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Pizza with Morel Mushrooms and Green Onions

Morel Mushroom and Green Onion Pizza-1

A few of my favorite signs of spring are the incredible vegetables that pop up early to remind us of the rich bounty of produce that is heading our way. This list includes asparagus (yes!), peas (nothing like ‘em), greens of all varieties, and for those fortunate to live near cool, damp forests, morel mushrooms.

For those of us who live in the high desert, the morel mushroom is a bit of unicorn, amazing to behold but rarely seen in person. But, this year, through a unicorn trick of her own, my friend Rachael, who lives in Missoula, Montana had a banner year foraging the forests and brought home sixteen pounds (!) of these woodsy gems.

That alone is amazing but she generously shared her haul with me. Isn’t that incredible? I was beside myself when she sent them to me. I have eaten morel mushrooms in restaurants before but I’d never worked with them before.  So, once I opened up the package, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work researching how to store and looking for inspiration on how to prepare them.

How Morel Mushrooms Grow

<In your best Elmer Fudd voice> ‘Be very, very quiet, I am hunting morel mushrooms…’

Typically, Friday nights are not the most productive nights in my kitchen. I am usually tired and likely to be in the mood to put my feet up and enjoy a glass of wine. But, the allure of these mushrooms was just too great. I decided that pizza would be the perfect vehicle for these meaty mushrooms. If you can’t find morels you can substitute any other mushrooms in their place.

Turns out that they are easy to work with so if you happen to spot some at your local farmers’ market, grab them. I cut the stem ends off, split them down the middle vertically and gave them a good rinse. They are pretty dirty because they were plucked from the dirt in the forest. Hey-o! Keep in mind, you don’t want to rinse or wash them until you are ready to use them.

Morel mushrooms-7

How to Make Morel Mushroom and Green Onion Pizza

I sautéed the mushrooms for a few minutes in a little butter and olive oil with pieces of green onions (red or yellow onions would work too). Then, I removed the veggies from heat and rolled out the pizza dough. Note: you can make your own dough from scratch if you are feeling inspired but I like to keep a few packages of Trader Joe’s pizza dough in the freezer at all times.

Roll out the dough into a thin circle and drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Spread the oil around the dough evenly. I also like to sprinkle some salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes over the dough. Then, top with shredded mozzarella, the sautéed morel mushrooms and green onions.

Morel Mushroom and Green Onion Pizza-9

Pop the pizza in the oven for 15 minutes. Take the pizza out of the oven and carefully crack a raw egg into the center of the pizza. I cracked the egg into a small ramekin first to make the process easier (and in case I needed to pick out any egg shell fragments). Cook five more minutes. Take pizza out of the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chopped basil. When you cut into the pizza, the egg yolk breaks and becomes a rich, creamy sauce for the pizza.

The pizza was delicious and special thanks to Rachael for her generosity. I had a ball playing with the mushrooms.

Morel Mushroom and Green Onion Pizza

Easy Kimchi Fried Rice

Easy Kimchi Fried RiceDon’t bother with take-out when you can make fried rice at home in no time at all. The secret is to cook your rice ahead of time. I usually cook it the day before I want to make fried rice but sometimes I will prepare a batch of rice and once it is cool I put it in a freezer bag and freeze it for future use. When you make fried rice you want the rice to be cold and a little dried out, so, it is preferable to not cook it just prior to making fried rice.

I adore kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean condiment of fermented cabbage. I love its funky flavor but know that it can be a bit of an acquired taste for many.  One benefit of kimchi is that it is full of probiotics from the fermentation process.  You can find kimchi in a glass jar in the refrigerated cases in the produce section of many grocery stores. Oftentimes, it will be placed near the tofu, egg roll and wanton wrappers. Adding kimchi to fried rice gives it great flavor but doesn’t overwhelm the dish.

Easy Kimchi Fried RiceAnother great thing about preparing fried rice at home is that you can customize it so it is exactly the way you like it. Add the veggies, protein, or flavors that you love. You can use this recipe as a base and then make it your own by preparing it just the way you want.

Sometimes I will scramble a few eggs and add them into the rice just as I am finishing it up. Other times, I will fry a few eggs sunny-side up and serve one on top of each serving of the fried rice. You can add shrimp, leftover pork or chicken, or pineapple or cashews!

See what I mean?  Once you try this recipe I hope you will be hooked.

Kimchi Fried Rice

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