Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hunting for supper

October mushrooms for dinner, thanks to an afternoon's hunt.

We need a bit more rain, though; despite last week's pre-hurricane downpours the woods were quite dry.

I love puffballs - their texture (cooked) is to vegans like silky tofu and to meat eaters like bone marrow.  When you peel them, they squeak like gentle styrofoam. Sliced and sauteed, they melt into risotto. The genus here is Calvatia but I'm not sure whether the species is fragilis or cyathiformis. Both are edible. When old, C. fragilis has dusty purple spores, but at this young stage that puffball is a pure, dense white mass.  Edible puffballs MUST be pure white inside (below, far right). If their flesh is purple when young, walk away.

There were some young chicken of the woods nubs, too - and I sauteed all the mushrooms separately before adding them to the risotto. The herb was mugwort.

It was delicious.



  1. mmmm...yum. My temperate heart misses autumn fungi

  2. Delicious and beautiful to look at! I remember some fun mushroom hunting expeditions in Boulder CO up in the forests off the Peak to Peak Highway, dark (shady),
    mysterious, woodsy-moist and lovely times. What exactly IS mugwort??
    Diane in Denver

    1. That sounds like proper mushroom hunting, Diane. I sometimes tire of the city version, though it is also a lot of fun.

      Mugwort is Artemisia vulgaris - very invasive, Stateside. Koreans use it as a culinary herb (it's called ssuk, there) and I have been cooking with it for a few years.

      It's also used as a smudge during acupuncture and herbalists claim it has great dream enhancing powers. I guess my dreams are vivid enough as I have never experienced this aspect of it!

  3. Hi back Marie,
    After reading your post, I looked up mugwort and saw the info. about the dream-inducing properties. Interesting! Last night, Barbara Bush snuck into my dream; what can this possibly mean? :-) People in Boulder CO do go hunting in what we call "the Magic Mesa" for hallucigenic mushrooms but I never took that leap. It's on public parkland, too. Oh my!


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