PITTSBURGH – Kat Lieder admits she used to hate mushrooms as a result of she thought they have been creepy.
When she dug within the backyard along with her father as a child, one thing concerning the fleshy, spore-bearing fungi gave her the willies.
“I believed they have been solely related to dying and useless issues and decay,” she says.
So even she was shocked to seek out herself on a hilly, wooded path close to the Lodge in North Park on a current Saturday morning, rooting by fallen leaves and scrutinizing useless logs and mossy stumps looking for mushrooms poking up from the forest flooring.
The College of Pittsburgh professor of world research was in high-quality firm: Greater than 100 new and veteran foragers, divided into small teams relying on how laborious and much they needed to hike, have been on trails all through the park. All had the identical mission: to assemble, examine and alternate details about wild mushrooms. The daylong occasion additionally included lectures, shows, a cooking demonstration and a grand feast that includes greater than a dozen mushroom dishes.
It was all a part of the twenty first annual Gary Lincoff Mushroom Foray held Sept. 18 by the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Membership. Named for nationwide mycology skilled and native fungi fanatic Gary Lincoff, it brings collectively individuals of all ages, expertise ranges and pursuits for a day of mushroom enjoyable and schooling.
Like so many occasions, final yr’s foray was canceled due to the coronavirus. So the group buzzed with pleasure through the early morning welcome at Rose Barn. A desk inside held waxed luggage and empty egg cartons for individuals who forgot baskets for amassing.
Longtime member Josh Doty, of McMurray, Pennsylvania, is an identifier for the membership. Like many within the group, he acquired into foraging 12 years in the past whereas photographing them, “then needed to study what I used to be taking photos of,” he says with amusing. He is aware of not simply their widespread monikers similar to maitaike, rooster of the woods and black trumpets but additionally their Latin names.
One mushroom his group encounters repeatedly is Russula. Discovered close to oak bushes, they arrive in a rainbow of colours and are one of the vital recognizable genera amongst mycologists and mushroom collectors. He additionally factors out Lactarius, also referred to as milk cap mushrooms as a result of their fruitbodies ooze a sticky, milky latex when sliced with a knife.
Whereas mushrooms typically function decomposers by digesting useless natural matter, some are literally parasites that assault a residing host and stay on it, typically killing it. Many extra, he says, are intimately linked to bushes by symbiosis.
That’s what Lieder discovered so fascinating when she watched the Netflix documentary “Unbelievable Fungi” through the pandemic. She sought out the Actual Fungi stand on the Bloomfield Saturday Market. Her many enjoyable conversations with its proprietor led her to not solely develop shiitakes and oyster mushrooms in her basement, however go on her first foray with WPMC.
“They’re related with residing issues in methods I hadn’t ever thought of,” she says.
The September foray, which netted greater than 150 species, together with a uncommon pouzarella, drove the purpose dwelling.
“It was so pleasant to actually know what number of residing issues which might be throughout you that you simply don’t see,” she says. “And everybody was so beneficiant with their information.”
Nonetheless, concern persists for a lot of would-be foragers, what with poisonous beauties such because the milky-white Destroying Angel mushroom – a single chew can kill you – sprouting on the forest flooring together with edible morels, oyster mushrooms and chanterelles. And with ebook titles such because the soon-to-be-released “Find out how to Forage for Mushrooms with out Dying” by Frank Hyman, who can blame us?
It doesn’t assist that many mushrooms can solely be recognized below a microscope.
“The favored false impression is that we all know what all of the mushrooms are,” says mycologist Michael Kuo, who was one of many foray’s visitor audio system and the skilled voice behind MushroomExpert.com. “However we don’t, and that’s why (foraging) could be harmful.”
That’s why becoming a member of a membership like WPMC is wise. They comply with the mycologist’s golden rule: By no means eat an unidentified mushroom!
Membership members Kristen and Trent Blizzard, authors of the brand new “Wild Mushrooms: A Cookbook and Foraging Information” (Skyhorse, $20), perceive foraging generally is a scary factor for newbies. However as with all interest, should you put money into a great native or regional identification ebook and do your analysis, it may be much less so.
“This group is stuffed with fantastic people who find themselves keen to share their information, and have a lot enthusiasm,” says Blizzard.
The Blizzards, who stay and forage in Colorado, began their mushroom journey as bloggers on Fashionable Forager. They shortly constructed a tribe by providing “burn maps” that element the place to seek out morel mushrooms that carpet charred forest flooring.
Filled with beautiful images, their cookbook is a go-to information for anybody who likes to hunt or cook dinner with wild mushrooms. Together with recommendations on harvesting etiquette and kitchen tips, it consists of chapters on preservation and cooking methods. (Do you know you possibly can sweet chanterelles or infuse mushrooms with alcohol?) Then it’s on to recipes from 25 expert foragers across the nation.
There are 115 in all, overlaying 15 totally different forms of culinary fungi – every part from jams and soups to jerky and pasta dishes, utilizing favorites similar to rooster of the woods, oyster, morels and porcini mushrooms. There are also profiles of a number of the foragers sprinkled all through “as a result of they’re so superior and the world must find out about them,” says Ms. Blizzard.
The recipes needed to be easy, and dishes the cooks really ate regularly.
Because of this, “a number of flavors got here into play that have been very thrilling,” Blizzard says, with Japanese European, Thai and California influences. “We discovered mushrooms could be scrumptious ready differently.”
What makes foraging such an incredible interest, she says, is that it by no means will get outdated. It’s additionally sustainable and will get individuals outdoors, surrounded by nature.
“It grows with you, and it’s thrilling,” she says.
AUTUMN MUSHROOM AND BUTTERNUT TART
This tart works as a result of the crust comes collectively with none rolling. Any recent wild mushrooms work – assume chanterelles, hen of the woods, king boletes or black trumpets. With the addition of roasted butternut squash, it’s an ideal marriage of fall flavors.
- 13 / 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 21 / 4 cups (9 ounces) shredded white cheddar or Swiss cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon high-quality salt
- 1/2 cup chilly butter, lower into chunks
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1/2 pound peeled butternut squash or unpeeled delicata squash, lower into 1/2-inch slices
- Olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly floor black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg and toasted floor cumin, to style
- 3/4 pound blended recent wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- Recent sage leaves and sliced inexperienced onions, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 levels.
Make pastry crust: Place flour, 1 cup cheese and salt in bowl of a meals processor match with a steel blade. Course of for a couple of seconds to mix, then add butter. Course of for 10-20 seconds or till combination is like high-quality crumbs.
Beat yolks and water along with a fork. With motor working, pour into meals processor. Course of for about 5 seconds or till the dough simply comes collectively.
Crumble dough into an 11-by-7-inch rectangle fluted tart pan with a detachable backside, or a 12-inch spherical tart pan. Press dough evenly into pan together with your fingers, ensuring the underside of the crust isn’t too thick. Use a fork to prick dough throughout.
Press a double-folded piece of foil down into the pan. Bake pastry for 12 minutes, then cut back warmth to 350 levels. Take away foil and proceed baking for about 10 extra minutes or till crust is a light-weight golden brown. Cool.
Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil, then season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cumin. Unfold out on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with mushrooms on a second baking sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes or till tender, then cool for five minutes.
Sprinkle3 / 4cup cheese within the backside of pastry crust. Organize squash and mushrooms on prime, sprinkle with remaining1 / 2cup cheese and bake till cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs and onions.
Serve tart heat or at room temperature, lower into slices.
– “Untamed Mushrooms: From Area to Desk” by Michael Karns, Dennis Becker and Lisa Golden Schroeder (Minnesota Historic Press Society Press, $25)
CHICKEN MUSHROOM COCONUT CURRY
With its meaty style and texture, rooster of the woods mushrooms could be substituted for rooster in virtually any recipe. They’re additionally comparatively straightforward to determine, which makes them successful with novice foragers.
For this recipe, the authors advocate mushrooms which might be younger and tender, with barely opened pads. It may be made as much as three days prematurely; add apples, onions and cranberries simply earlier than serving.
On the recommendation of mycologist Scott Pavelle, I blanched the rooster mushrooms for 30 seconds earlier than roasting to kill any bugs (I do know – gross!)
Some individuals expertise an allergic response to rooster of the woods mushrooms, so begin by consuming small quantities to check sensitivity.
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons Madras-style Indian curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 cups rooster mushroom, bite-sized items
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1 cup rooster inventory
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 heaping tablespoon dried chicken-flavored consomme
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Juice 1 / 2 lemon
- 1 giant Vidalia onion, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 giant Granny Smith apple, chopped
- 2/3 cup thick coconut milk
- 1/3 teaspoon darkish roasted sesame oil
- 6 drops scorching sauce, elective
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to style
Chives, scallions, roasted sesame seeds or unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish
Warmth a big Dutch oven on excessive warmth. Add oil, curry powder, Italian seasoning, pepper, coconut flakes and nutmeg. Stir to warmth the spices, about 1-2 minutes.
Add mushroom items and stir to coat. Saute 4 minutes on medium-high, stirring sometimes. If utilizing recent mushrooms, make certain the items don’t scorch; chances are you’ll want so as to add 1 / 2 cup of water.
Add half the chopped parsley leaves, rooster inventory and orange juice and convey to a boil. Cowl Dutch oven and simmer on medium for about 8 minutes.
Dissolve powdered consomme within the wine, pour into Dutch oven and stir to include. Convey to a boil. Stir in1 / 2teaspoon salt, cranberries and lemon juice. Cook dinner on excessive 3 minutes.
Stir in onion, apple and remaining parsley. Cook dinner for 3 minutes, stirring sometimes. Add coconut milk and sesame oil, convey to boil, stir nicely and switch off the flame
Style the liquids and proper flavors, including extra salt, curry and acidity as wanted.
Serve over rice or pasta, and garnish with chives, scallions, toasted sesame seeds or coconut flakes as desired.
–”Wild Mushrooms: A Cookbook and Foraging Information” by Kristen and Trent Blizzard (Skyhorse, $20)
CHICKEN OF THE WOODS BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
Rooster mushrooms are one of many best to determine. However they’ll harbor bugs, particularly in the event that they’re older. (Test for any tunneling on the lower edges.) So chances are you’ll need to blanch them in boiling water earlier than utilizing them. You’ll be able to retailer them in a paper bag within the fridge earlier than cooking, however not than every week.
Right here, they pinch-hit for shredded rotisserie rooster in one in all my favourite soccer season recipes, buffalo rooster dip. The shelf-like fungi is each lovely and attractive – they’re meaty, with a light lemony taste – however could cause abdomen upset if not totally cooked.
- 11 / 2 kilos roasted rooster of the woods mushrooms, chopped or shredded into bite-sized items
- 6 ounces (3/4 package deal) cream cheese, softened
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus extra for garnish
- 1/3 cup blue cheese dressing, plus extra for drizzling (elective)
- 1/3 cup of Frank’s Purple Scorching Sauce, or extra to style
- Chopped cilantro, pickled jalapenos or sliced inexperienced onion, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 levels, and convey a big pot of water to a boil.
Clear rooster of the woods mushrooms with a moist paper towel or mushroom brush. With a paring knife, rigorously trim away woody or powerful components, leaving solely the tender outer fronds.
When water is scorching, blanche mushrooms for 30 seconds, then take away with tongs to a reducing board. Lower into even-sized items or strips.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place mushroom items on the baking sheet, drizzle with somewhat olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Take away and permit to chill for 1 or 2 minutes.
In a big bowl, combine collectively chopped or shredded mushrooms, cream cheese, cheddar and blue cheeses, blue cheese dressing and Frank’s Purple Scorching. If it’s not saucy (or spicy) sufficient, add somewhat extra.
Spoon right into a casserole and bake till cheeses are scorching and bubbly, and dip is heated by, 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with chopped cilantro, pickled jalapenos and/or sliced inexperienced onion. Serve with crackers, pita chips or corn tortillas.
– Gretchen McKay, Publish-Gazette