The pineapple express that flooded local rivers this past week also extended a mushroom season that looked just about kaput. I was surprised to find a good fruiting of matsutake in the Olympic lowlands in addition to some passable chanties and a single porcino. Actually, I can't say precisely whether the recent balmy/rainy weather is strictly of Hawaiian origin (we need Cliff Mass for that), but I can say that the matsutake were number 1 buttons, worm-free, and retailing at Uwajimaya for the bargain price of $35 a pound. For a moment I even considered selling my stash, but then I came to my senses.
I had a few pounds, so I made another sukiyaki and used the rest for Gohan. This is an exceptionally spare recipe that shows off the unique aroma of the matsutake ("red hots and dirty socks," as they say) and is mostly executed by the rice cooker.
2 1/2 cups Japanese short-grain rice, thoroughly washed
2 1/2 cups water
1-2 matsutake mushrooms, sliced or shredded
1/3 cup carrot, diced
4 tbsp sake
4 tbsp soy sauce
Put rice and water in cooker and set aside for 30 minutes. Add matsutake, carrots, sake, and soy sauce, and turn on rice cooker. When rice is cooked, mix up ingredients and empty into a bowl. Cover and let sit 10 minutes before serving.