Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fleeting Pleasures

It's all anybody is talking about these days. In diners. At the gym. While straddling bar stools. Even walking the dog. No...not the fact that forty years after Martin Luther King was assassinated we have a black president. Boletes, People! Boletes! And not just any mushroom, but King Boletes! And we're at the end of bolete season so I have to write fast and get back out there before they're all gone.

Dictionary definition: "A bolete is a type of fungal fruiting body characterized by the presence of a pileus that is clearly differentiated from the stipe, with a spongy surface of pores (rather than gills) on the underside of the pileus. "Bolete" is also the English common name for fungal species having this kind of morphology."

Oregon definition: "Obsession spanning just a few short weeks. Harvested near pines, in loamy soil, and often tucked under tall blade grass. Their brown caps make them a pain in the ass to find, but they're worth the hunt."

Recently, we were granted an audience with
King and Queen Bolete.

Our knees are still shaking.

Bottom line...they are weirdly giant (small bearded men with red, pointy shoes should be living underneath their boastful prow) and deeply coveted. They can turn friends into enemies and normal, well-balanced personalities into sneaks. For example, last Sunday after brunch, The Chef tipped his fedora goodbye and scuffled out the door, saying he was anxious to return to work. YET, an hour later, we see the Toaster Oven (one of those boxy Scion/Honda Element fixtures) cruising out of the forest. Seems The Chef was working his secret bolete patch.

Note to reader: He shared so all is forgiven.
In fact, The Chef whipped together some amazing pork and bolete tacos topped with a radish and carrot relish that made us throw him down on the floor and tickle his belly.

Tomatillos, jalapenos and carrots all joined the ground pork and boletes with a secret spice mix (New Mexico red chile, cumin, Vietnamese cinnamon, Spanish smoked paprika and powdered ginger). But mostly, I wanted to show off The Chef's precision chopping.
Yes, he carries a measuring stick.

Good mushrooms change everything. Even the Ranger...our till-death-do-us-part mum when it comes to the exact location of his chantrelle patch. He just saunters in the door after work and casually plops down a pound or ten of those golden trumpets before cracking open a beer, acting like he didn't just drop fifty bucks worth of booty in my lap. I've used all my feminine wiles and an unusual dose of sexual gymnastics to try and work it out of him, but he's being very James Bond, sealed lip about it. Perhaps, I should take this as a cautionary tale to work on my seduction techniques if I can't even make a mushroom patch rise.

Okay, full of the Scientists took me bolete hunting and she actually found them all and was generous enough to hand them over. Second Edition isn't a good hunter; she gets a little distracted in the great've seen puppies chasing bumble bees across the yard...well, that's me. "Look at the sky, pelicans everywhere! Huckleberries! I love huckleberries. Hey, is that a beer bottle under that tree? I wonder if there's anything left in it?"

I was, however, in charge of pulling and trimming. And those puppies grow deep. The first King Bolete...I stuck my hand into the black, loamy soil but the stem kept going and going, and since that's the best eating, so did my hand till I was nearly up to my elbow. I had a flash of terror, remembering that as a child I never used to let my arms and feet hang over the edge of the bed for fear the Evil Clown living underneath would pull me down, drag me under and suck my blood before transforming my body into yet another Evil Clown that haunted the beds of other children. At least that's what I thought about while my fingers closed around a huge fungi. But I digress.

See, you thought I was exaggerating in that "Second Edition" sorta way. Thanks, Neighbor, for helping us clean and cook these Three Ways: Sauteed in butter in garlic, brushed with olive oil and grilled; dumped into creamy chicken soup with wild rice and carrots.

When you consider that we live in a world of Whole Foods and Wal-Mart, where blueberries and tomatoes can be had year around, it's nice to know that some pleasures are fleeting, hard to find and passionately pursued on hands and knees. That some things transcend the world economy. When the boletes are gone, they're gone. Till next year.

Leaving us with our unrequited yearnings. As in romance, that's impossible to resist.

Saute anyone?


Mich said...

wow. when you said you were gripping big things in Oregon, I didn't think it was mushrooms.

Flutephobia said...

dude. you could fuck a horse with that thing.

Erin said...

I won't even attempt to top Flutophobia's eloquence...

Mycology anyone?
Hey isn't a bolete also a Porcini?

Kylita said...

Hey! You have made gnomes homeless! either that or they're living under your bed now ;oD
I, too, hated clowns when I was a kid. My babysitter told me the wood grain swirls on my bedroom and closet door were clowns and clowns' eyes ... never thought anything was under the bed, except the "ancestors coming and going" like Ma said. I always thought something was hiding out in the closet. Those 'shrooms look mighty freaky! How do you pronounce them?
One humongous fungus amongus!
tee hee hee xo

Second Edition said...

Bolete is pronounced (bow-leet) and is, in fact, a porcini and a cepe. I realized I never really commented on their amazing flavor. Mild. Nutty. Sweet. When eaten raw, they taste like fresh scallops.

yogamomma said...

Wow, looks delicious. I've never had the pleasure of hunting mushrooms, or eating a bolete. Funny that the ranger won't share where his secret stash is.