Meatless Monday With Morels Asparagus and Craigslist

by Pamela

Morels_and_Aspargus

Fresh Morels and Asparagus

Bon Jour!  I am back, after a short hijacking by the oh so lovely Mr. Rhinovirus.  But I’m back and it’s time to drink me in like a fine, unexpired, elixir of Cherry flavored Nyquil with a superb vintage hot toddy chaser….ahhhhhh uninterrupted slumber.  Remind me to tell you about the dreams that concoction creates sometime.  It involves little people, bunny rabbits, vivid colors and carnival music…but I digress.

Yesterday was spent poking around the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.  Yes, that’s the market that is sometimes filled with as many celebrities as produce stands.  Yesterday was more fresh fruits and vegetables than celebrities, which was fine with me.  I was on a mission for morels, not morals…that’s a different thing not to be found in Hollywood for sure.  Walking through the crowded market, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw on the hunt for the perfect pair of Mahnolo’s, albeit dressed a little less spectacularly.  Come to think of it…turning 4 food bloggers loose on the Hollywood Farmer’s Market would be just like an episode of Sex in the City – we could call it Mayhem at the Meet Market.

I was looking for fresh morel mushrooms.  Living in Los Angeles, you’d think they’d be easy to find, but fresh morels have alluded me until yesterday.  This has actually become a bit of an obsession for me lately.  Thankfully, I was able to get my hands on some beautiful morels.  Yes, they’re a bit pricey, but you really don’t need that many of them and they’re very light (yes, I can justify ANYTHING – it’s a blessing and a curse).  Then I had my pick of the asparagus to go with the little morels.  Dinner was decided: Morel and asparagus pasta with light and creamy sauce.

Craig was thrilled that I was finally going to cook something – anything.  While being held captive by Mr. Rhinovirus, Craig has been left to his own devices for dinner.  Most evenings consisted of takeout Mexican (which is his favorite), but I think he actually was getting a little tired of it (he would NEVER admit this to me though).

Relationship Advice

How Not to Write a Craigslist Ad: (This is an actual post on Craigslist today)

Erin, I am certain that your life has very-very few missed connections, and judging by what I often read here, you are not the type to post. But maybe you have a sinful pleasure of going through these once in a while, or maybe your friend would see it. I’ve never posted here before either. You took my number, and I am guessing it was a polite “No thank you, it was nice talking to you, but let’s NOT repeat this”-gesture, and I actually don’t blame you – bar hookups rarely yield anything worth writing home about.
But.
1. You are not from LA – there is hope;
2. If I don’t do post this, at least once – I’ll always wonder;
3. Everyone around this town is already NOT calling anyone else. phone numbers are pretty much obsolete, unless it’s a cry for attention. and so, because of this I would hate to know that you, of all people, are just one of them. And so even if you don’t call, I will believe you became too busy, and then found a boyfriend. Because you’re very attractive, and not in a cheap traffic-stopping way – you’re attractive in a conversation pausing way.
So. I understand perfectly that chances of you calling are slimmer than you dialing a random number and catching me on the other end of the line, but look – you already have the numbers, it never has to be random.
Thank you.

Think what you want about ‘bar hookups,’ but that’s how Craig and I met.  He’s more embarrassed about it than I am (don’t know why because he was the drunk one and I was totally sober).  But seriously dude, why don’t you just come out and say what your real situation is…”I’m 36 years old (that’s in the heading of his ad btw), I have a crappy job working at a pet hotel which pays me minimum wage, I don’t have a car (which in LA makes you a freak of nature because our public transportation is virtually non-existent), and I still live with my mother.  But if all of those things don’t turn you off – YAY!  But I should probably let you know that I have back hair so severe that I have to brush it daily to keep it from matting up and I need a pump to make my pee pee work.  Seriously, with a sad sack post like that the only person who would respond is a Psychologist looking for some pro bono clients.  Or maybe Dr. Drew, since he’s looking for a new show to do now.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Cooked Pasta, with 1/2 Cup of Cooking Water Saved (I used Cellantani)
  • 1 Pound Steamed Asparagus (trimmed to 1″ pieces)
  • 1/4 Pound Fresh Morels (cleaned and trimmed, 1″ – 2″ morels were used in this recipe)
  • 1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • White Pepper
  • Kosher Salt

Directions

In a large saute pan (big enough to hold the pasta, morel mushrooms and steamed asparagus), over medium high heat, add ricotta cheese and milk.  Stir to combine milk and cheese.

Once ricotta cheese has melted and milk has combined, add some of the pasta water to thin the sauce.  Reduce heat to medium.

Add morels and stir.

Stir occasionally and cook morels for 3 – 4 minutes.

Add steamed asparagus pieces to morels and sauce.  Add more water to thin sauce.

Stir in a generous amount of white pepper and add kosher salt to taste.  (Pepper goes really well with both morel mushrooms and asparagus, so you can be generous with it.  Add kosher salt to your preference)  Add in the thyme leaves and stir to combine.

Add pasta to morel and asparagus sauce.  Stir to combine.

Add in Lemon Juice and more pasta water to achieve the sauce consistency you desire.

Pour pasta into a serving bowl and top with lemon zest.

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11 comments

Patty May 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm

OMG, your post his hilarious. I can’t believe the craiglist ad – I hadn’t’t realize that one could find posts like that in craigslist?? I’ve only ever posted/seen the ones about furniture! I have clearly been missing out. Also, the recipe for your asparagus and morels looks super delicious. I just bought some asparagus and don’t feel like turning my oven on to roast them, so we’ll try this recipe!

Pamela May 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Hi Patty – Thanks! Yeah, I stumble over to Craigslist every once in a while to get a good chuckle. I’m with you on the not turning on the oven :)

alexis weigand May 25, 2010 at 11:23 am

Why is everyone doing meatless Mondays?? The dish looks yummy, I’ll have to see if I can find some morels. Also, love the picture. I didn’t know morels were so intricate. I don’t think I’ve ever had them. Thanks for the inspiration to try something new!

Pamela May 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Hi Alexis – I’m guessing Meatless Monday isn’t too popular in Texas ;) . It’s all about serving up one meal a week that doesn’t contain meat. There are several reasons ranging from health to the environment. We do quite a few meatless meals here, usually because I either forgot to buy meat or I forgot to get the meat out of the freezer and thaw it. (hmmmm seems to be a recurring theme there – oh well). Morels are so pretty, that I had to take a picture of just them. I hope you give them a try.

sippitysup May 25, 2010 at 10:52 am

Gorgeous. Thanks for the fun day (and lunch too…next time my turn!) GREG

Pamela May 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Thanks Greg! Oh, we are sooo doing that again. I’m glad you had fun, cuz I sure did. Those burgers rocked…I was craving another one the rest of the day.

the domestic mama May 25, 2010 at 5:40 am

I love the post and the thoughts! Thank you….. I too am having a visit with Mr. Rhinovirus. UGHHHH!

Pamela May 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I’m sorry to here that Mr. R has decided to pay you a visit :( I am so glad that I was finally able to kick him to the curb. Get better soon!

penny aka jeroxie May 25, 2010 at 5:12 am

The morels look awesome! And you are doing Meatless Mondays as well. I am trying to get a list of people I know that are doing it so that we can all link up and spread this cause :)

Pamela May 25, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Hi Penny – Thanks! I’m trying to do Meatless Mondays on a regular basis. Hit me up, I might be able to help you with your list.

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