Chanterelle Mushrooms!

Chanterelle Mushrooms!

Chanterelles. They are delicious. They have a mild flavor, slightly fruity aroma with an almost peppery taste that lingers on the tongue. Chanterelles are also expensive, since they cannot be cultivated and must be collected in the wild. However, you and I are in luck--as far as the mushrooms are concerned, "in the wild" is anywhere that the mushrooms' preferred trees live. Down where I live on the Gulf Coast, they're in season right now! Believe it or not, this is a suburban lawn. It almost looks more like a forest floor. Those yellow-orange things are chanterelle mushrooms. Chanterelles live in symbiosis with certain types of trees, in this case an oak. They never, ever grow in clusters on decaying wood. Here's a closeup view of a couple of chanterelles, and the buttons of an inedible bolete. Remember, when you are collecting do not be greedy! I only picked a few, and I cleaned them in a bowl of water. Getting all of the grit off is very important! After cleaning I poured the water over the roots of a nearby oak tree. In 3-4 years I may find chanterelles growing there! Anyways, you can see the basic shape of a smooth chanterelle here. They have shallow "false gills," which run along the the underside of the cap and down the stem. How should they be cooked? Chants contain lots of water. I put them in a dry skilled over medium heat, add a pinch of salt and cook them until they release their water. Once the liquid boils off, add just enough butter or to coat the bottom of the pan and sautee the mushrooms until lightly browned. Chanterelles are the classical accompaniment of wild game, venison specifically. They're great with eggs, and should absolutely find their way into an omelet with a robust fresh cheese like feta. Every now and then I also like putting them on a takeout pizza--my toppings are a hell of a lot better than theirs!
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful….

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful….

Finally, spring.

Finally, spring.

What strategies do you use to keep track of your plantings?

What strategies do you use to keep track of your plantings?

Cobaea scandens

Cobaea scandens

Ok, I did it…

Ok, I did it…

Bulb identification

Bulb identification