March Mushrooms of the Month

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Welcome to the March installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Note that “Mushrooms of the Month” refers to the mushroom photos which were submitted for publication in a given month, not necessarily that they are commonly found in that month. … Continue reading

Musings on cooking for the mycophagist

For the mycophagists among us… just wanted to share my new favorite method of preparing mushrooms – roasted!  It’s incredibly easy and can be used as the basis for side dishes or even the main part of a vegetarian meal.  This method can be used with either whole or sliced mushrooms, but using whole or large chunks really looks beautiful, and the end result is that you have a big meaty chunk of mushroom that is crispy on the edges and tender in the middle.  Most fleshy mushrooms are suitable for this.  My favorites are maitake, oyster, and shitake, but even store bought cremini or white buttons work very well.  You can even use dried and rehydrated mushrooms so you can enjoy this with your stash from the fall.

The basic recipe is to preheat the oven to between 400 and 450 degrees, and I like to also preheat the pan at the same time.  Use a large rimmed baking pan such as a jellyroll style pan or large cast iron skillet.  Cut the mushrooms to desired size or leave whole.  Mix about 1.5 lbs of mushrooms with ¼ cup of olive oil or clarified butter in a bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Take heated pan out of the oven, dump in the mixture, arrange pieces is a single layer, and pop back into the oven. Total roasting time is 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the chunks.  Stir or flip the mushrooms about half way through cooking to get both sides crispy.  If the mushrooms are giving off a lot of liquid, you can pour off the excess and return the pan to the oven to finish.  Save the cooking liquid for another use, it’s really flavorful.

Seasoning variation are endless.  Thyme and rosemary are my favorite herbs to add to the mushrooms as they roast.  Chives and parsley are best if sprinkled on top after cooking.  If you want to use garlic, either use whole peeled cloves from the beginning, or add chopped garlic at the half way point so the pieces don’t get burned and bitter. Smoked salt adds another layer of dimension to the dish.  Serve as is, or even top with sour cream or a fried egg.

True to my promise form the fall foray, I would like to share with everyone the recipe for Phyllis Grimm’s “The Old Woodsman’s Oyster Mushroom and Onion Soup.”  This is a mushroomy version of French onion soup, and is a special treat if topped with a slice of toasted French bread and cheese, then browned under the broiler.

The Old Woodsman’s Oyster Mushroom and Onion Soup

  • 3 onions sliced and halved.
  • 4 T butter or margarine
  • 4 cups beef consume or well-seasoned vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups dried oyster or maitake mushrooms (or others)

Melt butter in a stock pot.  Add onions and cook on medium for 30 minutes or until they are tender and starting to caramelize.  Stir occasionally.  Add mushrooms, broth, and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes making sure mushrooms are completely tender.

Makes about 6 one cup servings.

There you have it. This is extremely adaptable, and can be up scaled for a crowd. Using a really flavorful broth or stock is key.   At the foray, I used the fresh maitake Walt had given me a few days before, and roasted it as described above before adding to the soup.

Hope these ideas help keep you warm until summer.

-Sharon Greenberg

Mushroom Risotto Recipe

Yield 6 servings
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Ingredients
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 ounce dried Porcini
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

risotto_ingredients

Instructions
Bring Porcini and 1 cup water to boil in a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes and transfer Porcini with a slotted spoon to a cutting board.
Add broth to the Porcini liquid in sauce pan and just bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and keep warm.
Chop porcini mushrooms. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in deep large skillet on medium heat. Stir in Portobello and button mushrooms and cook until soft (3 minutes). Add Porcini and cook 2 minutes. Remove mushrooms and liquid and set aside.

risotto_saute_mushrooms

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet and add the shallots. Cook for 1 minute and add the rice. Stir rice for 2 minutes to coat with oil.

risotto_rice

When the rice turns a pale golden color pour in the wine and stir continuously until the rice absorbs the wine. Add 1/2 cup of broth and stir until the broth is absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth until all of the broth is absorbed and the rice is neither crunchy nor too soft (al dente), about 15 minutes.

risotto_add_broth

Remove from heat. Stir in mushrooms with liquid, butter, chives and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

risotto_done

Winter Mushrooms of the Month

Welcome to the Winter installment of Mushrooms of the Month.

Ganoderma applanatum by Walt Sturgeon

Ganoderma applanatum by Walt Sturgeon

Fomitopsis pinicola by Walt Sturgeon

Fomitopsis pinicola by Walt Sturgeon

Fomitopsis betulina by Walt Sturgeon

Fomitopsis betulina by Walt Sturgeon

Flamulina velutipes by Walt Sturgeon

Flamulina velutipes by Walt Sturgeon

Tubaria CF by Walt Sturgeon

Tubaria furfuracea by Walt Sturgeon

If you are interested in contributing to the mushrooms of the month please contact the web master using the contact form and he will provide you with submission information.

Fungal Reflections and Happy New Year

By Debra Shankland

As 2016 careens out of control toward a skidding stop, I’m drawn to the peaceful memories in my mind of golden afternoons in the woods, inhaling the scent of leaves and fungi. I recall conversations that caused me to laugh out loud as I foraged with friends-seen-far-too-little.

There was also the time when sunlight baked the woods, and it seemed the only moisture around was beading up on my forehead. Each mushroom found that day was a little miracle, confirmation of nature’s persistence and adaptation to microhabitats.

I invite you to recall your own fun adventures pursuing whatever it is that attracts you to
studying and enjoying mushrooms, and give a thought to how you’d like to manifest that
enjoyment in the new year. I hope that you choose to continue your Ohio Mushroom Society membership. Except for Life Members, everyone’s membership expires on December 31, so why not renew today?

Also, your all-volunteer board members will be convening in February to plan this year’s forays and initiatives. Do you have ideas for us? Places that you think would be good foray locations? Guest speakers you’d like us to consider? Would you like to write a far better blog than this one (easy for you, I’m certain!)? Contact us by by simply hitting “Contact” on the black navigation bar on this page. We’d love to hear from you and have your input!

I wish you a fungi-filled New Year!

Debra
OMS President

Life after Morel Season

By Martha Bishop

It’s May, and in southeastern Ohio the spring wildflower and morel season has progressed at an unusual pace. Flowers that were in bloom May 1 last year, bloomed on April 1 this year. Although I heard reports of a few early morels, most in this area were found in mid to late April despite the 80 degree daytime temperatures. It seemed there was a window of a day or two after a rain before the unseasonal heat dried out the mushrooms where they stood. So perhaps, like me, you haven’t had much luck finding mushrooms in good condition so far this season. And you may be asking yourself what’s next. Do not be discouraged!

For those in the know about mushrooms, the great times for finding mushrooms are still ahead!

Although morels are among the mushrooms that are relatively easy to identify, they represent only a few different species. As summer and fall progress, there will be hundreds of other species popping up in our fields and forests.

If you have not learned to recognize many different species, now is the time to join your local mushroom society. Whether your interest in mushrooms is in photography, art, dyeing fibers, scientific study, love of nature, or collecting edibles, you can learn more from those who share your interests in the Ohio Mushroom Society. And don’t forget that registration for the North American Mycological Association fall foray will open in May. This meeting will be in Virginia this year (close enough for Ohioans to carpool.) In my mind, clearly the best way to learn to recognize new species is to have someone who knows them show them to you and explain how they know. Many of our modern field guides to mushrooms have excellent pictures, and some have good keys. But I would not presume to be certain of a mushroom identification (especially certain enough to consume a mushroom) without a spore print and confirmation from an experienced mushroom identifier.

When you do find mushrooms in good condition this year, following a few simple guidelines will help to promote the growth of mushrooms in years to come.

  • Collect your specimens carefully. Be sure to unearth the whole specimen so that you can see all of its features, but don’t dig around the mushroom any more than is necessary. Remember that the underground (or inside wood and other substrates) mycelium is the main part of the mushroom that persists from year to year. Also be careful not to trample or otherwise disturb the mycelium unnecessarily.
  • Take pictures and notes about the mushrooms in their natural state.
  • Take note of other members of the ecology. It is important to know what other organisms share the mushrooms’ habitat. This can help you learn more about how the mushrooms live, and can help you to identify them.
  • Don’t collect all of the specimens at a site. Leave some to spread spores and to feed other members of the natural community. Don’t collect more than you will actually use.
  • Use a basket or other sturdy container for collection so that the mushrooms will not be crushed. Use paper bags (or waxed paper) to separate different species.
  • Make a spore print for each species, and refrigerate the rest of the mushrooms until you are ready to identify and use them.
  • Place any parts left over back in the natural environment. Try to put them in an environment similar to the one where you found them.

That said, I hope to see you at the upcoming Summer Foray at Ohio University! Last year we had an amazing number and diversity of mushrooms here.

Please see details by clicking the Events tab at the top of the page, and by clicking on the newsletter link for May/June 2016 to the right under recent posts.

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