Friday, October 24, 2014

Drive by shooting

We drove the cat to Brooklyn, to see his doctor. 

I miss this lovely view.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The business of spores

There has been quite a lot of this going on in the last week.

We ate the ones above in our risotto last night. Agaricus campestris - meadow mushrooms.

I had found some earlier in the week, too. ( I ate those privately, on toast)

Brown spore print from pink or chocolate-y gills, no staining on cap or stem when cut = Good to Eat.

And they were.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn in the hood

Happening right now on a rainy night in Harlem: smooth sumac (Rhus glabra) vodka shaken up with a lick of maple syrup (cocktail Since I didn't collect and make the maple syrup myself I'll omit botanical name. But you should talk to our friend, Steve...

Puffballs (Calvatia fragilis) and meadow mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) sauteeing. In the oven, hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa) are roasting...

...wild mushroom risotto for supper.

Blocks on blocks

Chelsea skyline, from The High Line.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do you smell mushrooms?

Good mushroom weather, we've been having. Rain, the first cold nights, a little warmth in the day.

Blewits - Clitocybe nuda - the typical pale lavender is fading in these specimens, but still a fresh enough clutch for a light lunch, on toast. The spore print is pale buff. Spore prints are important.

I had never seen these, before, below. Very striking.

Turns out they are Leucoagaricus americanus, and are edible. They caused some excitement in a mushroom forum.

See their distinctive, fat stems...

This cap was about five inches across. 

I'm not  a very adventurous mushroom eater, and I do my homework, so don't panic. I only brought one home to identify, and it will not be lunch.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Concord air

They perfume the whole apartment. From the tiny, one-stall farmers market on 117th and Lenox Avenue.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Puffball hunting

Rain, lawns, puffballs. After it poured with rain at the end of the week I could hardly wait to go out and search for mushrooms.

It's been years since I found decent puffballs.

The one above was about eight inches across.

Puffballs and imposters, possibly a species of Leucoagaricus - yet to be identified.

Rock, not puffball. Yes, I did try.

Puffball, emerging.

Old exploded or stomped-on puffball. The purple gives it its one common name: purple-spored puffball. 

Puffballs safely at home with a bonus of meadow mushrooms (Agaricus campestris).

The puffballs are probably Calvatia fragilis. They definitely are Calvatia. 

The 'probably' in this case is not rash carelessness: there are no poisonous true puffballs, though there are a couple of similar-ish mushrooms that you should be aware of, if you're puffball hunting. Purple inside when young means you have found a Scleroderma citrinum - do not eat. You want pure white, in cross section. 

And the creepy silhouette of a mushroom inside, when sliced in half, means you have the button stage of a destroying angel, or death cap, Amanitas you really, really don't want to eat. 

And, at last, lunch. I roasted the smaller ones whole, after peeling, then sliced, burning my fingers. They retain heat worsen' baked potatoes.

I love puffballs, though I don't know that the texture would appeal to everyone: buttery-silky, very tender, like the most delicate tofu, or, closer: roasted or poached bone marrow.

But then, I eat such things.

Recommended reading:

Mushrooms Demystified, by David Arora

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