Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mushrooming - January 24 - Ladies Field Day!

Kathryn & Alexis joined me for a productive day of mushrooming in the Oakland Hills!  Kathryn is an avid forager but Alexis had never gone out before!

Kathryn was VERY happy!

Gorgeous view of Mt Diablo!

Happy mushrooming ladies!

More cow plop cultivated mushrooms!

Oyster mushroom tree!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mushrooming - January 23

Gorgeous overcast, cloudy day of sprinkles - and my favorite view

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mushrooming - January 17

Something tiny growing on a cow plop:

A salamander under a mushroom (fire salamander?)

Oh - and lots and loads of chanterelles:

Not just a table, a bench and two chairs -

But the other table, too!

And some biggies!

Thanks to Cassia for documenting - she was quick enough to grab my camera while I was busy cleaning up!

Chanterelle & Roasted Sweet Pepper Bruschetta (or confit)

So, you start with 3 or 4 pounds of golden chanterelles... hey! Wait! Where are you going?  OK, I admit these kind of recipes are a challenge to folks who don't live in a place where forage for chanterelles, so please substitute other mushrooms.  Note that the cooking time will vary for button or cremini/portobello mushrooms since they don't hold as much water.

Chanterelle & Roasted Sweet Pepper Bruschetta
This is more of a process than a recipe - you may have some different ingredients preserved and seasonal availability differs.

3-4 pounds golden chanterelles, small dice
1 pint fire roasted sweet pepper (I like yellow)
1-2 cups dried yellow cherry tomatoes (or chopped up larger tomatoes)
2 c hazelnuts - toasted, peeled & coarsely chopped
8 cloves of garlic - peeled and minced
1 bunch of fresh thyme or 3-4 Tb dried
Other fresh herbs - rosemary & parsley, Meyer lemon zest
1/4 c dry sherry
Salt, pepper & chili flakes
Olive oil, as needed

  1. Heat a very large skillet (I love my cast iron) and warm the garlic til it starts to soften.
  2. Add the chanterelles - stir well so that the garlic doesn't all stay on the bottom of the pan and cook until the mushrooms start to release their liquid.
  3. Add the dried tomatoes and any dry herbs - we want the tomatoes to soften up in the mushroom liquid a bit.
  4. Add the roasted peppers and any fresh herbs - since they are soft when they come out of the mason jar - I usually tear them into strips with my fingers or use scissors - they will break down in the pan and I don't want the peppers to entirely disappear into the background here.
  5. Mix in the nuts, add olive oil as needed.  As the liquid reduces down a bit - add the sherry and allow it to reduce until you have just a little liquid in the pan.

Chanterelle & Roasted Sweet Pepper Confit

Add 1/2 c of white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. Flavored light vinegar like a "blood orange champagne" vinegar added to the plain vinegar would give a nice flavor.  Put some of the bruschetta into a quart or pint mason jar, doctor it up with a little vinegar, seal and refrigerate for a couple hours or a week.  Yum!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mushrooming - cleaning up!

The next morning - I still had a tub FULL of chanterelles

Some more biggies - they taste just the same!

A 14 oz chanterelle in a stainless steel bowl (sorry for the flash!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mushrooming - January 10

A few tiny blewets!

Some of the chanterelles have their own zip codes!

Some are in the bag -

But here are the biggies I found:

One with my hand for scale:

Red & pretty - but not edible!

Another monster chanterelle:

They just don't stop!

Round 2, same day, with Eric & Veronika.  When I told them about the flush I found - and that we could each pick as much as we could carry - Eric was skeptical.  "I don't like to pick an area clean - it's not good for the ecosystem!"  But when we got there -  he was surprised and even said "They don't let up!  It's  just like pulling weeds!"  I'm pretty sure this is his happy face here!

Fancy deformities - all ripply and flesh like...

Something we found on the way out:

Examining & recording:

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Mushrooming - January 9

Hardly finding any blewets - this beat up old looking thing was all alone:

Loads of candy caps - they just seem to be everywhere! I picked 3# of candy cap!


Beautiful but not edible amanitas....




The haul - well - what I kept, anyway:

Thirty pounds for a local chef:

Friday, January 08, 2010

Plum Coffee Cake

Tomorrow is the East Bay Vegan Bake Sale - I wanted to make something that could be made for a reasonably affordable amount (making the final product cheaper!) and which could be made in quantity and that would use some of my fresh/local yummy ingredients.  Originally, I thought of making my favorites - lemon bars, chocolate peanut butter cups and such but since I haven't had a good coffee cake lately ... well...

A coffee cake with plum topping seemed like the ideal choice - and being too lazy to convert my grandmother's Bavarian Coffee Cake recipe (I swear! I will do it one day soon!) - I took inspiration from VeganYumYum's Apple Pie Coffee Cake recipe.  Here's my spin, resulting in ...

Crumble Top Cherry Plum Coffee Cake:

1 qt bag of plum puree (that good stuff leftover in the jelly bag from making jelly last summer with the cherry plums)
1 c succanat

Set puree & succanat on the stove on low to simmer - reduce til thick, at least reduce by 50%.

1 c oats
1 c flour
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c melted coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients til you can cake them together with your hands and crumble into bits - yum.


2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 c unbleached flour
1 c unrefined granulated sugar
1 c succanat
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

3 tsp Mexican cinnamon (ceylon cinnamon)
2 tsp ground cardomom
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
2/3 c canola or grapeseed oil (or a blend)
2/3 c plum puree
1 1/3 cup almond milk + 2 tb apple cider vinegar
3 tb En-R-G Egg replacer
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients - should be very thick, almost like a dough - it will rise and goodness will happen.  Lightly oil your pan(s) - I decided to use a springform pan and two tart pans.  Press down the dough with a nice flat silicone spatula, push the sides up a tiny bit like a border.  Ladle in your cooked down plum goodness.  Sprinkle on the crumble topping.  Put into the oven at 350 - you want the cake to cook all the way through, and rise, so don't take it out too soon or you'll have soggy centers.

Tomorrow I'll take the coffee cakes and a dozen or so dark chocolate chipotle caramels, over to the East Bay Vegan Bake Sale.  11a-4p, 20 Glen Ave, Oakland (just off Piedmont)  in front of a shop called "Issues."