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From the Enchanted Mushroom Forest to the Comfort Food Diner

Tuffy P and I loaded up the Newfs and drove up to a forest we know, not too far north of the City. My brother the trout, Salvelinas fontinalis, introduced us to this place, and it’s turned out to be a reliable spot to look for certain edible mushrooms. Our primary goal today was to do some drawing and painting in the forest. IMG_6520.jpg

There are plenty of challenges involved with working in the landscape. You can see one of them in the photo above. The forest canopy adds an always changing network of shadows to the drawing surface.

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The temperature was perfect, though, and the bugs were moderate (they seem to be more attracted to Tuffy P than to me). If anyone is interested in my forest (and garden) drawings by the way, they’re available via yumart.

Of course, while out in the woods I took the opportunity, with my Newfie dog assistants, to look around for tasty edible mushrooms.

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Lobsters!

I found about a dozen Hypomyces lactifluorum – the so-called lobster mushrooms. I also found about half a dozen small but perfect Hydnum repandum – toothed mushrooms we call hedgehogs. I consider both to be among the choicest mushrooms I collect each season. Most years I start finding lobsters at some point in July. August is usually best and then they decrease into September. This season I found a couple lobsters earlier this month and nothing at all before that, and today’s finds were the first hedgehogs of the season for me. Most of the mushrooms in this area are to be found in a fairly small chunk of the larger forest, and so I collected what mushrooms were available in 20 minutes or so.

Before leaving home for the forest, I fired up our charcoal bbq and fire-roasted a good bunch of plum tomatoes in anticipation of a pasta dinner after drawing. I was pretty happy that I’d be able to enhance the pasta with some wild mushrooms.

I used all the hedgehogs for the pasta and a handful of lobsters as well. My pasta sauce also included some fresh garlic, fennel, a red pepper and loads of fresh basil (2 varieties), oregano, thyme and parsley. I used tortiglioni pasta. I tightened up the sauce with a generous amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano after cooking and drizzled on some super-delicious Salah’s Gold olive oil.

An awesome day all around.

 

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