Yep, Vic and I are weird. He’s taken me to the Salton Sea birding festival on Valentine’s Day in the past, so this year I took him to a mushroom fair at the Los Angeles Arboretum. We had a great time and bought the makings of a fantastic appetizer for our homecooked Valentine’s Day dinner.
My main purpose in attending the fair was to buy a grow-it-yourself kit of portabello mushrooms. It comes as a box all ready to grow mushrooms. Just add water and wait. More on that some other day when we get started on growing our own mushrooms.
We also found a variety of commercially grown mushrooms for sale. Since all wild edible mushrooms have poisonous counterparts, Vic and I don’t mess with wild mushrooms. But we found a Japanese company that cultivates wild mushrooms here in the U.S., all organic. Now we can safely enjoy the taste of wild mushrooms.
Hokto Kinoko Company has 25 plants in Japan, and one in San
Marcos, CA, not far from us. They grow four different varieties of wild mushroom:
white beech mushroom (Bunapi)
brown beech mushroom (Bunashemeiji)
Hen of the Woods (Maitaki)
King Trumpet (King Oyster or Eryngii)
Vic bought one package each of the first three. We’ll try the King Trumpets another day. You can read more about these mushrooms at http://www.hokto-kinoko.com.
My plan was to make a mushroom soup to serve with our leg of lamb, but Vic picked up a simple recipe at the fair that we tried instead. Cut the bottom ends off the beech mushrooms, chop all three varieties of mushrooms, brown them in butter with a little garlic, and serve them on garlic toast.
I’d show you a photo, but they smelled and tasted so good that we wolfed them down before any pictures could be taken. The full, rich, earthy taste was like nothing I’d ever had before. Wonderful!
I highly recommend looking for these mushrooms at the store. Visit the company website to see where they might be sold near you.
We’ve been saving a special leg of lamb from a Border Leicester (not Leicestershire as the figure legend says) lamb that we bought locally a couple of years ago. We finally roasted it for Valentine’s Day. Here is our Valentine’s Day dinner menu:
sauteed wild mushrooms on garlic toast
leg of lamb, studded with garlic and roasted with rosemary
twice-baked Yukon gold potatoes with sour cream and black caviar
homemade chocolate truffles
We also had a 2008 Black Bear Syrah from MJB Cellars, a boutique Washington state winery owned and operated by Vic’s sister Marg Blackman and her husband Jeff. The rich, complex berry flavor of this slightly sweet Syrah was a perfect foil for the lamb and truffles.