BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms

Black Trumpet Mushrooms in Maine and Oregon

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There’s nothing like a good Willamette Valley pinot to bring out the earthy flavor of mushrooms. These foraged black trumpets stand out in this slighty creamy, gorgonzola pasta.

Maine and Oregon have so much in common from a culinary perspective: an abundance of fresh seafood, blueberries, lots of freely ranging chickens, cattle and pigs. And mushrooms just begging to be foraged from wooded trails. Unfortunately, my foraging in Oregon was limited to easily identifiable golden Chanterelles. I hope to get more adventurous here in Maine and got a good start today with our first black trumpet harvest.

Two days of casual harvest on a hike near my parents’ place on a lake in Central Maine.

There’s nothing like the serendipity of chancing upon delicious mushrooms while on a hike. It makes the hike more of a hunt. It’s a simple thrill. We saw at least a dozen other mushroom varieties on the hike, but felt too amateur to pick others than the striking black trumpets. Consulting images on the web, I now suspect we saw Lobsters, Yellow-Foot Chanterelles, and Reishis growing on trunks. I’ll have to tag along with someone more senior soon.

Black trumpets are a simple thrill to discover on the damp forest floor.

If you get your hands on some black trumpets (in Oregon my source was The Mushroomery), you must make this pasta dish (assuming you aren’t dairy or gluten-intolerant. My sister did enjoy it with gluten-free pasta).

Black Trumpet Mushroom and Gorgonzola Pasta (recipe courtesy of Tree and Elaine)

1 oz. dried or fresh mushrooms,
minced shallots
1 cup heavy cream (use 1/2 and 1/2 cream; just as good)
1 oz. Gorgonzola dolce
1 lb. penne pasta (used wild mushroom linguine)
1 c. fresh parmesan
minced parsley, (tarragon-opt.)

Before using, soak mushrooms for 30 min. in warm water, drain and rinse
well to get rid of any remains.

Melt butter and add shallots. Saute 7 minutes,
Then add mushrooms, cream and stir in the Gorgonzola.
Simmer 10 minutes.
Cook the penne with salt till al dente and pour it in skillet with the sauce,
stirring well.
Fold in the parsley and the Parmigiano.

Written by baltimoregon

September 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Chanterelle Chicken Marsala

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Chanterelle Hungarian Mushroom Soup made last fall

How I’ve blogged in my head these many months, but somehow, sleep-deprived as I am with a four-month-old (haven’t blogged since Theo’s birth), it’s hard to dive back in. So I’ll ease in. Here’s a short post. Make Chicken Marsala with the gorgeous wild chanterelle mushrooms in peak season here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m thrilled to expand my wild mushroom soup and wild mushroom pasta repertoire. These meaty mushrooms were the the perfect sub for the shiitake, cremini, oyster blend Emeril calls for. Yes, Emeril, cringe I know. Normally, I shy away from Food Network celebrities. My mother-in-law says his recipes are too involved. But this one is delicious and easy. Don’t buy Emeril’s packaged Creole seasoning. It’s easy to make the spice blend at the end of the recipe. Leave out the two pats of butter at the end, as we did. But you must use dry Marsala wine. I hadn’t touched our bottom since the unctuous Papardelle with Hazelnut Cream recipe from Lincoln’s Jenn Louis I made last year. Serve your Chicken Marsala with Trader Joe’s gummy, addictive Harvest Grains Israeli couscous and quinoa blend. It made for an easy enough, memorable weeknight meal.

Written by baltimoregon

November 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Fungal Feast, Take Two

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Chef Jack Czarnecki's famous white truffle oil: made with real wild Oregon ones, not the chemical lab-produced stuff.

It’s comforting to experience and blog about events we’re having the fortune to experience for the second time in 2010, as we’re well into our second year here. Like with the recent Oregon Truffle Festival and tonight’s Fungal Feast, also in Eugene, which we again attended this year with our mycologist neighbors, Joyce and Dan. The meal (except for the appetizer) was even better this year. Feel free to compare with last year’s review. I was especially excited since the guest chef staging the feast with the Lane Community College culinary students was none other than mushroom specialist Jack Czarnecki, owner of the world-famous Joel Palmer House (where my parents graciously took us for my birthday last year).

Followed by a truffle-infused cheese and salami salad.

A hedgehog mushroom and Yellowfoot winter Chanterelle soup

The meal began with rosemary ciabatta bread dipped in Czarnecki’s glorious white truffle oil, purportedly the only all-natural one manufactured with domestic truffles here in the U.S. Delicious as it was, we couldn’t bring ourselves to pay $30 to bring a small bottle of the oil home. I prefer to enjoy my truffles on rare special occasions. I wouldn’t want to get too used to these things, like the son of the Mycological mushroom distributor at our table who wrinkled his nose at truffles, complaining of “truffle breath” and the way they made him burp. That’s a burp that smells good to me. But when they’re past ripe, a rotting one, such as a rare Oregon Brown (Calapooia) truffle specimen I sniffed tonight, can smell putrid.

The entree: roasted pork loin with dried morels, with winter chanterelle-studded wild rice and an unusual sauerkraut-split pea-porcini mushroom puree on the side.

Buttermilk panna cotta with mapley candy cap mushroom syrup for dessert.

Though last year’s black truffle and gnocchi appetizer was more memorable, it was incredible in the salad tonight how refrigerating the salami and cheese with truffles allows the oils in the fat of the meat and cheese to absorb the fungi’s pungent aroma over a period of weeks. That’s the same process folks use to infuse butter or even eggs (through the shell!) with a truffle’s essence.

The entree was stellar; the Polish-influenced side dishes particularly unique. Dried morel mushrooms floated in a caraway-and-sweet pepper cream sauce bathing the perfectly-braised pork loin. Note to self: go foraging for morels when they appear in April. I fell in love with the creamy Polish kapusta, the humble sauerkraut and split peas dish Czarnecki gussied up with porcini mushrooms. The sweet peas temper the bracing brine of the kraut. I should make some with the jars of homemade kraut sitting in the fridge. This dish was sure new to me. And for dessert: panna cotta (like creamy Jello) topped with a candy cap mushroom syrup. I bid on some of these surprisingly maple syrup-flavored dried mushrooms (only when dried is that sweet aroma revealed). Neighbor Dan said mycologists think candy caps contain the same chemical compounds used in artificial maple syrup. But I did have a winning bid–only $3– for a small bag of hedgehog mushrooms. They’ll make a nice sauce for Valentine’s Day steak.

Written by baltimoregon

February 12, 2010 at 1:39 am

Pretty Frugal Fungal Feast

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Gnocchi with Oregon black truffle and black chanterelles

Gnocchi with Oregon black truffle and black chanterelles

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?

Written by baltimoregon

February 13, 2009 at 12:38 am

The Simplicity of Soup: Wild Mushroom, Spinach & Barley from Atlanta

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I finally had the chance to attempt a recipe from Souper Jenny Cooks, the cookbook from the Atlanta soup diva whose cafe my sister Elaine loves. I just happened to try the “Wild Mushroom, Spinach & Barley Soup” recipe (see below), which Elaine says is one of her favorites.

This is a soup for the peak of fall mushroom season. But I still found the shiitake and oyster mushrooms I needed at the food co-op (mushrooms ain’t cheap, though). Luckily, cremini mushrooms were on sale so I used them too. I added a combo of homemade chicken stock and prepared vegetable broth, and tossed in wild rice because I didn’t have enough barley. Through in some celeriac and chopped cabbage, too. And I’m probably the only person who would have Chinese Shaoxing wine in the house but not dry sherry, so I made that substitution too (the two can be used pretty interchangeably).

It was a healthy, hearty soup. Can’t wait to try more of the recipes. Thanks for the great cookbook, sis! Can’t wait to visit the soup cafeteria in person with you.

Wild Mushroom, Spinach & Barley Soup (Serves 8-10)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

4 cups shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

4 cups oyster mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 cup dry sherry

16 cups low sodium vegetable broth

2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped

2 1/2 cups dry barley

salt and pepper

Heat a heavy duty stock pot and add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add all mushrooms and sherry and saute over medium heat until mushrooms are soft (about 15 minutes). Add vegetable broth and spinach and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in barley and simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes. Add more broth if soup is thicker than you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.

A Note on Cleaning Mushrooms

For this soup, I am very careful about how I clean my mushrooms. First put mushrooms in a colander and shake out any loose dirt or grit. Then, with a damp cloth, wipe down the mushrooms individually. Rinsing mushrooms causes them to absorb excess liquid, which makes them rubbery.

From Souper Jenny Cooks by Jennifer Levison

Written by baltimoregon

January 28, 2009 at 11:52 pm

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Wild, Wild Mushrooms Drag Us Away

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One of the three yellow chanterelles I found on our hike today up Mary's Peak just outside of Corvallis.

One of the three yellow chanterelles I found on our hike today up Mary's Peak just outside of Corvallis.

 My trip foraging for wild mushroomsin October has been one of the more memorable experiences I’ve had thus far in Oregon. So it’s no surprise my parents have gone ga-ga for the state’s champion champignons during their visit here.

For my birthday, we had a marvelous mushroom dinner at the Joel Palmer Housenear McMinnville, a meal that even included mushrooms for dessert in the form of truffle ice cream (I prefer to save the precious fungus for savory recipes!)

 Dad has worked his magic in our Corvallis kitchen, whipping up a spectacular Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup and a chanterelle pasta (made with local spinach fettuccine). Can’t wait to see what he’ll do with the three chanterelles I stumbled upon while hiking Mary’s Peak today.

Now the ‘rents are scheming up ways to smuggle mushrooms back to Virginia with them. Those precious chanterelles, for example, go for as low as $9 a pound here but can fetch as much as $20 to $30 a pound back East. And that’s only on the rare occasions when fresh ones are even available. Ah, a good reminder that life is good here in the fertile (and did I say wet!) Pacific Northwest.

Mom and Dad marvel over abundant but expensive matsutake mushrooms at the Saturday Farmers' Market in Portland.

Look But Don't Touch: Mom and Dad marvel over abundant but expensive matsutake mushrooms at the Saturday Farmers' Market in Portland.

Written by baltimoregon

December 2, 2008 at 1:33 am

Foraging in High Chanterelle Season

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I apologize for my month-plus long hiatus as I just now settle in Corvallis and hope to commense daily blogging in earnest.

We’re embracing all life has to offer here, which on Sunday included a wild mushroom foraging expedition with the new Slow Food Corvallis group here. It helped that it was a perfect nearly 70-degree day that made it hard to accept the rains are coming.

Fluted Pacific golden chanterelles, known as Oregon’s state mushroom, were the object of our search in the shaded woods of Alpine, a rural timber town between Corvallis and Eugene. For those who fear death by poisonous mushroom, the chanterelles are among the easiest to pick out. Their amber color stands out against the damp, loamy forest floor, yet much of the mushrooms’ flesh is concealed under the soil, leaves and underbrush. (Unfortunately that’s not my bountiful harvest below, but I did collect a paper lunch-bag’s worth.)

Our fearlesss guide was Rex Swartzendruber, a professional forager who sells his finds at Corvallis and Salem markets and online at TruffleZone. He spoke with eloquence about the important symbiotic (or parasitic) role mushrooms play in maintaining the Coastal Range forests’ delicate eco-systems, how everything, from the trees to the fungi to the arthropods that crawl and digest the soil beneath them, is connected.

When the timber companies clear-cut the forests, the trees aren’t the only natural resource to go. Chanterelles take 15 years to reappear after a forest has been clear-cut, Swartzendruber said. What’s more, Big Timber, he said, has been blocking access to public forests where foragers are normally free to hunt. “Access for a mushroom picker is everything,” Swartzendruber said of his livelihood.

The deforestation was apparent on our ride back to Corvallis.







The risk of accidentally plucking a poisonous one almost makes wild mushrooms a heightened delicacy. I kept thinking of fugu, which is popularly eaten in Japan but can be lethal if prepared incorrectly.

We avoided false chanterelles with more orange gills and a darker cap. The potently toxic amanitas were the scariest mushrooms we found but could be easily identified with their white-dotted “veil” caps and lacy skirt on the stem, making the lethal mushrooms sound feminine, almost bridal (see below and AVOID).

But the highlight of the day was the $20 three-course mushroom dinner Swartzendruber arranged for us at Sybaris Restaurant in Albany, the city that neighbors Corvallis. Chef Matt Bennett, who graciously hosted us on his day off, was still beaming from recent press he got in The Oregonian about a meal he recently prepared at the James Beard House in New York. For dessert, we got a litle taste of Bennett’s celebrated Oregon black truffle ice cream (made with powder from TruffleZone) but what was really remarkable was the candy cap mushroom panna cotta which had a rich maple flavor that exclusively came from the fungus. The appetizer was leek and potato soup with sauteed lobster and shrimp mushrooms, the later which we found while foraging. When it smells like rotten seafood, it’s too late to pick them. The Russian-inspired main course was lamb two ways: loin with wild mushroom Stroganoff and a particularly memorable “Communist cutlet” lamb patty with chantrelles (the French spelling) on creamy Savoy cabbage. Bennett, who just also opened a more casual Italian cafe near Sybaris, seems committed to a downtown Albany rennaissance. The historic buildings apparently used to house brothels for the timber workers.

Written by baltimoregon

October 27, 2008 at 7:24 am

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