In the So Many Fairies story, “The Fairy Feast,” a sudden change in the backyard of twin brothers Russell and Randolph means that the stonewall gnomes, brook nymphs, and oak tree elves must assemble a “feast” in order to get to know each other so that they can work together. The resulting fairy feast is a special and very potent fairy gathering.
I want to sit down with my little ones, and start a family tradition of listening to this story before Thanksgiving.
The imagery feels like something out of a dream I would've had when I was small. Wouldn't it be lovely to have your meal on a table made of birch tree bark with hydrangea leaf plates? And while I'm not sure I'd really enjoy the taste of “cat bird brownies with colorful insect wings” or “pancakes made of rock flour,” I am sure that such offerings would be a feast for the eyes.
But more than that, I love the idea that of each fairy baking all of their good feelings into their potluck offerings. The “delicious flavor of abundance” and “tangy taste of excitement” and “warm scent of appreciation" — the meals where you can taste all of that are the very best sort of meals.
This week's recipe is my take on something I imagine one might see at a fairy feast. While mushrooms and thyme would, I believe, be at home on both fairy and human tables, I've subbed out gnocchi — a potato-based pasta — for the stones and pebbles the mythical folk prefer. While you can make gnocchi from scratch, most store-bought versions are good, and provide a welcome, easy dinner in the weeks leading up to more involved holiday feasts.
“Pebbles” and Mushrooms with Thyme
(serves 4 as a meal)
32 ounces gnocchi
16 ounces portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons butter, divided
10 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
½ cup vermouth, white wine, or vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan cheese, for serving
Cook the gnocchi according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet with high sides, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Dice the garlic and add it to the skillet, letting it toast for about 30 seconds before adding the sliced mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms over medium high heat, until they're starting to brown.
Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter, then quickly use a slotted spoon to fish the gnocchi out of it's boiling water and add it to the skillet. (Using the slotted spoon allows just the perfect amount of water to cling to the pasta. You can strain it in a colander if that's easier for you, but if you do, reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water and add it to the skillet with the gnocchi.)
Toss the gnocchi with the mushrooms, then allow it to toast undisturbed for about 2 minutes on each side. Add the thyme and vermouth, then turn down the heat just slightly and let the dish come together for 3-4 more minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with parmesan cheese.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.