Morel Mushroom Season is on like DONKEY KONG

The War has begun for the Morel King Title and the holder of “Precious”.  The Morels just started to pop with this burst of warm weather and I am predicting a great season for 2013.  Yesterday, April 25th 2013 I took the day off work to go enjoy a full day of walking in the woods with my good buddy and competitor Trevor Storlie.  We had a nice drive up to Trout Lake, Washington where I knew a prime spot for Morels.  We first had to stop at the gas station so I could fill up and Trevor could get a magazine with his picture in it.  SO VAIN!

Morel's have the best camo

Morel’s have the best camo

The morning hike in started with a first strike out of the gate for me, with one on the trail.  We get up into a clearing I knew about where the sun hits it perfect.  I checked the ground temperature at 58 degrees and which is excellent news.  It was on, Trevor slithered off one way I went the other and the hollering “Found one” begins.

This is a nice little bunch of morels.

This is a nice little bunch of morels.

What we like to see in the woods as a good indicator is false morels.  You do not eat these, but it does tell you that the ground temperature is good, and there is moisture in the ground.  They always grow before the actual morel, I think they need about 52 degrees before they start popping.  But do not eat these they will make you sick.

False morels.  They are very different looking than actual morels.

False morels. They are very different looking than actual morels.

We take a little break because Trevor likes to use his son’s little sand bucket.  So we have to take a break to dump his bucket.

That is his little cute bucket, my MAN bucket is to the right.

That is his little cute bucket, my MAN bucket is to the right.  Notice my pile has big morels, and his pile has a bunch of minis?

After about a solid hour of picking one area we both produced about 90-100 morels, but still had a few hours left and a couple more areas to check out.

The first hour

The first hour!

We didn’t have as much success in the other areas, but still found some.  The temperatures in the soil were still to cold to produce, and we are looking for that magical minimum of 56 degrees.  We counted both piles and he came up with 180-179.  I lost by one mushroom and this was my honey hole.  I could have pointed him into another direction and scallywagged him, but I didn’t.  I lost round one of many to come, keep in mind he had really, really small mushrooms.

Always rinse your morels, and soak in salt water.

Always rinse your morels, and soak in salt water.

I wash my mushrooms very well, to get the bugs out I use salt in the water, and I rinse and drain several times, then soak them for an hour before putting them on the cookie sheet to dry.

Look at the size of these bad boys.  Drying out for 45 minutes.

Look at the size of these bad boys. Drying out for 45 minutes.

Once they are dried I put them in the refrigerator.  I keep about 30 for meals for the next few days and dehydrate the rest for the remainder of the year.  I know I will have lots of morels to eat fresh this year.

One of my favorite dishes.  You cannot go wrong with blue cheese flavor.

One of my favorite dishes. You cannot go wrong with blue cheese flavor.

I chop two garlic cloves, I take a handful of small morels that Trevor likes to pick. I add them to the pan with butter and saute them until the garlic is brown.  I add sliced tenderloin to the pan and brown both sides, do not over cook.  Salt and pepper.

I take 1/2 cup of white wine and reduce it to half, add about 4 tables spoons of good blue cheese and melt and mix.  The key here is the Sourdough bread.  Toast it.

Take the meat and put it on bread, along with mushrooms and garlic.  Pour a little fo the blue cheese sauce, and top with Arugula.

I tell you its MOUNTAIN MONEY!!!

About 200 morels.

About 200 morels.

I dehydrate the others and add them to the closet stash.  I will probably have five of these for the rest of the year to cook with, that is my goal.  Plus eat about 300 more while the season last.

Get out there and find some.

The Hunting Chef

Mushroom Hunting in Oregon-Precious on the line again

The people who know me well in my life know that I am probably the most competitive person in the world.  I have been told I am a Jack Russel Terrier, never back down to a fight, even when I am know the odds are against me.  However, I have never been a man to kick another man when he is down…until now.  I knew that the fight was over  of Trevor in the truck on drive to the mountains.  He even made me meet him at the donut shop.  Who eats donuts at 43 years old anymore?  Unless you’re a cop?  I smelled blood in the water almost instantly.  I do not have a lot of photos, I had to use his I phone and email them to me.  This is a sad day for me, and the “Precious Ring” that lays upon my finger is just one that reminds me of the friend I once used to have that was competitor in the field of mushroom battle.

This was after I found about 9 morels, and focused my attention to the Infamous King Bolete.

The bugs did not even have a chance to get them.

The morel mushrooms still have not shown in full force.  The black ones have a little, the blondes at this point are a no-show and I fear that this year may be a bust.  I started out by finding a few, yelling to my friend who only took the mental punches in the forest and went into a mental frenzy.  I knew I had him when he went “Morel Mode” and started speed walking.  He actually stepped over my largest find, which was the size of a football.  I found 6 King Boletes today, and about 11 black morels.

I had to educate him a little.

We only spent a few hours in the woods.  I knew the battle was over before it began.  I guess it was a mushroom version of Bush’s “Shock and Awe” in Iraq, I unlike President Bush never found any glory in the tactic itself.

If this is not the look of defeat, I am not sure I know what it is. Tyson had the same look when he started biting Holyfield’s ear in the title bout.

On the way home, my long time friend fell asleep for the first time in the 25 years we have known each other that I can remember.  He stayed asleep, as my diesel engine roared and passed cars for about an hour.  He finally woke up and said “Wow, we are almost home. You were hauling ass!”

I replied “That is the sour taste of defeat that is running rampant in your veins like a venomous poison.”  He said nothing, and changed the subject to what Howard Stern was saying on the radio as if he was paying attention.

I remain the King, and the soul owner of “Precious”, and 2012 Undefeated Heavy Weight Champion of Our Mushroom World.  I know some of you think that I am a little hard on Trevor, but keep in mind this is the same man that thought I snuck up into his room at 4 am and stole his underwear in complete darkness while he and his wife slept because I apparently didn’t have any.  His wife protected my honor and told him to go down and look in his laundry basket….then asked “Why in the hell would you think Shay would want to wear your underwear?”

That little one on the lower left of the frame, the one that looks like a peanut. That is Trevor’s contribution. I am gonna eat that with an egg tomorrow.