Delicious Blewit Soup

4 Jan

Picking blewits in the winter is lots of fun. There are not many other edible mushrooms to be picked in the cold months, but they take some time to find, being covered with leaf litter.

Usually we find them in our secret spots, have a blast picking them, cause they are usually in large numbers. Then we give them away.

Why do we give them away? Well let’s just say that we didn’t know how to cook them.

One time, I tried cooking them down, and I almost got sick. The smell was so overpowering, and looking at the slimy residue that the mushrooms were leaving behind, did not help at all.

Yesterday, we went to take Enoki for a nice run in the woods. It was such a beautiful day outside, we  put on our sneakers, and out of the door we were. We went to one of our secret spots, and we found nothing at first, and by luck, Tradd saw some bumps in the leaf litter, and sure enough, we went home with 2 dozen blewit mushrooms.

We got them home, and  I made a very brave decision to cook them up in a soup.

I cut off the stem bases with the leaf litter and dirt for Blewit Burritos and Blewit Bombs. Here are some videos from our youtube channel that show you how to make a blewit burrito, and a blewit bomb if you picked some, and you want to make your own patch.

Blewit Burrito:

Blewit Bomb:

Here goes the recipe. Tradd got it from Tim Geho, a very good friend who is a mushroom encyclopedia.

Creamy Blewit Soup
From Joe’s Book of Mushroom Cookery

1 cup Blewits, sliced thin
1 T. fresh shallots, chopped – I subbed onions for shallots, since I didn’t have any
1 T. butter, melted
1 cup half cream, half milk
1 cup rich chicken stock – I only had vegetable stock cubes, so I dissolved one in a cup of water
1 t. anisette – I subbed with a few drops of anise extract
salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks, beaten and mixed with 1/4 cup cream

1. Wash the mushrooms, and saute them with the shallots in the butter over a medium heat. You want to draw the liquid out of the mushrooms, but you do not want to let it evaporate. Saute for about 2 minutes.
2. Add the half-and-half, stock, anisette, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Bring the mixture back up to heat, but do not let it boil excessively.
4. Slowly thicken the soup by adding the egg yolk and cream mixture, while stirring the soup gently. Stop adding when the soup is just shy of the proper consistency, and stir. Then take off the heat immediately and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. You may have to stir the soup again before serving.

The soup was absolutely delicious. You must try it.

Chanterelle Infused Vodka

15 Jun

I just made chanterelle vodka, it was sooooo easy.
I am watching it and it is already turning a nice peach color. When it is done infusing, I am going to strain it through a coffee filter, and maybe find another recipe for the alcohol doused chanterelles.

Chanterelle Vodka - once the mushrooms have sunk to the bottom, the vodka is ready to be served.

Yesterday I went to the liqour store and picked up 1.5 gallons of the plainest vodka I could find.
The jug I used is 1 gallon, and I found it in the woods when Tradd and I were morel hunting. I knew it was going to come to a good use :)

Recipe
– 1 gallon vodka
– enough fresh chanterelles that will fill up a quarter of your 1 gallon jug
– 1 gallon jug

Directions
– put the chanterelles into the jug
– pour the vodka over them
– close up the bottle, and let sit
– ready for drinking when all the chanterelles have sunk to the bottom of the jug

Here is another recipe that I am going to make later with the left over vodka, when Tradd bring me some caraway seeds from the store.

Recipe: Spiced Mushrooms in Alcohol
– 1 cup chanterelles
– 1 tsp caraway seeds
– 1 lemon
– 1 red chili
– 1.5 cups vodka

Combine all ingredients into a clean jar, pour vodka over them, when mushrooms stop floating, it is ready to serve. Chill before serving.

Plenty of Chanterelles

12 Jun

We have been so busy this year, and we didn’t do to well for the morel season in the spring, so Tradd and I were itching to get out and hunt some mushrooms. And it so paid off today.

We got our morning chores done, packed up the dogs and set off to an adventure. Mushrooms are everywhere in the Upstate, South Carolina right now, since it has been raining so much. Purple, red, green, brown, yellow, orange EVERYWHERE. I love it. And who wouldn’t? Nature is so beautiful, beech trees, oaks, indian pipes, rattle snake orchids, birds of all kinds, turtles, creeks, rocks, grass, sunshine, moss, and so much more. For me having a camera on me is essential. I am always snapping photos, mostly mushrooms cause, well I am into mushrooms the most.

There is so much free food out there, food that is of very high quality. Mushrooms that you would pay very high dollar for in the grocery store.

Today’s focus were chanterelles. I would say we probably picked about 15-20 pounds of chanterelles. We found a ton of black trumpets too, which are in the chanterelle family. And then also pink and salmon chanterelles. If we got out there earlier, and kept going till it got dark we would have easily picked over 60 pounds. It was so much fun.

Other edible mushrooms we found were quilted russulas, lactarius volemus (I call them milkies), some edible boletes, hedge hogs. And then there were some poisonous ones like the destroying angels and other amanitas, satan’s boletes, and some cortinarius. But edible or poisonous we love them all.

And the dogs (Enoki & Wednesday), at the beginning they were just like two wild dogs running around, chasing each other, getting into the creeks and all muddy, and then rolling around in leaves and dirt. By the time we were thinking about turning around and going home, they were very tired, dragging their feet, and their tongues hanging out.

Afterwards we went to Mellow Mushroom, and asked their staff if they could put some of the chanterelles we found on our pizza. Yummmmmy! It was so good. We even sliced one chanterelle and put it in our Magic Hat #9. Tasty.

Anyways, all this mushroom talk must have gotten you hungry. Here is a recipe for a dish I made last night with Chanterelles (Garrett, our farm helper and mushroom lover brought us some he picked in the back of his house). I call it the:

Creamy 8-Ball Chanterelle Soup (for 2 people)

Ingredients:
2 eight ball squashes
1/4 lb fresh chanterelles
4 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
heavy cream
fresh parsley
fresh tarragon
spicy seasoning
salt
pepper
olive oil

Directions:
1. Cut the tops off the eight ball squashes, and take out the seeds, making them look like awesome edible containers, where you will later pour in your chanterelle soup. Put the squashes in the oven at 450F, so they will become soft. I kept mine in there for about 20 minutes.
2. Finely chop the garlic and onion, and sautee on olive oil, then add in the sliced chanterelles.
3. Let cook for 3 minutes constantly stirring.
4. Add in heavy cream
5. Cook for 3 minutes
6. Add in your fresh chopped parsley, tarragon, spicy seasoning (as much as you want), salt and pepper
7. Cook another 2 minutes
8. Pour into the edible squash containers
9. SERVE

Very delicious! Enjoy :)

CHANTERELLE POINTERS
If you pick 20 lbs of chanterelles, there is no way you will eat them all in a week, and if you will not sell them to a restaurant, you will have to somehow preserve them. They do not preserve well if you dry them out, unless you will put them in a blender and powder them, and then use the powder as seasoning in dishes.

The best way to preserve them otherwise is to sautee them lightly in olive oil, and then you can put them in the freezer for future use.

Some other ways you can preserve them is to pickle them, or make chanterelle vodka. I have never tried this before, but I think I might next week. I will let you know how it turns out.

Sad, sad day. RIP Earl, Earl and Red Chicken

10 Feb

Tradd and I went to Flat Creek yesterday, and returned around 9 PM. Went to close the chickens down and to feed the rabbit. The chickens were out and about all day, since we have two dogs, we figured they would protect them, if anything came to eat them. Really bad idea.

Now 3 of the chickens are dead, and one is injured. We are on the way right now to see Dr. Outlaw, take Earl to get fixed up. Will update later.

UPDATE: Looks like Earl will be OK. She has been eating well and drinking water, but her butt is torn up.
Tradd thought that she will not be able to grow any more feathers in that area, but Dr. Outlaw said that she would. He put some kinda cream on her and gave her drops.

we also found out who killed the other 3 chickens, and it was our own dog Wedensday. Nos she has tasted the blood of a chicken, and she will not stop until she kiils them all. I have been reading about how to rehabilitate a dog, and apparently the most effective thing to do is to tie the dead chickend to the dog’s neck, until it starts rotting, and then it will never touch one again. I couldn’t even go look at the dead chickens, so traumatized.

So is the life on a farm.

Mushroom Tasting

28 Sep

yesterday, tradd and i went to the clemson experimental forest, excited that we will find tons of mushrooms since it’s been raining alot in the upstate. our dogs enoki and wednesday joined us in the adventure.

there are so many trails  in that forest, we see tons of people mountain biking, horse riding, jogging,  hiking. it is easy to get lost. NOTE TO SELF: get a map of the Clemson Experimental Trail system. we got lost, and I ended up having to carry the little dog in my backpack for a large part of the trail cause she could not walk anymore. it was cute at the beginning, but once her weight started affecting my back, LOL, i was ready for tradd to carry me.

Olga and Wednesday

the mushrooming was not that prolific, but we did find some edible mushrooms: witch’s butter, beefsteak, puffballs, parasols, astroboletus betula. We really wanted to find a maitake, but no luck, we did find a large stump that was covered with chicken of the woods, but it will have to wait till next time, it was way too old to be picked. but at least we know now where it is :)

Later at home i cleaned and prepared small samples of all the edibles we found.

AUSTROBOLETUS BETULA
Everyone that knows me also knows that i am not a big fan of eating boletes. there is just something about them, slimy cap, slimy tubes, and you can usually not cook the sliminess out, at least that is my experience.  So i figured, i would slice, and deepfry the mushrooms. I crisped them to death, literally, but they were very tasty after that. lemony, i thought, they could be used in cooking with seafood, or can be put over salad to replace croutons. just a thought.

Austroboletus betula

BEEFSTEAK (click to see video)
the beefsteak mushroom that Tradd found was quite large, and was a young specimen, so I was able to use most of it. when he picked it, the pushroom started secreting reddish juice, it was pretty interesting. I think the reason that it got its name beefsteak, first cause it looks like one, it has a pretty meaty texture to it, and it bleeds red juice. however it tastes very lemony. I prepared it two ways last night: 1)sauteed a piece on olive oil 2)dipped in egg/flour, and fried it. the sauteed pieces were tangy, had a uncooked bacon type of texture, i didn’t like it very much, but the fried ones were delicious. tradd’s thought that it could be eaten with seafood. It was a little lemony, but not too much. the rest of the mushroom ended up in the dehydrator.

Beefsteak Mushroom

PARASOLS
parasols are awesome and very tasty mushrooms. we never find enough of them though. My cousins Andrea and Corinna tell me stories how in germany, they go mushroom hunting with their grandpa in the woods, and they always find tons of parasols everywhere. I wish that was the case here as well. it’s OK though, cause Tradd has cloned the stems, and he will make a bunch of parasol spawn, and then i will make my own parasol garden. anyways back to the cooking: off course i dipped the caps in egg and flour and fried them in a shallow pan. mmmmmmmmmmmmm, they were so delicious, i mean really delicious, way better than a portabella mushroom. if you have to wash the caps though before you cook them, make sure you get all the water out.

parasol mushroom

PUFFBALLS
if you find a puffball, and it is marshmallowy white inside and there is not other structures in there, then it is a good edible puffball. their sizes range from pea size to valleyball size. I never really found any good recipes for a puffball, so i tried some things on my own. byt the way, if you see puffballs on the side of a road, leave it be, don’t pick it. they are such great absorbers of all the nasty stuff that comes out of a tailpipe of a car. also, once it starts yellowing inside, it is not for cooking anymore.

i choped the shrooms in half, and they smelled so much like parsley.

Puffballs
so this is how i cooked them. I soaked them in egg for a while, since they are so spongy, and absorbent. then i rolled them in flour, and fried them in a shallow pan for a while, until they were nice and golden. they actually poofed up in the pan. they ended up looking like pigs in the blanket. I tried one, and its consistency was just like a marshmallow, and it was kinda tasteless. maybe i should have soaked it longer, and maybe in some beanutbutter sauce or something.

i think maybe the puffball mushroom would be better in a dessert recipe.

if anyone has a great puffball recipe, i would love to try it, i dehydrated a bunch of pufballs, they are on standby.

WITCH’S BUTTER
why would anyone in their right mind want to eat this mushroom, hehe? I am fascinated by it. it is so bright  yellow, and galatinous, and it can cover up a dead tree or a log very quickly. i keep hearing that it is edible but it has no nutritinal value. so we tried it last night, hehehehe. again, it is very gelatinous, and a little slimy, so I proceeded to crisp it to death with some salt and cajun spices. i think it would be good for sprinkling it on a salad. I would never put this mushroom in a soup. Tradd said it tasted like calamari.

Witch's butter

So there you go, it was a fun mushroom tasting.

Meripilus polypore

23 Sep

Tradd and I went to Mellow Mushroom in Clemson for a light lunch yesterday. Afterwards, we decided to check out some spots, since it has been raining alot.

Tradd’s mushroom radar went off, and we found a jack o’ lantern patch (Tradd knew where  it was from last year) Then we proceeded to go from tree to tree, and he just kept labeling each tree but the mushroom that was feeding on it.

Mushrooms were everywhere, agaricus, parasols, puffballs, so we picked a bunch. Meripilus is everywhere as usual. We picked two nice young clusters, and took them home with us.

At home, Tradd disappeard into the lab with the parasols that I found. His intent – to clone them.

I cleaned, and sliced the three gigantic puffballs, and lined them up in the dehydrator, I had to save them until I come across a good recipe. The meripilus also got sliced, and was in the dehydrator que. I threw some of it in the chicken soup together with some woodears. Once in there, I watched it turn completely black, hence it’s name, black staining polypore. First time I cooked it. And it was goooooood.

Not much else you could use this polypore for, since it is quite woody. Tradd’s motto, dry it and powder it. i have used the mushroom powder before in mushroom soups, and also to “bread” fish and other meats. It works pretty good.

Blewit Madness – Winter ’08

21 Jul

(NOTE: this is an old blog  ( December 18, 2008) I transferred it from blogspot)

What a beautiful day today. It is mid december and it was 65-68F outside. And on top of that -sunny. Aaaaaah! I was itching to be outside today, but my day job keeps me stuck to the computer most of the day.

Tradd was outside planting blueberry plants, all the doors and windows were open, the new kittens were hanging out outside, and off course I was taking multiple breaks, visiting Tradd.

Then Tradd mentioned we should go to our new Blewit spot. And I was like, OK!!!!! So I clocked out of work early (bad Olga, bad), and we drove to Clemson, and guess what.

WE FOUND 4 KILLER BLEWIT PATCHES

Tradd with blewits

I was so happy. Most of them, Tradd said we were going to use for just harvesting their stem butts. I should explain that. Blewits are one of those mushrooms that you can propagate straight from their stems. You don’t need a lab. It is the coolest thing, and it really works. We have this procedure outlined on our website. Here is the link.

Clitocybe nuda

 Anyways, back to the glorious picking. Luckily we had a basket with us, we filled it up to the top, no more mushrooms could even fit in there. Around 20 lbs of Blewits. Awesome!

Blewit

We took them home and cleaned them for two hours, I thought it was never going to end, now they are steaming in a huge pot, they will end up in the freezer, once we figure out some great recipes, they will get cooked for real. And since it is 11:00 pm, that ain’t going to happen tonight.

A little bit about blewits. It’s latin name is Clitocybe nuda. It used to be Lepista nuda. It is a fall/winter mushroom.

A week ago we went up to Asheville for the Asheville Mushroom Club holiday party. AMC is a kickass mushroom club, and we are members. Check them out here. And their parties are off the chain. Anyways every year on the way there, we stop in Brevard at another of our secret blewit spots, and we found some just like the year before, and they were completely frozen, LOL. They like the freeze. They actually need the freeze to fruit.

Blewit mushrooms

They are purplish to beige in color, and can be confused with some other purplish looking mushrooms that fruit aroud the same time, like the Cortinarius species, which are not very good to eat, and can be quite poisonous. So if you are out there mushroom hunting, have your field guides handy, and please be a 100% sure that you have got a blewit, before you eat it.

This one was covered with leaves before I found it

They can be a bit slimy when cooked down. I learned a little trick from David Arora’s book. Sautee them on max heat with no oil, and sprinkle them with salt to draw out all the moisture out of them. After all the moisture is out, cook them for a few more minutes, stir them so they don’t stick. Then cook them the way you like, and that should do the trick. :)Cooking with mushrooms

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