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Foraging Chanterelle Mushrooms

Learning to live off the land through growing, cultivating and foraging for food is a process that I’ve just recently really embarked on. The knowledge that I seek in this arena will bring about healthy, sustainable and truly organic food for myself and my family. It is through learning to do this that I will have fun while finding a sense of freedom from a food chain that produces unhealthy garbage. I’m looking to be mindfully inserting myself into the cycle of food that I choose to nurture my body and spirit.

Just recently, I set about on my first ever mushroom foraging trip. Some friends of ours have been picking mushrooms for years and so we trusted them and their local knowledge about these edibles. As we arrived to the super secret spot we parked along the road, grab our wicker baskets, strapped our young toddler children to our backs and then headed off into the woods. It took us novices a bit of time to develop our ‘eyes’ to hone in on the chanterelle species. Once we did though they were like golden neon signs glowing amongst of the woodland area. Surprisingly in the two hours that we gathered we ended up with just about 12oz of quality mushrooms.

The meal I prepared with our chanterellles is from author Hank Shaw (@Hank_Shaw or honest-food.net) and his tag line of “Sexiest Soup Ever” was just all that I needed to proceed with preparation.  This was my very first time taking a stab at a Veloute and as it smelled fantastic, I think this is where I might have gone wrong. As I was so worried about over cooking and temps to high, I think I fell off at the other end of the spectrum with temps to low. The consistency of my soup was just way to thin than I expected this soup to be. The flavors were great, even though my soup was not thick enough. As a side note I had to substitute the brandy with Jack Daniel’s Honey whiskey (which was a gift and buried in my liquor cabinet.) Otherwise I followed Shaw’s recipe to a T and took my time, cherished a couple of Belgian Trippel’s  from New Belgium Brewing and just enjoyed the preparation process of new ingredients and new cooking methodologies.

This excursion into the woods just further solidified my desire to find/grow my food. I do believe that the time I spend with my food the more I pay attention to how I will prepare the meal and through all that goodness I take pride in what I’ve accomplished. Staying close to my food’s roots, taking refuge in knowing where my ingredients come from.

A Decade Away

Yesterday marked the decade upon my departure from the Pacific NW. So much has transpired over these past years and when I pause long enough to steal a gaze backwards there’s a flood of emotions. Many of them good. I really have grown, been lucky enough to have a few life experiences. Most importantly I found the woman of my dreams, the one whom I could never quite see, just as she was about to turn and look at me the damn alarm clock would go off. Reflecting now though, the one thing, and maybe a bit naive on my part, was the day I pulled out of Seattle in my ’78 VW bus, Athena, bound for the Caribbean, I really believed it was going to just be a chapter in my life and that i’d return in a couple few years. Life just doesn’t always go as we think it will. The bumps and turns, the pull and allure of some distraction, choices and decisions — they all play a part in the journey. I guess hidden in there somewhere is the definition of wisdom.

I’ve spent the last ten years trying to define my home. I’ve lived a bit transient as I tried to understand, not only myself, but what was important to me, and where I shall I call home. To me, home is two places. There’s a geographical location and a place within my heart. Both I find solace and an inviting sense of calmness in. In fact, Sus and I were just discussing last night, how we’ve both never really felt ‘at ease’ here. Yes, we both do like the town we live in, we think it’s cool, it’s got a lot of things going for it. Yet, I don’t think either one of us has given ourselves permission to settle. There’s so many other things that could be going on that aid in that feeling, and I won’t get in to it all, but if you’ve ever read other posts, or know us, you’ll understand as well. Either way, we are now looking to find some permanence, a home-base if you will. I don’t think either one of us will totally slow down, and we both get extreme wanderlust and are always discussing the next locale for some adventure, but we want to be grounded somewhere. I also believe that we both have some sort of pull to the PacNW. We are working hard at making that happen, if anything we may just throw the arms up into the wind and come-a-running. At this point in our lives, I think, anything is possible. I know that doesn’t sound very responsible, but I’ve also learned in my life that some occasions deserve that childish spice.