This morning, as I walked up the cool dewy driveway to feed the horses, I noticed something in their pasture that hadn’t been there yesterday. The pasture grows rocks; I know because I pick them up and toss them over the fence regularly, yet there still seem to be plenty around. This didn’t look quite like rocks though, or any of the other paraphernalia the horses lose in the pasture, so I walked down to investigate.
Hooray! It was what I was hoping they might be…some puffball mushrooms. They must have blossomed in the field after the hard, much needed rain we had yesterday afternoon. The horse had stepped on some of them, but I managed to salvage some good mushrooms “for the pot”. I didn’t have my camera with me, so I can’t show you, but there was clear swath of darker color in the grass where the fungus was growing, like a big comma, and there was a sweep of puffballs, the fruit of the fungus, blooming right down the center.
As I walked back home with my loot I got to reflecting about mushrooms, for which I have a deep fondness. They often grow in dead or dying material. In other words, they are a product of decay. It amazes me that nature is structured in such a way that life flows naturally from death. Take compost, for instance. I have a compost pile into which I tossed a rotting pumpkin last year, as well as all my other garden waste. This year I can’t see my compost pile for the hybrid squash/pumpkin Audrey III growing there. Abundance from decay. And yet we still see death as a finality.
Back in the kitchen putting away the mushrooms, I was chagrined to remember that I have two dozen jalapenos, 10 ripe tomatoes, 4 cabbages, 6 cucumbers, 2 giant zucchini the size of my arm, 3 peppers, a basket of green beans and a watermelon already stuffed in the fridge. Why can’t I find a score of puffball mushrooms in February, when there is nary a fresh thing in sight? So I’ll make some hot sauce, roast the tomatoes for the freezer (a yummy trick I learned from my mother-in-law) whip up some coleslaw for dinner, jar some pickles, freeze the green beans, and leave the zucchini in my neighbors car, but I am definitely having a mushroom omelet for breakfast.
2/3 cup mushrooms of any kind, diced
2 fresh local eggs (3 if you are hungry)
2 tsp. butter divided
1 oz. goat cheese
Salt and pepper
Heat a nonstick pan on medium low heat. Crack the eggs in a bowl and scramble lightly with a fork. Saute the mushrooms in 1/2 the butter until tender and most of the water has evaporated. If the mushrooms dry out before they are cooked through, add a tablespoon of water to the pan and cook until it’s dry again. Add the eggs and the rest of the butter and cover for 2-3 min. When the eggs are mostly cooked, add the cheese to one side and gently fold the eggs onto the cheese. Turn off the heat. Cover again for a few more minutes until eggs are cooked through.