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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.

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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.

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.