We’re into August already, but this weekend was the first one that really felt like summer. Our good friends Jill and Joe came up for a visit, and reminded us of the pure joy that can only be found in a full day with absolutely nothing to do.
We took a long nature walk, talked about our dreams for the future, and ate really, really good food.
During our walk in the woods, they showed us how to look for coral and oyster mushrooms. We harvested them and added them to our CSA chanterelles and black trumpets. We then paired them with our new favorite pasta recipe, good Pecorino Romano, fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil.
Oh, and big goblets of Wild Sumac Margaritas!
This dinner was the perfect nod to summer’s bounty. I insist you find some good mushrooms, good friends, good tequila, and make this immediately before summer starts to disappear.
Foraged Summer Feast
Wild Sumac Margarita ingredients:
- 5 cups cold water
- 10 sprigs of mint
- 8-10 wild Sumac buds
- 4 TB sweetener of choice
- Tequila (or Vodka, Gin)
Pasta ingredients (modified from Thug Kitchen):
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 TB olive oil
Mushroom cream sauce ingredients:
- 1/2 cup mushrooms of choice, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 7-10 heads of garlic, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to season
- 2 TB flour
- Basil to garnish
- Freshly grated cheese of choice
- Tomatoes, chopped
Wild Sumac Margaritas:
Mash sumac buds in a pitcher with a wooden spoon or pestle. Add cold water, mint leaves and let sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight if you have time. Then, strain half of the juice into a blender. Add ice, sweetener (we used homemade simple syrup), and as much tequila or vodka as you like! Mix, pour, and enjoy.
[If you have time. If you don’t, buy good pasta and skip to the cream sauce below.]
Whisk flours and salt in a large bowl. Transfer to clean tabletop. Make a well in the middle and pour 3/4 cup water and olive oil. Mix together until a shaggy ball forms. Add more water if needed, but be careful the dough does not get too wet. Knead dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Sip margarita as you go.
Cover dough and let rest for 30 minutes. Put a big pot of salted water on to boil. Divide dough into six sections using a dough cutter. Push sections into a flat disk, send through the pasta press on the largest setting (Setting #6 for us). Take it out, fold it in thirds lengthwise, then send through the pasta press width wise. Do this 3 times on the largest setting (#6), then send the dough through the next smallest setting (#5). Send through settings #4 through #2. Lastly, send dough through pasta cutter and catch it in a bowl of cornmeal. Coat the pasta in cornmeal and set aside. Repeat process with the rest of your dough sections. Boil pasta in salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Mushroom Cream Sauce:
Add 2 tablespoons of flour to a small bowl, and add just enough water to make a paste. Whisk together to remove lumps (it should resemble Elmer’s Glue in consistency.) Set aside.
Dry fry (no oil!) mushrooms in a hot pan for about 1 minute, stirring gently. This releases any moisture the mushrooms are holding.
Set mushrooms aside. Coat pan in oil and sauté garlic until brown. Add milk and mushrooms, season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to your liking. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add half of “flour paste” and stir. Add the rest of the paste if you like the sauce thicker.
Pour sauce over fresh pasta. Garnish with basil, tomatoes, and grated cheese. Serve to happy friends and eat overlooking a body of water on a hot summer day, if possible.