My Matsubara Red Japanese apricot bloomed. A member of the rose family and the plum genus, Prunus mume is a species that flowers when little else is in winter/early spring. Its good to see color against the drab grays of wintertime. They normally don’t grow around here, and I’m testing its limits in this zone 5 climate. But its worth it to see this. Once bloomed I’ll prune it and continue to train to keep it small.
Forest Mushroom Soup
I’ve been on such a mushroom kick lately. These are some Forest Nameko mushrooms that I have been tending to, and were ready for harvest today. The Japanese Forest mushroom, Pholiota nameko, is one of the few edible species in the genus Pholiota where most other wild species are inedible or may cause gastric upsets. There is a slimy coating on this mushroom that may be a little off-putting for some, but this is one tasty mushroom. In the spirit of its Japanese origins, I made a miso soup with seaweed dashi stock and the simmered forest mushrooms. Delicious.
Pizza: Wild Mushroom
Using some collected wild oyster mushrooms, we made a pizza; Finely chopped mushrooms, sauteed in olive oil and garlic, spread over dough, with fresh rosemary, Italian sausage, goat salami, olives, sliced shallots and fontina cheese. With more sliced mushrooms of course. It was delicious.
Wild Mushrooms: Part 2, Oyster Mushrooms
I found an impressive colony of Pleurotus ostreatus or Oyster mushrooms growing on an old elm stump in the back yard. Positive I.D.; scalloped edges, asymmetrical connection of the stipe to the cap, decurrent and continuous gills down the stipe ending at wooly clustered base. They were delicious; earthy, light mushroomy flavor, with a slight nutty taste. Very common in the fall. A great find, I love mushroom hunting.
I nearly stumbled over these while getting some fresh herbs from the garden for cooking dinner. They are Agaricus campestris, or the Meadow Button mushroom, similar as you’d get in the grocery, but these were growing in the middle of the backyard lawn! Yum. They were unbelievably fresh, earthy, and give fresh morels a run for the money. Such a rare treat to eat. They taste nothing like their grocery store counterparts.
They have pinkish brown gills, no yellowing, and an earthy mushroomy odor. Some other species of Agaricus turn yellow when wounded and may be toxic. Even though A. campestris is quite common, always be certain to have any and every single wild mushroom properly identified before eating. ALWAYS. No mushroom is worth dying over.
Bonsai: Japanese Flowering Apricot
I’m creating a new bonsai for my collection. This is the start; I’ve re-potted it and I’ll be pruning and training it starting this fall, and from now and until it’s mature, whenever that will be. Time and patience.
Prunus mume ‘Matsubara Red’ is a beautiful tree that makes a great subject for bonsai. It has wonderful, showy and large blossoms. I’ll take more photos of it in the future, of its flowers and progress of its training.
These are two of my Butterworts, Pinguicula ‘Sethos’ and P. laueana, or Sethos hybrid Mexican butterwort and Red Mexican Butterwort. The Sethos is blooming, and has a light violet colored flower that brightens the room. Its leaves are coated with glands that secrete a sticky liquid on which insects land, only to struggle and cannot escape. In my house they are typically fungus gnats and fruit flies. These insects become mired in this liquid, while the plant is triggered to produce enzymes that digest them. This nutrient rich broth is then re-absorbed by the leaves, feeding the plant. These types of butterworts require little care, just a bright sunny window and moist but loose draining soil mix, and no fertilizer. I’ve had these plants for years.
They look so innocent. Its always the innocent ones..
Pizza, from scratch, with prosciutto, crushed tomatoes and olives. I used fresh basil and spinach from the garden as the greens. All on a home made sourdough crust, with fresh mozzarella from the Farmer’s Market. The olives, prosciutto and cheese provide just the right saltiness. Simple and delicious.