Sunday, February 18, 2007

Veggie Queen Cooks Under Pressure while Mushroom Hunting

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going on a mushroom hunting foray. And the pressure cooker once again came in handy. The drive to the Sonoma coast took about an hour and a half. The pot luck dilemma revolves around the best way to be sure that your food is hot. My pressure cooker made this possible.

I had intended to make wild rice and mushroom soup but changed it to a wild rice and mushroom dish when I discovered that my chef friend Patrick Hamilton a.k.a. Mycochef was making Thai soup. So I served wild rice with Trumpet Royale Mushrooms and Black Chanterelles with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze. It was black on black but quite tasty, especially with a sprinkle of Salt and Truffles that our resident mushroom ID guy, Darvin, brought along.

Wild rice takes only 25 minutes in the pressure cooker, cutting the time by more than half. I wasn't sure what would happen when it was left in the cooker for more than 4 hours. I let the pressure come down naturally, very naturally as the pressure cooker sat for at least 3 hours in the car, waiting for hungry foragers to return. Lo and behold, when I opened the pot the 4 quarts of cooked wild rice was still hot, not warm but hot. A fellow Sonoma County Mycological Associaton ( member, Linda, asked how I managed to have hot rice at that point. I mentioned the pressure cooker. But when I saw the rice which was a bit mushier than I had wanted, I wished that I had made soup. Not many critics, though, and it was eaten up.

It was a beautiful day and many people, with a large group of first-timers, found a variety of mushrooms. Included in my haul were black chanterelles (but very few), two types of hedgehogs, chanterelles and winter chanterelles, also known as tubies or yellow foot for the color of the stem and one lone candy cap to add to my already dried collection.

The real and best work began when I arrived home and started sorting and cooking. And more about that another time.

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