The eastern Tenneessee Vaalley is pushing 11-12 days with no rains, and temperatures are approaching 90 degrees today. As one might expect, there are very few mushrooms to be found. To add insult to injury, I found ONE fungus last Friday and it was a stinkhorn Mutinus elegans!! I felt like I was being given the finger.
It also looks like huricane Isaac is not going to provide any relief either. The long range forecast is for 30%-40% several days at the start of next week. From what I’ve been picking up on the discussion sites, I might have to drive across across the mountains to western N.C. to find anything.
Three days hunting usually productive sites and not even an Amanita citrina. Oh well, that’s the life of foraging. Somtimes it’s abundance, and sometimes it’s just a nice walk in the woods looking at al the things we someimes miss in the excitement of picking great mushrooms.
Saturday is a foray with the Cumberland Mycological Society (see Links) at the Cumberland Mountain State Park. Several of the trails wind along creeks and shady areas, so I’m expecting something good. In the past we have never failed to find nice variety, so this will be a true test. This time of year, I would expect to find some Hydnum and maybe some L. corrugis. We shall see.
On the good side, I had time to work on my book. I got it off to a copy editor and began discussions with the person who will being doing the layout. Might get it done by December 31.
A couple of years ago, my foraging friend, Lita Minor, sent me this photo. She successfully captured this Eastern Box Turtle white-faced in a criminal act. His (red eyes) demeanor indicates that he wasn’t too pleased at being interrupted.
Boletes too !!!
It looks like we are at the end of the chanterelle season here in the Tennessee Valley, but there should still be some picking in small patches for another few weeks. The good news is that fresh sweet corn is available in all our farmer’s markets. It’s a good time to try a sweet corn-chanterelle risotto. The Asiago cheese works well with the sweetness of the corn and the fuitiness of the chanterelles.
Keep in mind that the tough parts of a Chicken Of The Woods or other timely polypore, simmered in chicken or vegetable stock provides an extra “shroominess”!!
Chanterelle & Sweet Corn Risotto
3 ½ cup water
1 tsp salt
14 oz. chicken broth (fat free)
1 ½cup corn kernels (cut from 2 lg ears or 3 med ears)
2 Tbs butter (divided)
1 cup fresh chanterelles (diced or coarse slice)
2 cloves garlic
¾ cup diced onion
1 ½ cup Arborio rice
½ cup plus 2 Tbs white wine
½ cup asiago cheese (finely shredded)
2 Tbs coarsely chopped basil
¼ tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
Bring first 3 ingredients to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Place 1/2 cup corn in a food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup fresh corn kernels and mushrooms; sauté 3 minutes Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Remove mushroom mixture from pan; set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add rice; sauté 3 minutes or until rice is lightly browned. Stir in 1/2 cup wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 22 minutes total). Add pureed corn and mushroom mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons wine, cheese, basil, and black pepper.
HINT: Dry sauté (sweat) chanterelles alone first and reduce the water that is released to almost nothing before adding the butter and corn. This will insure that the mushrooms are well cooked but not soggy!!