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Good place to eat mushrooms


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Hi. My parents both grew up in the Seattle area and although they wouldn't be considered foodies, I recall we ate a lot of seasonal mushrooms. My dad would pile three inches of mushrooms on his pizza. I'm clueless about the different varieties and what's in season. This is a good place for shrooms, relative to other parts of the country, or is it? I love eating the smaller mushrooms, like the size of a quarter, they are firm and great when served in sauce with beef and potatoes. Any suggestions on what restaurants offer a nice serving of fresh local mushrooms in coming weeks? Thanks!

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I was going to say my front yard, but those are different kinds of mushrooms. :raz:

Seriously, you might try the Herbfarm (http://www.herbfarm.com) but it's a bit pricey. On the cheap, it's about time for Pagliacci's Mushroom Primo Pizza too.

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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I would imagine that most restaurants focusing on "seasonal" foods are offering all sorts of mushrooms now. So, I'm thinking Lark, Zoe, etc. Expect to find chanterelles, porcini (boletes) matsutakes, etc.

I've heard this is a boom year for 'shrooms, due to our late summer rains and recent dry spell. I know there's tons of them in Bridle Trails State Park right now, but that might be because of the concentration of fertilizer found there :wink:

Born Free, Now Expensive

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We did the tasting menu last night at Union, and Ethan had four dishes on the menu that featured wild mushrooms.

It has been a banner season for harvesting and I have been sharing my findings with Ethan. Many are types not found every year and are in abudance this Fall.

Last night he used some safron milky caps I brought him, and also had matusakes, porcini and chaterelles in other dishes.

I also gave him some gypsies to try. It's the start of hedgehog season so I supect he will be using those in the coming weeks.

I have dined in a couple of resturants that do just mushroom menus, unfortunately neitherin Seattle. I do think, though, that Ethan does as well as anyone in the business when it comes to artfully - and tastefully - using wild mushrooms.

I have also been taking him some fairly unsual herbs to work into his dishes. Last night he had a type of tuna in a sorrel cream, and has a desert using fresh bay leaves on the menu.

I'll be interested to see what he comes up with from some pennyroyal and catmint I dropped off.

dave

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Are wild mushrooms legal in WA? Some states have laws on the books forbidding all wild/foraged mushrooms in restaurants not just the magic varieties for the safety issues. Who's good with health code technicalities?

I certainly hope they are. Do cultivated chantrelles, boletes, or morels even exist?

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There is a mushroom forager / winemaker's dinner at the Shoalwater Inn in Long Beach on Friday, Oct. 29th.

The winery is Apex and the mushroom forager is a woman who will be there showing and describing the mushrooms in each course. Sounds fun!

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I certainly hope they are.  Do cultivated chantrelles, boletes, or morels even exist?

They are able to grow morels commercially, although the details are quite secret and production is limited.

Supposidly it has to do with changing the ozone in the growth chambers, an event similar to lighting storms or fires in nature. In other words, it takes a shocking experience to get morels to fruit.

To my knowledge, matsutakes are yet to be raised from spores. They do "cultivate" them in Japan by tending their mushroom patches and providing the elements needed to control and increase fruitings and timing; eg: shade, moisture and temperature change.

Other fungi we think of as wild that are cultivated are truffles and lobster mushrooms.

Lobsters are parasidic (sp) and require a host fungus to grow on. Fred Stamets in Olympia (Fungi Prefecti) has created kits to grow Lobsters. I personally don't eat lobsters because of the host relationship and never quite knowning what the decomposed fungus was.

Truffles are cultivated commercially in Oregon and elsewhere. You can buy them, especially during the holiday season when they are used for gift giving, at the Pike Street Market. They are somewhat disappointing when compared with French or Italian white and black truffles.

Some years back the Chinese government spent research money on trying to cultivate truffles and retained a mycology professor from oregon State. They learned that euclyptus was one of the best hosts for truffles. The only problem was the truffles tastest just like Vicks. You can find truffles in the wild in the PNW, but they generally take on the taste of the host. You might be better off just eating fir tree bark.

If all of this is of interest, you can learn much more at the Puget Sound Mycological Society (PSMS) show the weekend of Oct. 16-17th. They have complete displays of mshrooms from the area, people identifying fungi for you if you bring them in, and gusest chefs giving cooking demos with 'shrums.

dave

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The Ballard Market has fabulous mushroom deals right now. Chantrelles, $3.98/lb. Chicken of the Woods, Lobster, Oyster, Shitake, and I know I'm forgetting one or two more, all about $6-$9. Plain ol' crimini, $1.98.

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Imagine my surprise while walking through an Asian market the other day I spotted 2 large boxes of matsutakes selling for only $5/lb. OMG, but that is cheap! There was one lady buying a pound or 2 (cherry picking the smaller grade 1's ), otherwise, they were just sitting there. :shock: . If you don't feel like tramping through the forests looking for them, check your asian markets for good deals. (or PM me for more info, I saw these ones in White Center).

A spot check at Pike Place market last week showed Sosio's: Matsutakes $20/lb, Fried Chicken Mushrooms (these are fantastic) $20/lb, Hedgehog mushrooms (also fantastic) $15/lb, Chantrelles $6/lb. Franks produce: Matsutakes $15/lb. Admiral Metropolitan Mkt: no *wild* mushrooms available. Fauntleroy Thriftway: Matsutakes $20/lb. Uwagimaya's Grade 1's $30/lb, Grade 5 $10/lb.

Mr. Heron had good luck finding matsutakes today at elevation 4000 feet (2 hours out of town plus a 2 hour hike uphill). Very few grade 1's today as the veils were not intact for the most part, and few buttons, but otherwise great looking (large) specimans. For further info on where these were found, please PM.

Note!: The Seattle Mycological Society Mushroom Society has their annual Fall show next Sat. and Sun. at Sandpoint.

Saturday, October 16th, from noon to 7 pm.

Sunday, October 17th, from 10 am to 5 pm.

at Sand Point Magnuson Park

7400 Sand Point Way N. E.

Seattle, WA 98115

$7 for General Admission

$5 for Students and Seniors,

Children under 12 are free

Mr. Heron is unofficially co-chairing the event this year.

Cynthia Nims (who I had the pleasure to meet the other day!) will be there on Sat. at 2pm, doing a mushroom cooking demo, Yum! , and later will be signing her brand new mushroom cookbook.

Here is their website: Puget Sound Mycological Society

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BH, how do you cook matsutakes? On the advice of Vegetables A-Z, I tried slicing them fairly thin and baking them in parchment with a dab of soy sauce for half an hour. The flavor was excellent but they were very rubbery. What would you recommend?

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I have tried a few things.

Basically, from what I have heard, the ground rules are these are mushrooms that are best appreciated without butter or cream...

My favorite thing is to slice them thin (ie. 1/16 to 1/8 inch) and deep fry in peanut oil for about 2 minutes or until golden (a technique someone told me about with mushrooms at Sugiyama in NYC). Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt. Yum! The unique flavor of the pine mushroom is very apparent, and it is a delicious and luxurious snack. Depending on how long they fry, they are either crispy, or still slightly chewy (I like them like this).

I also slice paper thin and add to chicken broth with ginger and green onions. Tom Douglas has a recipe in his cookbook, also recommending them basically like that, in dashinomoto (ie. from Uwajimaya).

I have tried them also by infusing with rice, and was not happy with the results. I don't know why, but the perfume of them was too overpowering in the rice. But many people like this.

I have tried a few other things with them, but the unique flavor of them did not shine through, so I'm still on the hunt for new things.

I'm going to try a pickled matsutake recipe (online, google search) and see how it goes.

Anybody have other recs?

I will let you know if I discover any other methods. Usually they are so scarce that one does not have a problem in finding ways to use them. This is a banner year. I have read they are not recommended for drying as porcini's (boletes) are. Does anyone have experience or advice about this?

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There are so many matustakes out there his year that I gave a box to a Japanese retirement home. I have picked more this year than in the total of the last 10 years.

Last night we had some that I had pickled - along with some leftover pickled chanterelles - in a stry-fry with peppers from the garden and some steak trimmings over rice noodles.

We eat them most of the time marinated, then grilled on the Weber. Make an Asian dipping sauce for them.

They are a tough mushroom and take longer than a steak to grill.

I have dred them and they become quite stringy, although they add great flavor to soups and stews.

They also are great accompanying fish. Ethan at Union is using them that way. We take the stems, shred them finely, cook them with rice and then put a piece of halibut on top.

dave

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I'm a purest. Matsutake should be eaten as soon after picking as possible. They are great either grilled with a little coarse salt or in a light broth made from kombu. If you choice the broth method it should be served in a cup with a lid/top to insure the aroma does not escape. Matsutakes taste good but the true essence is really the aroma. Happy eating!

Matsutakekichigai

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Ok, I'm in way over my head here...but have quite a few mushrooms growing on my property. I was brought up to think they were all poisonous and to be avoided at all costs.

Some of them look mighty tasty. Is there a Cliff's Notes on such mushrooms?? THANKS

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Ok, I'm in way over my head here...but have quite a few mushrooms growing on my property.  I was brought up to think they were all poisonous and to be avoided at all costs.

Some of them look mighty tasty.  Is there a Cliff's Notes on such mushrooms?? THANKS

There are several books for keying fungi, some better than others. It is a science IDing mushrooms, not an art. As you will see if you buy a copy of the" Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms" there are many tests for positive identification.

I wouldn't recommend trying to ID your 'shrums by yourself.

What would be fun, if you are in to this, would be to pick what you have and take them to the PSMS show this weekend. They will have tables set up to ID them for you, and also trays of most of the common mushrooms and keyed as to edibility. They will also have some very good chefs preparing mushroom dishes. I think Blue Herron posted all the details earlier.

The Audubon guide is what I call "Eastern." Not all can agree what's what in the fungus world so different guides say different things. Perhaps a better guide with aWestern slant is David Arora's "Mushrooms Demystified."

Get someone familiar with fungi to ID you 'shrums if you are even remotely thinking of eating them. While most won't kill you, you can get a bad case of the shits or some bad trips out of a lot of them.

dave

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You can also take digital pictures of the front and underside of the mushrooms and send them to the UW mycology dept for ID.

They helped me out with mushroom identification a few years back.

Mushrooms are tasty!!

The earthy ones are awesome when cooked properly.

There are several books for keying fungi, some better than others.  It is a science IDing mushrooms,  not an art.  As you will see if you buy a copy of the" Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms" there are many tests for positive identification.

    I wouldn't recommend  trying to ID your 'shrums by yourself.

    What would be fun, if you are in to this,  would be to pick what you have and take them to the PSMS show this weekend.  They will have tables set up to ID them for you, and also trays of most of the common mushrooms  and keyed as to edibility.  They will also have some very good chefs preparing mushroom dishes.  I think Blue Herron posted all the details earlier.

  The Audubon guide is what I call "Eastern."  Not all can agree what's what in the fungus world so different guides say different things.  Perhaps a better guide with aWestern slant is David Arora's "Mushrooms Demystified."

  Get someone familiar with fungi to ID you 'shrums if you are even remotely thinking of eating them.  While most won't kill you, you  can get a bad case of the shits or some bad trips out of a lot of them.

dave

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My mushroom-picking friend HC gave us a huge bag of near-perfect matsutakes last week. He forages around Mt Adams, and we also got a nice bag of chanterelles. HC's wife Gail had slow-roasted some of the matsutakes with good results, so that's what I did.

Tossed with a little olive oil, added a few cloves of garlic, and roasted at 300 for about 90 minutes. I sliced a few and ate with salt, but diced most into a pasta sauce made with a sofrito and a little tomato sauce.

The mushrooms were still firm, but not as tough as the grilled versions I've cooked before.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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They had matsutakes at Mutual Fish when I went by yesterday. I pan roasted them with black cod last night, very tasty.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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The matusakes are all over, and I mean all over...

I picked 2 grocery bags full today for then to use in the kitchen at the PSMS show this weekend and anoter small portion of buttons for myself.

If we hadn't been collecting specimens for the show we probably could have filled the van... It is just unreal. I have found more in 2 hours some days than in 15 years collectively.

I think it's a safe bet to say go to the show Saturday or Sunday if you want to learn more about cooking matsus.

Dave

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Hey White Heron, thanks for the link to the "matsutake" artical. When i was growing up in LA my mom would slip in slices of fresh matsutake into her (home made white miso) miso soup when we were lucky enough to get fresh matsutake every so often airshipped from friends out of state. The thin slices of matsutake were sliped in at the last momment before serving. The fragrance and flavor held it own against the miso. My mom would garnish the soup with thinnest slices of green onions over the top. For me, this was the most elegant of miso soups. About 15 years ago, not long after I moved to the NW, I again had matsutake miso soup again at a Seattle Buddhist Church volunteer lunch when there was a fall bumpercrop. It seemed so extravagant at the time that an auditorium full of people could be served matsutake cafeteria style.

On another note, I was recently introduced to the restaurant Crow (Queen Anne) the other night and had their Chanterelle and Leek Ragout with polenta and wilted greens. It was the most incredible mushroom/polenta dish I have ever had in a restarant. I was much impressed. WL

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The Seattle PI had an excellent article yesterday on the matsutake, with several recipes and suggestions/ideas.  Everything from shaved raw, to roasted, to sukiyaki and more...

the sukiyaki recipe in the P-I is absolutely divine, though we had to toy around a good bit with the broth to mellow out the saltiness -- mostly by adding a bit of water, a lot more sake and a bit of rice vinegar. the taste of the matsutakes comes shining through, and the yam noodles (which absorb the broth flavor) are a perfect counterpoint.

we prefaced that with some simply grilled matsutake slices -- basically an excuse to use up the stems -- with a bit of salt and a simplified ponzu dipping sauce. again, the flavor and aroma of the mushrooms comes shining through.

less certainly seems to be more in these preparations ...

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