07 October 2009
The chanterelle hunt was one of my favorite activities so far.We drove out towards the coast and pulled off onto a secret road that I will never divulge. As we stood on the side of the road, looking down into a creek basin, I saw some orange spots dotting the forest floor. At first my friends and I were overwhelmed by the abundance of mushrooms. We hiked down the slope and then turned around so that we could look up into all the tiny caves and dales of the hillside where mushrooms tend to hide. They were everywhere- filling hollow logs, pushing up through leaves, nestled under rotting stumps. We picked and trimmed a pillowcase full in perhaps an hours time. Then the larger group came back together and we split into new groups. None of us had such luck again, but we tried another spot and found some perfectly formed beauties and also some weird creepy mushrooms that my mushroom dweeb friends were very excited about.
Then we went to dairy queen and I had a cherry dip, and then we went home to cook up a feast.
The Feast: Wild mushroom bread pudding (my favorite dish ever, in fact we almost ate the whole damn thing), pressure cooked lamb leg with chanterelles and celeriac, and braised greens from my garden. We surprised Nic with a pumpkin and gingersnap cheese cake for his birthday (made possible by me, not made by me- I'm still sick and nearly useless!) and we drank fantastic wine and talked trash the whole meal.
I really loved the experience of hunting and gathering. It was a sunny but cold day and the woods were wet and musty. We got worn out climbing around over fallen trees and up slippery rocks. And then we got to go home and cook one of the best meals I have had in a long time.