A few weeks ago this plant popped up outside my front door. It grew very fast and started flowering profusely. Bees were always buzzing around it. They would burrow deep down into the blossoms. We could even pet them and they were so drunk on pollen the didn't even budge. I decided to let it keep growing, for the bees sake.
And keep growing it did! Like a magic beanstalk, it grew up the house and into the rain gutter.
My home is always decorated with all kinds of nature bits: gourds, nests, pumpkins, shells, acorns, pine cones, insects, feathers, skulls, and more.
When a pumpkin or gourd gets a bit soft I display it outside, that way I can enjoy the beauty a little longer. Apparently, one of last years gourds planted itself at my front door.
Now we have all these lovely little gourds. We cut them off at different stages so we can enjoy the different shapes. They will end up back outside and hopefully the cycle will continue.
So inspired by the adorable gourds, my daughters decided to capture a couple in watercolor...
It's a good time for foraging here in NY. We have been getting lots of goodies. Just last week we scored a haul of Chicken of the Woods and Puffball mushrooms as well as white oak acorns and plantain (not the banana!). I needed to get more plantain before the frost to make my healing salves. My husband was after those acorns, he is going to make acorn flour out of them. If I don't eat them all first as a snack!
This is a lovely white Puffball Mushroom. I set those two brown ones in the background to show you what not to eat. A Puffball is good when it's all white, feels firm and a bit spongy. When they are brown they are past eating and have moved on to their spore making phase. They are quite large and easy to spot. I grabbed two this size, but left a larger one for the next human or animal forager.
You can see how easy the dirty outside peels right off. You should not eat this mushroom raw. In fact it's best to not eat any raw mushrooms.
I treated the first Puff like tofu, sauteed and seasoned with cajun spices. That's my default way of cooking and it's always tasty. But since I had so much of this mushroom I decided to experiment.
This idea came to me while I was slicing it up. The slices really held their shape, which made me think of eggplant. Puffball parmigiana was born!
Here you can see what the inside looks like, the texture was very good this way. There is no poison lookalike for this mushroom, so feel free to forage up some yourselves.
Fall has hit New York. I have a fire in the fireplace, an ever brewing teapot, knitting projects in full swing, and a mind filled with the tastes, colors and smells of autumn. I recently discovered this one and have already made them four times. Sweet potato ravioli in browned butter with basil. They are so good and very addictive. I make them when I am having company, so I don't eat too many.
I found them in Simply Ming One-Pot Meals. What makes them so easy is that you use pre-made wonton wrappers. I baked up a bunch of sweet potatoes and mashed them up in the Vitamix. I actually do a batch of sweet potato puree each week because I love my sweet potato smoothie every afternoon. When folks get that mid day coffee craving, I get a sweet potato smoothie craving.