Yellow Morels

orchard2It’s a true friend that calls you and says, “There are bunches and HUGE!” My friend was speaking of the same small (7 trees) apple orchard she has let me in the past several years. This was yesterday. My guess is that, counting what we both picked and the small (less than 2-inches) ones left to grow, there were 150. Click the thumbnail to enlarge.


MorelGroupEllen and I stuffed six of these using Steve’s stuffed morel recipe – see sidebar for morel recipes. They were fabulous.




Morel2PairTwo pair of 5′s is a great hand





OrchardA 5-inch + from the orchard. I’m saving it for Steve who will be here tomorrow night.

Monday I picked some blacks both high and low elevations.




RAIN YELLOWSToday I hit the woods at daybreak in the pouring rain, and me effort was rewarded.





Ramps & Morels 2015

cornbreadIt’s that time of year. Once more my spirit lifts, and the cast falls off my eyes as I look with anticipation for the first morel. Should be today because the poplar in my front yard has leaves as big as a squirrel’s ear. Of course the trees in the forest are a little behind.

While waiting, I went to a ramp patch to see what the situation is. Ramps are up, but they need to grow just a little. However, the little ones are sweet and tasty, so I dug a nice handful and had them for supper. Fortunately, Keith had given Ellen 10 lbs. of fresh ground corn meal. I made the muffins you see by using a mix of 1 1/2 cups meal and 1/2 cup flour. Also, I crumble a couple of strips of rendered bacon into the batter. I use the bacon fat to grease the pan. A little hot grease in the bottom of the pan makes the batter sizzle when you spoon it in. Pretty dad gum delicious! Had the corn bread and ramps with white beans, onions and Conecuh sausage.

Conecuh sausage is made in Evergreen Alabama, and is a staple in a Marengo County (my in-laws) breakfast or shrimp boil.

Mushroom & Tortellini Soup

Ellen and I went for a hike yesterday, and it was 18 degrees. This soup was a wonderful way to finish off the morning!! It was given to me by my fellow County Commissioner and friend Myron Iwanski.

Mushrooms & Tortellini Soup

This soup calls for shitake and and baby bella (crimini) mushrooms from the grocery. For a mix and complexity of flavors, reduce the amounts and then add assorted wild mushrooms such as oysters and maitake (Hen of the Woods)


2 tsp butter
Mirepoix chopped (1 small onion, 1 small carrot, 1 stalk of celery @ 2:1:1 ratio)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth ( I use homemade stock, not broth)
2 cups water
5 oz. shitake
8 oz. crimini
1 small Parmesan Reggiano rind (optional but good – also at Kroger))
9 oz. three cheese tortellini (I use Buitoni brand from Kroger – comes in 20 oz. pack)
Salt and pepper to taste (some truffle salt works great)
Whole parmesan to grate as garnish.
Chopped parsley as garnish


Melt butter in a Dutch oven – med heat. Add mirepoix and sauté until tender. Add garlic toward end.

Add chicken stock, water, mushrooms and bring to boil for 2 minutes. Season and stir. Turn down heat and simmer 20 minutes. Then, add tortellini to the simmering liquid and cook to al dente.

Remove the rind and serve soup

Garnish with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.

NOTE: Stores well overnight in frig, so make the day before and reheat as an appropriate time saver. If you go out for a walk on a cold day, put the reserved soup in a crock pot on “low” and have it ready upon your return !!!