Puffball Envy

Check out the puffball on this guy!


I’m feeling, I don’t know, kinda inadequate.

Also found in Michigan, btw. (As I mentioned, we’ve had a megaton of rain.) And the comment thread is filled with people showing off their puffballs. The clever ones have kids holding them up (their tiny bods increasing the apparent size of the ball), but there are also puffballs measured against beer cans and dogs.

Also, puffs wearing hats, and one (that I saw) Puffball-O-Lantern.

So we—and when I’m talking about cooking, you should always assume the royal we—cut up the puffball into slices and fried them. Then we crumbled it up, ate some, and froze the rest. It has a simple, okay flavor–not fantastic, but not bad–and is kind of the texture of a very light crumbly cheese. We’ll probably use it in soups and as a side dish and some other stuff.

Open thread to talk about puffballs, the election, or anything else.

34 replies
  1. 1
    Cermet says:

    And if you squash one of those monsters?

  2. 2
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Cermet: It emits a cloud of spores, which proceed to turn you into a zombie.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    It hasn’t rained since I had my hernia surgery, 2 months now.

  4. 4
    MattF says:

    I’ve been learning about mushrooms since my local farmer’s market got a mushroom booth–mainly about cooking and storing them.

    Some mushrooms just dry out after a couple of days (e.g., royal trumpets and shiitakes) others go bad– slimy, spoiled and moldy. I tend to cook them with rice– typically day-old leftover rice recooked into fried rice. Yum.

  5. 5
    oldster says:

    “It has a simple, okay flavor–not fantastic, but not bad–and is kind of the texture of a very light crumbly cheese.”

    And not a whole lot of nutrition, right? I mean: once nutrition and taste are out, what’s the point of eating them, besides novelty?

  6. 6
    Alain the site fixer says:

    Good friends swear by marinating the slices pre-pan frying in some soy/worchestireshire sauce type thing. Nothing fancy but I think it helps with texture and enhances umami.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: I’ll send you some.

  8. 8
    Face says:

    First they legalized pot, now they’ve legalized mushrooms? I missed this development.

  9. 9
    nominus says:

    I think this election should finally prove the fallacy of “Free Markets Solve Everything”. This has been the most unregulated and expensive campaign season ever, and there are so many people complaining about their choices. I’m loving being able to tell them to STFU and lie in the bed they made.

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ezra Klein:

    We aren’t used to this kind of victory. We aren’t used to candidates winning not so much because of how they performed but because of how they pushed their opponent into performing. But the fact that we aren’t used to this kind of victory doesn’t make it any less impressive. Hillary Clinton has humbled Donald Trump, and she did it her way.

  11. 11
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Cermet: literally trillions of spores (and not so healthy to breathe)

  12. 12
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @MattF: shrooms + rice, a great combination

  13. 13
    matryoshka says:

    Came across this gem this morning and it completely schadened my freud.

    From the Illinois Review, the crossroads of conservatism


    A CBSNews story today is about Obama’s response to a lady who asked the question in a rally, “How are you going to beat Hillary?”

    When I saw that headline, it reminded me of asking U.S. Senator John McCain the same question several months ago at a small meeting of conservatives in Chicago — you know the meeting that created such a stir as to who was invited, who wasn’t invited, who attended, who didn’t attend?

    Well, at that meeting, I listened intently as several veteran conservatives deliberated with McCain. It was a very interesting and surprisingly frank dialogue. I won’t report anything anyone else said that day, but it’s fair to discuss what he, a presidential contender, said in answer to the question I raised that day, which became the key reason I can’t vote for John McCain.

    After all the others in the room made their comments, I — one of the few women in the room — raised my hand. The senator looked over and acknowledged me. “Yes?” he said.

    “Senator, I have just a quick question that you haven’t addressed today: Just how do you intend to beat Hillary Clinton?”

    I expected a quick rundown of grassroots operations, how he planned to win the primaries, how he was going to build on his experience in the U.S. Senate, how he’d get out the vote, something like that. But he didn’t. His response?

    “We’re going to beat her like a rented mule in the debates,” he said, enjoying his own cleverness. He and several other men in the room chuckled, and he gave me a brief glance to see my response.

    I tried very hard not to indicate my shock and embarrassment with his condescending reply. It was obvious he was trying to be funny and lighten up the discussion. But to me his comment wasn’t funny at all.

    With all due respect to his military heroism, Senator McCain is an arrogant fool if he thinks he could ever out-talk Hillary Clinton. Except for her blunder over the illegal drivers’ license debate question last week, she’s masterful at skating around incriminating topics. Secondly, McCain is naive to think or say the nation would vote based on debate performances. Thirdly, if he thought that answer would pacify me, he was sadly mistaken.

    I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure what the term “beat it like a rented mule” meant at the time, but it was easy to figure out he meant to disrespect and degrade Senator Clinton. I am guilty myself of doing that among friends, don’t get me wrong, but for a U.S. Senator to say something like that about a colleague and a female to boot — no matter how private the meeting, even among strangers — was appalling.

    I was thinking about the term “beat her like a rented mule” again today when I saw the Obama story. Urban Dictionary has three definitions for the term. Read them for yourself HERE, I’m too embarrassed to copy and paste them on Illinois Review.

    You tell me which one YOU think the good Senator McCain meant when he answered my question “How do you intend to beat Hillary Clinton?”

    It may be how the “big boys” talk behind closed panel doors, but McCain revealed that day how out of touch he is and how he has no chance of gaining the support of the conservative movement’s female half, and thus, the GOP nomination.

    Because guess what, boys? Those pesky “rented mules” — Republican or Democrat — can be very, very stubborn.

    Thursday, November 08, 2007 at 03:20 PM

  14. 14
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Alain the site fixer: That’s my favorite way to cook the blander types of ‘shrooms. I don’t marinade them per se, but I saute them in equal parts olive oil and butter and add a little Worcestershire sauce and Lawry’s seasoned salt while they cook down. Delish! Now, Hillary is a vegan, so I don’t think she can have Worcestershire sauce (I believe it contains trace amounts of anchovies) or butter. But I bet sauteing them in olive oil with soy would be very good too!

  15. 15
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @oldster: (1) fun, (2) low-calorie, (3) slight documented health benefit (anti-tumor), and probably more health benefits to be revealed.

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    @matryoshka: Actually, ‘freuded my schaden’ makes a lot more sense.

  17. 17
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @oldster: or what Alain said: “it helps with texture and enhances umami. “

  18. 18
    Hillary Rettig says:

    btw, the best part about this post is that I’m suddenly seeing ads for male plastic surgery. ;-)

  19. 19
    MattF says:

    @Betty Cracker: I generally add onions, soy sauce, peas, and sesame oil to day-old rice, add a random ingredient and an egg and then fry the whole mess in peanut oil. It’s ridiculously good.

  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    @MattF: That sounds fabulous too. We’ve got ginger plants growing in pots and have been looking for ways to incorporate it into meals. I bet a stir-fry like the one you’ve described would be terrific with a bit of ginger added to the mix too.

  21. 21
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Hillary Rettig: I’m a huge fan of duxelles. Works with almost any mushroom, and I prefer over a nice piece of toasted whole wheat or multigrain bread. Though I do use half and half instead of the original cream. Fresh mushrooms, shallot, garlic, cream, toasted good bread = winning.

  22. 22
    matryoshka says:

    @MattF: Thanks for the tip, Matt. Was more focused on content, but you can always count on someone at BJ to pick your nits.

  23. 23
    mvr says:

    Puffballs aren’t my favorite mushroom, but that one is very impressive. Of course I’ve only had small ones which remind me a bit of eggs when cooked with the difference in texture between the outside and inside. Maybe the larger ones are more interesting?

  24. 24
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Betty Cracker: I can’t find the recipe so the name is likely wrong, but I think somewhat crushed slices of ginger then fried in oil in pan as part of stir fry is called medallions of gold. Or perhaps that’s the obligatory crushed garlic clove (with back of knife, not crusher, leave it semi together), but the combo of garlic and ginger makes almost anything better.

    Also, since you’re into brewing, I just made my first ginger beer (no alc except trace) using a “ginger bug”, like a sourdough starter for home made beverages. It’s amazing and so easy. So I keep a jar of the ginger bug and a larger jar of sourdough starter on counter now.

  25. 25
    Elmo says:

    The idea of trying to harvest my own mushrooms just terrifies me. I love mushrooms in all forms, and I live smack in the middle of the woods – mushrooms are everywhere – but I just can’t bring myself to even try. The downside risk is too great.

  26. 26
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Elmo: find an old timer local who can teach you. It’s the only way to be safe! You often see them wandering off the paths in woods after rain in fall and spring and they carry bags to collect their treasures.

    Remember, there are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters, but no old, bold mushroom hunters.

  27. 27
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Elmo: is there a mushroom club in your area? that’s the best way to learn imo. i envy you living in the woods.

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Elmo: Start here: NAMA Affiliated Clubs of the North American Mycological Association.

  29. 29
    MattF says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Get your ‘Mycologists Have More Fungi’ bumper sticker.

  30. 30
    Gindy51 says:

    @Elmo: US too, we have thousands of them.

  31. 31
    Pogonip says:

    @ArchTeryx: Or cause you to climb trees and fall in love with Mrs. Charles Bronson.

  32. 32
    JJ says:

    I wonder why there are so many of these this year and in so many different climates. My burnt lawn this summer looked like a mushroom farm.

  33. 33
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Alain the site fixer: I’ve been thinking about brewing a ginger beer!

  34. 34
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Good link, but of course there’s no group in Indiana and Michigan’s is way east near Detroit. I’d like to learn how to find morels.

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