Wednesday, November 07, 2007


When I was a teenager, my best friend's big sister was an accomplished classical guitarist. She had studied with a maestro who was, himself, a student of Andrés Segovia.
So my friend's sister called herself a "grandstudent" of Segovia.
Hey. Why not?
I took a couple of lessons from her, on my brother's fake Spanish guitar. I sucked. But... I'm a great-grandstudent of Segovia!
[Grabs steering wheel and turns hard here for not-so-gentle segue into my meal of locally foraged chanterelles and porcino (just the one) on toast.]
My pal Kudzu (whom you've seen in comments, but who is too busy in the real world of dead-tree media to blog) gave me and Cranky a sumptuous gift, a generous portion of the package of Mendocino myco-goodness that had just been mailed (yes!) to her by fungi friends.
I don't know the friends, but they seem to have inadvertently "grandgifted" me. I'm a grandrecipient of foresty, fall-y wonder!
Hey. Why not?
Kudzu said she wondered what I'd do with this fresh, wild fortune. I told her I'd probably put it on buttered toast. I think I saw a flicker of doubt, or maybe disappointment, on her face. But really, I just didn't want to mess with Mother Nature. The purer, the better.
So I dry-sautéed the slivered mushrooms in a whisper of butter; added a minced scallion from the yard (and a lot more butter); two sprinklings of salt (had to get it just right); and finished with a glug of Dry Sack sherry.
We piled this fragrant stew on toasted sweet batard bread. It tasted magnificent, although not as in-your-face king bolete as I anticipated.
Eating these mushrooms was a mystical experience. I know that every chanterelle and cepe you have ever bought was foraged, but they go through a middleman and we blithely procure them as mere market commodities.
These mushrooms were picked by my "grandfriends"!
Very good. Happy.


ChrisB said...

A wonderful fungi feast, lucky you.

Sam said...

when i was a teen, instead of buying candy (or sweets as I called them), I used to buy mushrooms,, cook them in butter and serve them on toast.

Last weekend I bought a maitake. Fred was snoozing whilst I made dinner. The maitake were ready a long time in advance because I misjudged their cooking time in comparison to the chicken. I took a nibble, then another then another and more. By the time Fred sat down to dinner he didn't know to miss the mushrooms because he never knew the intention was for them to be there in the first place anyway.

Shh, please don't tell him.

Dagny said...

I keep looking at the mushrooms and trying to picture what I could serve with them. I keep picturing meat -- nice rare to medium rare meat.

I was about to start screaming because I have once more induced hunger in myself, but then I remembered that I have a samosa left over from lunch. Thank goodness.

brett said...

Lucky you getting them straight from the source. During the season, I can eat my weight in porcinis/cepes/bolets (the last one's Catalan, natch)! I grilled thick slices of these beauties in my fireplace last night as an appetizer.

kudzu said...

Aha! No, ma chere, that was not a flicker of disappointment when you said what you were planning to do with the Mendo-to-Marin mushrooms. I wholly approve of the butter/herbs/more butter, simpler the better/butter. I will have the forager check your post to see for himself what became of his afternoon hunt. Heard yesterday he had picked nineteen POUNDS before coming in when it got dark. His wife is drying mushrooms before their fireplace -- adding lavender and sage to some of the fires to tease a little herb into them. Life is good.

dancingmorganmouse said...

'Shrooms are the earth's great gift to humankind. I remember I could always get my dad to drive me to the horse paddock in the Autumn because while I rode around, he foraged for big, meaty flat field 'shroom (horse poo being a good friend of the 'shroom).
There's a bloke at our local market selling exotic mushies, they are terribly, terribly expensive, but I just can't resist!

michelle said...

Hey, I'm right there with you: the more pure and simple, the better - especially with something as incredible as a king bolete. You lucky dog you!!

cookiecrumb said...

Chris: 'Tis the season, wouldn't you agree? I'm lucky.

Sam: When I was a teen I was buying frosted lip gloss.
Oh, wait. I still do that.
I love your maitake story. My frosted lips are sealed, don't worry. I adore maitakes!!

Dagny: That was Cranky's take on it -- needs meat. (How clever of you to travel with your portable samosas.)

Brett: Oh, jeez, could you just open the damn restaurant already??!! Grilled in your fireplace. Weep, weep. xx

Kudzu: Good! It came out so nice. And you're right, I could have used something herby. Ilva just made a mushroom soup with rosemary. That would have been perfect.
Can't wait to "meet" my grandfriends, and no wonder you're so circumspect about their identity. Or we'd all be over there banging on their door. Nineteen pounds!?

cookiecrumb said...

Morgan: I have always loved mushrooms, even as a kid. That umami, you know?
But I have never picked my own. I hope I will find a guide and do that someday.

Michelle: My cooking has gotten so simple lately. And, yeah, the bolete is king. That's where all the flavor is. I just nudged it along with some heat and grease. :D

peter barrett said...

You're so lucky. I barter with a local mycophile forager, but the season is quickly ending. There's nothing better than mushrooms with garlic, parsley, and wine. They go with everything, including nothing. I just realized what was missing from tonight's dinner...

Zoomie said...

Perfect. Just perfect. Even the plate, which is lovely. Perfect.

KathyF said...

So porcini grow there? I was wondering. I've decided I must make it a priority to live where porcini grow. Italy is first on my list.

claudia said...

i may have to have this tomorrow night... wonderful idea. i'm hitting whole foods tomorrow in search...

if i lived closer i would force you to go in on a white truffle with me. the season is almost here... like one or two weeks...

Stacie said...

oh, I just love the mushroom foraging chapter in The Omnivore's Dilemma... I was grand-gifted some locally foraged morels last spring... must find mushrooms!

katiez said...

'Tis the season 'tisn't it!
There's a little cart at the market filled with foraged mushrooms. I'm happy - as long as someone else does the foraging. I'd happily help ... but, I may know how to cook them but to tell good from deadly? Nope!

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: To tell you the truth, I didn't even know it was the season. Kudzu just sprang these goodies on us. It's neat that you can barter.

Zoomie: I am so pleased you noticed the plate. I unconsciously selected it from my stack of unmatched plates, and I now realize it is the Lenox pattern called Autumn.

KathyF: Add truffles to your list of pros and cons, and you can scratch California off the list.

Claudia: "Go In On" a white truffle? Have you never heard the words of Colette? "If I can't have too many truffles, I'll do without truffles."
But I do like your idea.

Stacie: Morels. What a fairytale mushroom. So cute, and I love 'em.

Katie: This is the time of year I have to rejigger my food budget. Sensible food -- out. Mushrooms -- in.

Era said...

This is totally off-topic, but I thought you should know that Sandor Katz is doing workshops and talks in Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Occidental at the end of Nov/early Dec!! There's a free talk/tasting/starter give-away on Nov. 29th that I am definitely going to. Check out the wild fermentation website for more.

Kevin said...

A couple of years ago one of my borther called and asked, "Are you going to be home tomorrow?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Good, I'm shipping you something."

The next day I received a pound of fresh chanterelles he'd picked. Woo hoo!

cookiecrumb said...

Era: How totally awesome. Thanks for the heads up! Maybe I will run into you at one of the workshops.

Kevin: Lucky you. Um... my brother sent me a book once. :D

Chilebrown said...

Will it be raining in Marin tomorrow?. Did the oil spill effect the market. I think I am going to sleep in. Haww!

cookiecrumb said...

Chilebrown: No, the rain ended overnight! It is stunningly beautiful here today, but... how long can it last? Boo-hoo-hoo.
Cranky bought ham and taters and cheese and PORCINI at the market today.

Anna Haight said...

Marin is on the way back from Mendocino mushrooming to parts south of SF... so I just a few moments ago received a surprise gift of PORCINIS from my ever-expert mushrooming friend driving through with what he said was 'more than he could use'. Guess what I'm having tomorrow?!

cook eat FRET said...

love the above quote
i bought two pocini's friday
they shall be my lunch today...

cookiecrumb said...

Anna: You're well connected! Yay.

Claudia: Unlike Anna, but like you, we bought $20 worth of porcini the other day. This time we added cream to the skillet, and it was orgasmic.

cook eat FRET said...

i made em yesterday. they were great but the porcini flavor did not come through like i'd expected.