Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Autumn in the Hollow

Fall has very belated and abruptly, finally fallen on Boggy Hollow. The garden is very nearly wrapped up for the year, though not put to bed yet, that being a ginormous task unto itself. 

The temperature gauge on my car's dashboard read 39 degrees at 7:00 this morning, so I guess I'd better make it a priority to harvest the last of my hoop-house pimento and jalapeƱo peppers this afternoon before Jack Frost gets them. We also have a few scraggling pumpkins left out there, but - being volunteer mystery mixes - they're all destined to be chicken and turkey food anyway, so their cosmetic condition is not quite so important. To be honest, I'll be relieved when everything is buttoned up for the season.

I've been keeping fairly good track of our garden's productivity this year, but, as always tends to happen, I slacken off as the growing season progresses. Back in March/April, if we brought in a quarter pound of snap peas, it was written up in the log straight away. Now? We'll weigh one pumpkin and just assume the the rest of roughly the same size weigh roughly the same thing, and scratch it in the journal (maybe) when/if I remember to.

But anyway - I was talking of embracing the falling of Fall. Apparently a switch flipped and now I'm in hardcore Cozy Mode. In the past few days, I've suddenly rediscovered my love of knitting and have had my food dehydrator running 24/7, trying to put up one last jar/bag of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, calendula, spearmint, chamomile... etc. You name it, I'm drying it out and squirreling it away.

A new addition to my squirrelin' repertoire this year - wild mushrooms. Bill and I have always loved foraging, but were extremely intimidated about the idea of venturing into the world of mushrooms, as there is basically no room for error in identification. After reading half a dozen mushroom-specific guides and psyching ourselves up, a friend finally talked us into giving mushroom hunting a try by giving us the directions to his 'never fail' spot for lobster mushies. It was a bust for us. We've gone on hunts for morels, chanterelles, chicken of the woods and lobster mushrooms, all with ZERO luck. How bizarre it was then, to finally positively i.d. a much sought-after edible, the King Bolete (aka Porcino) mushroom growing in our very own yard!

Teeny-Weeny Porcini!
A very good day's haul
And to think that these have been growing there for years and we never realized - d'oh!

Apparently, they usually wrap up their Autumn flush in November, so I don't know how many more of these lovelies that I'll get before they're gone for the year, so I've been furiously hunting/cleaning/processing/drying them these past few weeks, trying to them all in while the gettin's still good.

Besides knitting and fiddling with mushrooms, I've finally got my baking groove back! Today's bake - a triple batch of Gingerbread biscotti. I've made this recipe several times and it always goes over big with anyone who has tried it. The smell of this in the oven will kick you into Cozy Mode lickity-split!

Lightly sweet and satisfyingly crunchy, Gingerbread Biscotti.

Gingerbread Biscotti 
Recipe courtesy of
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 12 large biscotti
Crunchy Gingerbread Biscotti is easy to make and delicious too. Have your coffee ready!
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 cube Dorot crushed ginger (or 1 tsp), thawed*
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sparkling white sugar
  • 4 oz vanilla candy coating, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar until combined. Add in eggs and molasses. Beat in spices, flour, and baking powder.
  3. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, shape dough into a 12x4 inch rectangle, patting evenly. Sprinkle with sparkling white sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Slice biscotti into 12, one inch wide slices. Arrange biscotti onto sides, separating them on the baking sheet. Return to oven and bake an additional 6 minutes. Remove and turn them to opposite side, bake another 6 minutes.
  4. Remove biscotti and cool completely.
  5. Once cooled, dip bottom of biscotti in melted vanilla candy coating. Set back on parchment paper until set, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container. ENJOY.
For the crushed ginger, thaw on counter while getting ingredients and baking sheet ready. OR, place in a small glass bowl and microwave for 5-10 seconds.
*I (Michelle) actually used fresh grated ginger instead, as that is what I had on-hand.

Happy fall, y'all! :)

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