Pretty Frugal Fungal Feast
How lucky we are to live next door to two wise and kind mycologists (forest mushroom experts). We learned from them about this affordable Fungal Feast the Cascade Mycological Association hosted tonight at Lane Community College in Eugene. We managed to snatch up the last two tickets for the dinner off the waitlist.
The meal didn’t disappoint. The pungent white truffle-infused butter and bread might have even been my favorite part. When put in a jar with a ripe truffle, the fat in the butter naturally absorbs the truffle aroma and flavor, without even making contact with the fruit. The gnocchi appetizer, with the black truffle, asparagus and black chanterelle (trumpet) mushroom cream sauce was our favorite dish. Though after reading Barbara Kingsolver, I shudder at eating asparagus outside of their precious and fleeting spring season. A buttermilk panna cotta topped with syrup-bathed oyster mushrooms surprisingly worked for the dessert. Unfortunately the crusted cod with blacked-eyed peas and chanterelles was bland. It just didn’t work as a dish.
But it was a festive meal and a learning experience for the hospitality and culinary students at Lane Community College. The executive chef at the nearby King Estate Winery planned the menu and took off work to oversee the students in the kitchen today. Hopefully I’ll get back to Lane soon for reporting for my Hechinger community college fellowship. Maybe there’s a story that would get at my dual interests in food and education?