Monthly Archives: September 2006

Fiddling again

I have added a little chat feature to the menu. It uses meebome to send me messages, directly from my blog. Interesting, no? If you want to let me know who you are before you start chatting, use the “edit nick” field and put in your own name.

Go ahead, give it a spin!

Testing note:

If you move your cursor off the little chat window, it will go away and the contents will be lost. You will also not get a response from me. I don’t have a multi-column layout, so I don’t have a good place to stick it. I may have to break out some css-fu and add a pin feature.

Eating dangerously

After Brother Nathan’s recent mushroom movie, the first touches of fall-like weather, and frequent rain, I decided to go in search of edible mushrooms. Last year we saw many types growing in the yard, and in the park nearby. I really like mushrooms, both to eat, and just the odd apeal of an otherworldly shape, smell, and general biology.

Promising beauty

We had a nice rain today, which brought rainbows, and when it was done, I headed out in search of fungus, specifically puffballs. In the fungus world, everything is strange. There are slimes, hard shelf fungus, the destroying angel and death-cap, both of which will destroy your liver, ultimately killing you, and then there is the giant puffball, which can grow to be a meter wide. That is OVER THREE FEET of white fungus flesh! And that is all flesh that can be cooked and eaten, if you can find one that is still young. Well, I did. It was not as big as some, but it was still an awful lot of fungus.

Edible softball

I know of a few places to look, and the first pile of rotting vegitation was host to this nice growth.

My slice

I cut it in half, and it sliced with a feel of rubber butter.

Sliced moon

And then I sliced some more.

Fried fungus!

It was after dinner, so I was not actually hungry for a large portion, but I cooked some in an olive oil and wine sauce, and the rest I dipped in egg, rolled in breadcrumbs, and fried. The flavor was slightly sweet, and although it still tasted like mushroom, it was very mild. It has a light fennel or licorice scent and flavor, but it was not at all unpleasant.

I did save half to cook with the kids tomorrow, but I wanted to eat some ahead of time, in case it brought on some discomfort, or worse. So far so good! I am looking forward to hunting for more with Brother Peter, now that I know they are safe, and tasty.

Water/Pepper-mint

Recently a unidentified fresh smell was noticed in the general shore area. I quick perusal of a Field Guide to Edible Plants from Nathan, indicated that there was a wild mint variety called water mint that, believe it or not, grows near or in the water. So I looked closely at the plant. And then I looked online. It did not quite match. Water mint is supposed to be a more course, and quite hairy. Ok, maybe it was some other variety, so I kept looking. The variety in our yard is growing in water, has purplish stems, rather smooth leaves, and few, if any hairs. The flavor is also very minty, without much of the usual odd flavors you get with garden mints. Based on descriptions, it looked like my variety may be peppermint, or “chocolate” mint. The problem is that peppermint is a (usually sterile) hybrid between spearmint and watermint. It could have drifted to our shores, I suppose, or it could just be the chocolate variety.

In any case, I did a final harvest of the spearmint in the garden that I did not care much for, and installed a cutting from the wild variety, placing it in a pot in the ground to ensure it does not acquire world domination. The old mint is now drying in the kitchen, awaiting it’s final destination at the bottom of a teacup.