Although it has been particularly wet and cool lately in Kentucky, this elusive fungus had not revealed itself to me despite several attempts to comb the forest floor. But a chance encounter while identifying beautiful ephemeral wildflowers left me with enough to prepare a delicious springtime meal!
Over fifteen years ago when I was working full time as a ceramic artist, I lived for a year on a llama farm in southern Indiana where I helped to build a communal wood-fired salt kiln. Many fond memories are associated with the farm and it is still one of the most inspiring places to reconnect with utterly wild nature. The spring bloom display is simply stunning and the abundance of strong native plant communities is unparalleled. So on a slow Sunday morning, another potter friend and I drove out for a visit.
I brought a cake I had created with dandelion blossoms and we nibbled on it smeared with violet jam while a fog cleared and gentle rain subsided. My potter friend who owns the land is also a cave explorer and has been busy mapping over 40 of the estimated 100 miles of underground tunnels in the area. We caught up on tales of expeditions in Mexico, my cave diving in Central America, the current pottery community in Louisville, and how bread is an equally satisfying craft. My friend shared with us some of the best canela I've ever tasted from Oaxaca before we poked around his ceramic studio in the woods and took a wildflower walk.
It was an inspiring day of reminiscing as well as rediscovery capped with the collection of edible wild mustard flowers and a handful of morels. On the drive back, we stopped to photograph some of the wildflowers and was surprised with a small grouping of happy little mushrooms just waiting to be exalted in my kitchen! Squealing, we searched for more but were satisfied with only a few - enough to be sauteed with a little butter, garlic, and wine. No doubt, I will be back to that spot, hoping for more!