Sunday, July 12, 2009

Watermelon man

The Re-paint show at the gallery is really great and the opening was well attended, and we've sold two pieces already, so full success on that front. Yoga is also in full swing with 4 new teachers. Now we just need to get the students pouring in.

Today was the first mushroom walk of the Boston Mycological club's season. The results were not spectacular despite the heavy rain last night, which drenched a lot of people including me. I was quite happy to crawl into bed after that and curly up with the ever volatile M. Fukuoka. This book, called The Road To Paradise, sounds much more serene than it actually is. Instead of spending much time exposing his ideas behind no-till, aka natural, framing, he just goes off the spout about everything from industrial rice growers to Charles Darwin. His idea for a world which has everyone leave the cities and take up their quarter acre to farm their rice, barley, and veggies is so out of touch it's amazing this got through the publisher's sieve.

Anyhow, I hoped to pick up one new tidbit at the BMC walk this morning and I did. The prez, Ellen, told me that the Ganoderma tsugae (the shiny shelf polypore in the picture) I had found was "a very good one and perfect for making tea with anti-cancer properties". Sweet. Shannon is staying at my place for a couple weeks, we're gonna hit that. Can't have too much anti-cancer tea.

Other hits of the mushroom weekend were oyster mushrooms at the woods by a graveyard in Dorchester (how is it that Dorchester is like my top place for mushrooming???), and chantrelles on my way home from the BMC walk.

Last weekend, Henry and his infinite cuteness kept everyone feeling good. here he is with a watermelon.

Finally, although I didn't find enough time to really harvest all the juneberries and mulberries that i could have, I did go out yesterday evening to shake a few mulberry trees. I put a sheet down so they'd fall onto it, and got an OK harvest. Well, the mulberries I found yesterday were white ones, which I don't like as much. But, it's fresh fruit and it's free, so who really cares about it. Partridge berries are the same way, except they are even blander. but this got me thinking in the woods today. I'll show someone some partridge berries and they will try them and inevitably sort f shrug and tell me they don't taste like anything. This doesn't make me love them any less though. Cows don't complain that grass is bland. They just stand there and eat, and then sit there and eat again -- ruminate -- all day. We humans, so spoiled, everything has to "taste good". I'm going on a partridge berry campaign to point this out. Speaking of weird campaigns, just learned that President Polk used the poke berry plant as his campaign illustration. Weird. I also found a massive amount of pokeweed over by the oysters in the Dorchester graveyard. Next spring. Finally, I found some wild parsnips out in Littleton or so on the way to the walk today (I pulled over when I spotted their yellow buds). I will make that trip next spring too since i like them so much. I mean, they are no partridge berries, but...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Utagawa Hiroshige and the hanging foragers

Last weekend's adventure was babysitting, in order of increasing age, Callie, Sam, Jaime, and Bella. We had lots of fun and burned lots of calories. I tried out my idea of teaching kids foraging by letting them come up with their own names for plants. Sheep sorrel got renamed sour fish. It's sour, and tastes like a fish. This is a much better name than sheep sorrel. I just want to make the foraging literature even more confusing (like, if every plant had as many English names as the Shad bush does).

We came across some Indian Cucumbers on our West Hanover hike. This is a great hike a mile from their house, and so far I've gotten them on it twice, even though both times, around 2/3 in, the complaints start; are we almost done,... all that. They love it though.

Not sure if I should have, but I've started bella on her own blog. Her entries are short and simple, I could learn from that. Check it out:

The main thanks goes to Corina and my mother: they did all the hard work, including one unmentionable task early on, thanks to Sam+fruit. Hated to tell him the next day "no fruit" - who wants to say that to anyone (well, except if you are starting your own locavore movement and you are in New England in January), but, it was prudent. Enough said.

The rock tripe that sarah and I found on top of Red Mountain was delicious. In a strange mixing of worlds and art and foraging, I stumbled across (ok, there was some hunting) a beautiful Japanese print of people foraging for rock tripe, with a serious rigging. I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. It's by the same guy who did the big one in Sarah's dining room that I'm always gawking over. I prepared the tripe by boiling it for about 20 minutes, after a 2 hour soak in two water changes with some baking soda -- rock tripe eats rocks so you have to tame the acids. Then I added it to pasta with garlic and local asparagus.

Thanks to Kingsolver's book, I feel guilty buying avocados now since they are not local. Soon, I'll be eating only lambs quarters and wood sorrel, two weeds outside my door.

Foraging news:
* Brought some juneberries into chef Barry at The Hungry Mother the other day. he ate 'em right up, no questions asked, and then asked for them to use in a dessert that night. Then I told him on email that milkweed will be offering a crunchy edible part soon, and he is game to try it. Will try to get some recipes for the book with this collaboration. Chef Barry was voted one of the top 10 new chefs in America by Food and Wine.
* Lamb's quarters a current favorite, lady's thumb ok. Both out lots now. With all the rain we've had, mushrooms are out too. I don't really know what I'm seeing though. I grabbed what I hoped was a boletus bicolor the other day, but back at the office for an ID, I discovered it probably was not, it wasn't red enough.

* Cattail has been a challenge for me - for all the hype it gets in foraging books, I haven't really loved it yet. But I'm coming around. The young familiar cattail spike part is good like mini-corn-on-the-cob. Here I shaved it off after boiling for a few, and used it as a pizza topping along with sour fish, daisy leaves, and a tiny bit of early purslane.

* My oatmeal these days involves juneberries and knotweed compote. (I realize when you start a sentence with "My oatmeal these days.." people might fall asleep.)

Yoga at the gallery stands to pick up. Four new teachers coming soon, stay tuned. Also, the gallery now has it's own blog, The Scene, thanks to Intern Melissa.

More pics from the babysitting, recent foraging.