30 September 2011

They don't call it the KING for nothing!

Well, we were back in the woods today, foraging for more mushrooms, and we also came home with some beautiful rose hips and cranberries. They were all growing together, so what the heck - the more the better! 

We got a lot of both Boletus edulis and Boletus bicolor today. The Boletus edulis are called King Boletes, and for good reason - they are very large and almost regal, sometimes hiding, sometimes out in the open - just amazing to come across. They grow to about 8" (20cm.) across the cap, as well as in height.
King Boletes (above)
 I just love the beautiful stems of the Boletus bicolor - almost like mini tree trunks.
Today's haul

Wild cranberries

Cranberries grow all over Cape Cod. They are just starting to ripen right now, so we didn't pick that many, but will go back for more in a couple of weeks.

The opposite is true for the rose hips, which have been mature and ready to pick for well over a month, now. It was fun to get some at the tail end of their season. Some people even pick them after the first frost, as they are the sweetest then. Although they are probably most commonly thought of as ingredients in tea (think Red Zinger, one of my favorites!) rose hips also make wonderful jelly - a Cape Cod tradition.
 Rose hips and cranberries (above)

For dinner, Jack sliced mushroom caps and stems (the least woody parts) and sauteed them in a combination of olive oil and duck fat, with a touch of butter.
When the mushrooms were tender (in literally a few minutes for such fresh specimens) Jack added lots of coarsely chopped garlic and a little heavy cream. He then added creamy cooked orzo to the mushrooms, followed by freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper, and some grey sea salt. He tossed it all together in the pan, quickly, and the dish was ready to serve.
As an accompaniment to this somewhat rich dish, I made a simple salad of mixed greens, heavy on arugula (my favorite). I added halved, sweet, red cherry tomatoes from our garden and my regular everyday dressing of extra virgin olive oil (a light French one), freshly squeezed lemon juice, grated fresh lemon zest, dijon mustard (my favorite is Maille), freshly ground black pepper and French grey sea salt. Actually, I almost always add minced garlic and shallots to my dressing, but for this dinner, simpler seemed better. The lemony flavor contrasted well with, and provided a welcome foil for the creamy mushroom orzo. Additionally, the greens and reds of the salad provided a beautiful visual contrast to the creamy whites, tans and browns of mushroom dish. (Sorry no picture of this!)

The next dish I want to try with our mushrooms is soup. Our Russian friends said that this is their favorite way to use the bolete mushrooms.

King Boletes - a meal fit for a king!

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  1. Bonjour Kate, it is a pleasure to meet you!

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and for your kind message regarding grandparents. Yes, those of us who knew them well are lucky indeed!

    I must say, your blog is amazing! And I see you are an artist, how wonderful.
    I perused some of your other posts, and I see you have a connection to Minnesota..this is my home! What area are you familiar with?

    Ok, now the mushrooming/Russian part! I took a class a couple of weeks ago on mushroom foraging, and here I'm seeing these BEAUTIES you have found! I am inspired..sounds like a splendid meal and experience. And regarding that mushroom soup, one of my most vivid memories as a child in St. Petersburg was eating fresh chanterelle soup in the Fall. Do try it if you can.

    I thank you again for introducing yourself, and am looking forward to following your adventures!

    - Irina

  2. Bonjour Palomasea - Yes, I'm from Minneapolis. Where do you live?

    The chanterelle soup sounds wonderful! Are you foraging for morels in Minnesota? I have heard they are often found in the state, but not sure where. Those are bar-none my favorite mushrooms!

    I look forward to getting to know you better! Kate

  3. Dear Kate,

    I am also in the Twin Cities, and have lived everywhere from St. Louis Park to St. Paul. Now we are on the border of Edina and Bloomington, what a small world!!:)

    Morels are here in the spring, (early-mid May) and from what I hear they are plentiful. I know there is a limit to how much we can take from the state parks, but as you know, there are many other wooded areas to choose from. Morels are divine...
    I still cannot get over the size of the mushrooms you picked (above). The ones you found, are they also known as "cepes"??
    If so, these are SO prized in Russia..I have not seen any here.

    Thanks so much for writing back, and I am looking forward to getting to know you better as well!

    Bonne Journee,
    - Irina

  4. What a delicious harvest! Love the shot of all the mushrooms spread out together. The rose hips and cranberries are such a vibrant red. We have rose hips growing along the drive to our home, and we love using them for Fall arrangements.
    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.
    xo E + J


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