Monday, September 29, 2008

Chile Rellenos and unidentified fungi

Well, my four heavy weeks of work have ended, for the most part, giving me some down time to pursue some personal activities and give my thoughts to future plans.  The work seemed a bit easier this year, due I think to the several years of experience I've put in up to this point and also to the knowledge that it would most likely be my last season driving a van full of instruments around New England.  I will grudgingly admit to a certain wistfulness visiting some of these schools I've become familiar with the last nine years, but it's time to move on and I am very excited for the coming changes to my life and career, though they are still months away.  I wish I could get started sooner, but I will do my best to enjoy the fall and winter and leave my job in good standing.  

Anyway, as I said before, this weekend has been a time of restorative activities that I haven't had time for over the last month, and they have done much to raise my spirits and energies.  I had an enjoyable night out with some friends on Saturday evening, including an excellent meal at Henrietta's Table in Cambridge; I especially enjoyed the duck leg confit.  Sunday morning I slept in and spent the day relaxing with music and books, capped off with a very messy attempt at making home-made chiles rellenos.  I love to cook, and I think I've developed some affinity for it, but I certainly haven't mastered the finicky arts of stuffing and deep-frying.  Every time I try I tell myself that there's no need to master every single tasty culinary technique, but eventually an impulsive desire to make a recipe that's caught my eye undoes my resolution.  I love stuffed chiles, even the standard suburban tex-mex variety, and so I found myself caught in the throes of chaos, fingers mired with goopy batter, a wok filled with hot oil and splattering, frothing chunks of cheese that had slipped out of the roasted chiles, which had likewise slipped from their coatings of flour and egg.  All I could do was scoop everything out of the wok, drain it of excess oil as best I could, drown it in red chile sauce and eat it.  

Today I went for a run, and during a quick cut through a local plot of woods I noticed that with the recent rain mushrooms of all kinds were popping up everywhere.  I noticed many russulas, some beautiful amanitas which may or may not have been death caps (they had that greenish tinge to their caps), a smelly stinkhorn and a bunch of others that I had no idea what they were.  I even grabbed a handful of some particularly meaty, fresh-looking specimens (picture above) that I thought might be blewits due to a faint purple color on the cap edges and the stalk.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to key them out successfully - their spore print was a medium brown color which should nix the blewit - and I couldn't follow the taxonomic key in Mushrooms Demystified to a convincing conclusion, so I guess I won't be eating them.  Too bad; they smell pretty good.  

I look forward in the coming weeks to getting out my fiddle and my guitar, finishing what will be the fourth draft of my novel, making plans for next year (travel and my apprenticeship), and whatever else might strike my fancy.  

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