Full Tilt Toward Winter

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This last week with the nighttime temps dipping down into the very low 20’s, it was easy to get into a winter mood.

I spent several days raking the big leaf maple leaves that had coated the driveway with nearly a foot of golden hued carpet. You may ask why it took me several days, it is because with the cold weather we also had the brisk Columbia River Gorge East Wind (yes all Capitalized). The CRGEW is known for its tenacity of lasting for a week at a time, blowing garbage cans from one neighbor to another even when neighbors are nearly a half mile from each other, ruining every kind of hairdo, cooling body temps no matter how many layers one has on, and making most people cranky in a persistent kind of way as they discuss the current chill-factor caused by the wind. Continue reading

The Ahh Haa Moments

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There are times in life when something comes along to make you wonder why. Why hadn’t I thought of this before, why hadn’t I heard of this, why hadn’t I thought of it???

I had one of those thoughts recently, it was one of those niggling little snippets of a conversation that had been rolling around in my noggin for several days. Now when I say a couple of days, that is a big fib. When I think back it wasn’t  just a couple of days ago when this all started, it has been more than a month since it was when Chanterelle season had begun to heat up. I was sharing some of the bounty with my Monday morning classmates when V. asked if I had ever had them pickled.

I said no I hadn’t, then went on to say that I had baked, stewed, marinated, dehydrated, froze, casseroled and souped. I have served them whole when roasted, sliced into mushroom steaks and grilled, broiled with marinara sauce and Parmesan for my own version of Parmigiana. I have made them with butter sauce and linguine, in spaghetti dinners, and as a side dish for nearly every occasion, but hadn’t tried pickling. It had never occurred to me and I couldn’t picture anything but the tiniest of buttons being firm enough to go through the cooking and pickling process without turning to mush. The subject was dropped when class was over and everyone took their little baggie of shared mushrooms home.

Thinking back on the conversation, I thought I should have asked for more information about the pickling process and was going to follow up during the next class but my friend V. was not there that day. So I sent a text. Ahh Haa, I said to myself, that was much easier than I thought, when V. sent a link to click. But my Ahh Haa was short lived because I was busy on the farm so I sent the link to one of my other friends who had canned some mushrooms for me earlier (by the way, Thank You S. for your time, effort and canning ability).

A few more days go by and S. says that she would have shared the pickled mushrooms with me but she ate them all. No biggie, I thought to myself and picked her a another bucketful to practice her kitchen craft.

It was about this time when the weather turned winter-like. So I picked the last of the mushrooms of the forest before our very cold week of low 20 degree weather destroyed the mushroom crop, and stowed away enough to fill the vegetable bin in the fridge. Days went by and time was running out since my refrigerated mushrooms would not last through the time I will be away from the farm. I did not want to dehydrate any more because my pantry is full, all the little baggies filled with the saute and freeze cubes are more than enough for several winters, and we had been having mushrooms in most meals with still some left. I broke down and went in search of that pickle recipe through the myriad of texts, I got the link for a website and realized that all one needs to do to find the answer for oneself is to type pickled Chanterelle mushrooms into the search bar and that exact information comes up, recipes and all for several versions!

Ahh Haa I said to myself, this looks pretty darn good and there are many recipes to chose from! Not willing to make things too easy for myself, I came up with my own recipe and it is DELICIOUS! Why had I not done this before? Why did I have to wait until the very last moment to try something new? How come I don’t have a fridge full of mushrooms to make batches and batches of deliciousness? Anyway, since I do not necessarily follow directions, I came up with my own recipe.

Emergency Or Adventure

mrssusanschmidlin.wordpress.com site is nearly out of data, I will continue to post as long as I can but time is running out. If you would like to see the whole story with pictures visit the new website at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com and hit the follow button so I don’t lose you in the transition!

I planned to set up a few meals ahead to keep my crew fed while I am away next week. While trying to decide what easy to re-heat dishes to fix, I noticed that the pantry was in disarray. I have been running the dehydrator most of the summer and had bags and bags of everything from a variety of veggies to any of fruit I could get my hands on and lots of walnuts. So I set about cleaning up the pantry. Continue reading

As Promised

I was asked by several readers about what recipes I would use for the elusive cauliflower mushroom I found on the last day of picking. I have been doing a little experimenting, but before we get into the recipes a little backtracking has to be done.

The first thing I did when I got the cauliflower mushroom to the house was to soak it in salt water. Cauliflowers are very tasty to several kinds of bugs and crawly things. Worms like to burrow in as they feed. Each ruffle of the mushroom is a complex web of curls and space. Dirt, fir needles, bits of foliage, lichen and moss are trapped as the mushroom grows. The salt water kills any worms or bacteria in every crevice and since the cauliflower is such a dense mushroom it does not soak up the moisture like other mushrooms.

I was fortunate to have found this mushroom in the state it was in. The bright white color assured me that it was still growing rather than finding the ones that turn brown with age. This mushroom was still very young and tender, it was fairly clean and there were no worms in it yet (but I wasn’t sure until I had it soaked in salt brine). Continue reading

The Last Of Mushroom Season

The weather has turned colder and the temperature dipped into the 20’s at night. Fearing the cold will end the wild mushroom gathering season, I went out into the forest for a final mushroom foray.

The hunt began on the far west ravine of our forest. I walked/scrambled up the steep inclines with two buckets, my trusty mushroom knife on a lanyard around my neck, both dogs Jackson and Butler rushing through the wildlife trails, and my library audio book reading chapter after chapter to keep me company. It was a foggy morning when I had begun the trek at the bottom of the hill but by the time I was half-way to the top, the fog was gone and blue sky danced through breaks in the canopy above me. Continue reading