Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cooking Mushroom and Collecting Acorns

I cooked several of the Fat and Matte Jacks for breakfast.  My intention was to mix them with eggs, but we didn’t have any eggs, so I just ate them with a side of porcelain.  They are a moist mushroom and require thorough cooking in order to attain the fried mushroom texture that I am accustomed to eating.  Nevertheless, I found their flavour pleasing.  Shin invited us over for lunch and he cooked a fried rice dish with Chanterelles, Russulas, and Fat Jacks.  He also made a miso soup with the Gomphidous mushrooms that I enjoyed, and didn’t notice that the mushrooms were slimy.  Shin said that the Japanese enjoy many slimy foods, and he is accustomed to eating miso soup with a Pholiota sp. that is very slimy.

After lunch we processed the Sambucus caerulea by removing the large stems and leaves, steaming the fruit until it became soft, and running it through the fruit strainer that I purchased at a thrift store last week.  The fruit strainer is poorly designed and would be improved with a larger hopper, and higher pulp and refuse ports to allow larger receptacles to be place under them.  We came home with a little better than a gallon of juice, and Shin had about twice that much.

Just before dinner Katrina and I went to Playfair Park to gather Quercus garryana acorns.  In an hour we harvested 3 gallons.  There are definitely still acorns at the park, but we have picked over the best spots.  I heard a couple acorns fall while I was there, but I think most of them are on the ground now.  I find great joy in hearing the acorns fall.  As one hits leaves on the way down I can’t help but try and predict where it will fall, a spark of trepidation fills me, will it strike me?  Will it fall in an area that I already picked, will I miss it?  I was amazed to see how many new acorns had fallen in the places that I had collected from last Friday.  Someday I aspire to collect all the acorns—both good and bad—from a particular tree so that I can extrapolate the food value of an oak forest and compare it with those that produce more mundane fruits of civilization.  Generally, I don’t think this was a good year for Garry Oak production—very few are producing in Victoria.  We examined several trees in a school lot at Cook and Hillside on the way home: all but one had no acorns and the one that did only had a few small acorns.
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