Category Archives: Mushroom dishes

The young princes

AuguDSC_4393Are all mushrooms with a veil poisonous? When I saw the fist sized mushrooms developing next to our compost, I thought this could not be edible. The two tops on the left side of the picture became almost 5 inches in diameter. Especially beautiful are their dropped and almost intact veils. A veil, albeit not as complete is normal for this kind of mushroom, plus a wonderful sweet scent, almost like marzipan or anise. The underside gills are pinkish or brownish, the spore print is dark and the mushroom society confirmed that it is indeed Agaricus Augustus, a relative of the champignon. Also named ‘the prince mushrooms,’ they indeed look majestic with their white culottes. Eat them for example sauteed with onions.
Mushrooms have good and bad look alikes, I recommend never to eat without consulting with a mycologist or experienced guide.

Shrooming weather

PicklesDSC_3846Monday, we had a Spring Flood.  When I went down to the train, I took an umbrella, in less than 10 minutes, the rain turned into a flood, water was shooting down Maple Avenue and left me wading to the station. I was wet up to my knees. Within 3 minutes we watched water filling the tracks, luckily it did not rise to the platform, the trains were in time. At Grand Central, people all looked dry and outside was just a little drizzle. How do you explain the wet suburbian-rat look?

Continue reading

Welcome back

OysterDSC_3517Spoonsense is back from a creative break. While involved in a business program plus some family visiting, we did not have much time left for testing new recipes. However, Spoonsense will go on and I’ll try posting at least once weekly while hopefully managing to redo the design. 
Our first gardening attempt in May after a stretch of rain, greeted us with a fine, 600 gram oyster growing on a poplar stump. What a treat! Truly something for my gratitude jar after last year’s home farming efforts. Try in a rice and mushroom sauce either in a blend of mushrooms or just pure fresh oysters. See recipe

Anti-Inflammation foods

VeggiebuDSC_3136Wintertime is body stress. Muscles hurt, (…or was it from snow shoveling?), the skin feels dry and food allergies tax our system more than usual, which manifests as inflammation in different areas of the body. Some foods such as sugar for example, can directly cause inflammation. Continue reading

Winter ‘shrooms

New York got hit again.  Just one week after Hurricane Sandy, we were hit by a snowstorm; we were lucky this time. With leaves still on the trees, this early snow could break trees when combined with strong winds. Cleaning up after the hurricane, we found small mushroom buttons sticking out of last year’s leaf mulch. I was delighted to have them confirmed as Blewits (Clitocybe or Lepista Nuda). Continue reading


Giant puffballs have been mistaken with sheeps in a meadow. On our morning run, we found this little ‘giant’. Giant puffballs (Calvatia Gigantea) are safer to identify. Smaller puffballs under 10 cm size, may be mistaken for other mushrooms, such as juvenile versions of the destroying angels or stinkhorns. Therefore, determine the species of the mushroom by cutting it in half. Continue reading

Poor man’s Caviar

Oh my; Liverwurst… from early teething, little children in Europe are reared on liverwurst, just the way U.S. children eat peanut butter. There are fine ground, and coarse country styles, some with herbs, onions, even burdock. Call it paté if you want to be more sophisticated or ‘foie gras’, use upscale packaging and maybe rare ingredients, such as truffles… However, it will always be a variation of a childhood memory just as the Ratatouille of Mr. Anton Ego. I was surprised how easy it is to make real good tasting paté without meat. So last week, I made my first coarse country style paté, D’Artagnan’s favorite! Oh, and did I mention the cinnabar chanterelles I put in there? See recipe


2012 is the year of the mushroom. The unusual wet Spring and early Summer supports my theory. While I always liked odd shaped fungi, edible mushrooms are my newest pastime. With this year’s 50th anniversary of NYMS, Eugenia Bone published her hunting experiences with ‘Mycophilia’. The easy ‘who is who’ in mushrooming all over the country, including descriptions of mushroom walks, culture and cultivation methods, including her own short experience in ‘home mushroom farming’. Continue reading

Gnocchi Time

Last time I made Gnocchi, I was still in college… I remember the sticky mess. To get a more manageable dough, we had added more and more flour, to almost double amount, but the easy to handle dough produced very heavy lumpy gnocchi. Plus the whole kitchen was dusted with flour… Continue reading

Better Burgers

A good veggie burger – juicy with great taste! Alternative burgers are either hard, crumbly and dry or have no flavor. Especially Chickpea Burgers from vegan recipe books, mostly simple Felafel recipes, seem to lack taste. Veggie and mushroom burgers lack the stickyness and fall apart with cooking. Commercial grain ‘ground meat’ is sticky but can have an artificial taste…  I usually prefer natural recipes without  pre-processed ingredients, so this one is an exception (until I have a natural solution). A quick mix that does not need resting time, cooks fast and is very juicy and tasty.  My better burger recipe!

Tuscan Styles

Tuscan Food –  Simple dishes made into delicacies with natural ingredients and good wines. Light, landscape, the food of Tuscany, the dream of a rich and simple life… Marketing has been using ‘Tuscany’ to stimulate our ‘Back to Basics’ instinct. Even a line of cat food has been named Tuscan style… Tuscan foods are rich in olive oil, tomatoes, zucchini and cheese. Tuscan favorites are Bruschetta; a tomato toast appetizer or Ribolleta, a vegetable bean soup. Following is a ‘Tuscan’ Salad with tomatoes, sauteed vegetables and basil; it contains orzo pasta and can be served warm. Get the recipe

Square meal

Polenta can be eaten as pasta. Even though Wikipedia describes the polenta cooking process as long with high maintenance in stirring, my coarse style farmer variety cooks relatively fast. Early prepared, the polenta has time to settle in the refrigerator and can be used instead of pasta with quite sophisticated sauces. I used a mushroom sauce, inspired by reading the Engine 2 cookbook. If you have leftover wine, it gives nice flavor to the sauce. However you can also just add more vegetable broth. See recipe

Country Life

Cuddling with a cat by the fire, munching strong country bread. Life can be good! Are you still buying bread or are you gluten free? Despite the bad rep, I still love my strong rye or country bread crust. Continue reading

Getting the B’s and D’s

Mushrooms are a natural source of Vitamin D! I love to eat mushrooms, but was surprised to read how nutritionally beneficial they are. In winter, when building vitamin D is harder with limited daylight, adding mushrooms to your plate is a good idea to fight the winter blues. Mushrooms are also high in B vitamins, and minerals, low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients. Most mushrooms have a high protein content, usually around 20-30% by dry weight. Continue reading

Veganize it!

Don’t throw away your old cookbook, veganize it! Some of our family recipes are worth keeping after replacing the fat dripping and cholesterol raising ingredients. The recently published book ‘Veganize it’ helps how to replace ingredients such as sugar, eggs, dairy and meat. I replaced the cream in this mushroom wine sauce from my favorite Pizza & Pasta cookbook, with coconut milk. The result is amazing.  See recipe

Beany Burgers

Food we ate at home is comfort food. While I was lucky to translate some traditional recipes, the simple ‘hamburgers’ remain a challenge. It is easier with commercial ground mixes, such as gimme lean, based on soy or wheat gluten, however they often have their own taste.
Veggieburger alternatives are usually grain or bean based or a blend of both to replace most of the substance, meat and eggs.  Continue reading

First autumn food

Fall season is here, 
our garden recovers from the summer heat. Leathery Greens such as kale, chard and bok choi is in high season again and I can see more mushrooms.
Mushroom season takes off with the more humid days in September, if not earlier. More local varieties become available. Once, a forage walk with the Wildman had us find real morels in Prospect Park. We are now planning to join COMA for a hike. Continue reading