Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Kaaterskill Falls (New York), Mushrooms and Pasta

One of my joys as a parent has been watching my son Andrew's interest in mushrooms develop over time and watch his expertise grow. He took a biology class at UCLA that sparked his interest and I saw that interest for the first time in the field in Colorado in August 2012 where he spent most of his time looking for mushrooms while Sam and I hiked. He was cautious and did not eat any of the mushrooms he found. A year later, in August 2013, Judy and I were with Andrew in Colorado and this time he collected, cooked and we ate king bolete and hawks wing mushrooms (see here and here). In August 2014 we were in Colorado again for a family reunion and had a king bolete and hawks wing mushroom feast. In August 2018, after Andrew had moved to New York, we met him in Maine for a drive up into New Brunswick, Canada and collected chanterelle, black chanterelle and lobster mushrooms, which we cooked on a grill in a hotel parking lot.  

Last month we met Andrew in New York, with his girlfriend, Michaela, and spent some time in upstate New York. On July 25 we went to an area near Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskill Mountains primarily to look for mushrooms, but also to see Kaaterskill Falls. Kaaterskill Falls is a two stage waterfall that is 260 feet high and has been an attraction for hundreds of years. William Cullen Bryant wrote a poem about it and the Hudson River School of painters, beginning with Thomas Cole, began painting it as early as 1825 (see here). 
Thomas Cole in 1826 (Wikipedia)

Kindred Spirits by Asher Durand in 1849 (Wikipedia)

Thomas Cole in 1826 (here)

Winslow Homer in 1872 (here)

Sanford Robinson Gifford in 1871

We hiked in slowly, looking for mushrooms along the way. 
A yellow patches (Amanita flavoconia) - also below - an inedible mushroom.

Pinewood gingertail

Andrew was very excited about this one: a Jackson's slender Caesar (Amanita jacksonii). It was the first one he's ever seen. It is one of the few species of Amanita that can be eaten. 

We got back to our Airbnb in Kingston and Michaela focused on making pasta while Andrew cut up and prepared the mushrooms. 
Our Airbnb

Michaela's pasta

Corrugated milky cap mushroom (Lactifluus corrugis) which Wikipedia notes is "a choice edible mushroom." Andrew coated them in olive oil and cooked them in the oven.  

The Amanita Caesar

Andrew noted that the Amanita Caesar was a mushroom that only someone who knows mushrooms should try. I found this in an article about Caesar mushrooms here: "Now you may be asking, 'isn't eating an Amanita dangerous? Aren't there deadly species as well that will kill you?' Why...yes! Yes there are! For this reason, eating them is highly discouraged for beginners to mushroom identification and hunting. Honestly, they should be considered an off-limits edible for all but the most experienced of shroomers." 
Pasta with tomatoes and parsley. 

Pasta with added black trumpet mushrooms, Amanita Caesar and Pecorina Romano cheese. 

The Amanita Caesar cooks with some onions and other ingredients. 

Andrew and Michaela pre-made wild ramps pesto. Ramps are wild garlic or leaks where both the white lower stalk and broad green leaves are edible. When they harvest them in the wild they only take one of the leaves so that the ramps will continue to grow from year to year. 

The cooked milky caps were added to the pasta. 

Both types of pasta and a salad made by Michaela were wonderful. 
Meals with wild mushrooms are always wonderful, but this was particularly fun because we were eating mushrooms I'd never heard of before. 

1 comment:

  1. An epic feast, to be sure--maybe my favorite meal of the entire trip. And by the way, I am so impressed that you used poetry and paintings in your post!