it is that time again, my favorite, especially in this pacific north-west, this oregon, that washington, along the coast, by the river and in the mountains above, where pine trees grow the matsutake hides under a cover of leaves. hard to find, but easy to pluck once revealed and uncovered. this year there is a glut of these mushrooms on account of the long summer and the sudden rain. you'd think the abundance might reflect the price, of course not. between thirty to fifty dollars per pound for the best. this is inexpensive, compared to japan, where one perfect 'number one' can cost you a hundred.
stephanie likes to have her matsutake grilled on a bed of pine branches. this is the ultimate, wouldn't you know. crunchy and fragrant of pine, hence: 'matsu'-pine, 'take'-mushroom. it works well with a sauce concocted of a gentle soy, infused with myoga and a splash of yuzu.
to roast the mushroom in hazelnut butter is yet another way, some tiny german butterballs on the side. but remember: you don't have to have everything in perfection, you only need to master one to go to heaven.
niagara grapes are in their oh-so-short season. it's like one time in the market and that's it. gone. at least here in that pacific coast version of this wonderful translucently green grape. their scent fills the room, their skin is tough and they're by no means seedless. oh, but that juicy fragrance!