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Monday, January 16, 2012

Strange Weather - Mushrooms in January!

Strange weather this winter- I even hate to use the term winter; our days have been unseasonably warm, our waters are still open, with just a little skim of ice in the early frosty mornings. Our ducks season was disastrous thanks to all the warm weather. The birds simply haven't "come down" from their northern haunts  yet. Yes, there have been some, but overall; it's been decidedly duckless season.

The same weather patterns that wrecked the duck season however have made for a very long lasting mushroom season. The chilly wet days have been perfect for the oyster mushroom flushes.

Too nice of day to let go to waste, my pal Adam and I set out for hike and to check a few known mushroom spots. We'd hardly  topped the levee near the Kaskaskia river when Adam announced - "I can smell 'em"
Willie was off like a shot down the levee and in a blink of an eye he and Piper were dancing around the first log full of beautiful hearty winter oysters.

Willie and Piper anxiously awaiting Adam to show him the shrooms 

Just one small batch we collected

All together we cut almost 10 pounds of fresh winter oysters, while the dogs romped through the open water and fields- burning off energy that they didn't expend retrieve ducks earlier in the morning.

See Adam - We told you there were mushrooms down here! 

Willie and Piper..pals for life..
Teamwork! Fetch up that stick!
After we returned home- the mushrooms were cleaned and  the first cutting were used in a devine hot mushroom potato salad - especially good when paired with smoked sausages and  fresh baby spinach.
Here's the recipe for the Hot Mushroom Mustard Potato Salad


  • 1 pound oyster  mushrooms,cleaned and sliced into strips
  • one small red onion sliced into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Commercial garlic and herb type steak seasoning
  • 1 pound small or new red  potatoes, quartered
  • Honey Mustard Dressing 


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss mushrooms and onions with 1 tablespoon oil; season with steak seasoning . On another rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil; season with steak seasoning. Roast until mushrooms are browned and potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes, tossing once and rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to a bowl and toss with honey mustard dressing