrooms have yellow pores attached to the cap. Hank peels these off (and dries and grinds them for porcini powder) because he says they acquire an unpleasant texture during the pickling. Since I was using mostly bouchons, I left the pores – which are cream colored when young – in place and they were fine.
A large percentage of fresh porcini is water. We remove the water by laying the mushroom slices on a layer of salt, and then sprinkling more salt on top of the mushrooms and allow them to sit for a couple of hours. This draws out the water until you have mushroom slices in a salty slurry. Press each slice between paper towels to extract more moisture. If you have cuts on your hands, I highly recommend using some disposable gloves to handle the mushrooms. Because… OW!
sprinkle the salt on top of the mushrooms
let the mushrooms sit for a few hours
water is drawn out of the mushrooms
press more moisture out of the slices
After you’ve patted dry each slice, bring the vinegar to a boil in a saucepan and cook the mushrooms for several minutes. The slices will float to the surface, so use something like a potato masher or other tool to keep them submerged in the vinegar. Strain the mushrooms (save the vinegar for something else, like dressing) and blot the slices with paper towels to soak up as much excess liquid as possible. Again, if you have cuts on your hands, disposable gloves will save you from guaranteed pain. Lay the mushrooms out to dry for 12-24 hours. They should be pliable, but no longer damp when they are ready.
boil the slices in vinegar
strain the mushrooms
lay the mushrooms out to dry
ready when pliable, but dry to the touch
Combine the mushrooms with the chili, oregano, lemon zest, and olive oil, tossing them together. Place them in a glass jar and gently tap the bottom of the jar on a kitchen towel on the counter or table to release any air bubbles. For the really stubborn bubbles, you can get those using a chopstick or other skinny, pointy implement. Be sure that all of your mushroom slices are covered in oil. Though you may be tempted to take a taste, give the mushrooms at least a week in the refrigerator before serving and store them for up to 6 months.
slice the lemon zest into strips
pour the olive oil over everything
make sure all of the slices are covered in oil
seal and refrigerate
The end result is something so addictive that you will never have made enough. For that reason, you shouldn’t sit down in front of the television and polish off a jar like you would with dill pickles. These should be savored on special occasions, snuck out of the jar at midnight, and reserved for only the most worthy of recipients. Meaty, chewy, tangy, floral, bright, spicy, salty, earthy. This Italian marinated porcini is beyond any marinated mushroom I’ve had before and I cannot wait to make more this season.
perfectly delicious on their own
a labor of love
they make an amazing addition to any cheeseboard
1 lb. meaty fresh porcini, cleaned*
1 cup white or cider vinegar
kosher or pure sea salt
zest of 1/4 lemon, sliced into wide strips
1 dried hot chile, split lengthwise
scant 1 tsp dried oregano
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
*Remove the pores from the mushroom if they are yellow or pliable because they can become slimy during the pickling process. You can dry any discarded pores and grind them into a powder – which makes a wonderful seasoning. If the pores are firm and light or cream colored, as in with smaller/younger porcini, I leave them intact.
Slice the fresh porcini into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Spread a layer of salt on a large baking sheet. Arrange the mushrooms slices (cut-side down if one side is uncut) in a single layer on the salt. Sprinkle a generous layer of salt on top of the mushroom slices and let the salt draw the liquid out of the mushrooms for an hour or two. Press the mushroom slices between paper towels to remove excess liquid. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil the mushrooms for 5 minutes, submerging the pieces with a potato masher or a skimmer if you can. Remove the pan from the heat and strain out the mushrooms. You can reserve the vinegar for other uses like dressings. Carefully blot the mushrooms with paper towels. Lay the slices in a single layer on a cloth or paper towels to dry, about 12-24 hours, turning once or twice. They are ready when they are no longer damp, but are still easy to bend. Add the oil, lemon zest, oregano, chile, and mushrooms to a bowl. Toss everything together and pack into a jar. Use a skinny knife or chopstick to release air bubbles from the jar. Be sure the mushrooms are completely covered by the oil. Refrigerate for at least a week before eating. Store for up to 6 months in the refrigerator. Makes 1 pint.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
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