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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

On a night when I tried a new first in the creative realm (no further detail until after the surprise :), I’m posting about another first for me this year – a new recipe. Or more accurately, a new dish that I am making, since I don’t really follow recipes very well.

Wood ear mushrooms

A couple of weeks ago, I was working in the yard and saw a lot of jelly mushrooms. They are the jelly ones that are translucent and sometimes come in the shape of an ear growing on branches. We get a lot around the yard (when oak branches fall, generally have them) and I’ve been gathering the branches with these in our mushroom compost pile for over a year. They were in a massive flush!

harvest of wood ears

I walked around the yard with Alon (who wouldn’t let me get his picture) and we harvested a bunch (see pic)!

After celebrating the abundance and giving thanks, next on my to-do list when this happens is a crash course in mycology. I was pretty sure about them, but wanted to be really sure. So here’s the low-down:

  • These are in the order Tremellales , and there are no known poisonous in this order.
  • This mushroom (most likely Exidia recisa though appears like
    auricularia auricula)

    is common throughout N. America and goes by many names,

    Tree ear, Wood Ear, Jew’s Ear etc. I didn’t perform a spore print but the most common – though frequently not in the books – look alike is Exidia recisa, which has some info posted here.
  • Related species is the a. polytricha (Mo Ehr), which is common in Chines markets and dishes, including Hot & Sour soup.
  • Both the auricularia are edible and apparently have a very similar mild flavor.
  • Auricularia species contain polysaccharides, which act as immune system stimulants and anti-carcinogens. These mushrooms are also reported to affect blood cogulation and may affect coronary artery health.

Check this site (with references) for more mycological geek time.

Given that this is a key ingredient in Hot & Sour soup, I just had to figure out how to make that! I found a recipe and modified it (on the fly, surprise surprise). I cooked it despite not having 2/3 of the ingredients! I even forgot the sour, and it was still really good! (when I cook something that makes Tirza very happy, it’s definitely worth paying attention to!).

Later that week we visited a Chinese grocery (a treat for the Nomads) and stocked up on several helpful ingredients. Below is pretty much what I up doing for the Souper Sweet Valentine’s Day event. Since the soup won “Best International” and we were asked to share our recipes…here we go:

Hot & Sour Soup Recipe from the Nomad’s Cafe

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha or red chili paste+garlic
  • 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sliced shittake mushrooms
  • 1 can peeled straw mushrooms (don’t know these and haven’t used but were in original recipe and sound good!)
  • 1 can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts
  • 4 large carrots cut in match sticks (or whatever, if you don’t like cutting:)
  • 1 cake soft tofu, sliced into 1/4 inch cubes (didn’t do this either)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup dried black fungus (wood ears), soaked in water for one hour, drained and sliced.
  • finely chopped scallions for garnish

If you like your soup more brothy than chunky, add even more water (I’m still trying to figure out the ratio…I more than doubled what it called for and it’s still chunky).  Note that all spices are approximate and should be adjusted to your pallet (I don’t actually measure anything when cooking this).Also, as a confession, I leave out the corn starch and didn’t miss it in the experience at all.

Preparation:

  1. Bring stock to simmer, add soy, shittakes and stray mushrooms, Sriracha/chili paste. Simmer for 10 min.
  2. Add white pepper, vinegar, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrots, wood ear fungus, tofu. Simmer 10 min.
  3. Pour in the eggs in a very thin stream over the surface. Let stand for 15 seconds before adding the sesame oil.
  4. Serve with garnish of scallions.

Hope you enjoy! If you have comments or questions, feel free to add them below.

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Tonight I went to the first meeting for 2010 of the Mushroom Club of Georgia. It was my first meeting (thanks for Robert Hamilton for pointing me towards the group), and I felt at home right away. The room we were in was packed (apparently there was word that morel season is about to start and everyone wanted to know more!). I went to learn about the club and they did a nice overview presentation, with many members giving insight into what they do, including:

  • Walks: this is definitely the highlight. Wander in the woods with knowledgeable folks and collect mushrooms, identify species, etc. The first hike is on April 3, free and open to all. Most walks are members only though, so be sure to join.
  • Educational meetings: the club meets on the second Thursday of the month and has informative talks. Next month includes a biochemist talking about how medicinal mushrooms actually work.
  • Fun events: there is an annual event for southeastern groups on Oconee. Everyone who went had a hard time describing it but clearly enjoyed it massively!

I’m looking forward to my first walk and am hoping to go on April 3.

At the meeting, I found I had something to contribute so I figured that meant I should share. I’ve had some exposure to mushroom identification and collecting, thanks to some friends, and tonight I even got some further backing for what I learned about a medicinal mushroom from a health practitioner, so here goes…

Turkey Tale Tea!

Turkey Tales are an incredibly common mushroom, even in the city. It’s easy to identify, gorgeous, and medicinal.

Note that the underside of Turkey Tails are pourous (not gills) and are white.

The easiest way I know of to access the medicine of turkey tails (believed to be a general anti-viral and anti-bacterial) is by boiling. The recipe, known as Turkey Tail Tea, is easy – just throw a handfull of Turkey Tail mushrooms into a crock pot and let simmer for 48-72 hours. After that point the good medicines are released. Just get a cup and drink!

I was amazed the first time I had this – these mushrooms are very pleasant and have a mild, nutty, aromatic taste. Drink some and stay healthy!

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