Thursday, April 29, 2010

Candied Orange Slices

1 large navel orange sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise with a sharp knife (approximately 6 to 8 slices)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Combine the water and sugar in a medium bowl. Pour into a very clean large skillet and bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the orange slices in a single layer and cook over a medium-low heat; gently turning the orange slices occasionally. Heat the sugar liquid and orange slices until the orange skin and whites are are translucent; about 40 minutes.

When the orange slices are translucent, remove the pan from the heat and let the orange slices cool in the pan.

Place parchment paper under a wire rack. Transfer the orange slices from the pan to the rack with a spatula and cool completely. You can also place the orange slices on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake in a 200 degree oven for about an hour until the slices are dried.

Decorate the top of your Orange Cake with the cooled slices or place them in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Tidbit: Lemon slices can be done in this manner.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Morel Mushroom Hunting Tips

In the Midwest, Morel mushrooms can be found in late April to mid-May. Morels are known as an early spring mushroom.

May 12, 1990 in Oregon, Illinois, a man found a giant Morel weighing two pounds, measuring 11 and one-half inches and had a circumference of seven and one-half inches.

They say that a heavy snow fall will produce a great season. Most likely due to all the moisture the snow brings. Morels like a cold-snap after it has been warm for a few days. You need a few 70 degree days with a low in the 50's at night; followed by a cold-snap and then warm weather again.

The Morel mushrooms tend to grow around old Apple orchards and dead Elm trees and logs. Old stumps and fallen trees are a popular growing spot along with living White Ash and Maple trees.

When you see Redbud trees beginning to bloom, the Oak leaves just opening, and May Apple plants popping up in the woods, it is time to put on your hiking boots, get out the Deep Woods Off, put on long pants and long sleeved shirts to protect you from the poison ivy and prickly bushes.

Make sure you bring a compass or your GPS, a walking-stick to move the twigs, a drink and snack, and a mesh or cloth bag for your treasured Morels. Don't use a plastic bag.

For the beginner, know your trees before you take your trek in the woods and always go with an experienced hunter. There are dangerous plants and fungi that can be lethal.

When you spot your morels, be gentle and clip or break them off so they will continue to grow for years.

Now go back to your campsite and prepare your favorite Pheasant with Wild Rice and Morel Mushroom recipe from this blog. Or if you must, fry it in butter with a steak. Enjoy.

Tidbit: This article is dedicated to my mother, Dorothy and my Aunt Viola who taught me how to hunt mushrooms at an early age.

Roxe Anne Peacock