Recently, the New Jersey Mycological Association recently sponsored their 2017 Fungus Fest. Years ago, this was the event that solidified Thaddeus’ hobby as an amateur mycologist.
A Polish Tradition
Thaddeus’ father taught him to forage for wild mushrooms.
Popinki is the Polish name for Honey Mushrooms (or armilaria melea). They are a mushroom used in a popular Slovak soup (Thaddeus is both Polish and Slovak) made on Christmas Eve as part of a non-meat meal. I personally find these mushrooms slimy and bland tasting, and have found that Shiitakes work better in the soup anyway.
Rams Head or Hen of the Woods (or grifola frondosa) is a large cauliflower-head-like mushroom. This is one of my favorite mushrooms for eating. They are very similar in taste to a standard white-cap mushroom, except more woody and intense of a mushroom flavor. They are used in any way that a white-cap mushroom could be used, but they are sturdier and don’t wilt or lose as much water during cooking.
I’m not sure if Thaddeus’ father taught him to forage for any other mushrooms, but he definitely instilled in him a passion for all things fungus. Thaddeus also forages for chanterelles and morels, but I think he learned about those through the NJ Mycological Association.
Right now is Ram’s Head season and we found a LOT of them recently.
We’ve already eaten a lot of these with steaks and also on buttered toast. This year was our best haul of this forest delicacy.
I saw a fantastic new multi-use pattern on Facebook and had to try it.
It’s a two-color (or more) reversible hat and a neck cowl designed by Alexandra Tinsley and called HowlCat (clever name instead of CowlHat). I love this design.