Garden Diary - June 2015

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Oyster Mushrooms
Monday, 22 June 2015

Understand that when it comes to mushrooms, wild mushrooms, I'm what's referred to as a pot hunter. Some members of the New Jersey Mycological Association are fascinated by all mushrooms. Me, I'm fascinated by the deliciously edible ones. Wild mushrooms are usually seasonal. Chanterelles in summer,for example, hen of the woods in autumn. Oyster mushrooms, Pleurous ostreatus, are more casual about when they'll make an appearance. Their season is all year round. Easy to cultivate, too. But that's another story.

They grow, often in large clusters, on standing trees or the stumps of fallen trees. The fan shaped mushrooms grow in clusters, one above the other. If picked carefully they are very clean. And you will find them on the same tree, year after year. Something important to remember!

Not long after I spotted the oyster mushrooms illustrated above my friend Carol called. John had found some on a fallen log on their property, and did I want any. She'd even bring them over to the house. And my plans for dinner this evening just got kicked up a notch.

I sauteed a few fans in butter and herb-infused olive oil.

And we enjoyed them with a flank steak, brushed with soy sauce and the herb infused olive oil that I grilled under the infra-red broiler of my Wolf range. Together with little potato cakes (mashed potatoes mixed with a little flour, then pan fried by the spoonful until golden brown) and some green beans we had a very delicious dinner.

I wonder, does steak and oyster mushrooms count as surf 'n turf?

P.S. Then there are mushrooms you grow yourself. Remember when I "planted" shiitake mushrooms? The first year, they did nothing but lay around like logs. The second year I soaked them in the bathtub for a day or two, propped the three logs up on a stump in the woods and got a few rather nice, big-as-my-hand size shiitakes. Then this year, after we got the heavy rains beginning of June, well!

Just call me the shiitake queen!

Certainly a bumper crop, well worth the wait.

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