Monday, November 14, 2016

Foraging Gear

Dear reader, whomever you may be, 

You may have noticed an uptick on mushroom posts and blog posts in general. I've had a renewed interest in sharing my adventures and recipes with you. I am no longer in school and so my brain has remembered that there is space and time for this endeavor.  

I used to only hunt solo but now I have a solid crew that has a funny schedule like mine. Both my mother and father are relieved. They were always afraid for my wellbeing, alone in the woods, but I had never felt threatened. Going with others has definite benefits. More eyeballs and more ground covered and of course, someone to share thoughts with.

Here are our packing essentials:

  • cloth bag
  • basket
  • paper bags 
  • kershaw knife
  • power bars
  • hydro flask water bottle 
  • vivitar binoculars
  • organic lollipops

not pictured:
  • bug soother
  • EO hand sanitizer
  • iPhone
  • comfortable boots
  • compass 

  • mesh bag
  • steiner binoculars
  • swiss army knife
  • cloth bag
  • small backpack
  • walking stick

not pictured:
  • trucker hat
  • sunscreen
  • power bar


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dryad's Saddle

In guidebooks, the Dryad's Saddle mushroom is not touted as being gourmet but if prepared properly, it has a wonderful texture and chewiness. Dryad's Saddle is also called Pheasant Back or polyporus squamosus. This fungus has a distinct cucumber smell, it has also been compared to the smell of a watermelon rind. It is easily identified by the feather-like pattern and by smell. Most foragers bypass this mushroom but somedays it's all you'll find on the hunt. I have found them in the spring time and in fall. It's best when picked young. 

I was featured on a foraging insta account!
arcanumnaturae  is how you'll find me. 


  • young dryad's saddle
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • fresh rosemary
  • garlic, minced
  • soy sauce 


First, scrape pores off of underside of mushrooms. Cut off stem and any part of mushroom that is tough and difficult to cut through. Combine two parts olive oil to one part white wine vinegar. Add fresh rosemary, minced garlic, and a splash of soy sauce.

Marinade overnight in fridge. Put a wire rack on a cookie sheet and arrange sliced dryad's saddle mushrooms on top. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes

We stuffed our burritos with them! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My new friend, Chanterelle or How to Make New Friends with Wild Mushrooms.

Does a wild mushroom exist that is on par with morels? Why yes, yes there is! 
Chanterelles are choice wild edibles.

But there is a toxic lookalike.

We use extreme caution when hunting for new wild mushrooms and know that Jack o'Lanterns (omphalatus iludens & omphalatus olearius)  are often mistaken for chanterelles (Cantharellus). Jacks are rather interesting, besides causing vomiting and diarrhea, the gills have bioluminescent properties. Some people make a dye from the mushroom. 

The first time we went out looking, I was so nervous that I kept tossing them over my shoulder. Much to my chagrin! "When in doubt, throw it out," so the saying goes. 

How does one become cautiously confident in identifying wild mushrooms?
  1. Buy a a quality field guide. I highly recommend the National Audubon Mushroom Field Guide
  2. Go with an experienced mushroom hunter.
  3. Join a local mushroom club:
  4. Join FB mushroom identification groups Mushroom ID Forum be sure to follow their guidelines! When posting a photo, include location, environment, and request. Someone will likely post the scientific name and you'll need to google it to find out more on your own. The forum encourages people to do as much self study as possible. 


If you're hunting on public land, check to make sure that harvesting mushrooms is permitted.
Leave some for others. Be they human, critter or creature. 
Use a mesh bag or a basket to help spread spores.
Only eat wild mushrooms after they have been cooked.

Back to my story, I had an experienced hunter come with me and it boosted my confidence! 
He pointed out the differences between the gills on the chanterelles and those on the jacks. There are noticeable differences once you know what to look for but there is a risk involved. That being said, eat wild mushrooms at your own risk! 

Chanterelles have false gills and do not usually grow in clusters whereas jacks feature true gills and do grow in big clusters. Check out the Mushroom Expert Website to find out more about the differences between the two. 

Here's a helpful video:


veganized from epicurious

      • ]2 tablespoons cider vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon honey
      • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
      • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
      • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1/2 pound fresh chanterelles (preferably small; halved if large)
      • 1 very firm Bartlett pear
      • 6 ounces baby arugula
      • Go Veggie Brand Grated Parmesan
      • Cayenne pepper, opt. 

    Whisk together vinegar, honey, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (opt.) and 1 tablespoon shallot in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, whisking.

      1. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a cast iron or 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chanterelles, stirring, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and tablespoon shallot and sauté, stirring, 
      2. 5 seconds. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.
    Halve, core, and very thinly slice pear lengthwise, then divide slices among 8 salad plates. Toss arugula with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and mound in centers of plates. Arrange chanterelles around arugula. Shake a generous amount of grated parmesan onto each salad. Drizzle salads with some of remaining vinaigrette.

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    Morel Season

    I grew up 'shrooming with my family, their name for it, not mine. We only ever hunted for morels. Little grays and big yellows and sometimes pecker heads. Of course, there is a cult following for these fungi and for good reason. They are choice. 

    Fast forward to the future, my mushroom crew and I hunt for all sorts of mushrooms. We found over 100 morels this spring and became OBSESSED with the hunt. I'll save our other fungi for a later post. First, we must pay our respects to Morchella, the mushroom Queen. 

    Store-bought corn bread crust with
    asparagus, morels & Daiya cheese
    My mama prepping the morels 


    • Saltines (Back to Nature Brand), crushed
    • 1 Flax Egg*
    • Morels, sliced in half
    • 1/8 tsp Garlic Salt
    • Olive Oil
    • Ziploc bag

        FLAX EGG

    • 1 Tbs Ground Flax Seed
    • 3 Tbs Water
         Stir and let sit for 15 minutes. 


    Soak morels in salty water for an hour to release hidden bugs then drain. Make flax egg and crush saltines in a ziploc bag, add garlic salt. Dip morels in flax egg and put into bag, a little at a time, and shake. Pour enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of  your cast iron skillet. Fry the cracker coated morels until they are golden brown, turning once.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Magical drawing, backyard foraging, and GLV history.

    In the wee hours of this morning, when I was dutifully with the before school children, I was given a delightful surprise! E, our writer-in-residence announced that she would draw me something. 
    From her brain came the fortune telling owl. How succinct. She is the most inquisitive, creative, soulful 7 year old, I have ever met.  This gem is getting framed. 

    When my students are off in their classrooms, I head home to my lavender house.  The rest of my morning and early afternoon was spent in a rather inspired fashion, I finished a two year old jewelry project and foraged for wild edibles in my backyard. 

    These two butterflies were found while out hiking and have been waiting patiently for this new life. I'm having trouble deciding which one to give my mom for Mother's Day. 

    Violets for jam.
    Viola Sororia

    I then collected wood violets from my yard. At the very beginning of Spring, we had the pleasure of seeing Siberian squill covering our backyard and now we have carpets of violets. I love this house and even though there are many, many hours of yard work that have yet to be done, I am thrilled by it all. Good riddance, Gaslight Village! No longer do I need to worry about minions chemically spraying, trampling,  or mowing over my green spaces. I am the steward of this land. 

    After seven months, I finally went on a recon mission to our old place. Not all of my plants had been destroyed by the new sidewalk, as I had feared. At first, I wanted to dig up every single one of my plants but now I'm going to just liberate my bleeding heart and my ghost fern, if it reappears. The installation of that sidewalk and the shock of seeing my garden destroyed, was the catalyst for us to finally move out of a teeny albeit magical treehouse and into a real house.  So, thanks, Universe. You're a tricky one. 

    Stay tuned, my audience of one? two? for the completion of the violet jam. 

    Lavender House among the squill.
    Scilla Siberica

    Friday, April 17, 2015

    Cream of Nettle Soup

    Stinging nettles have a horrible reputation. It is warranted and the name says it all. Stinging. They will definitely sting you and you will not like it. The way I avoided it was by using scissors. I cut the stalk and then used the scissors like tongs and placed them in the bowl. It was a painless experience. 

    After the nettles have been boiled, they lose their stinging hairs and become nutritious greens. They are especially rich in Calcium and Vitamin A.

    Here is the recipe I used:

    I used original flavor coconut milk and I wouldn't recommend it. The coconut flavor is too sweet for this type of soup. Also, don't do what I did and add too much water. Follow the recipe. 

    Wednesday, April 8, 2015


    C and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary today! I had prepped the table and was only missing flowers. When he walked in, he was carrying a bouquet! It is funny how in sync we can be.

    A few of my students made us Anniversary cards/ drawings. So sweet.
    The desserts were made by Sweet Raw Joy out of Cedar Rapids, IA. 

    Papaya. strawberries.

    Trail Mix

    Ginger Chew

            Cheers to us!