When Noah accidentally promised someone he would fill in for them at work, not realizing the date fell on Mother’s Day, I told him it was no big deal.
“We can just celebrate the day before or the day after,” I said. But as the date neared, I came to realize how wrong I was. It was a big deal. Huge, even. My first real, official Mother’s Day. No adventure in my life thus far has been more spectacular. No love so profound. No challenge more great.
As it turned out, this day meant more to me than I ever expected. As I imagined myself spending the day without Noah, I tried to embrace the idea. I gave myself pep talks about how pure of a Mother’s Day it would be, engrossed in caring for James and Pablo. I had given Noah the green light, so there was no turning back, and no one to be mad at except myself. To be honest, I may have indulged in a moment or two of feeling sorry for myself. I mean, I’ve only been sleep deprived for eight and a half months. No big deal, right?
Then, true to knight-in-shining-armor form, Noah surprised me. He had pulled a few strings, and undid his initial blunder. He got the day off. The forecast was a perfect sunny and 70, and we had the whole day to spend together as a family. HOORAYYYY!!!!!
“Whatever you want to do, the day is yours,” Noah said, “I can take James if you want to go for a bike ride, or we can sit on the shore while you fly fish, or we can go for a hike or a picnic or out to brunch together, or (and as he said it my mind was already sparking the same idea) I thought you might like to go mushroom hunting.”
“Yes! Let’s do that!” I said, jumping for joy in my mama heart. So that’s what we did. We threw the pack in the car, loaded up James and Pablo, and off we went to wander around the woods in search of edible treasure.
Morels grow around these parts in mountainside burn areas, and also in riverbeds. Like any good ‘shroom hunter I can’t tell you exactly where we went, but it probably doesn’t matter much since we only found two yellow morels. No matter. It was a fun excuse to get off the beaten trail, and enjoy a day by the river. Later that night, Noah sauteed our loot for a succulent golden garnish to top my Mother’s Day filet– perfect. Pablo rested peacefully after a big swim, James slept angelically in his crib, and Noah filled my glass with Cabernet. It was a beautiful, wonderful, love-filled day. My heart and belly were full, and I fell into bed that night, reflecting on how one of the best parts of being James’s mother is sharing this experience with James’s father. I suppose, after all, that’s how this story began.
But wait! There’s more. Since it’s still morel season (at least along the 45th parallel) I want to share with you my favorite way to cook morels. This is my go-to preparation for morels, the reason being because it elevates rather than masks their natural woodsy flavor. It’s a good idea to cook any wild-crafted mushrooms before eating them, and this versatile saute can be plugged in to just about any preparation you fancy. A few ideas:
Grilled morel pizza or flat-bread with olive oil, shaved Parmesan, and toasted pine nuts
Morel-filled breakfast crepes (from my old blog)
Morel and Brie Bruschetta
Morel-topped filet mignon
This wild mushroom-topped Parmesan and pine nut crusted chicken (from my old blog)(just replace the chanterelles with morels)
Recipe : Morel Mushroom Saute
This is my favorite way to cook up wild morel mushrooms. The sherry adds depth while just a touch of fresh rosemary complements with a light piney accent. Once prepared this way, serve these morels on bruschetta, pizza, pasta, or just plain. If you wish, a little freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano makes a lovely companion to these morels.
- 2 cups fresh morel mushrooms
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (or substitute vermouth)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Clean and slice the mushrooms as desired. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened. Add the sherry and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated (the French call this au sec). Add the morels and saute 1 minute. You want them to be soft and tender, but it seems like the longer you cook them the more flavor they lose so be careful not to overcook. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Give the pan a quick stir and remove from heat. Utilize as desired.
Makes about 1 1/4 cup cooked morels