Chicken of the Woods

You know that old saying, That even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. This week I was that blind squirrel. I can't say that I have spent a lot of time out in the woods this fall looking for mushrooms but I have been out a handful of times without any success. The most success I have had has been by pure luck. I was at the archery range back in early September and found a very nice puff ball and also found a nice looking puffball in the woods across the street from my house. Both were a little wormy to eat so I haven't had any wild mushrooms to cook with this fall. Until the other morning when I looked out the window of my house and noticed something odd looking growing on my neighbors willow tree.
It looked a lot like Chicken of the Woods and I immediately went out to get a better look. It was a Chicken of the Woods and was in fairly good shape so I asked my neighbors if they would mind if I cut it down and ate it. They had no objections so I cut it down and brought it inside. The outer part of the mushrooms was a little leathery so I thought I would try a trick I had read about to soften up older mushrooms. I put the shroom in a plastic bag and added a couple sheets of damp paper towel and put it in the fridge over night. By the time I was ready to use it the next afternoon it was perfect.

I was looking for recipes to use on this mushroom and came across one for creamed mushroom with toasts. It looked really good so I threw it together and was amazed. Chicken of the Woods is a firm textured meaty flavored mushroom and holds up to cooking really well. I added some cremini mushrooms as well just to reach the the four cups. The creamed mushrooms were delicious they were really a perfect fall appetizer.
Creamed Mushrooms with Toast
4 cups wild or store bought mushrooms
1 cove of garlic minced
1 small shallot minced
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly chopped sage
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup of  heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pan melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until soft.
2. add the mushrooms and cook over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes add the sherry vinegar the sage and parsley and cook for about a minute.
3. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the cream thickens and coats all the mushrooms.
4. serve with any kind of toast.
Note: If you have never eaten wild mushrooms fry a small amount in a pan and try just a little bit before you make a whole recipe. Some mushrooms that are safe to eat can cause some gastric issues in some people. Always exercise caution when picking and eating wild mushrooms.