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Morel Mission 2009

 

Morels

Mushrooms are a uniquely operating vegetable. Their survival relies on the decaying organisms that surround them, unlike most other veggies, which synthesize the energy of sunlight into stored sugars through the process of photosynthesis. Morels are a type of mushroom made of a hollowed stem and honeycomb-like cap. They tend to grow at the base of, or in the surrounding area of trees that had deceased during the preceding winter.Morel Hunt

Another difference between the mushroom and other members of its vegetable family is the makeup of its cell walls, which consists of chitin, rather than cellulose. This is the same material that makes up the outer skeletal system of an insect. Appetizing, right? Although the life cycle of fungi out is not entirely appealing, anything with fresh morels is a delectable treat of earthy goodness.

 

I was really looking forward to my first Morel hunt this year. Since I was now part of the family, my in-laws threw out an early invite. Prime hunting season is in late Spring. We carpooled to a secret location, (I shall never tell), and wandered into the woods. “Keep your eyes out for dead trees,” said my father-in-law, Carroll. He has been a Morel hunter for decades and is our in-house expert.

Late May 2009 030

Although ths trip was a success, I am secretly hoping for a memory lapse prior to next year’s hunt. Morel season also coincides with that of the tick. I found quite a few on my clothes following the hunt. Luckily my sweet mother-in-law was happy to oblige me in peeling them off. It took me awhile to move past this year’s tick run-in, so don’t be surprised if next year’s entry takes place in the produce market at the Wedge Coop in Uptown, which happens to sell these rare delicacies if you’re willing to pay up.

Here is my father-in-law’s recipe for Morel sauce. Yum.

1. Take fresh morels ,wash them, drain off excess moisture
2. Put morels in fry-saute pan heat and drive off water in the morels they will get smaller due to loss of water.
3. Pour off the morel water from the heated morels into separate container.
4. Saute morels in butter and garlic salt or fresh garlic (to taste). Keep pan and do not clean yet.
5. Take morel water and mix with equal amount of heavy cream.
6. Place two spoonfuls of starch in a bit of cold water and mix until smooth.
7. Add starch to morel cream/water mix and heat in sautee pan with leftover butter, garlic, and morel bits until boil and mixture thickens.
8.  Add morel sauce to morels and put on pasta, steak, or chicken. Yum.

Morel Sauce

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