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Foodie Forager Finds: Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods Mac and Cheese

I love fall, especially when the weather cooperates for those of us who love mushrooms!! I was given a beautiful Chicken of the Woods by dear friends this week, and one of the dishes I made is this lovely Chicken of the Woods Mac and Cheese. Image

This was very fresh Chicken of the Woods, so preparing was easy.  Tougher mushrooms can be parboiled to tenderize, but in this case not necessary.  *As with any wild mushroom, if new to the hobby, please make sure you have your mushroom identified by an expert before eating!

I chopped the outer tender part of mushroom and then sauteed for a few minutes in olive oil and butter. I then added chooped vidalia onion to the pan and allowed those to sweat for a few minutes.  While this was cooking I had prepared the noodles.  Once drained I put these back in the pot and added the mushroom/onion mixture.  I stirred in cheddar cheese, smoked mozzarella cheese, and some parmesan cheese, but of course use whatever is your favorite!  I mixed in 2% milk to my desired consistency, and placed the entire pot (ovenproof) in to the oven at 325 for about 20 minutes. I topped with a few chopped green onions and voila!!  So darn awesome!!!!

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How to separate an egg!

Although not in English, the video is perfectly understandable. I plan on trying this today.  Very cool and new for me!

Nature provides us with the most amazing bounties, and fresh Oyster Mushrooms are one of those treats!!  The recent rains brought out these beauties!!!  I came across them while walking behind my house en route to the community pool.  I literally picked several pounds – all from one log – and will be sharing with friends and families.  My kitchen has the distinct Oyster Mushroom aroma right now, which beats any artificial aroma any day.  Oh the good things in life!!  I will post recipes and more pictures tomorrow.

Oyster Mushrooms

Foodieforager’s Finds: Fresh Spring Salad

I love spring for so many reasons! One of the biggest is because of the fresh salads that can be created – most right from your own yard! The nice thing about a spring salad is that you do not need a large yard to create and enjoy! The bulk of this salad came from pots on my patio (spinach, lettuce, nasturtium, celery leaves), and the raspberries from vines along the back of my condo. The goat cheese came from Mackenzie Creamery here in Cleveland, Ohio, and the tomatoes (from southern Ohio) came from a local farmer’s market here in Cleveland. As for the vinaigrette, I had recently picked fresh basil and steeped in an organic white wine vinegar for a couple of days. I then strained, and sprinkled over the goodies with a dash of olive oil. I salted and peppered to taste. Ah….the flavors!! Fresh, sweet, tangy!! The best part? Healthy, flavorful, fresh, easy, and mostly local!

Foodieforager's Blog

Chicken of the Woods Casserole   

 

I really enjoy wild mushrooms, and foraging for them is a hobby of mine!  This is a recently found beauty – Chicken of the Woods – aptly named because once prepared the texture and taste is very much like chicken!   

A good, young Chicken of the Woods is soft and tender, as this one was (size is not an indicator). If the mushroom is a little older it will be hard and woody. You can still use the tips of the mushroom as these are usually softer (parboiling will help).   

After cleaning the mushroom thoroughly, you should be able to tear it into small pieces. If you can do this, the mushroom should be tender enough to eat after cooking.   

I made a “chicken” casserole by simply sauteing the mushroom pieces in olive oil.   

 

I then mixed the mushrooms into cooked pasta, tossed in butter, shredded jack cheese, parmesan cheese, fresh chopped garlic, salt and…

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Hen of the Woods (maitake) Mushrooms – Grilled.

                        Hen of the Woods (maitake) Mushrooms – Grilled

Hen of the Woods on the Grill

 

Hen of the Woods wild mushrooms are a favorite of mine, and here in the midwest the foraging season is in full swing!  Tonight I took the tender large “leaves” and brushed with olive oil, fresh garden herbs (tarragon, rosemary, parsley), and salt and pepper.  I grilled for about 10 minutes and the result? An awesome steak-like side dish.  Oh so good!!!

Hen of the Woods - Grilled

                                                                                                             Wild Purslane Salad

Purslane Salad

Wild Purslane is so fantastic!  We whipped up a quick salad the other night using only fresh garden treats: purslane, radishes, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Dressed with Sudachi Ponzu vinegar, olive oil, and a little bit of salt and pepper, a simple healthy start to a summer dinner is ready in a jiff!

Give Purslane a try! We pick ours when pulling weeds, as we know our yard is organic.  So good for you!! It can also be purchased at farmer’s markets.

Traditional Mojitos

 

Traditional Mojitos

 

Perfect on a hot summer evening, Mojitos are simply refreshing!  Make the simple syrup/mint mix ahead of time and refrigerate.  When the Mojito urge beckons, the drink can be assembled quickly!!  As well, by blending and then straining the mint, you will not have annoying, unsightly mint leaves stuck to your teeth.

For the syrup mix:

  • 1 ½ cups simple syrup
  • 7 or 8 sprigs fresh mint

 Blend well and then strain, refrigerating mint syrup mix.

 For the Mojito:

Working with 1 glass at a time, run a lime wedge around the edge of the glass to moisten it and give the drink an extra lime kick.

 Mix the following in each glass:

 Garnish with a mint sprig and/or a lime wedge.  Enjoy!!!

Corn and Blueberry Salad

Corn and Blueberry Salad

Need a quick and tasty salad ? Check out my Corn and Blueberry Salad recipe, perfect for any summer weekend!

  •  4 ears of corn, quickly cooked (corn should never be cooked more than 3 minutes or so!), cooled and removed from the cob
  •  1/2 pint of fresh blueberries,
  • 1 sliced green onion
  • 1-2 Tbs. Ponzu Sudachi Citrus Marinade
  • 1 tbs. honey, hot pepper flakes to taste (I like mine with a nice kick)
  •  dash of salt & pepper.

Mix gently and refrigerate until chilled……oh so good!!!

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