- 1 oz morel mushrooms
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- plain flour for dredging
- 1/4 cup clarified butter
- 1/3 cup chopped shallot, about 2 large
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic, about 3 cloves
- 1 cup Madeira wine
- 1 cup (8 oz) creme fraiche of sour cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Soak dried morels for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water. If you are fortunate enough to have fresh morels, wash 3 or 4 of them and cut them in half.
- Preheat the oven to 375*.
- Lift the morels carefully from the hot water in order to leave any grit behind in the liquid. Rinse a few times to be sure all the grittiness is gone. Discard the liquid and dry the morels lightly with paper towels. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off the excess.
- Heat half the clarified butter in a large saute pan and cook the chicken in two batches over medium-low heat until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to an ovenproof casserole.
- Add the rest of the clarified butter to the pan along with the shallots, drained morels and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, tossing and stirring constantly.
- Pour the Madeira into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Add the creme fraiche, cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. To make ahead, refrigerate the chicken and sauce in the casserole and reheat slowly on top of the stove.
Source: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Hunting Mushrooms With Grandpa
Two young bull moose test each other at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. This photo was taken in Tobin Harbor as the moose locked horns. Photo by Carl TerHaar. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/15/15.
At Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska, wild rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys, caribou migrate along age-old trails and endless summer light fades into aurora-lit night skies of winter. Pictured here is a beautiful mountain vista near Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range. Photo by Carl Johnson. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/14/15.
Women aircraft workers. Two Pearl Harbor widows work to defeat the Axis at a West Coast aircraft plant. Mrs. Fern Evans, left and Mrs. Evelyn J. W. Casola work as a team on the riveting of radio support assemblies for bomber planes. Neither had previous mechanical experience prior to this job, but both are now successfully handling complicated mechanical jobs. From the Office of War Information archive, May 1942.
I’ve shouted from the rooftops about the quality of Velda’s cooking. She is a fabulous cook.
Here is the love of my life celebrating Turkey Day in her own unique style.
There’s a dark side.
Here’s a dialogue over our holiday weekend lunch, faithfully recorded for posterity. And you.
He said: The soup is, uh….
She said: I wish I could taste anything. I’m tired of this gunge. I haven’t been able to taste anything for 4 weeks.
He: Is this the last of this soup?
She: What do you mean? It was frozen.
He: It doesn’t have much texture. It’s like it was reheated.
She: No, it was frozen.
He: Oh. I’m happy for the onions that give it some crunch.
She: It has no meat in it. Do you have any ham?
He: I think so. But the pieces are really, really small.
She: I have no ham.
He: There’s a little piece. And there’s a little one.
She: No ham. But … here’s some chicken skin. How did that get in here?
He: Some what?
She: Chicken skin. See?
He: What are we eating? This isn’t some dog food or something that you froze and forgot about, is it?
She: No, this is ham and beans. I probably started it with some chicken stock.
He: Is it OK to eat?
He: How did you know what it was? Was it labeled?
She: It was labeled “French Bread Crumbs.”
She: That’s what the bag said. But it’s ham and beans.
He: Are you sure it’s OK to eat?
She: Of course.
He: So, there was a package labeled “French Bread Crumbs,” but it had ham and bean soup in it, but that soup had chicken skin in it. Is it safe to eat?
She: Sure. Maybe I used chicken stock.
She: Maybe I should label things better.
He: Ya think?
The lunch was filling, and the conversation was lively. That’s all I’ll commit to at this point.
What’s more fun … the look back by the cub on top of Mom, to make sure the sibling knows what he’s done? Or the bedraggled look of Mom, shouldering one more burden of parenthood? Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/10/15.
The Milky Way glitters above Yellowstone National Park. David Lane created this stunning multi-image panorama of the night sky over the park’s Pelican Creek – a place that offers great views of Yellowstone Lake. Photo courtesy of David Lane. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/8/15.
Glaciers, icy blue waters & rocky islands: The beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Photo by Michael McRuiz. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 5/8/15.
The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.
At last, we can see the end of our 6 weeks of spring events. We actually scheduled 7 events in 6 weeks … it was to be our big push before summer. Our spring fling.
The first 5 weeks surpassed our expectations, and we had already achieved our goals for the events in total. Week 6 was to be a bonus.
A poor one, it turns out.
We had hoped that this nearby, celebrated community event would get us to record numbers in its 32nd annual iteration. Alas, ’twas not to be.
Sales throughout the event were down from expectations. I talked to several veteran vendors, who described their results as down from last year … which was significantly down from the prior year. No joy here.
- Because Velda had to go work at her “job,” I was teamed with the other Mrs. M for this weekend. We have fun at our rare events that we get to do without the other M. Plus, she drove their truck on Sunday so I got a very rare day as a passenger.
- This is a gated event. Patrons paid for entrance, and paid for parking unless they took the free shuttle from the outlying free parking lots.
- You never know if you’re getting a good booth position or not. We were almost at one end of the long line of Arts & Crafts vendors set up on Rose Avenue. We were one booth away from the Purple entrance gate … near the Red Gate, and on the opposite end from the Blue gate. Good? Bad? No clue. Our talkative neighbor whose family business is outfitting women of all ages with toe rings (please note the rare juxtaposition of “family business” and “toe rings” in the same sentence) said we were in an excellent spot.
- Genuine huge attendance at this show, averaging 66,000 for the last 5 years. If only they had brought their wallets…. Actually, they may have brought their wallets, but they came to eat, primarily. And since the food lines had more in common with “Waiting for Godot” than they had any right to, it may be that people spent too much time in line, got frustrated and went home. Hungry in most cases, I believe.
- “Handmade” is required to be an arts & crafts vendor at this show, and I believe they policed that policy better than any show we’ve been a part of. However, with the poor results we generated, I’m now wondering if that’s a good thing.
- Conclusion to the previous point: I need to be more focused on buyers than sellers. Say what you will about the quality of the sellers, it was the quality of the buyers that frustrated me.
Saturday Lunch: 2 chocolate covered strawberries and a hot pretzel. I’m doing it wrong. Again.
Saturday Snack: Watching Alley drink a strawberry-flavored beer.
Sunday Snack: I had two nutrition bars that Alley brought, thinking that might be a better lunch than yesterday.
Sunday Lunch: Today, Alley found a food vendor with less than 30 families in line, so she brought me a Thai chicken skewer. Definitely did it right today.
- Total miles driven: 306
- Booth cost: $425
- # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
- Total sales: $1,235
- # containers of product taken: 15
- # boards available: 63
- Saturday alarm: 5:30am
- Sunday alarm: 7:00am
- # transactions: 62 – 53 for lotion and 9 for boards.
- # soap & lotion vendors: three other vendors, all focused on soap. Thank goodness!
- # woodworking vendors: a lot! Three made simple wooden signs (so they were more painters than woodworkers, really). One made redwood picnic sets. Two made children’s toys. One made children’s chalk/dry erase board art boxes. There was a turner selling wooden pens and bottle stoppers. There was a guy selling wooden neckties (huh?). Oh, and one guy made cutting boards out of corian. I feel sorry for his customers….
- Edge grain vs. end grain: 8-1/2 : 2-1/2 (because the Honey Locust & Hard Maple board was part end grain and part edge grain. I’m creative like that. Occasionally.)
Boards sold: 11
Cutting Boards: 2
Engraved Boards: 2
Cheese Boards: 2
Small Board: 2
Sous Chef Board: 2
Bread Board: 1
Small Board # 15 – 015. Purpleheart, Cherry, Padauk, Jatoba and Yellowheart. 7″ x 12″ x 1-1/4″.
Cutting Board # 15 – 030. Black Walnut, Cherry and Hard Maple End Grain. 12″ x 16″ x 1-3/8″.
Small Board # 15 – 04. Honey Locust (end grain) and Hard Maple (edge grain). 8″ x 11″ x 1″.
Small Board # 15 – 034. Some exquisite layered grain Black Walnut and Honey Locust End Grain. The larger board is 10″ x 12″ x 1-1/4″. The smaller one is 8″ x 10″ x 1-1/4″.
Cutting Board # 15 – 032. Black Walnut, Cherry and Hard Maple end grain. 12″ x 15″ x 1-1/4″.
Bread Board # 15 – 03. Honey Locust and Jatoba. 6″ x 16″ x 1″.
Sous Chef # 15 – 10. Black Walnut, Honey Locust and Padauk. 15″ x 10″ x 1″.
Sous Chef # 15 – 01. Purpleheart & Hard Maple. 9″ x 22″ x 1″.
Cheese board # 15 – 001. Black Walnut, Hard Maple, Red Oak, Purpleheart and Cherry. 9″ x 12″ x 1″.