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Middle-earth Menu: “Button Pickles”

“ “Mushrooms!” ”

By Astrid Tuttle Winegar

Oh look! Pippin has found some wild forest mushrooms. Pippin (and I) know Frodo would appreciate a few mushrooms pickled up in an herby brine. Well, it might be a good idea to harvest fresh mushrooms such as these from a Middle-earth forest, but this is probably not the best thing to do in this world. I would suggest going to your grocer and trying to find the smallest button mushrooms you can. Sometimes I find it hard to obtain cute little mushrooms, but I keep striving—even now. We all have to follow our quests in whatever fashion we can, even if it is merely culinary. I like to have a few of these with lunch, along with some olives, cheese, salami, and crackers; but they’ll also do well on a salad.

“Button Pickles”

4 cups plus ½ cup water

1 pound fresh mushrooms (as small as you can get them)

¼ cup sugar

½ cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons any fresh green herb you like (or 1 teaspoon any dry green herb)

1 teaspoon mustard seed

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Place 4 cups water in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms and bring to a boil again. Lower heat to medium/high and cook 3 minutes. Drain and rinse well in cold water; let stand in colander. In the same saucepan (just rinse it out), combine the ½ cup water and the remaining ingredients and boil for 2 minutes. Swirl pan a few times to mix. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes, uncovered. Put mushrooms in a 1-quart container and pour the vinegar mixture over all. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon. Cover and refrigerate leftovers; keeps about 3 days. Makes about 3 cups.

This is known by the same name in my cookbook.

Photo of author Astrid Tuttle Winegar, creator of Middle-Earth Menu: Sweet and Savory Pork RoastAstrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is now available from Oloris Publishing and Amazon! For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. Visit her website for more information: Astrid Tuttle Winegar | Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. Staff Reporter.

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