Scenes From Ben Woo, 2018

Mushrooms BW 2018

by Brady Raymond

The Ben Woo Foray for 2018 was a nice change of pace from last years foray which featured wet snow and cold temperatures.  This year was warm and sunny, and although a little dry, it was a blast for all who attended.  The mushrooming wasn’t quite what it was like in the first iteration of the foray but specimens were found, identified and generally admired by all who attended.  A variety of mushrooms were found this year, by a count of species, just over two-hundred.  Not bad considering the dry weather.

There were a lot of new faces for the third installment of the Ben Woo Foray as well as some of the more recognizable figures of the club.  Both new and old members came together, many of them volunteering their time to help make this outing the best it could be.

Gomphus sp.

Maple

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Fall has Fallen: Chanterelles are Popping!

Wow!  What a difference a few weeks make.

A month ago the talk was about anticipating the coming autumn mushroom season and the hope it wouldn’t be as bad as last year.   On September 8th, Seattle’s own celebrity weather professor, Dr. Cliff Mass, said “Take out your sweaters and rain gear”.  I don’t know about you, but I think I missed that transition until a few days later when we had a few days of overcast and even a little drizzle. I didn’t get my hopes up, because after some overcast and even a bit of drizzle we got just as many sunny days. Soon the overcast and occasional drizzle was more typical than not and we seemed to be settling into a nice damp Pacific Northwest autumn. Continue reading

A Taste Of Fall To Come

 

Summer Chanty 2018 coast

by Brady Raymond

As most of Washington State sweltered this last week, coastal Washington was cool and misty. The family and I got away for a long weekend out in Moclips, the cooler weather was a nice respite from the oven baking further inland and what would you know there were Chanterelles growing too.  The golden beauties pictured above were found about 100ft. above sea level just over a sandy bluff from the ocean.

Our trip was more focused on all things beach, so, unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to scour the woods too well but, I imagine that there are more to be found for someone with the time.  There were a number of specimens nearby that were a bit too small for the plate but looked as though they would surpass what I had collected in about a week or so.

I also came across a few Russula, an unknown gilled mushroom and a few Galerina.  Things were looking pretty good and if you need a taste of the fall to come, head to the coast and try your luck.

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Fresh Chanterelle pizza in July?  Yes, it’s true you can find mushrooms in the summer here in WA.  You just need to find areas where the weather is more reminiscent of the spring or fall.

 

Wild Mushroom Recipes 2.0

1969 PSMS cookbook - cover

by Derek Hevel

On June 17th, some of the PSMS cookbook team met for our first official cookbook potluck!  Sunny day, some fun engaged cooks, and some tasty mushroom dishes.  We met in Heather and Chris’ yard for some culinary tasting and cookbook discussions.  Our two hosts, Sarah and myself took some time to “act out the process” of making mushroom recipes, taking photos and saving recipes of prepared dishes, and tasting dishes so we will have an idea how it will go over the next year.  The four of us also got into a richer discussion about the cookbook’s content, organization, photos, and style.  We had the 1969 cookbook and some contemporary cookbooks to review for possibilities and directions, and I think we made real headway in imagining the finished cookbook itself.

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The food:

Heather’s Mushroom Pâté

Sarah’s Mushroom Potato Bake

Derek’s 6 types of Stuffed Morels

Everything was delicious!  I couldn’t ultimately tell you what went into each of my stuffed morels since the cooking process turned a bit experimental at moments, but I’ll try again with more precise measurements.  The iPhone photos I took are ok, but I’ll level up to a better camera and a proper lighting setup soon.

 If you’re a PSMS member and want to join the cookbook team, let me know!

dfhevel@gmail.com

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Is It Really Over?

Noah 2018 Morels

by Brady Raymond

I keep reminding myself that things are cyclical, not necessarily circular but more likely some form of a distorted oval.  Yes, the seasons make their rounds but they do it differently from year to year.  Some seasons bucket loads of mushrooms are brought in by almost anyone that glances way of suitable habitat and yet other years you scratch by the best you can.  All of this is overlaid on a 3-D geography interacting with weather systems both worldly and cosmic.

Why are some year’s seasons stellar while others kind of, well, meh?  I like to think it is everything else in life, but it is likely that my own distractions shielded the mushrooms from my lustful gaze.  Maybe my brain wasn’t fully tuned into them this year, maybe I need to find new spots altogether, maybe the last Morel to have ever existed has been picked, put into a basket and taken home to be eaten by some newbie undeserving of such a tasty forest treat.  Oh, the horror if that were to be true.  I did, however, find enough this year to feed well upon, and I am thankful for all that nature has provided me, yet I still I want more, more from a season that seems to be breaking fast.

Morels Eagle Creek 2018

It’s not much to look at but, they are all mine so at least there is that.

 

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Morel Hunting In Washington

 

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Oh, the glory.

 

by Brady Raymond

What will be the outcome for the “Spring 2018 Washington Mushroom Season?”  Only the future knows.  However, I know that I’m finding Morels at various elevations.  I also know that I’m loving every second of it.  I worry a little that the weather is going to get too hot too quick and before we know it the season will be over.  I cast these thoughts aside though, and I focus on the task at hand, which is quite simple, “To find as many Morels as I can.”

So far, the pickings have been a little slim for me, but what I have found has been thoroughly enjoyed.  I’ve seen a few other folks while out and only one looked to have a bag with very much in it, so I don’t think I’m doing too bad.  The two times I have been out this season We’ve collected enough to feed three for both breakfast and dinner.  These are meager pickings comparatively speaking but, one has to be thankful for anything Mother Nature is willing to offer up.

 

2018 Morel Breakfast

Even the simplest of meals is awesome cooked over campfire coals, especially breakfast.

 

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Winter Into Spring

 

Hyphloma?

If you want to learn about mushrooms gather round for Brian’s table tours at PSMS field trips.

by Brady Raymond

Morels are here, and that means it’s time to gear up and head out.  I have reports of landscape Morels being found in the Puget Sound lowlands and as warmer weather moves in we can start moving up into the mountains.  Landscape Morels are good but mountain Morels are better and probably cleaner too.  Make sure if you find landscape Morels to be discerning when picking them for the table.  Many urban landscapes are fouled with pesticides and other harmful contaminants, caution is urged when collecting near human populations.  If you are lucky enough to spot some locale landscape Morels count it as a good omen for the rest of the season.

Spring also means the beginning of the 2018 PSMS field trip season.  If you’ve been on field trips in the past you probably already know that it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms and if you haven’t been on a field trip let me reiterate, it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms.  There is no substitute for getting out in the woods and finding mushrooms first hand, taking in all of the peripheral clues and of course having access to one of PSMS’s most valuable resources, Brian Luther.

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Southwestern New Mexico

NM Lichen 1

by Brady Raymond

I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that Morel season may be starting early for me this year, as I jetted across western skies on my way south to Silver City, New Mexico.  I had found a few articles online about mushrooming down yonder but I couldn’t find much on the topic.  All I really had to go on was the weather and as things go around here, things down there seemed just about perfect.  For those of you interested only in mushrooms, I’ll be up front, I didn’t find much.  However, it was a good exercise in getting my eyes tuned up for the season albeit maybe tuned a little sharp as I was looking for cacti.

Silver City is located in Grant County in Southwestern New Mexico, it rests at 5900 ft. and is home to around 10,000 people.  I’ve visited this region some fourteen years earlier on a road trip with a friend just out of high school and things still looked pretty much the same.  One thing that caught my attention on this trip was the incredible abundance of lichen, all sorts of the stuff coating rock and tree alike.  I’m no lichen expert so these couple of photos will have to suffice, but trust me when I say it was everywhere, adding little splashes of color to the browns and grays that dominate the landscape.

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Lichen, lichen everywhere.

NM Emory Pass 8200ft.

Emory Pass 8200 ft.

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Color In The Dark Of Winter

Waxcaps In Seattle City Parks

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Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens

by Paul A. Hill

In the dark days of winter, I’m still thinking of mushrooms, but sometimes they are hard to find.  Luckily in January, I often start seeing Waxcaps in my local wooded city parks. I believe there are at least three species I have spotted over the years in Seward Park on Lake Washington in SE Seattle.  All of the following photos were taken in 2017.  A note on usage, Waxy Caps or Waxcaps are both names used for several related genera in Hygrophoraceae family.  Above is a picture of the common red Hygrocybe with lots of yellow, but little, if any white.  I identify it as H. aurantiosplendens, generally because of the colors and size.

The following photo is of a ragged H. aurantiosplendens showing the orange-red gills.  In January, I often come across these orange-red Hygrocybe which have become tattered.  It appears the mice and slugs in the park nibble on them through the winter.  Since these Hygrocybe seem to be the first ones up in January and there are not very many of them, they seem to suffer more nibbles then those which come up in larger numbers later in the winter.

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Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens, this specimen has seen better days.

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Roasted Chicken Chanterelle Carbonara

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by Erin Raymond

Ingredients used: Chicken, olive oil, pasta, chanterelle powder, egg, parmesan, salt, pepper, chili powder.

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First, I roasted a whole chicken rubbed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chanterelle powder.  I set the chicken on top of some carrots and onion to keep the chicken off the bottom of the pan.  You could also roast some chicken thighs if you do not want to roast a whole chicken.

When the chicken was almost done, I cooked the pasta.  In a medium bowl, I whisked 2 eggs with about a cup of grated parmesan and about 2 tablespoons of chanterelle powder.  Once the pasta was done and strained, I returned it to the pot, removed the pot from the heat and quickly whisked in the egg, cheese and chanterelle mixture.  Note:  it is important the pot is not too hot so you don’t scramble the egg mixture.

I topped the pasta with the roasted chicken, basil, some delicious Basque chili powder that I received for Christmas, a bit more parmesan and some salt and pepper.  The result was excellent and the chanterelle flavor really came through.  We will definitely be making this again in the future!

Bonus quick recipe:  Think of a recipe.  Add chanterelle powder.