Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lonesome Pines

    In normal years past I have had some difficulty finding Pine mushrooms (Tricholoma magnivalare) with any degree of consistency.  This is obviously not a normal year!  I had been told recently by a women who sells mushrooms for a living that every ten years or so there will be a bumper crop of these mushrooms.  I'm beginning to think she was telling the truth. 
Disclaimer: (It's a noted fact that mushroom gatherers have been known to stretch the truth on occasion)
     So far this year I have managed to collect around 25 pounds of these gems and I have broiled, baked, fried, sautéed, steamed, dried and frozen all those that weren't full of worms.  Oh yes ...  did I mention that insects love these things also?  There is nothing more disheartening than cutting into the stem of a Pine and seeing a bunch of little worm holes. 
     Now I know of people that ignore this fact and cook them anyway claiming the added protein is actually good for you but I'm not one of them ....  Most of the protein that passes my lips (at least intentionally) was very recently clothed in feathers .... not housed in a cocoon!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bear's Head Edible?

Took a drive to Cathedral Grove today hoping that the "touristy types" had retreated for the season so we could spend some time looking for mushrooms.  We were right on time.  There were only 3 other vehicles in the parking lot and not a sound of a critter under 20 years of age ...  Heaven!  Must be getting old as the sound of children's voices is like a thousand fingernails screeching on a blackboard.  We hadn't walked far when we came across our first Herecium abietis (Bear's Head) which was really quite small.  This second one took quite a bit longer to find but it was worth the wait.  They really resemble icy frozen waterfalls.  Finally a chance to taste one.  If this is my last post then you know the damn thing killed me ...

Hopefully --- To be Continued ....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You know you've had a great day when you manage to come home with three Cauliflower mushrooms (Sparassis radicata).  I think I only managed to find 2 all of last year and we found three in one day today. 

If you have never tasted mushroom soup made with one of these then I suggest it's time you add the experience to your "bucket list".  They really do have a unique flavour and smell.  The hard part is cleaning the damn things.  They are usually full of coniferous needles and spiders.  But if you don't mind the extra protein then you don't have to be too fussy ....  besides ....  just how bad could spiders taste anyway?

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Silence Of A Waterfall

    The quiet and solitude of a corner of my property.  How can something as noisy as a waterfall that fills the late summer air with it's sound create the feeling of total silence?  It's as if the normal sounds of the neighbourhood are being masked to the point of completely disappearing.

  Then the quiet is shattered by the sound of a rock smashing into my fence.  One of these times I'm going to get lucky enough to hit that damn cat that comes to taunt my Koi ....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just Pineing Away

Finally!!!  It's taken me a couple of years to find a decent amount of Pine mushrooms (Tricholoma magnivalare) but today made it all worth the wait.  My wife and I had been out looking for a Cauliflower mushroom that I had left to get bigger 2 weeks ago when I came across a small fortune in Pines.  When I got the bunch home and weighed them I was surprised to find I had collected 7 pounds and 10 ounces of them.  Damn!  I may have to buy a couple of more trays for my dehydrator to accommodate this bounty.

You know some days just ARE better than others.  This was a very good day ....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Comforts of Home

The comforts of a die-hard mushroom picker.

A little carrot ..
a little celery ..
a little onion ..
a couple of diced chicken breasts ..
a little chicken stock
flour for thickening
and a FULL pound and a half of fresh picked Chanterellles!!!

Cover with an appropriate crust
brown until golden ...
Open the Chardonnay ...

What else is left to do on earth?  MMMMmmmmm  As I said .... Comfort food!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My "Honey" Do List

  This mushroom has been on my "list" for some time and this weekend I finally found a tree sporting a bunch in great shape.  This is Armillaria mellea also known as the Honey Mushroom.  It is a parasitic mushroom and often times will kill it's host tree.  They are normally seen growing on the ground around the base of the tree but this group I found was several feet up from the base.  An indicator of this mushroom is the persistent ring that is still on the stem at maturity.  The books list the taste as mild to bitter so I will soon find out if this is as edible as I have been told.

  Once again....  enough butter, salt and pepper would make even mud taste good.  Or so I've been told.