Do you know the mushroom man?

That silly child’s song, “Do you know the muffin man?” is stuck in my head. My mind has changed muffin man to mushroom man. I love wild mushrooms. Jeff was quite well-educated in foraging for local specimens that were safe and “choice” on the edibility scale. We would take the girls on long walks at the lake poking in the underbrush and harvesting boletes, Hen of the Woods, chanterelle and other delicious treasures that he would then cook in mouth-watering dishes.

I first saw the ad for Wichland Woods Mushrooms in The Monadnock Table magazine. After researching their site I left a message hoping to set up a partnership for the store and café. Dave Wichland and his family live in nearby Keene where  he teaches mycology, provides mycology landscaping and sells wild-forged, locally grown, and exotic mushrooms. He dropped by the store one afternoon with a bounty of samples. I immediately ran home, dug out all my mushroom cookbooks and set my mind in motion of how to best market this latest addition to our local offerings.

Amy Farges, Co-owner of Aux DELICES DES BOIS and author of The Mushroom Lover’s Mushroom Cookbook and Primer immediately suggest two dishes to me; “Woodsy Mushroom Pot Pie” and Huitlacoche with Summer Tomatoes.”  Summer tomatoes will be abundant this year. Korey and Kim have a large garden and access to tons of local produce. I wonder if Dave can grow or find Huitlacoche? The Pot Pie sounds like a comfort dish for the end of summer, but if the  winter doesn’t end, we may have to investigate that sooner!

So my discovery for the week was the fresh Morel mushrooms from the pack I brought home. I would have simply sautéed them in oil had I not read the book. Morels are made for cream sauce, they live for dairy. A bond formed in some dark age when someone said, “This needs a wondrously smooth, rich sauce to populate.” I had Cod, cream and oils.

From the cookbook I took the recipe for Sea Bass and worked with what I had. The cod was sautéed in Wild Mushroom & Sage infused olive oil as I whisked the sauce in a double boiler. I couldn’t replicate it exactly, I had no fresh chives (under leaves at the moment) and no shallots. But the fresh, pine cone shaped Morels were spongy tender and pungent. I added fresh asparagus for a spring-green touch then drizzled it with hollandaise sauce, obliterating any nutritional value. Crunchy red pepper slices with a dusting of fresh thyme and a slick of Tuscan Herb infused olive oil redeemed the plate as “healthy.”

DSC_9507There will be more inspired cooking as I move through the new world of wild mushrooms.

9 thoughts on “Do you know the mushroom man?

  1. YUM, they sound WONDRFUL…..listen, a thought for the store/café. Since you will have a commercial kitchen, why not consider making “pre-made, heat-able” meals to go? Invest in a nice glass front “reach-in” freezer to put on the floor of either establishment, perhaps the store. Start with items like soup, pasta sauce, salad dressings… move into those stews and that delicious sounding Mushroom Pot Pie for heartier weather, then move on creatively with full meals eventually. Folks can pop in and pick up dinner as well as oils, cheeses, etc. What think you? the reach-in freezer wont take up much room, and provides another “lure” to the store/café and an additional source of income. While all your recipes sound awesome to those of us that like to cook, others that don’t or are intimidated can still benefit and buy!!!

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    • Great minds think alike, Doppleganger! We will have fresh, grab and go salads this summer and will expand slowly from there. Perishable products are tricky but I think between the two establishments, we can make it work! Thank you!!

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      • If you do a freezer, the hold time will be longer and the perishables will perish less! Fresh salads and cold soups for summer is perfect! Pot pies, sauces and soup you can freeze in the fall/winter will draw crowds too. Yup, Dopplegangers indeed!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh how peculiar, It wasn’t today’s blog! Yet it came up, briefly!! Okay I am in need of rest. I thought my computer had gone mad. You’ll have to see another comment I made …I’m going to lie down in a shady room…..:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marie. Someone called in the middle of dinner prep the other night and asked who I was cooking for. “ME!” I replied. They didn’t believe me, “No one cooks like that just for themselves!!” Well why not??

      Liked by 1 person

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