Tag Archives: chanterelles

New Zealand Mushrooms! Part 1

I’ve been a bit remiss about posting here but as it turns out writing a dissertation is a bit time consuming…and so are world travels :) As a treat to myself for finishing up my dissertation, I spent the month of March traveling in New Zealand. I swam with dolphins, took a helicopter ride over Mount Cook, did tons of hikes, met incredible people, and much to my excitement found tons of mushrooms! On my first day in New Zealand I was lucky enough to be taken around by my friend and fellow mycology PhD student, Renee Johansen, who interestingly enough I met while doing field work in Canada. Renee lives in Auckland and drove me around to some amazing sites where we saw giant Kauri trees, waterfalls, beautiful beaches, and you guessed it… tons of mushrooms!


Giant Kauri trees


Beautiful black sand beach Piha


Kite Kite waterfall

Of course seeing the Kauri trees and the black sand beach and my first of many waterfalls in New Zealand was amazing, but then I noticed these yellow mushrooms carpeting the moss..


I thought they looked awfully familiar … very similar to the yellow foot chanterelles I know and love from Mendocino. I saw those diagnostic blunt ridges and I knew that they must be some New Zealand species of chanterelles!


I checked with Renee’s advisor Dr. Peter Johnston and he confirmed that it’s a New Zealand species called Cantharellus wellingtonensis. I saw them everywhere around Auckland! Unfortunately I was not able to try them but if anyone has tried them please let me know what they taste like! The other extremely exciting find was I found a stinkhorn in the wild!


New Zealand stinkhorn!


I also saw these gorgeous orange mushrooms everywhere in New Zealand. Apparently they are invasive but they sure are pretty :)IMG_3650

On my second day in New Zealand I went north to the Bay of Islands and took a hike to the Haruru Falls.


Haruru Falls in Paihia

The waterfalls were beautiful but it was a two hour hike to get there and on the way we found tons of mushrooms!


Beautiful New Zealand Bolete

I was pretty excited to see some ectomycorrhizal fungi all over New Zealand – I found a Thelephora, Rhizopogon, Tapinella, and some sort of pretty Bolete.


Stay tuned to see all the other beautiful mushrooms I found in New Zealand!

White chanterelle and kale quiche

I know you have all been waiting on pins and needles to find out what we made with the Oregonian chanterelles. Well now you finally get to find out! We made a quiche!


Gorgeous white chanterelles (Cantharellus cascadensis) that we found in Oregon!

I know next to nothing about pastry, but turns out Roo spent 6 months training as a pastry chef while in college! He has so many skills hidden up his sleeve. I definitely could not have made this delicious recipe on my own, but thanks Roo for teaching me how to make the perfect pie crust. 


Roo measuring out the flour for the pie crust

Apparently it is essential to own something called a pastry cutter if you are to be a pie crust aficionado. In absence of a pastry cutter, Roo says you can use two butter knives. The object is to mix up the flour with the butter so that the butter and flour incorporate while still saying separate. Sounds tricky, right? It is also imperative to use tools and not your hands so that the butter stays cold. Apparently the secret to a good pie crust is keeping the butter cold until it hits the oven, so there are lots of waiting steps where you let the dough “chill out” the in the freezer.


Roo mixing up the butter and flour with the pastry cutter

After incorporating the butter and flour, slowly add 4 Tbsp of water a tiny bit at a time until the dough hits the consistency of corn meal.


Pastry dough is so simple! Just flour, butter, and flour. Make sure it hits the right consistency before rolling it out!

Once the dough hits the right texture, knead it and roll it into a ball. Then stick it in the freezer to chill some more. Pastry dough can be made in advance and frozen for weeks this way.


While the dough chilled in the freezer, we took the opportunity to hit up the local coop and buy eggs and onions for the filling. Once we got back we started to roll out the dough. Roo couldn’t find his rolling pin, so we got creative with our tools.


Being resourceful and rolling out the pastry dough with a glass!

Make sure to clean off the counter top really well and spread out some flour before rolling out the dough. Once it’s rolled out evenly, gently place it in the pie pan.


Pastry dough lining the pie pan

Cut off the edges with a butter knife and make fun pastry treats with them :)


Roo says it’s important to put parchment paper over the dough and weigh it down with something like dry beans to prevent air bubbles from forming. Then stick the dough in the freezer while you cook the insides of the quiche!


Weighing down the pastry dough with dry beans before placing it in the freezer

We started off our quiche filling by chopping up an onion and letting it caramelize in butter. Then we added 6 garlic cloves. So much flavor!


Caramelizing onions for the quiche filling

While the onions cooked I cleaned and cut up the chanterelles. God they were gorgeous!

This wasn’t going to be some frou frou wild mushroom quiche that you get at a restaurant that has 2 little pieces of mushrooms that you have to search out. No, this quiche will feature loads of meaty mushrooms!


Delicious mushroom, onion, and garlic filling for the quiche!

We added the mushrooms to the onions and garlic and let them get nice and brown. Once they got a bit brown, we added some salt and pepper.


This next part was a real treat for me – we cut 3 kinds of kale straight from the garden! I live in a bit of a concrete jungle so this was quite a novelty for me to have freshly cut greens.


Three kinds of kale fresh from the garden!

How beautiful is this kale?


Once we had cleaned and chopped the kale we braised it in olive oil for a few minutes.


Kale braised in olive oil.

Now we were finally ready to start putting together the quiche!


Roo says it is important to line the bottom of the crust with cheese to keep the crust crusty when the quiche cooks. He dropped so many nuggets of pastry knowledge!


It’s important to line the bottom of the crust with cheese to keep the crust crusty!

After cheese we layered in the garlic, caramelized onions, and chanterelles. This quiche is nice and shroomy so skimping out on mushrooms here!


No skimping out on mushrooms in this quiche!

IMG_2426Next, add the kale on top of the mushrooms.
IMG_2430At this point, we whisked 1 cup whole milk with 3 eggs and poured it on top of the mixture.
IMG_2431Then bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
IMG_2433Cutting into it you can see the thick mushroom layer! Roo says it was his best crust he’s made it years! There you go, now you can make bakery quality pie crusts from now on :)


Sun in my eyes but excited to eat this quiche in the lovely garden where the kale grows!        Photo credit: Roo Vandegrift


Pie crust:

  • 6 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1.5 cups flours
  • ~ 4 Tbsp water
  • extra flour for rolling the dough


  • 1 large onion
  • 3-6 cloves garlic
  • mushrooms
  • kale
  • jack cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

White chanterelle and kale quiche. Photo credit: Roo Vandegrift

Black trumpet, hedgehog, and chanterelle wild mushroom risotto

Last weekend I went mushroom hunting in Mendocino with the UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and SF State mycology classes. It was AWESOME. The mushrooms were out in abundance. After such a dry and disappointing mushroom hunting season last year, I was stoked to say the least.

Yay for mushrooms!!!

Yay for mushrooms!!!

I was so excited to finally find mushrooms after so much terrible dry weather things got a little extreme…

Me with the mushroom-fever-crazy-eyes

Me with the mushroom-fever-crazy-eyes

I found black trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides) for the first time ever! They really blend in with the redwood duff so it is hard to find them:

Can you see the black trumpet mushrooms in this photo?

Can you see the black trumpet mushrooms in this photo?

I climbed up a super steep slope to find these but it was totally worth it :) I’ve never collected these mushrooms before and I got a pretty good amount of them:

Black trumpet mushrooms that I collected from the redwood tanoak forests in Mendocino

Black trumpet mushrooms that I collected from the redwood tanoak forests in Mendocino

In addition to black trumpets and oak and golden chanterelles (Cantharellus californicus and formosus), I found a bunch of yellow foot chanterelles (Craterellus tubaeformis), which were out very early this year. Usually, they don’t start coming out until December or January, but I’m not complaining!

yellowfoot AKA winter chanterelles

yellowfoot AKA winter chanterelles

The mushrooms that I found in the greatest abundance were hedgehog mushrooms (Hydnum umbilicatum). I’ve never found so many in my life.

Bowl of hedgehog bounty

Bowl of hedgehog bounty

These are a really good edible, so I was very excited to find so many! They are also a good mushroom for an amateur since they are very difficult to misidentify. They call them the hedgehog mushroom because instead of gills they have teeth. Can you see the teeth in this photo?

Can you see the teeth? That's why they call it the hedgehog

Can you see the teeth? That’s why they call it the hedgehog

With all of my beautiful mushrooms, I decided to invite over some friends and make a wild mushroom risotto. I sauteéd up some of the chanterelles, hedgehogs, and black trumpets in olive oil and put them on baguette toasts for everyone to eat as an appetizer while the risotto was cooking.

wild mushrooms (chanterelles, hedgehogs, black trumpets) on toast

Wild mushrooms (chanterelles, hedgehogs, black trumpets) on toast

I have only cooked risotto once or twice before, so I turned to Google for help with finding a recipe. I decided to base my recipe of off this mushroom risotto. Risotto is actually rather easy to make. All you need to do is sauté up some onions and garlic and whatever vegetables you like, then add 1 cup of arborio rice, and slowly add liquids while stirring continuously. Whether you decide to add milk, cream, vegetable or chicken stock is completely up to you! I started out with sautéing 3-4 chopped shallots and a few cloves of garlic in oil. I added a bit of minced celery, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Then I added a bunch of hedgehogs, black trumpets, and golden chanterelles to the pan. I used a lot more mushrooms than was recommended, but in my opinion they are the best part :)

Shallots, garlic, parsley, celery, hedgehogs, chanterelles, and black trumpets sauteeing

Shallots, garlic, parsley, celery, hedgehogs, chanterelles, and black trumpets sautéing

After the mushrooms are sautéed, you add milk and cream to the mixture. I decided to increase the size of the recipe to make sure I had enough risotto for all of my friends, so I added 1.5 cups of milk and 3/8 cups heavy cream. The recipe called for whole milk but I found that skim milk still made a very creamy and delicious risotto and was slightly healthier – but you can use whatever you’d like! Next I added 1.5 cups of arborio rice.  After adding the rice you start to add stock/broth one cup at a time. I used vegetable broth because one of my friends is a vegetarian, but you can use whatever kind of stock you want. This is what the risotto looks like when you first start to cook it:

risotto cooking

Risotto cooking

Risotto requires a lot of stirring. I’m talking like 25-45 minutes of non-stop stirring. You are supposed to stir continuously and add the broth one cup at a time as it absorbs. There is no magic number for how long it takes, you just cook it until it’s done. Make sure you invite a lot of friends over to help you stir :)

Meera being a good friend and helping me stir the risotto

Meera being a good friend and helping me stir the risotto

Stirring is tiring stuff. Patrick takes over the stirring for a while.

Stirring is tiring stuff. Patrick takes over the stirring for a while.

Taste test the risotto to tell if it’s done cooking. It should be creamy but still a little bit al dente. This recipe took about 4 cups of vegetable broth and 45 minutes of stirring. At this point, we added the cheese. The recipe calls for grated Parmesan – we decided to use a mix of Parmesan Stravecchio and Reggiano. I skipped adding the butter because I thought it was rich enough.

Finally the stirring is done!

Finally, the stirring is done!

I was concerned my risotto looked a bit drab but luckily Kari was there to suggest that I sprinkle parsley on top to color it up. It worked beautifully :)

Wild mushroom risotto with parsley sprinkled on top

Wild mushroom risotto with parsley sprinkled on top

I served the risotto with a giant vegetable salad. It was a nice light accompaniment to the rich risotto and made us feel slightly healthier :)

wild mushroom risotto served with salad

Wild mushroom risotto served with salad

And of course the most important part of any meal is having good friends to share it with! Thanks to all my friends who came over and helped me cook this delicious wild mushroom feast!

Gavin, Patrick, Meera, and Kari helping me eat the risotto

Gavin, Patrick, Meera, and Kari helping me eat the risotto

Bon appétit!

Me showing off my wild mushroom risotto and my awesome mushroom apron

Me showing off my wild mushroom risotto and my awesome mushroom apron


Ingredient list (to make 5 generous servings):

  • 4 shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 0.5 cup parsley
  • 1 celery stalk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups skim or whole milk
  • 3/8 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice
  • 1-2 cups grated cheese of your choice (Parmesan-like)