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yukes and neeves

Recipe: italian marinated porcini mushrooms

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

toss together

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

Italian Marinated Porcini Mushrooms
[print recipe]
from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

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

fresh porcini mushroom pasta porcini mushroom lasagne hot giardiniera (pickled hot peppers) refrigerator pickles

11 nibbles at “yukes and neeves”

  1. jill hyde says:

    As I read this I thought of a children’s story, and how Yuki and Neva could become just that. Your perception of Yuki’s needs and Neva’s ability to lead by example are such great life lessons. Love it!!!
    And oh my goodness…those porcini! Lovely! xo, jill

  2. Kristin says:

    I am loving the Neva and Yuki stories, and I think Jill is absolutely correct! The way they have helped each other is inspiring!

  3. Mary Karen says:

    Your recounting of your family interactions brought tears to my eyes this morning. Thank you for sharing your “life & times” with all of us, and in such an artful & poetic fashion. The trust, the caring, the learning and above all the love is so evident and inspiring in all that you undertake…whether it be doggie training or in your culinary pursuits!

  4. Melanie says:

    Dogs are so helpful to each other. They communicate with each other in ways we cannot. The message gets across so much more quickly when it goes from dog to dog. Equally important is a human who allows the dogs to communicate and help one another!! Those porcini……wow.

  5. Heather says:

    I love these doggie stories!

  6. Heather says:

    I cannot get enough of these two beautiful girls! I love how they are ‘helping’ each other. I love your recipes too, but who am I kidding, I’m really here to see those 2 cute puppy faces. Makes me want a second pup!

  7. Chani says:

    I love hearing about these two little girls and I am so happy to hear they have such a wonderful relationship! Porcinis look beautiful!

  8. Mary says:

    Do you think these could be processed in a water bath for longer shelf life?

  9. jenyu says:

    jill – Such a lovely idea! <3

    Kristin - It really is, and I'm just so happy to witness it!

    MK - Thank you, friend. xoxo

    Melanie - I love how efficient their communications are and how well they are getting along :)

    Heather - :)

    Heather - Sometimes I think a second pup was the best decision we ever made.

    Chani - Thank you!

    Mary - I don't know as I haven't tried it before. But certainly people have canned marinated mushrooms in oil before, right? I guess the one thing to consider is garlic in oil (is there something about botulism to concern ourselves with?). Maybe ask Hank Shaw?

  10. Kelly says:

    I had to look up “stable goat: too. What a neat interaction!

  11. angelitacarmelita says:

    It’s been raining cats and dogs on the east coast for weeks, and I thought of you as I was pulling into a parking lot in eastern Carolina last weekend. There were these BEAUTIFUL mushrooms, that looked just like porcini growing in a flower bed in a parking lot! tons of ’em I tell’s ya! I had to LOL because at first glance your like “omg, porcini mushrooms!” and on second thought your like “omg, those are poisonous!” (no joke, if you don’t know what your doing, please do not eat wild mushrooms if you are not taught how to identify them). But nonetheless, the photo would have been priceless.

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