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Hunting in the off season

Here is another guest blog post from Danny. As an avid outdoorsman, Danny spends many a weekend sitting up in a tree. He places trail cameras and has captured some amazing wildlife videos. When not in his cabin in the middle of nowhere, we are glad that he is cooking and telling us all about it.

Spring is here and as soon as the weather warms up, the trees start to bud, the animals awaken and the flowers are blooming.  Another less known creature is stirring in the ground and as April in Ohio arrives; the Morel starts to pop up all over the state.

I haven’t been hunting for mushrooms for very long but I find it very relaxing and it is a great way to spend many hours out in nature.  Gathering a group of friends and trekking through the woods is a great way to spend an afternoon.  I am not a mushroom expert but the morels spongy appearance makes is easily recognizable and after trying several different recipes, I have found a few that I look forward to making once a year.  Morels tend to grow near elm trees and especially fallen elm trees.

On last weekends hunt, I found several next to an old dirt road growing on the south side of the hill.  It takes a trained eye to find your first morel but once you do there are often several others just waiting to be harvested.  Many people take scissors to leave the root but I find that you can just pinch the base and tear the stem pretty easily.  It is a good idea to carry your morels in an onion sack or something mesh-like.  This allows the spores of the morel to spread so you are guaranteed a crop for the following year.  We tend to leave one or two behind to ensure that they will be around for years to come.

Morel Pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Servings: 2 servings | Difficulty: easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 cups of fresh morels (cut in half, lengthwise)
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • Pillsbury Pizza Crust or you can make your own

Directions:

  1. Place one package of pizza crust on a cookie sheet or a pizza stone works great for a crispy crust.  Making your own down or buying a store bought pizza crust would work just as well.  Cook the pizza crust at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.
  2. Add the pizza sauce, spread Mozzarella cheese and add the morels.
  3. Cook for another 8 to 10 minutes.

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Categories: Cheese, Italian, kosher, Lunch, Main Dish, vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

24 Comments on “Hunting in the off season”

  1. April 6, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    i am a terrible mushroom hunter, as i am colorblind but i love mushrooms

  2. April 6, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I love morels and dream of living in an area where I could hunt for them. And if I had some, this pizza would be the first thing I would make. Yum!

  3. April 6, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I know this is a food blog – but may I ask Danny a bit more on the trail camera…. please share some secrets and how to go about it. Cheers

  4. Lauren's Plate
    April 6, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Pizza in my favorite food in the world, next time I’ll add morels

  5. April 6, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Hi all, well the pizza was great. As for the trail camera, I use a Stealth Cam Sniper IR Digital Video Scouting Recorder. Cabela’s sells these cameras for about $150.00 and they run on batteries or you can pick up an rechargeable extended life battery for about $60.00. This is great for scouting the animals that are coming into your area. The camera is infrared so you even get to see the nighttime pictures. I have captured bucks fighting, does, fawns, raccoons, squirrels, fox, bobcat, turkey, coyotes and the random house cat. My camera is up all year and it is nice to keep an eye on my property but also know what animals are moving through. Best placement is a crossroads within the woods or just an area where you are seeing animals. I use mine to keep an eye on my cabin too.

  6. April 6, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    This reminds me of my mom. We went morel and asparagus hunting. Then my mom got a Yule Gibbons book we were hunting for other nature’s hidden treasures.

  7. April 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    I never even heard of morel’s before this post. Thanks! I’ll try it next Thursday. :D

  8. Joanna Nobile
    April 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi, Just love the post. It reminds me that our porcini mushroom season is coming up soon. We do have morrels here in Tuscany, Italy and as the recipe looks delicious I can’t wait to try it out in our pizza oven this year!

  9. delightsanddisciplines
    April 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Foraging is almost a forgotten art : ) Growing up with a father who taught outdoor recreation in a local school was such an education for me.
    As we hiked along riverbank trail, he would reveal the plethora of hidden treasures called the edible plant! More then mushroom hunting and salmon berry picking, I cherish those special days with him . Thank you for the recipe and memories :) I can’t wait to share this particular post with him!

  10. April 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    wow hunting for mushrooms eh? That seems like a new entry for my bucket list. hahaha..

  11. April 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I’ve never had morels before, so this is definitely intriguing me. Because the pizza looks absolutely wonderful and delicious.

  12. April 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    enjoyed your blog. I have never been shroom hunting. Sounds interesting and something I would have to do with another person who knows what they are doing. Are there any shrooms that look like morals?

  13. April 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Morel mushrooms are awesome. Their almost smoky flavour isn’t like anything else, and as it happens I still have some dried ones in my pantry. They were rather expensive too, and foraging them seems just that bit more attractive because of it. You may be surprised to hear that it works really well to crystallise them with sugar- it pretty near works a miracle as an additive to Heston Blumenthal’s bacon-and-egg ice cream.

  14. April 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    I adore wild edibles and foraging, and I have been hunting morels for as long as I can remember! I love the taste of the morel as much as I love the hunt. Every spring I have morel dreams, hehe. I have a hard time using them in any sort of recipe that competes with their flavor, so it would be tough to put them on a pizza, unless I happened on the Mother load and had a bushel to play with! A simple saute’ with butter is my fave, but a morel cream sauce with a little white wine and parmo is excellent as well, especially over a good steak. Very timely post!

    *And a note to “thingsfrommymom”, morels are a very distinctive mushroom, but there are false morels as well, and there are a number of poisonings from them every year. Northern Country Morels (http://www.northerncountrymorels.com/ ) is a great educational site for beginners and seasoned hunters alike.

  15. April 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Oh, I do miss fresh morels! I would also recommend an amazing dish from Ina Garten, just called “Chicken with morels”. They’re cooked up with a creamy madeira wine sauce. Delish!

  16. April 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Growing up in Michigan, Morel-gathering was a yearly ritual. It invokes such fantastic memories from being buried in the fog of the years accumulating in my brain.

    Thank you!

    I keep the Morel eating simple:
    –clarified butter, salt, some black pepper, and some granulated garlic..hot saute pan..7-10 minutes…eat and be happy.

  17. April 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    I admire people who can tell which mushroom is which to the extent they can forage for them and cook them. Nice post.

  18. April 7, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Love this post! My husband and I went camping last weekend (it started sleeting here in MI the night we went camping! ) and we were talking about how we can not wait to go mushroom hunting! I dont like mushrooms, unless they are morels & are fried, but this pizza looks delish!! Plus, who doesnt LOVE pizza!?

  19. April 7, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    ah the morel, the fairy prince of the forest. thank you for stopping by art rat cafe – love your blog…

  20. April 7, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Is there a web site that will teach us what is a good mushroom to harvest and what is not good?

  21. April 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    Looks so delicious. I’ve actually never tried Morels before. I have a great assortment of Asian mushrooms, enoki, shiitake etc because I think they grow best is this warm climate whereas a morel must be a cold climate thing? Either way, still looks great.

  22. April 8, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    this pizza made me hungry. Looks very delicious and tasty.

  23. April 8, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I was lucky to grow up in an area where, during a brief period of Spring, morels are ripe for the hunting! My family would head out to the woods, hunting the mushrooms together, and we would each bring home gallon-size buckets of them. We liked to fry them up, but your pizza sounds amazing! There’s nothing better than a fresh morel!!

  24. April 9, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    I’ve been looking but I haven’t seen any morels yet! But I’m keeping my eyes peeled!

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