Tag Archives: mushroom

Holy Fungi

12 Jul

Every couple of years I’ll wake up to find a giant fungus growing beneath the oak tree outside my living room window.

chicken-of-the-woods

Well, last year, my son’s interest in fungi let me recognize it as chicken-of-the-woods when it popped up this year.

my hand for some perspective

That means I harvested it.  Do you see how huge this thing is?  I had to use my machete to cut it off the ground.

I cannot tell you what a chore it was to clean it up.  It completely grew around the grass.  It was embedded in there.  I ended up throwing half of the thing away because I just couldn’t get the grass out of it.  I did also promise my son that I’m sure I missed some grass.

By the time I had finished, I had two 9×13 glass baking dishes full of mushroom.  I tried giving it to him just cleaned, but he informed me that he didn’t know how to cook it.  Um…

I called my mom, and we spent a lot of time preparing this thing and breading it and turning it into popcorn chicken-of-the-woods.

It really is delicious.  We pooped out, and we still hadn’t finished the first pan.  Of course, another marathon day of working on it followed, and the whole thing has been prepared and frozen (or eaten).

Since I had a lot left, and it was some of the big chunks, I decided to try turning it into bacon.

I started by slicing it as thin as I could.  By the way, you can use this recipe with  a portobello or shiitake mushroom cap as well.

Then I made the glaze.

Whisk together:

  • 4 Tbsp. Tamari sauce (or soy if you don’t care about sodium content)
  • 4 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Dip or brush both sides of the mushrooms slices with the glaze.  Then place them on a baking sheet.  I did get smart with the second batch, and I put parchment paper in the pan to make the cleanup easier.

Bake it at 375°F for 20 minutes. Flip them over and bake another 10 minutes.

It’s delicious like this, or you can fry them in a skillet with a bit of oil to crisp them up.  Thank heavens they freeze well.

I am so bad at food photography.

I must say, as much work as it was, I’m probably still going to harvest it the next time it pops up because it was delicious!

Chicken of the Woods

2 Jul

My son has a thing for mushrooms.  He has spent quite a bit time reading about them, and last year he started foraging for them.  He brought me a bunch of morels to prepare and preserve for him.  This year, he brought me more mushrooms to prepare for him.

He added some half-free morels and even a pheasant back mushroom.  I have to tell you, it smells like watermelon.  Seriously.

I did decide after frying all of those mushrooms that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make some delicious gravy.

As a vegetarian, I hardly ever have the makings for good brown gravy like when I was a kid.

It was delicious.  Anyhow, all of my son’s interest in mushrooms has me paying a bit closer attention.  Last week, when I was out making sure all the kids were with their moms in pasture, I saw a bright orange spot on my tree.  Closer inspection revealed this fun guy.

Chicken of the Woods

I sent the picture to my son and asked if he wanted it, and he told me yes; it was called chicken of the woods.  He stopped by on his way home, and we took the ladder out to pasture.  I held it while he climbed up and cut it off the tree.

I did some investigating on how to prepare it and consulted with some facebook friends, and finally I decided to bread it and deep fry it.  I did double dip in the flour and egg/milk pans to get it completely coated before putting it in the cracker crumbs.

I was a bit skeptical of it really tasting like chicken, but you know what.

It does.  It was pretty good.

I even made mine into a sandwich, and it was good.

I have the rest of it prepared and frozen because it’s supposed to be easy to store that way.

Now I hope I find more of them.

Another Real Chicken Dish

14 Sep

When I made the chicken bacon ranch casserole for my nephew and his wife, I figured out rather quickly that the package of chicken breasts was too much for that one dish, so I also made them pan seared chicken breasts with roasted mushroom and carrots all with a rosemary thyme brown butter glaze (that’s too long for the title of a blog post).  This has also been sitting here ready to go for over four months, so I thought I’d share it while I’m so busy with work, goats, and garden.

I started by placing my mushrooms and carrots into a pan with a bit of olive oil and roasted them at 400ºF for about fifteen minutes.  For a meal for two, I used half the bag of baby carrots and about 1/2 the 1 pound container of baby bella mushrooms.  I threw in about 1/4 cup of diced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic, and a bit of salt and pepper.

While that was roasting, I seared the chicken breasts on both sides using a bit of olive oil in a cast iron skillet until they were browned.

I removed them from the pan and set them aside and put my butter into the skillet.  I used a whole stick and 1/2 tsp. of ground thyme and 1/2 tsp. ground rosemary.  That did end up being about twice as much as I needed.

Once it was rich and brown and nutty delicious, I added my carrot and mushroom mixture.

I let that finish cooking the carrots till they were almost done, then I added the chicken breasts and 1/4 cup of vegetable stock (I didn’t have chicken, or I would have used that).

Then it simmered until the breasts were thoroughly cooked.

Again, this was given to my nephew and his wife, so there’s no pretty plated picture.  They did say it was a blog-worthy recipe though.