While we were at the coast this weekend, we also went mushroom hunting for Chanterelles. It is a surprisingly fun past-time, especially with friends. You get to spend time outdoors, hiking in the deep woods, keeping your eyes peeled for little spots of color along the ground. Then you get the thrill of the find, sometimes falling upon a whole group at once. And later, once the little beauties are all checked over, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced, they get cooked up for dinner. We had them sauteed in butter and parsley this weekend, but the leftovers will likely find themselves into omelets, mushroom risotto, and other tasty dishes (like maybe mushroom turnovers with sour cream, a recipe from my new copy of Everyday Food).
Another cool thing about mushroom hunting is that you see things that you might have missed if you weren’t trying to look at everything so carefully. I’ve seen these little snails along the ground before, but I’ve never seen this little red woodland lizard that Marcy found. They are tiny things, and easily overlooked, but they all share the forest. It is cool to think about.
On our way home from the coast, we stopped along a side road off the highway, in an area that looked to be promising. We pretty much came on several batches right away, and stayed for maybe an hour. I was pretty exhausted and sore after hunting around the day before (imagine me for a moment, 34 months pregnant, clumsy and awkward, climbing over fallen logs, and up steep hillsides. Then imagine Marcy doing the same thing with a 6-month old strapped to her chest. At least we survived unhurt, unlike my poor husband who actually sprained his ankle). At this new place, however, it was almost like they just popped up on their own. I was hardly trying and there they were. So we borrowed Alex’s dehydrator and are giving that a whirl. After a few more harvests like this one, we’ll have mushrooms to last the winter.