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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Treasures: Eggs, Candy, and Mushrooms

Happy Easter to all.
It's really about supper time, but NO ONE in our house is hungry... not that anyone could expect more than left-over ham and mashed potatoes. (I'm hoarding what's left of the green bean casserole to myself... disguised in the opaque storage container in the bottom of the fridge that my lazy family will never see... Admit it:  You do that, too. Don't you? But I digress...)

Easter really started yesterday when my brother, his wife (aka Stalker-In-Law, as in blog stalker who won't make a profile and comment---I'm calling her out right now!) and their two wild daughters came down and stayed over.

My SIL took pity on my holiday table woes that I posted about last week and surprised me with a beautiful center piece that she made, and I'll be enjoying for weeks to come. Check it out...

After a kid-friendly movie last night, my daughters, who are 11 and 13, each got a cousin roommate for the night, ages 5 and 6. We all couldn't fit in one vehicle, so I got a report on the "sleepover" on the way to church. I think it's so funny that my kids don't see themselves at all in their cousins. LittleD and BabyD have no clue that they talk as much as their little cousins. My girls marvelled at the quiet in our car. Ha! That's a couple of pots calling the kettles black!

All the girls got plenty sugared-up when Grandma and Grandpa showed up with chocolate bunnies for all and the Favored Aunt arrived with, no kiddin', 8 packages of Peeps for the girls!

The indoor egg hunt only added to the hyperactivity. While the weather cleared up in the afternoon, we opted to hide eggs in the house to avoid turning the girls into green monsters from the soggy grass clippings that coated the yard.
As you can see, with guys hiding eggs, the obvious isn't always the first choice of hiding places...

Mom, Dad and one of my sisters came for lunch. The discussion turned to morel mushrooms--the much-storied fungi that many Hoosiers and other Midwesterners seek out each spring. Sister had scored quite a load on some recent expeditions and had brought them along for Mom to cook up later, since Sis refuses to allow fungus to pass her lips.

Now, I have to admit, I've known my fair share of passionate morel hunters and I guess I just don't get it. I enjoy a good shroom as much as the next guy. But I've never been driven to forage for my food. Nor have I been willing to risk my liver by eating something that I'm not quite totally sure wouldn't poison my family and me. I really haven't ever known what to look for.

When questioning my sister's knowledge of what she's looking for she went on to describe the rights and wrongs of mushroom hunting and the value of seeking out these precious morsels that are pulling down more than $60 a pound from the die-hards who are seeking their fill via eBay. The Husband said he just ran over some in the yard yesterday that sounded just like that. A bunch of them, in fact. Only bigger.
Yeah, right.

So, he high-tailed it out of the house and came back with a fist-sized specimen that had survived the mower only because of its close proximity to a tree.
That was it, Sister said. Only a lot bigger.
While the one she was gathering were the size of a pinkie finger, this one was the size of your fist.

Dinner was winding down, so most of the family changed into jeans and  boots and headed outside to take a look and get a lesson on morel mushroom hunting.

We struck gold. I had no idea these things were growing so close to our house.

It was a bit like a "Where's Waldo?" hunt... Can you spot the mushroom?

We did a lot of picking through the brambles and the undergrowth.
I was grateful it wasn't snake season...

The soggy morning didn't exactly turn sunny, but we did have some fun in the (relatively) warm weather and fresh air that had finally dried out a bit.
Even my brother scored some shrooms. (Note:  He's going to sue me for not getting a signed photo release consent before this post...)
With a little stomping and pushing aside some foliage along our wood line, we ended up with nearly two pounds of morels!
Now, I'm looking for cooking tips and recipes. We found two types--the tall spongy-looking Christmas trees and the "snake heads" (which I guess is the more family-friendly name for this variety).
Please share if you have any.
I'm working up the nerve to cook them, as I squelch the thought that I could poison my kids if my sister mis-identified anything.
In that case, instead of recipes, I'll be looking for a new liver.
Happy Easter!


  1. yea, so glad you found some mushrooms. I haven't even looked yet, as it is so wet in our area.

  2. I am SO JEALOUS! You should have brought them for our brunch :-) Ok....I forgive you. Now on to the prep: Soak them in salt water to remove any...uhm....occupants that were calling your shrooms home. Dry, then four, dip in egg, and flour again. Fry in nothing better than butter! Enjoy!

  3. I have never been Shroom hunting. How fun!
    And yes - I can relate to the 'hiding food so family won't find it'. lol
    Hey sometimes you just have to do that every now and then.