Just a short blurb to let my friends – you – know we found 8 lobsters while hiking Big Ridge yesterday. Adam found them while I stopped to rest (getting old) about where Big Valley and Ghost House trails split. I checked out Mega Patch (look in August archives) on the way home, but didn’t see any sign. Aug 15 is fast approaching. Had two inches of rain, more or less, last week and it got cool.
You know, change in moisture and temperature is good for sexual reproduction – of mushrooms! Start checking your patches. One year, bumper crops of Lobsters occurred here (Tenn), NC and north Georgia within two days of each other.
On the down side, it looks like chanterelle season is over in the Great Valley. I’ll start checking higher elevations though, because the is always Hope, Patience and Humility to keep us going.
Asheville Mushroom Club foray tomorrow.
Last Thursday, Sept 10, I went over to the Brevard, NC area to scout the trails where my “cousin in-law” Ken and I are going to lead an all day foray during the NAMA (North American Mycological Association) gathering this weekend outside of Asheville. Ken and I spent about four hours on the trails, and decided on a plan which should give our participants a good experience. Along the way a few good things happened. In mid-Sept, Ken found a small patch of black trumpets, we saw our first Honey mushrooms of the year, and I found a small, and I mean small (10 oz.) Hen of the Woods, Grifola frondosa. We split it
Friday morning, I got up and figured that if Honeys were up in Brevard, then maybe here too. Sure enough, they were and along the way I experienced something worth sharing. Strange Jack O’Lanterns were around also. Last year I posted a blog picture that showed Honeys and Jacks intermingled at the based of the same large, dead oak., Well, Friday I saw what appeared to be the yellowish honey-colored cap of an Armillaria mellea (top), but they were in fact Jack O’Lanterns, Omphalotus illudens (bottom), unless the name has been recently changed. Apparently the recent heavy rains had leached the orange pigments out of the Jack. If a novice had been foraging, and not turned the cap over to examine it, and ignored the other ID features,, the could have very well picked one or two it they were in a rush and not mindful. Look at the exposed gills in this picture and notice how whitish they are. To a pro, no prob. To a novice, prob.
Today was a dry day; however, I took a flyer on my favorite lobster spot – the one that had that 100 pound yield several years ago. It’s way past mid-August, but Ken and I had found a few small ones on Thursday, so I went in anyway. Bam! As I entered he woods, orange spots appeared and I got about 10 pounds. They had the feel of and size of having come up over the weekend and then sat in the low humidity this week. Pretty good though. So . . . . . be looking because we re still in the Summer-Fall transition period. Puffballs haven’t shown up yet – any day now.
Somewhere along the way this Spring, Ellen came home with four frozen lobster tails which gave me the opportunity to make this dish that I had been meaning to try for sometime. I had several packs of lobster mushrooms (dry sautéed and frozen) left from last season, so this was as good a time as any. Warning: Makes a LOT of risotto!
LOBSTER TAILS AND LOBSTER MUSHROOM RISSOTO
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbs finely chopped garlic
1 Tbs finely chopped shallots
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
8 oz fresh lobster mushrooms (or equivalent frozen)
2 cups Arboro rice
1/4 cup sherry
5 cups fish stock, heated
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
4 lobster tails, cut in bite size pieces and lightly sautéed in butter/oil
1 Tbs chopped parsely
In a large pan over medium to high heat, melt butter in oil. Add vegetables and mushrooms. Sauté until soft. Add rice until all of the rice is coated with butter.
Add sherry and cook until the wine has been almost all absorbed. Add enough stock to cover the rice and stir continuously to keep rice from sticking/burning.
As the stock is absorbed by the rice add stock 1/2 cup at a time to keep the rice covered with liquid.
Cook the rice about 20 minutes, making sure to stir. When the rice is tender, remove from heat and add the cheese, salt and pepper.
Garnish cooked risotto with lobster and chopped parsley.
Serves four or more (depends on side dish or entrée)