Showering in the open air is one of life's most delicious pleasures. We've had an outdoor shower in the 10-Year Plan pretty much since its inception – 11 years ago. And this summer, we finally made it a reality.
Our friend Rob is, if not an expert, at least a very accomplished mushroom forager. He's also a dry stone waller like my husband, and brought TJ on to help with a big project this summer. So he's been arriving for worker pick-up early every morning for the last few weeks – and delivering some of his precious haul. Two weeks ago it was a clutch of perfect chanterelles, which I turned into a fine risotto with some local sweet corn. Friday, he handed over a brown paper bag containing close to a pound of the most extraordinary (and gigantic) oyster mushrooms I've ever seen. He'd spotted a tree along the roadside that was covered with them; he harvested about 10 pounds, and claims there's easily that much remaining.
Now, there are all kinds of wonderful things you can do with oyster mushrooms, but given the unprecedented quantity and quality, I opted to go 'showcase' and make them the star of a crusty pizza.
I'm always dumbfounded at the way people defile corn in the process of buying it, stripping bare one ear after another and tossing them heartlessly back on the pile. To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure what it is they're looking for...and I've become convinced that – in most cases – they don't either. Just that, like everything else in their lives, there must be a better one somewhere.
Back when I was still doing the farmer's market, I was chatting with a fellow vendor one morning, a woman and a farmer I respect and admire (once I got over being terrified of her fierce demeanor) and like a lot. She'd wandered over to my booth during the slow early hour of the market. She kept a keen eye on her stall as we talked, and suddenly she took off at a sprint mid-sentence, hollering across the green 'Hey! hey! What are you doing? Stop it, stop that!!!'. There in her stall, some jackass was rifling through her bushels of corn, stripping the husks, tossing them back...I was almost as pissed as she was, and when I got home, I sat and wrote up a post for my previous blog – A Cooking Life – to try and rehabilitate the Corn Molesters. Chances are, the people that really needed to read it never did, but those sympathetic to the cause have suggested it should be printed out and posted everywhere corn is sold. And during this high corn season (here in Vermont, the sweet corn has been spectacular, even while it withers and dies elsewhere around the country), I think it bears repeating.