Magical Mushrooms Mischievous Molds

4 May 2007

fascinating introduction to fungal fun – the goldy moldies

Ch 1 – Classification and Naming

“… every bit of life in all but a few unusual bacteria is a it is on Planet Earth only because energy from the Sun, in the form of photons, has been trapped and converted into chemical bonds. And when those bonds are broken in a truly astounding cascade of reactions, the energy is released and used to do the work needed to keep us alive.”

“Green plants are crucial players in this scheme, for they are the Earth’s primary solar collectors.”

“And the best evidence indicates that [fungi] have been doing their recycling for a very long time – at least as long as the 400 million years or so that land plants have been around, and probably close to 900 million years.”

Elias FriesSystema Mycologicum
Chistian Hendrick Persoon

Ch 2 – What Fungi Do and How They Do it.

“… a fungus has no chlorophyll, is physical structure is relatively simple, its cells have nuclei, and it reproduces by way of spores.”

“One of the [distinguishing] features of the fungi… is that virtually all the growth occurs by way of elongation of hyphal tips.”

“… the colony readily assumes whatever shape will allow it to occupy the greatest available area.”

Armillaria ostoyae

“… the meadow mushroom, and most others like it [gilled], can adapt to slight changes in the angle of the fruiting body by reorienting their gills accordingly… Mushrooms with thinner stems will actually continue to grow if they are tipped over.”


“inky cap ” mushroom

“Fruit bodies of Omphalotus olearius, Pamus stypticus, and Mycena illuninens are typical examples [of bioluminescence].”

Omphalotus olearius – the jack ‘o’ lantern mushroom

“luminescent mycelium is also the foxfire of contemporary lore.”

bioluminescent fungi – foxfire

“many ascomycetes have cuplike fruit-bodies…”
Ascomycete – elf cap

“… spores are very small and therefore they can stay aloft for a very long time… the fact of the matter is that spores could conceivably stay aloft indefinitely.”

“… airborne fungus spores… usually have thick cell walls… and their (usually dark) pigmentation shields them from damaging ultraviolet light.”

“A second important vehicle is falling rain, and no fungi depend on it quite so much for spore dispersal as the bird’s nest fungi.”

Bird’s nest fungus

“The fruit-bodies of [the ‘stink-horns‘]… are topped with spores contained in a sticky, foul-smelling matrix that… is eagerly sought by flies and other insects used to eating rotting flesh.”


“As the [genus Pilobolus, the capthrower] fungus nears spore-dispersal time… the stalk is aimed at the brightest light… It follows the sun as it rises in the morning. Sometime between 9 and 11AM, with the angle of the stalk at about 45 degrees from the horizon to achieve maximum trajectory, water pressure inside the swollen portion becomes so great that the stalk explodes, hurling the spore packet.”

Cap Thrower

Sphaerobolus stellatus – the cannonball fungus

Sphaerobolus stellatus – cannoball fungus

Ch 3 – Fungi as Pathogens of Food Crops

Potato Blight – Botrytis infestans aka Phytophthora infestans

Ch 4 – Fungi as Agents of Catastrophic Tree Diseases

Ch 5 – Ergot of Grain Crops

Ergot – Claviceps purpurea

“The first documented epidemic of ergotism in Germany occurred in 857 AD: ‘A great plauge of swollen blisters consumed the people by a bothersome rot, so that their limbs were loosened and fell of before death.'”

“Almost a century later a report of a ‘plague of fire’ in the vicinity of Paris…”

“In 994, an epidemic of ergotism gripped south-central France…”

Ch 6 – Mycotoxins: Toxic By-Products of Fungal Growth

Ch 7 – Mycoses: Fungus Diseases of Humans

Ch 8 – Medicinal Molds

Ch 9 – Yeasts for Baking and Brewing

Ch 10 – Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms

Coprinus micaceus

Coprinus comatus – shaggy inkcap

Centharellus cibarius – chanterelles

Pleurotus ostreatus – oyster mushroom
Pleurotus porrigens

Laetiporus sulphureus – chicken of the woods

Tuber melanosporum – black truffle

Tuber magnatum – white truffle

Agaricus bisporus – button, crimini, portabellini, portabello


Amanita Phalloides – Death Cap

Amanita virosa – Destroying Angel

Ch 11 – Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

Psilocybe spp

Gymnopilus spectabilis

Panaeolus spp

Amanita muscaria – fly agaric

Lasagna-Lentil Rolls

3 May 2007

spirals of fun
8 spinach lasagna noodles
1 block of medium to firm tofu
1 bunch spinach, shredded
2 C Spicy Red Lentils with Tomatoes
1 C sliced mozarella cheese

serve with

1. cook the pasta as appropriate.
2. crumble the tofu and combine with the spinach
3. drain the cooked pasta, and separate the noodles.
4. lay one noodle flat. cover with the tofu-spinach, leaving 2 to 3 cm at the end. Fro the filled end, roll up the noodle, taking care not to squish all the filling out. Lay it on its side, and repeat with the other 7 noodles.
5. place some Lentil & Tomatoes on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the 8 lasagna rolls in the dish, and then cover each with the rest of the Lentil & Tomatoes. Cover each with a portion of the mozarella.
6. bake covered in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes. remove the cover, bake for 15 minutes. remove from the oven, let cool 15 minutes.

Tempeh salad rolls

2 May 2007

something pseudo-Indonesian

1 block tempeh
2 TB freshly crushed peppercorns
1/4 C sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
generous amount of cooking oil

circular rice paper wraps
water in a shallow bowl
1 bunch spinach leaves
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 layer of fennel bulb, thinly sliced
fresh mango, peeled seeded* & sliced
2 carrots, peeled and shredded

2 TB peanut butter
1 tsp miso paste
1 tsp brown rice vinegar
1 tsp shoyu (Japanese fermented soy sauce)
1 TB kecap (Indonesian sweet soy sauce – use molasses otherwise)
1 TB sesame oil
1 TB walnut oil

1. cut the tempeh in half lengthwise then in thick strips. Sprinkle with sesame oil, and black pepper, toss it, add garlic and let marinate for 30 minutes+.
2. In the meantime, mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Adjust season to your preference
3. heat the cooking oil over high heat, and add the marinaded tempeh. Fry, turning to cook each side to a crispy brown crust. About 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a bit, drain on a paper towel. Keep warm, but not hot.
4. place a few rice wraps in tepid water, and leave them to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes.
5. remove excess moisture with a clean towel, or let drain briefly in a sieve.
6. assemble the wrap as follows: the rice wrap, then a spinach leaf, 2 pieces of tempeh, as much peanut sauce as you like, then whichever vegetables tickle your fancy.
7. as you face the circle of rice paper, place the ingredients in a long bundle along the edge closest to you, running left to right. Fold the edge towards you up over the top of the ingredients, fold in the left and right edges, and then roll away from you. It takes a bit of practice, but shouldn’t prove difficult – and by gum don’t the results taste similar despite the relative results of one’s rice roll.

* place the seed in water for a couple of days, and then scrub off the remaining fruit flesh. Place it in a flowerpot, keeping the soil moist. This will grow into a mango tree, however, only attempt this if you use an organic mango, and learn more about it – this hasn’t worked yet – in part owing to antagonistic pets.

Mint Pasta Noodles

1 May 2007

a friend of the lemon.

1+ C unbleached flour
1 C durum semolina
3+ C fresh mint leaves
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
sparkling mineral water

serve with
pan-fried leek & jicama

1. combine the mint leaves, olive oil and salt into a paste. A food mill works.
2. on a floured surface, sift 1 C of the unbleached flour with the durum semolina. make a well in the centre. put the mint puree into the well with 1/4 C of the mineral water. mix the water and mint puree together with a fork, incorporating the flour as you do.
3. When the dough gets too tough for the fork, start kneading by hand: stretch the dough with one hand, while adding flour or water with the other. Kneading can take up to 20 minutes or so. The dough should be about the consistency of an earlobe (depends who you know, and how closely).
4. leave the dough to rest under a damp (not wet) cloth for 1 hour.
5. cut the dough into four even portions, and roll each into a sheet of pasta, then cut to desired shape.

see fresh pasta recipes from the cordon bleu.