Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall at the Evanston Farmers Market II

The much awaited part two....
I gained a new appreciation for architectural beauty at the Farmers Market last Saturday. I love the idea of food as art and this was like seeing a Gaudi building. At the far side of the market, a man with large hands, well seasoned with fresh earth, cut piece off an enormous ruffly mushroom. Called Hen of the Woods, or Maitake in Japanese, this is a great fungi. Maitake means "dancing mushroom" and that's just what it looks like, a lady's skirt flying across the floor. Or, I suppose, maybe it means you'll dance when you find it!

I can't wait to use this mushroom. Though the fall season isn't nearly long enough fully expound on this guy, it fresh-freezes very well. It's also great for you. Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital has conducted some serious research with this fungi, and found some serious results. Anti-cancer and anti-diabetic elements are only the beginning. It's also great for immune system support, hypertension relief and high cholesterol reduction. But the Chinese said it best, the Maitake balances the systems of your bodies. I like that. How can you not??

References: Sloan Kettering, americanmushrooms.com, and admittedly a little wikipedia.

Fall at the Evanston Farmers Market I

YES! The Farmers market is wonderful in the fall. It's the time of the apple, the pumpkin and the squash. This Saturday, I made two discoveries I want to share. This is the first.

My new favorite apple is called the Mutsu. To unseat the HoneyCrisp as my number one is not an easy task. I'm a Minnesotan, and I harbor fierce loyalty for the Honey, and I don't renege on my commitments. But, that said, I'm having an apple affair.

The Mutsu looks like a granny smith, but the skin is not that horrible industrial green, its hue is soft and spring like, like new moss in April. The taste is tart like a Granny, but instead of biting into your tongue, it is smooth and cooling and refreshing. A little lemon, a little chamomile.

The Mutsu hails from Japan, but was renamed Crispin in the 1960, to make it more appealing to Americans. It is also related to the Golden Delicious, but its firm, and super crispy flesh makes it great for cooking, although I think I might eat all the slices!

Stay posted for discovery number two....it might make you a healthier person, no, I'm sure it will.