French Onion Soup and Dish Soap?


I made French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

Here is the recipe. It will serve 2 or 3 people. 1 large onion (larger than a baseball, smaller than a softball) 1 tsp. sugar 1 TBS. margarine or butter 1 TBS olive oil 1 TBS Garlic minced 1.5 TBS Italian Seasoning 1 quart beef broth or vegetable broth Mushrooms However many you want  I just put about 5 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced French or other tasty hardy bread, 1 slice for each bowl. 1 c. Parmigiano Cheese Shredded or whatever white cheese strikes your fancy Directions: In a 12 ” fry pan, heat butter and oil til medium hot . Add onion, chopped in larger chunks and stir it for a minute or two  Add sugar, stir, then turn down to low or 2 setting and cover with a lid. Check it periodically and stir. Your goal is to brown the onions which is carmelizing it. That is the reason I added 1 tsp of sugar, to aid in the carmelizing process. When you think the onions are just about ready, add garlic and mushrooms and Italian Seasoning. Stir and add broth. simmer with the lid on and set on as low a setting as you can keep it simmering very gently for 15-20 minutes While that is finishing, put the slices of bread under the broiler and toast on both sides. When the second side is done add the cheese and melt and slightly brown. Put each slice in a bowl when done. Soup should be done by then so ladle it over the toasted, cheesy bread and serve. It was extra yummy. We added a slice of meatloaf and a salad with blue cheese dressingto accompany the soup. It was enjoyed by everyone.

Lunaria annua www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.htm

Guess what? I discovered what the plant in the one barrel is that I didn’t recognize. This is one of the plants that Darnell foraged from the side of the road. It’s a money plant! It bloomed several times with those awesome purple  flowers and they had faded.

Lunaria_annua_flowers
Ph credit: http://www.wikipedia.org

Yesterday we went out to walk and the plant had these disks on them and then we knew what it was. I love the way the creator designed it. Those green disks contain the seeds and they eventually will turn tan and look a little papery. It is an interesting looking plant.

Lunaria_annua_seeds 
Ph cred: http://www.wikipedia.org 

      The disks are green when you first see them and then turn a silvery with a double layer of papery shell. The plant is biannual. I will re-seed itself and you can collect some of them. When you handle them do it carefully. You will remove the top layer of paper and then the seeds are exposed. Make sure you are over a table where you can let the seeds drop and then collect them. They can be planted in the spring after threat of frost is past or in the fall after it’s cold.

The “silver dollars” are the seeds and they will plant themselves or you can collect part of the coins and harvest the seeds. They can be planted in the spring after the treat of frost is done. You can plant in the fall after it becomes cold also.  There are two layers of paper in the seed pod. The outside layer you have to remove in order to reach the seeds. Do this job over a table and remove the top layer of paper to expose the seeds and some will fall to the table. Dislodge the seeds that are still stuck and let them set on a plate or tray then package and date an envelope then put the seeds in it to store.

Well, necessity is the mother of invention!

Grated Bar Soap
Dove Tangerine Ginger

We have had a lot of medical bills which on occassions causes a pinch in the budget. I am very good at penny-pinching and looking ahead so we almost always have the supplies we need. Somehow I missed backing up my supply of dish soap. When I realized it was not going to make it to our next shopping event, I started mulling over how I would wash my dishes! This is usually when I say, “Well, there must be a way to make it myself!” I head to the computer with a determined look on my face ready to search “to the death”  till I find the answer. Well…the computer never fails to amaze me and at least to give me ideas. I had to find an answer that did not require me to spend any money.

Boiling Hot Water, Bar Soap Grated, and White Vinegar

Here is what I found:  There were  three recipes. Numbers 1 and 2 required purchasing castile soap  but number 3 I could do.

Here is the directions:

Recipe #3: Solid Soap Shavings You can save even more money by making dish soap from leftover pieces of bar soap! Just be sure to chop them into very fine pieces first. 1. Place 2 cups of soap shavings into a large bowl. 2. Add 2-3 cups of hot water and let it sit overnight to soften. 3. Stir the mixture until it becomes smooth. Add more water to reach the desired consistency. 4. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar to help fight grease. 5. Shake well before using.

I made a few changes: I took a bar and used the grater to make the small pieces. I always change the recipe. I added the boiling hot water and stirred with a wooden spoon. When it was mostly smooth, I added white vinegar. I need to let is cool. It will thicken as it cools. I will let you know if this is something that I can live with. Now that I’ve started …I’m encouraged.    Just looked … it’s thickening!

http://www.diylife.com/2009/08/03/how-to-make-your-own-dish-soap/

My pictures and facts About the plant came from various resources:

http://www.wikipedia.com

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.

I took the pictures during the soap-making process.

The site from Illinois is awesome and lists too many to number of plants, insects, trees, and shrubs in this North Central area That includes Illinois and Michigan.I know you will enjoy this site full of information.

It’s time to close for today. I feel good about learning skills that will help me save money day to day and in an emergency. Tell me your tips for keeping on top of the things that are needed for everyday. I would love to hear about it.

Come visit again,   Jan

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Chicken of the Woods


2012.4.30 Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms found throughout much of the world. Some species are commonly known as sulphur shelfchicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus because many think they taste like chicken. The name “chicken of the woods” is not to be confused with the edible polyporeMaitake (Grifola frondosa) known as “hen of the woods”, or with Lyophyllum decastes, known as the “fried chicken mushroom”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laetiporus

Wow! About 23 inches and over 13 inches deep. We were so excited!

I checked to see if the was any other mushroom that looked like this that was poisonous on the internet. None!

I cut a piece of the mushroom and laid it on my skin to watch for a reaction. None!

Took pictures of this monster. I had never seen one except on the internet.

Darnell walks the dog most of the time. Her name is Miah. They walked way out back of our place and to the edge of the woods. About 4 steps into the woods he saw the mushroom, larger than life clinging to the side of a maple tree.

This is what I read at this site: http://americanmushrooms.com/edibles4.htm

David Fischer, Author of Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America (1992, Univ. of Texas Press)

SULPHUR SHELF MUSHROOMS GROWING ON ANY CONIFER TREE (PINE, HEMLOCK, SPRUCE, FIR, LARCH/TAMARACK, ETC.), EUCALYPTUS, OR LOCUST TREES SHOULD NOT BE EATEN! Also, as with a number of wild mushrooms and many other foods (e.g. shellfish, peanuts, and milk products), some individuals have allergic reactions to this particular species. (That’s why it was important to identify the tree. Oak or Maple is fine.)

Few edible wild mushrooms are considered as exciting a find as the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf. It has a unique mushroomy flavor and a slightly grainy, meaty texture, and a single dead tree or log will often produce ten, twenty, thirty or more pounds! Because of its texture, the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf is a fine candidate for fresh-freezing, so such a large fruiting needn’t go to waste. The trick is to cut the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf into pieces of appropriate size for the cooking pan before freezing (blanching is not necessary) and, most importantly, when you’re ready to use some, do not thaw them first: have the cooking pan heating before you even open the freezer door!

Sauted Chicken of the Woods Mushroom with Garlic and Onion

On to cooking and the taste test:

I was doing a sample for taste testing so I kept the amounts small.

1 cup Chicken of the Woods Mushroom, chopped

1 tsp. Garlic, minced

1/4 cup Onion, minced fine

1 tsp. Chicken Soup Bullion (Paste)

Olive oil

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 cup Milk

Using a Cast Iron Pan heated to medium with a tablespoon of olive oil, add chopped Chicken of the Woods mushroom. Cook till starting to brown. Add onion and garlic and continue saulting till oil is absorbed.

Add more oil

add flour

Added chicken bullion paste

and milk and let it simmer Season with Salt and Pepper to taste. Continued to be a little  rubbery but did get a little better.

This is an experiment and I read several places and this appears to be the  common way of cooking it.  You can serve over toast or  rice or potato.

We cautiously tasted it. It tasted good but did have a slightly rubbery texture to it.

While I know I will continue my search as to how to prepare it, I know this was a good start. Darnell and I both ate what I prepared and neither of   us had any reaction. Next time we will eat a little more. From all I read, when foraging it is good to add things into your diet gradually so that is what we will do.

How to Harvest the Chicken of the Woods

This is exactly the way this went today. We harvested it without knowing how to do that. We used to say in WV, ” I got the cart, the horse before”. That is what we did. Next time we will do the harvesting right.  You are supposed to not break it from the tree with your hands which we did. Take a knife and just cut the outer rim of the mushroom. Pick the smaller sized ones. This in itself may take care of the rubbery texture since this was a very large one. Next time we will harvest the smaller one. Since they said that it could be frozen with no preparation beforehand, we froze the rim of the mushroom. I will try again another day to see if I can improve the texture either just by picking a smaller one or by how I cook it

This was such an exciting adventure!

These are the jewels of life, to get to experience things out of the ordinary.

So glad you were here so I could share the experience.

Come on over anytime.     Jan

The other mushroom you may see growing near where the Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms is growing. It is called the Hen of the Woods Mushroom. It looks like a Hen with her head tucked under her wing. It has a feathery look to it. Check out another picture of the Chicken of the Woods Mushroom. Looks like shelves on the tree.

Hen of the woods mushroom

                                                              Laetiporus gilbertsonii
Chicken of the Woods
Sulfur Shelf Mushroom

Journey Along the Garden Path

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