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.

IMG_5963 - Copy

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

 IMG_5966 - Copy

IMG_5973 - Copy

 

 

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.

 

Continue reading

Morel Hunting In Washington

 

Mt. 1

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.

 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

NM Lichen 2

Lichen, lichen everywhere.

NM Emory Pass 8200ft.

Emory Pass 8200 ft.

Continue reading

Color In The Dark Of Winter

Waxcaps In Seattle City Parks

24543158655_ecb50ceeb2_z

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.

23957203139_a0cf379927_z

Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens, this specimen has seen better days.

Continue reading

Roasted Chicken Chanterelle Carbonara

20180113_191109.jpg

by Erin Raymond

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

20180113_181904

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.

 

Deviating From the Norm

Oxychilus draparnaudi?

Oxychilus draparnaudi, I think.  Keep reading to find out how I came to this conclusion.

by Brady Raymond

Well, folks, it’s perfect mushrooming weather, though unfortunately, it is January.  Now, that’s not to say there are no mushrooms to be found, but, it’s unlikely to yield much for the hungry mushroomer. I myself haven’t been out beyond walking my dog and the like. I have spotted some mushrooms but they are either desiccating or desiccated take your pick.  So, why not take an interesting deviation from the norm and talk about some other interesting lifeforms Mollusks, more specifically Gastropods of the land variety.

Why would Gastropods be of any interest to a mushroom hunter?  Most mushroomers I know posses at least in small amounts some degree of nerdism.  I would be willing to bet that if you’re still reading this article you may possess high levels of nerdism.  Undoubtedly you’ve encountered these creatures both in your yard or garden as well as our native habitats.  Heck, you probably have even picked a few off of some mushrooms at one time or another.  Plus, anyone interested in identifying mushrooms will feel at home trying to put names on Gastropods.  There are dichotomous keys similar to what you’d find in an ID book for mushrooms, breaking down different morphological features such as shell size, pneumostome placement on the mantle, flesh textures and mucus consistency.

Mollusk Overview

Mollusk is a Phylum of life residing in the Animal Kingdom. It is a diverse Phylum only exceeded in the Animal Kingdom by Arthropods. There are some 110,000 described species that make up the four main classes consisting of the Chitons, Bivalves, Cephalopods and the Gastropods.

Chitons-are the most primitive mollusks grazing on marine algae in coastal waters.

Bivalves-have hinged shells and filter the water for nutrients.  Mussels, Clams, and Oysters are examples of this group and they are an important species to people as a food source.

Cephalopods-are the most intelligent of the invertebrates.  They have sophisticated nervous systems and are quite mobile.  Many species skin contain chromatophores which allow them the ability to change color depending on mood or for concealment purposes.  Think Squid, Cuttlefish, and Octopus.  One can only imagine what they may evolve to be in 100 million years!

Gastropodsare the largest class of Mollusks.  Most are marine in nature where they evolved but others have adapted to freshwater and land.  Most Gastropod diets are vegetative but a few species are predatory.  Many Gastropods have shells yet others have lost their shells in the evolutionary process.  We will focus on land snails and slugs from here on.

Continue reading

Frosty Mushrooms

Entoloma sericeum?

by Brady Raymond

Cold frosty nights usually spells the end for most mushroomers, but the observant are still rewarded with a plethora of fungal finds.  2017 may not go down as “the year” at least in our neck of the woods but I have valued each moment spent outdoors with my family and have enjoyed very much what nature offered up to us this year.  Although the inevitable cold wet months of winter have yet to set in, the general gloom and sulk of it all are lessened by thoughts of spring and of course, Morels.

The cold weather doesn’t have to be the end of your season, there are plenty of rotten, moldy slimy mushroom carcasses to be found under wet leaves and amongst saturated duff.  Good luck identifying any of them.  There are also conks and other persistent woody fungal fruitbodies, scattered through the forest and parks.  Thankfully, cold weather is relative, and often times what folks around here complain about, folks in other parts would laugh at as being considered cold.  Truth is, winters around the Puget Sound are fairly mild and as long as it gets above freezing during the day, I think it’s worth keeping your eyes open, ready to spot any frosty mushrooms that make themselves apparent.

unkown 2

The two mushrooms on the left were found down the road from my house.  The mushroom on the right is one from my yard.  Are they the same?

Continue reading

Still Going…

IC Hericium abietis

Hericium abietis, Mmm, good.

by Brady Raymond

Fall 2017, is this a mushroom season anyone is going to really remember?  There are mushrooms to be found and an acceptable diversity, but any real quantity seems to be lacking.  Although, quantity is really only important if you are collecting for the pot either for consumption or dyeing.  2017 is probably not the year you would want to start a study on Russulas or Chanterelles.  I have only seen a handful of Russulas this year and most were what other folks had collected.  As far as Chanterelles are concerned the most I’ve seen in one place was the grocery store and they were selling for $17.98 at one point.  I have only found a few handfuls of them myself this year, enough though for Erin to make a few dishes, but none to share.

So, the big question, “Is the season over?”  Well, as evident from the above photo, no it is not.  There are still mushrooms to be found and as long as the weather stays mild as it has been for the last week or so we may be able to milk this season for a while.  I think it’s safe to say that over about 3,000ft. in our area, your chances of finding much of anything are probably limited.  The photo below was taken around 2000ft. and the snow line was not far above that.

IC mt.

The snow line was not far above our elevation of 2000ft.

Continue reading