A walk on the Wild Side

All this wet weather down here naturally means a lot of snow up there.  In Big Bear, for example.

I did spend a lot of time both hiking and skiing around in the Tirol and Alto Adagio regions of the Alps.

And I probably spend even more time eating and drinking in the Tirol and Alto Adagio regions of the Alps.

Wonderful Knudel (dumplings), made with potatoes or left over bread, flavored with smoked bacon, spinach, mushrooms, cheese, all sorts of things.  Some boiled, some sauteed, all delicious.

And hot soups made with barley, potatoes, Leberknoedel, ox tail, who knows what all!  Best to just enjoy and not think too much sometimes!

A favorite of mine was the polenta and the spaetzle.  Polenta being the hot and creamy cornmeal porridge, usually rife with Parmesan cheese.  Spaetzle being the fresh egg noodles that are first lightly boiled then browned in bacon fat.

Always, some sort of Alpen stew came along side of these two.  Something with a thick and rich broth that would soak

into the noodles or polenta.  Like a Hungarian goulash, or a ragout of wild mushrooms.  Earthy, hearty.  Maybe a cold house-made Schnaps would appear.  Made from some mountain herb, or local pears, or cherries, or pretty much anything they could push through their stills.

So after a lot of searching, I have found a good source for some very nice fresh wild mushrooms.  Chanterelles, black trumpets, hedgehogs, morels, truffels, all sorts of things.

And I naturally wanted to capture the spirit of the season, so I created a very luxuriously creamy polenta with lots of Parmesan, and topped it with a hearty sautee of Black Trumpet Chanterrels, locally grown Tuscan black kale and sun dried tomatoes, with just a touch of balsamic.  Very nice.

Just the sort of dish I have enjoyed while downing thimblefuls of schnapps and gazing out on the sun setting over the snowy slopes of many a mountain peak.

Take a walk on the wild side this week for a real seasonal taste treat of fresh black chanterelle and hedgehog wild mushrooms!

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