Monday, July 26, 2010

Eating close to home

It has been a great summer as we learn how to eat closer to home and the Earth. We have been learning more about growing our own food and buying from our local farmer's market. This past weekend I also learned a little more about foraging for wild foods.

Saturday I spent the day with a close friend foraging for mushrooms at a wonderful farm just outside of St. Louis. The weather has been a little too dry for mushrooms, but the hot weather and the promise of a lake to swim in, drew us both to the country.  We started the day by walking through the woods in the hope of finding chanterelles. Karen, my foraging buddy, had recently had great luck finding chanterelles, which she kindly cooked and shared with both Guy and me.

This day we weren't 50 feet into the woods before we spied our first chanterelle. Excitedly, we looked all around the area and only found one other dried up chanterelle. We continued to explore the area stopping now and again to admire flowers, ferns and the occasional scat. Yes, we actually do admire scat from time to time.  In this case it was very fortunate that we enjoy this rather peculiar activity since as we were examining some particularly interesting scat we looked up to spy a real treat. Attached to a rotting log was a shelf mushroom called Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) also called Sulfur Shelf. This is a beautiful and, I was soon to find out, delicious mushroom that is found on rotting wood. It is an absolutely beautiful orange and white that looks like something you would find snorkeling and not in a humid Missouri woodland.  Thank goodness we found this lovely and rather large mushroom since we would have looked pretty pathetic returning with our one tiny chanterelle. However, after a lovely swim in the lake we returned home the successful hunters.

Pictured here is our delicious Sunday dinner.

Blue bowl: contains potatoes dug a few hours earlier from the garden, onions (not from the garden) boiled and thickened with flour with salt and pepper seasoning. 

Maroon bowl: Chicken of the Woods mushroom, garlic (garden), scallion (not from the garden) and thyme (not from the garden).

Yellow bowl:  yellow and zucchini squash, okra, garlic (all from the garden) sauteed in olive oil. 

Bread: home made with non-local ingredients but also no preservatives. 

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