Morels and more

A few of the morel mushrooms I bought at the farmers market.

This morning I saw morel mushrooms at the Ferguson Farmers Market. I had to buy them.

It goes back to an experience I had last year.

It was March. For the kids’ spring break, we asked Aunt Marcy and Uncle Ken if we could stay a few days at the clubhouse near Clearwater Lake, and they said yes.

The weather was cool and the lake was high, but that was fine by us. We just wanted a safe escape from the pandemic with no worries of running into other people.

Jadzia and the family at a recent trip to Clearwater Lake. Jadzia loved bratwurst more than almost anything. She also has her art notebook nearby.

I think I was photo-bombing Jadzia’s selfie here.

It turned out to be our final family vacation with Jadzia. In fact, St. Louis County issued a quarantine order that same weekend, and we mostly stayed home for the rest of the year.

Anyway, shortly after we arrived, I started raking leaves in the front yard. When I reached the section of the yard near the fire pit and some trees, I spotted several mushrooms. They looked an awful lot like photos I had seen of morel mushrooms. Excited to find them, I plucked them and set them aside.

Later I told Yoli about the mushrooms. She wanted to be certain they were real morels, sinec false morels can be toxic. My phone gets almost no internet service when we stay at the lake, so we couldn’t pull up any photos to check. Based on my memories, I felt confident they were real, but I couldn’t be certain. So we let them be, and I planned to bring them home with us.

Anyway, we enjoyed a fun several days, cooking outside, hiking, visiting the dam, trying to fish. When it was time to go home, my mind was consumed with packing, making sure the house was clean, and that we had put everything away. I forgot the morels.

When we arrived in Ferguson, I suddenly realized my mistake.

Even though I came home empty-handed, I consulted the internet just to see if my memories were right. Yep. Every photo I saw looked exactly like the mushrooms I had found. If only I had remembered to bring them home, we could have tried them.

Fast-forward to 2021. When I saw the morels at the market, I just had to buy them. Yes, they were way too expensive. But we had never tried them before, and everyone seemed to rave about them. So, I bought a pint container, and looked up some recipes for pan-frying them.

Yoli prepared them. First she washed them, then coated them in flour, and finally fried them in butter.

We ate them as a side with an alfredo pasta. Josie and Ludi each tried them and loved them. Joseph has no interest in mushrooms — or things made with butter, he said.

I couldn’t help but think of Jadzia. She had become an adventurous eater, and I am sure she would have tried the morels. I hope she would have loved them.

Breaded and fried morel mushrooms

Yoli’s culinary creations, 2019

From naan bread to Sioux tacos, from Goomba cupcakes to Frankstein cheesecakes, Yoli cooked up some cool stuff this year:

Thanksgiving in Rolla

Ludi and London
Ludi and London

This year it worked out that I didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving. So we headed to down for a two-day celebration at my brother Justin’s. My youngest brother Jon still had to work Thanksgiving, but he and his wife Brittney were able to join us Thursday evening.

It was fun to have everyone together. The kids had lots of fun playing, we busted out the Jaguar for an NBA Jam tournament, we ate a lovely meal, we watched the Cowboys pull off a win, and we all got home safely again.

I’m thankful for such a nice Thanksgiving.

I didn’t photograph exhaustively, but here’s a slideshow of a few fun moments:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cider and a hike

There was a lot to do on this Saturday morning: it would be the final Ferguson Farmers Market, plus a “Homecoming” at the Little Creek Nature Area.

Yoli made waffles for breakfast, and then we hit the road for the market. Jadzia and Ludi decorated pumpkins; Yoli, Josie and Joseph listened to the live music; and I bought lots of goodies — apple cider, peppers, fresh ginger, garlic, ground beef, and green beans.

Then it was off to Little Creek. We have visited there many times over the years — it is a frequent field trip destination for preschool and elementary school kids in the Ferguson-Florissant school district.

But this time offered some new experiences. We got to drink nice, hot apple cider and eat some baked goods. Then a high schooler took us on a long hike around several of Little Creek’s trails. We got to see the pond and the actual creek, sites I had never seen on any of my previous visits. Along the way we gathered various items for a scavenger hunt for the three girls.

Ludi had been the one begging us to go to Little Creek in the days leading up to the event. As it turned out, the somewhat chilly hike was too much for her, and she was whiny for much of it. But then we went into the educational building to try some hands-on activities and she perked up. She got even more excited when we headed back to turn in our scavenger hunt bags and pick up little prizes.

We took a look at the apple cider press. We lamented that we had missed an earlier demonstration of how to make cider. And one of the Little Creek workers kindly put on one more demonstration, even though it was noon and the event was technically over. All the kids got to try crushing the apples, and then Jadzia and Joseph took turns with other children turning the press to squeeze out the liquid.

All in all, it was a fun morning. Here are some photos:

Syllabub

Today Yoli made a concoction called ‘syllabub’. It’s heavy cream with juice from 2 lemons and 1 orange, white grape juice and a half cup sugar. You whip the cream and add the other stuff.

This recipe came from the American Girls Felicity cookbook.

It was tasty!

20110406-052914.jpg



20110406-053009.jpg