Tuesday, September 30, 2008

shrooms: the ultimate groundscore

I love fall. I love all the usual stuff like the changing leaves and cool weather, but it also brings out all kinds of mushrooms...some of which are good to eat!

For the past few years, I've had a good time looking for edible shrooms on my hikes. It's a bit of a scary venture, of course. You have to be sure that you get the right ones or you could end up one of those "idiot stories" on the 6 o'clock news...you know, the stories where people sit back in their recliners and say "what an idiot" when they hear how some hippie died in intestinal agony in the emergency room from eating a curry made with some pretty little mushrooms they found on the trail. Yeah...so I try really hard not to become one of the "idiot stories." We make really good friends with certain mushrooms we know are edible and we stick with them. If we find new ones, we proceed with extreme caution.

Anyway, this time of year, there are lots and lots of shrooms out there. Some are definitely just for looking at, some bear further investigation, and some -- like that nice, fat shelf of Chicken of the Wood we recently found (check out the photo above) -- are most definitely for eating.

We are always looking for oyster mushrooms other good-to-eat varieties, but Chicken of the Wood is the cat-daddy eatin' shroom. It's huge, it's in your face, it's cool-looking and when you cook it up in some olive oil, garlic and white wine it tastes just like very delicate chicken breast. Or at least I'm pretty sure it does -- I've not eaten meat in so long that I'm really pretty much guessing about that. At any rate, it's amazing.

And it's free. It's the ultimate groundscore, in my opinion.

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