Tuesday, April 21, 2015
I had my fortnightly torment session where an otherwise adorable Asian nurse grabs my arms with meathooks. It's unpleasant, so much so that my fetish for cute girls in scrubs has pretty much worn off from Pavlovian negative reinforcement. And it was super slow at work on Monday, so rather than head from my exhausting session with the needles (apheresis therapy looks roughly like donating plasma to yourself—but it's probably my best shot at finding out if Social Security will be there for Generation X), I decided to go shrooming.
I only had my first success hunting morels last Saturday. Since then, I'd read more on the subject, and the guy I ran into who was hunting the same property (and his bag was much fuller than mine got), I think he was shitting me.
I had just started to find a few along the creek's edge when he suggested we walk side by side. In hindsight, he steadily steered us away from the creek and while I found a few morels at first, it wasn't long until they dried up. The places he suggested we look weren't crazy, they were old, partially dead trees and such, but somehow the mushrooms just dried up. And more than once, he said we just hadn't had a few 80º+ days to really make them pop.
That book I was reading said when you get a few 80º+ days, the season is over. You might find a few leftovers, but nothing more is going to jump. This character I met in the woods, though, he made it sound like that's when I should start looking.
I read a Facebook post by a professional, a guy who travels the country starting in Alabama and eventually getting all the way up into Canada I think. He had a scout offer to show him where morels were to be found in an area, and after leading him to several dead spots, and telling him not to bother with these other areas, the pro went to double check. The areas he was told had nothing to offer, he and his girlfriend picked 15 pounds of primo morels in an hour.
I think the fellow I met hunting our mutual friends' place did the same thing. He knew I was hunting mushrooms, his bag was pretty well full, and when I got to the area he had filled it at, he tried to steer me out of it.
I remember feeling a little territorial when Greg told me someone else had been down a few days before and found a mess of them, and I thought, but those are my mushrooms!
But really they're Greg's mushrooms and if he wants to share the with a friend or three, that's his prerogative, right?
When I went back today, I made a bee line for that creek I was finding them on Saturday when the old-timer intercepted me. I found three times as many mushrooms in about two thirds the time. There was still a lot of time where I wondered if I was wasting my time, thought maybe I should just go home and take my bike out for a nice long ride. But then I found that colony, maybe a dozen shrooms in maybe a 10' diameter circle around a dead tree, instant recharge.
So today's batch was a bit over 1-1/4 lbs, 21.4 ounces according to our postal scale. I sauteéd a few, the rest got battered, fried, and devoured.
I think I like the breaded and fried version even better than the sauteéd version. I know it's off menu, but a diluted egg wash and a dusting of flour really seemed to bring out the meaty flavor of the mushrooms.