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Northwest Bounty

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Has anyone seen any seasonal yummy things at the market as of late?  Or finding edibles in the wild?  What are you making at home or finding in restaurants that are in season?

Mr. H came home from a mushrooming trip with several wild mushrooms, including 1/2 lb of morels.  This was my first time cooking morels, and I've only had them maybe a couple times in restaurant sauces.  Wow.  Was it ever a treat.  The first night I made a Gruyere Shallot Morel Omelet.  It was delicious & fantastic, but I felt the other ingredients overshadowed the flavor of the morel.  The second day I bought some dungeness crab and stuffed them with a recipe I improvised from foodtv.com.  I sauteed them first in butter, and finished them off in the oven.  I think these stuffed morsels were about the very best thing I have ever eaten in my entire life.  I can't wait to make them again.  Any other ideas on what to do with morels?  We also fixed a cheese omelet with the wild oyster mushrooms hubby brought home, and that was a very good use for them.

Near the Duwamish park shore, we picked several wild fennel fronds. (thanks to Jim Dixon for the tip on wild fennel in the NW).  What do I do with them?  Has anyone fixed these?  I'm thinking of making Wild Fennel Gravlax, using the fronds in place of dill.  What else can I do with them?  They are growing all over the place.

We've also been enjoying the wonderful fat and flavorful Yakima asparagus.  Steamed (or micro'd) w/ mayonnaise is a favorite of ours, as well as grilled or roasted.  I have some tofu in the fridge, so will probably make a stir fry with them next.  Oh, we also have had some Swiss Chard from the garden.

I'd love to hear what everyone else is doing.  Has anyone had ramps?  I just learned about these Spring treasures on a thread by Jinmyo, can't remember which one.  They also sound fantastic.  I wonder if any place in Seattle carries them?  Also, does anyone know if any place carries morels?

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The U District Farmer's Market is starting on the 26th;  since I'm not much of a forager (except for restaurants), that's when I start thinking about local goodies.

Hey, shouldn't that Copper River salmon be here any minute?  Thriftway and Larry's usually give away free samples; I'll post when I figure out when this is happening.

BH, I've had delicious ramps in New York but haven't seen them here.  I know they're grown in Oregon, and I assume that means Washington as well.  I'll ask around.

The stuff you made with your morels sounds outrageously good.  I expect fresh morels will be available (if they're not already) at Whole Foods, but probably at ludicrous prices.  I once saw fresh porcinis there for $30/lb.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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  • 3 months later...

Just an update on our Northwest Bounty so to speak...

Wild blackberries are in abundance right now and PERFECT for picking (and I think for the next week or two as well). Yesterday on our walk in W. Seattle we feasted on some of the ripest, sweetest, sun warmed delicious blackberries I think I've ever had. They are basically everywhere, but particularly found in parks, and edges of other green belts in the city, even neighborhoods (like mine), or empty lots. We ate to our hearts content, and called it dinner (I reminded myself of a bear eating them right off the bush). We didn't bring a bucket, so we'll go back out today buckets in hand.

If you haven't picked them before, a tip to get the ones that are sweetest and ripe is that when you touch them, they basically fall into your hand. If you have to pull or tug on them at all, they are not quite prime, and will taste a little sour (those need some more time to ripen before picking).

Anyone else been picking blackberries?

I've also started hearing reports that some wild mushrooms have been spotted & picked (boletes/porcinis in the higher elevations), as well as some chanterelles (maybe Mason country?- which is normally a good area to find them).

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Hubby likes to put them on his cereal in the morning (or rather have a little cereal with his blackberries :raz: ).

I have just been eating them with my fingers. :biggrin:

I was thinking of making berry shortcake with fresh whipped cream.

Does anyone know if there are different varieties of wild blackberries? The ones yesterday were so dark, juicy and sweet, but most important... they did not seem to have a lot of seeds. I've picked some in other areas that seemed to have larger seeds in them, which I did not like as much... Can anyone clarify or is it my imagination?

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Not your imagination. There is a native blackberry that has smaller seeds (or is it smaller leaves?), and the invasive blackberry (Himalayan) that we have all come to love - big and juicy, but seedy, if I am keeping this straight. I recall the issue being in the newspapers recently - perhaps the Seattle Times last week? There are also other strains bread for specific qualities, like my old favorite the olalliberry (except I can never spell it correctly.)

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  • 1 month later...

Fruit from Eastern Washington is sooo good right now. I picked up a box yesterday of a variety of apples, pears and white nectarines from one of the many roadside farm stands off the highway at Cashmere (next to Wenatchee). I've munched my way through 4 or 5 of the white nectarines which have the best (perfectly ripe & sweet) flavor of any I've tasted yet this season...and are also better than the Pence peaches I had 6 or so weeks ago. However 1 of them was just ordinary in flavor. I wonder why that is? They are all from the same farm.

I've also tried 1 Anjou pear so far which was crispy yet very sweet. I liked it. I wish I would have written down the various types of apples, so I could judge them as to which I like best.

The wild blackberries are still going strong, too!

What is selling at the farmer's markets now? Anybody seeing many chantrelles yet? As soon as we get some rain... watch for chantrelles to show up & prices to go down. Hubby is going on a mushroom forage tomorrow in Eastern WA.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sept. & Oct. is wild Huckleberry season! Mr. Heron spotted them in the Monroe, WA area while he was foraging for chantrelles today. Unfortunately he didn't bring any home, except for 1 lone huckleberry which made it's way into the chantrelles he brought back. I believe my neighbor also finds them on Snoqualmie Pass, but perhaps they are also at the farmers markets this month, too.

Hubby brought back about 3 3/4 lbs chantrelles today and we feasted on some for dinner tonight made into a chantrelle ragout. mmmm.

tsquare... I'm not really sure which chantrelles are better... the smaller ones or the larger ones. As long as they are dry, I think they might be the same? Psychologically maybe the smaller ones are better?

This is a good time to get them as they are still pretty dry. As it gets more rainy later on this month and next, they will get more water laden and not be as tasty, I think.

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Edit: duh

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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