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Ricardo’s Big Mushroom

Ricardo’s Big Mushroom
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  • Ricardo’s Big Mushroom

    Post #1 - September 12th, 2009, 11:58 am
    Post #1 - September 12th, 2009, 11:58 am Post #1 - September 12th, 2009, 11:58 am
    Ricardo’s Big Mushroom

    So, I got a call from C2 last night, alerting me to a guy in Maywood who had a big mushroom. Today, I biked out to investigate.

    I met Ricardo in his garage.

    Image

    Ricardo hunts:

    Image

    Ricardo fishes:

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    Ricardo smokes:

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    His first words to me were “David, where do you Fellowship?” He’s a very religious guy, with a good heart, and a giving nature, to wit…

    We went into his side yard where he introduced me to the Big Mushroom.

    Image

    Image

    He cut it out of the ground, eating stray chunks.

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    He said he’d been eating it for years, where it continues to grow in the same spot, despite the fact that he ran over it with a lawn mower last year. He offered me a hunk, and although I was really hoping our resident mycologist would I.D. it before I consumed any, I figured, WTF, and ate. It had a slight citrus tang, a little acidic, so I assume it will be good with butter, maybe a note of pineapple and woodsiness.

    Here’s how it looked on my bike – it took up the whole basket. I’m guessing it’s about 7.5 pounds of fungus fun. I stopped at a local block party where a buddy lived; local moms were showing off their babies; I was showing off Ricardo’s Big Mushroom.

    Image

    This was a very pleasant bit of morning socializing and front yard foraging. Ricardo would never call himself a foodie, but he likes to eat, talk about food, and share.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - September 12th, 2009, 6:27 pm
    Post #2 - September 12th, 2009, 6:27 pm Post #2 - September 12th, 2009, 6:27 pm
    Looks like you have a beautiful specimen of the Chicken-of-the-Woods mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureuas). Popular with vegetarians because its flavor is similar to - you guessed it - chicken. It grows at the base of oak trees and can sometimes be found several feet away above the tree roots. The tender outer margins of the lobes make for the best eating. Closer to the base, it becomes a bit fibrous to the tooth. I usually cut the lobes into strips and prepare with any number of chicken recipes. Enjoy!
  • Post #3 - September 12th, 2009, 7:56 pm
    Post #3 - September 12th, 2009, 7:56 pm Post #3 - September 12th, 2009, 7:56 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Here’s how it looked on my bike – it took up the whole basket. I’m guessing it’s about 7.5 pounds of fungus fun.

    By the hallowed light of Carol Channing's ghost, that is one giant mushroom!
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - September 12th, 2009, 8:01 pm
    Post #4 - September 12th, 2009, 8:01 pm Post #4 - September 12th, 2009, 8:01 pm
    fifille wrote:Looks like you have a beautiful specimen of the Chicken-of-the-Woods mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureuas). Popular with vegetarians because its flavor is similar to - you guessed it - chicken. It grows at the base of oak trees and can sometimes be found several feet away above the tree roots. The tender outer margins of the lobes make for the best eating. Closer to the base, it becomes a bit fibrous to the tooth. I usually cut the lobes into strips and prepare with any number of chicken recipes. Enjoy!

    I've got something structurally similar in my lawn, except it's white and red, growing where a crabapple used to.
    Care to hazard a guess as to species? It's pretty fleshy looking, and creeps out my son when he cuts the lawn.
    I don't think I'd eat it (even though I don't use any chemicals on my lawn), but interested parties willing to waive rights to sue are welcome to it.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #5 - September 12th, 2009, 8:10 pm
    Post #5 - September 12th, 2009, 8:10 pm Post #5 - September 12th, 2009, 8:10 pm
    It is not uncommon to find such giant chickens in the woods. In fact, during September which is prime time for chickens and also the Hen-of-the-Woods mushroom (Grifola frondosa), the best way to haul a good catch of these feathered friends out of the woods is in a laundry basket.
  • Post #6 - September 12th, 2009, 8:19 pm
    Post #6 - September 12th, 2009, 8:19 pm Post #6 - September 12th, 2009, 8:19 pm
    JoelF,

    I would NOT try to guess what you have in your lawn from a verbal description. Identifying mushrooms can be tricky and dangerous. (The old joke among mushroomers is that all mushrooms are edible, but some of them only once!) I would need at least a picture and preferably the mushroom itself. The key traits required to make a confident identification include the specimen's odor, cross section and sometimes even inspection of the spores under a microscope. You are astute about mentioning that you don't use chemicals in your lawn. All should take note that even edible species can be toxic when growing in chemically treated lawns.

    Stephanie
  • Post #7 - September 12th, 2009, 11:38 pm
    Post #7 - September 12th, 2009, 11:38 pm Post #7 - September 12th, 2009, 11:38 pm
    I was just doing a little math in my head. If this mushroom is 7 pounds (and I believe it's probably more), and with chicken of the woods going for $5-10 an ounce at Oak Park Farmer's Market, this big boy is worth...well, it's worth a lot, and I'm bringing it with me to the picnic tomorrow so it can be marveled at by one and all...though it is C2's to take home and enjoy (and turn into a delicious platter or two of food for the generous Ricardo).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #8 - September 14th, 2009, 10:44 am
    Post #8 - September 14th, 2009, 10:44 am Post #8 - September 14th, 2009, 10:44 am
    Great to see the big boy in person. Even greater when C2 insisted I take a big chunk home. I'd just bought a small piece of sulfur shelf from River Valley at Evanston Farmers Market the previous week @ $1/oz. (Green Acres sometimes has them too - same price), so I probably went home with $25 or $30 worth of mushroom. Thanks David and Cathy!
  • Post #9 - September 14th, 2009, 11:07 pm
    Post #9 - September 14th, 2009, 11:07 pm Post #9 - September 14th, 2009, 11:07 pm
    nr706 wrote:Great to see the big boy in person. Even greater when C2 insisted I take a big chunk home. I'd just bought a small piece of sulfur shelf from River Valley at Evanston Farmers Market the previous week @ $1/oz. (Green Acres sometimes has them too - same price), so I probably went home with $25 or $30 worth of mushroom. Thanks David and Cathy!


    $1/oz?
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #10 - September 14th, 2009, 11:17 pm
    Post #10 - September 14th, 2009, 11:17 pm Post #10 - September 14th, 2009, 11:17 pm
    So, in return for the big mushroom, Ricardo had asked for just a platter of food back, containing the mushrooms, for himself and his wife. So, tonight, The Wife and I made a seafood bisque of lobster broth (made from shells of four lobs last week), shrimp, some crab meat...and a whole lot of Ricardo's mushroom. It was really good.

    Image

    If you picked up some 'shroom from the picnic and don't want to make a whole dish around it, one of the best things you can do with it is just sautee in butter, add salt and eat.

    Incidentally, at the picnic, several people asked me (ironically) where I fellowshipped, and Josephine suggested the only valid answer: LTHForum.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #11 - June 14th, 2010, 1:28 pm
    Post #11 - June 14th, 2010, 1:28 pm Post #11 - June 14th, 2010, 1:28 pm
    Well, I am pretty sure I am admitting to larceny, but my neighbor had one of these (Chicken of the Woods, aka Sulfur Shelf Mushrooms) hanging off the base of a tree in the parkway. I was looking for that blow-my-mind moment that comes from trying new foodstuffs,and the fact that I didn't really know my neighbor wasn't going to get in the way of that. I reasoned that they probably were as squeamish as most folks about eating unknown fungi. And heck, isn't there some rule about the parkway being public property? My brother-in-law was encouraging, in that way that showed he was more interested in finding out what would happen than he was in my having a great experience. Add in my golden rule -- it is easier to ask for forgivness than permission -- and after a week or so of ogling it, I waltzed across the street with a butcher knife and hacked it off.

    The thing was probably a couple pounds of fungi lobes arranged vertically on top of one another. The edges were orange and the bottom of each shelf was bright yellow. It smelled kinda. . . . mushroomy. Firm but with a rubbery give, somewhere between a white mushroom stem and a fake wine cork. I cut the thing into 3/4 inch cubes, threw it in a skillet with half a stick of butter and let it saute for a bit. Few cloves of garlic, some finely chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, and the kitchen was smelling great. They sucked up the butter so I added another couple tbls. They sucked up that and I decided I would deglaze with some leftover white wine. About 20 min into the cooking I decided to taste. Kinda mushroomy (with a bit of the wild mushroom funk), kinda chickeny, and the flavors I added worked well with it. . . the problem was the texture. It was definately meaty, but overcooked-turkey-breast meaty. It was dense and dry and stringy, with fibers looking and acting exactly like overcooked white-meat.

    I decided to let the sucker stew for a bit covered. Adding water as needed, I let them go for about 3 hours. Getting better but it still wasn't what I hoped for, the toothsome sauted mushroom. I would have eaten it, but I had a great backup meal planned. The texture just wasn't doing it for me, so after a couple bites, into the compost bin it went. After reading this post, it looks like I pitched somewhere between $32 and $320 worth of mushrooms.

    Here is what I learned:
    - Slice a Chicken of the Woods THINLY. This thing has meat-like fibers that need a head start breaking up. Even a very fine dice might be good.
    - Use lots of butter. Why not?
    - Use lots of liquid. It'll take a bit of a braise. I would recomend stock to reinforce the umami quotient, maybe a hit of wine. Like tofu, I got the impression that CotW would showcase the flavors surrounding it.
    - Hammond's soup idea would be perfect for this fungi. Blitzed in the food processor, cooked with plenty of butter, stock and cream, it would make a great dish.

    Let's see if it grows back.
    Today I caught that fish again, that lovely silver prince of fishes,
    And once again he offered me, if I would only set him free—
    Any one of a number of wonderful wishes... He was delicious! - Shel Silverstein
  • Post #12 - June 14th, 2010, 11:50 pm
    Post #12 - June 14th, 2010, 11:50 pm Post #12 - June 14th, 2010, 11:50 pm
    Hi,

    Your sulfur shelf will indeed grow back. When it does, you can either snatch it early when it is immature and almost all useable OR wait to it matures, then collect the tender edges only.

    Most mushroomers go through your experience at least once of trying to tenderize a mature sulfur shelf. It is just too woody.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - June 14th, 2010, 11:55 pm
    Post #13 - June 14th, 2010, 11:55 pm Post #13 - June 14th, 2010, 11:55 pm
    I guess I've never had a really mature sulfur shelf. The texture of every one I've had wasn't woody or stringy at all - probably closest to a slightly overcooked chicken breast, at worst. I have one that comes up in my front yard every year - I'm still waiting for it, and I'm hoping some kid walking along the sidewalk wont try to kick the bright orange thing.
  • Post #14 - June 15th, 2010, 1:51 pm
    Post #14 - June 15th, 2010, 1:51 pm Post #14 - June 15th, 2010, 1:51 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,
    Most mushroomers go through your experience at least once of trying to tenderize a mature sulfur shelf. It is just too woody.


    Thanks, Cathy. I would bet that there is a spectrum of maturity, and that this one was just past its prime. It was just on the other side of something I would be happy to eat.

    Maybe I should ring my neighbor's doorbell before I make a habit of eating things off of thier trees. In all, it was a positive first mushrooming experience. I ate something new. I freaked out my brother-in-law. And I didn't die.
    Today I caught that fish again, that lovely silver prince of fishes,
    And once again he offered me, if I would only set him free—
    Any one of a number of wonderful wishes... He was delicious! - Shel Silverstein
  • Post #15 - July 7th, 2010, 4:24 pm
    Post #15 - July 7th, 2010, 4:24 pm Post #15 - July 7th, 2010, 4:24 pm
    Buddy of mine caught what he called "Hen of the Woods" near Lawrence KS. that was basically white blue and red. Heavy, chunky thing, didn't have the frills that I see in these pictures. He supposedly was an amateur expert. Wonder if there are other species called by the same name.

    DH--What IS that bike of yours? I lust for it, like, totally! Is it a new model? or a vintage?

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #16 - July 7th, 2010, 4:52 pm
    Post #16 - July 7th, 2010, 4:52 pm Post #16 - July 7th, 2010, 4:52 pm
    Geo wrote:DH--What IS that bike of yours? I lust for it, like, totally! Is it a new model? or a vintage?


    I believe it's vintage, as it belonged to my father-in-law (before he took it to the Post Office one day and expired upon arrival). It's a very stable vehicle, perfect for navigating the streets of the People's Republic in all weather, less perfect for distance travel (however, my F-in-L rode a balloon tire bike from Duluth to California, so I'm not ruling anything out). As I have pretty much forsaken automotive transport, having a basket this big is a boon for everyday errands.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #17 - July 16th, 2010, 6:14 pm
    Post #17 - July 16th, 2010, 6:14 pm Post #17 - July 16th, 2010, 6:14 pm
    Geo wrote:Buddy of mine caught what he called "Hen of the Woods" near Lawrence KS. that was basically white blue and red. Heavy, chunky thing, didn't have the frills that I see in these pictures. He supposedly was an amateur expert. Wonder if there are other species called by the same name.
    Geo


    Hen of the Woods and Chicken of the Woods are two different types of mushroom. The former called such because the whole thing looks like a feathery hen. The latter because it tastes like cooked chicken.
    Today I caught that fish again, that lovely silver prince of fishes,
    And once again he offered me, if I would only set him free—
    Any one of a number of wonderful wishes... He was delicious! - Shel Silverstein
  • Post #18 - July 18th, 2010, 3:19 pm
    Post #18 - July 18th, 2010, 3:19 pm Post #18 - July 18th, 2010, 3:19 pm
    HI,

    Common names for mushrooms vary from region to region. It is often best to use the Latin name as well, because that is much more specific.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #19 - July 18th, 2010, 3:37 pm
    Post #19 - July 18th, 2010, 3:37 pm Post #19 - July 18th, 2010, 3:37 pm
    So any word from Ricardo? Has the mushroom fruited again? Or does this massive fungus not behave that way?
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #20 - July 18th, 2010, 5:03 pm
    Post #20 - July 18th, 2010, 5:03 pm Post #20 - July 18th, 2010, 5:03 pm
    Cynthia wrote:So any word from Ricardo? Has the mushroom fruited again? Or does this massive fungus not behave that way?


    Honestly, things got a little weird with Ricardo...but we fondly remember him as the benefactor of this massive 'shroom.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #21 - July 18th, 2010, 11:27 pm
    Post #21 - July 18th, 2010, 11:27 pm Post #21 - July 18th, 2010, 11:27 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    Cynthia wrote:So any word from Ricardo? Has the mushroom fruited again? Or does this massive fungus not behave that way?


    Honestly, things got a little weird with Ricardo...but we fondly remember him as the benefactor of this massive 'shroom.


    Pity. But out of curiosity, do these types of mushrooms fruit again after being harvest?
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #22 - July 21st, 2010, 12:12 am
    Post #22 - July 21st, 2010, 12:12 am Post #22 - July 21st, 2010, 12:12 am
    Hi,

    If it hasn't fruited yet this year, it will eventually at the very same location. This is a wood rotter. If seen on living trees, it is sign it is in decline.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #23 - July 22nd, 2010, 4:37 pm
    Post #23 - July 22nd, 2010, 4:37 pm Post #23 - July 22nd, 2010, 4:37 pm
    My front yard sulfur shelf is up again. Someone kicked half of if off, but I was able to rescue the kicked portion while it was still pretty fresh. Guess what's for dinner tonight!
  • Post #24 - September 22nd, 2010, 3:51 pm
    Post #24 - September 22nd, 2010, 3:51 pm Post #24 - September 22nd, 2010, 3:51 pm
    The sulfur shelf mushroom on the roots of my oak tree in the front yard re-fruited yesterday - I've never seen it fruit twice in one year. The mushroom was terrific sauteed in plenty of butter, but does that mean that my oak tree is about to fall over, smash through my roof, and disrupt the beer I have brewing?
  • Post #25 - September 24th, 2010, 11:26 am
    Post #25 - September 24th, 2010, 11:26 am Post #25 - September 24th, 2010, 11:26 am
    nr706 wrote:The sulfur shelf mushroom on the roots of my oak tree in the front yard re-fruited yesterday - I've never seen it fruit twice in one year. The mushroom was terrific sauteed in plenty of butter, but does that mean that my oak tree is about to fall over, smash through my roof, and disrupt the beer I have brewing?


    I'm not sure that I've seen a second flush of the same mushroom in one season, but I do know that this past season was pretty awesome in general for chicken in my parts. I saw so much this summer that I mostly let it be, since I had such a surplus in my cooler. We saw an off-the-charts second flush around the forest about two weeks ago, which we caught just in time, collecting the most young and tender fruit possible. I have never tasted this mushroom so rich and supple to the bite. I found some early hen too, and I hate to say it that the chicken was better eats (hen has long been my fave). These mushrooms really had a pronounced eggy thing going on, which is funny...

    This is what young fruit looks like.
    Image

    Abundance!
    Image

    Didn't even have room in my bag for this beaut.
    Image
  • Post #26 - May 24th, 2014, 5:09 pm
    Post #26 - May 24th, 2014, 5:09 pm Post #26 - May 24th, 2014, 5:09 pm
    While pulling a few weeds up in my backyard today, underneath some ostrich ferns, I found these guys:
    Image
    Large, (the one on the left is 6" tall), and hollow; pretty clean. A few people on LTH know where I live, but I'm not telling anyone else. I don't want hordes of morel hunters in my back yard.
  • Post #27 - May 24th, 2014, 7:29 pm
    Post #27 - May 24th, 2014, 7:29 pm Post #27 - May 24th, 2014, 7:29 pm
    Will your guard cats be on patrol tonight? 8)
    "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." -- Federico Fellini

    "You're not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in from the lake. And there's practically no opera season at all--and the Lord only knows whether they've ever heard of lobster Newburg." --Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane.
  • Post #28 - May 25th, 2014, 9:07 pm
    Post #28 - May 25th, 2014, 9:07 pm Post #28 - May 25th, 2014, 9:07 pm
    While pulling a few weeds up in my backyard today, underneath some ostrich ferns, I found these guys:

    Large, (the one on the left is 6" tall), and hollow; pretty clean. A few people on LTH know where I live, but I'm not telling anyone else. I don't want hordes of morel hunters in my back yard.


    No picture posted - not even a broken image.
  • Post #29 - May 25th, 2014, 9:15 pm
    Post #29 - May 25th, 2014, 9:15 pm Post #29 - May 25th, 2014, 9:15 pm
    sundevilpeg wrote:
    While pulling a few weeds up in my backyard today, underneath some ostrich ferns, I found these guys:

    Large, (the one on the left is 6" tall), and hollow; pretty clean. A few people on LTH know where I live, but I'm not telling anyone else. I don't want hordes of morel hunters in my back yard.


    No picture posted - not even a broken image.


    I see it.
  • Post #30 - May 25th, 2014, 9:23 pm
    Post #30 - May 25th, 2014, 9:23 pm Post #30 - May 25th, 2014, 9:23 pm
    Picture is hosted on my website :
    http://advertising-marketing.com/Albums/Morels.jpg
    I'm in the advertising and marketing consulting business, hence the web address. I never send out spam, but some browsers block any links that contain "advertising" in the URL. There's probably a way to allow the photo to come through, but I'm not sure what it would be on your system. It comes through fine here.

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