Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
May 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Foray into Foraging

diningIndulge in a taste of the wild side at the second annual Big Sur Foragers Festival
Web extra: Chanterelle, Honey and Lavender Ice Cream recipe

Big Sur, with its world-famous beauty and rugged wilderness, is no stranger to disaster. In the words of Sharen Carey, locals know “it’s not a matter of if, but when” the next calamity will cause road closures or, worse, evacuations. Case in point: the recent Pfeiffer Fire, which ignited on Dec. 15 and consumed more than 900 acres in Big Sur’s Los Padres National Forest.

For Carey, executive director of the Big Sur Health Center, the blaze was yet another reminder of why her organization exists. As the only medical facility within the 100 miles between Carmel and Cambria, the health center provides a necessary service to people who choose to dwell in this extremely remote locale, as well as the more than four million visitors who flock there each year. 

“We have residents who live way up ridges and down canyons, and some who live as much as a couple of hours drive [from town],” says Carey, who spoke to GT in the days following the fire’s onset. “The presence of the health center is really critical to the well-being of the community.”

Fundraising is essential to keeping the center up and running, and the health center is gearing up for the second installment of what it hopes will become its signature fundraising event: The Big Sur Foragers Festival. The weekend kicks off Friday, Jan. 17 with a “Firestone and Fungus” dinner at Big Sur Roadhouse (where baked field peas, foraged winter greens and brisket are some of the menu items) and continues with a variety of delicious events throughout the weekend. Local wines and beer will also be featured.

The same wildness that makes Big Sur a bold place to live and an attractive place to visit lends its small-but-distinctive culinary scene a special, highly localized flavor. Inspired by the popularity of the now-defunct Big Sur Chanterelle Festival, organizers selected foraging as a focus for the festival as a way to highlight and celebrate that untamed spirit.

“It allows chefs to build upon the chanterelle theme but opens it up to all sorts of mushrooms and other foraged foods,” says Carey.

dining2Mark Marron, Cheri Gladstone and Sarah Healey of A Big Sur Affair Catering at the 2013 Foragers Festival Last year, Ripplewood Resort owner and former chef Carl Shadwell found himself with eight pounds of chanterelle mushrooms in the days leading up to the inaugural Foragers Festival. Together with other ingredients gleaned from his surroundings—including Meyer lemons, lavender and honey—he concocted a chanterelle ice cream that took home the prize for Most Unique Dish in the Fungus Face-Off.  

“It’s so hard to describe—it had a bit of a savory taste, but what you were getting was a lot of the vanilla, Meyer lemon and a hint of the lavender, and all of a sudden you’d crunch into the mushroom,” he says. (See gtweekly.com for the recipe.) Other winning dishes included an abalone porcini fritter with pickleweed and red dulse seaweed (Most Artistic Presentation) and matsutake braised beef ragout with roasted garlic, Mazuna, Carmel Valley Ranch salt, and shaved black truffles on crostini (People’s Award).

Shadwell will, once again, participate in the Fungus Face-Off, which will take place Saturday afternoon at Ventana Inn & Spa, but—save for a hint about rabbit—he was tightlipped about the recipe he has up his sleeve. The competition will be followed by a multi-course dinner featuring three guest chefs.

Although there will be no organized foraging events during the festival, participants can learn how to identify edible wild plants from expert foragers during the “Wild Mushroom Walk and Talk” on Saturday morning.

When he spoke to GT before the holidays, Shadwell noted that Big Sur had yet to see many mushrooms due to a lack of rain. And with Pfeiffer Ridge now scorched by the fire, the outlook for fungi is even more uncertain. But, Big Sur is accustomed to making do with what they have—and the festival promises to be a shining example of that character. 

“This community takes care of one another,” Carey told GT in December. “We’re in the middle of the fire, and everyone is coming together to support one another, figure out who needs what, [and] take care of their neighbor.”

In that vein, local chefs and businesses are donating their talents to the fundraiser, and organizers are hopeful that residents will turn up in high numbers. For Big Sur fans who live outside its borders, the festival is just one more good reason to pay a visit. 

The Big Sur Foragers Festival takes place Jan. 17-19 at various times and locations. Visit bigsurforagersfestival.org to learn more. Tickets are at eventbrite.com.


Chanterelle, Honey and Lavender Ice Cream By Carl Shadwell

Makes: 2 quarts
You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe. This savory ice cream works well as tablespoon sizes served with pate a choux or Lacey almond cookies.  

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup honey
2 sprigs lavender blossom
1 cup half and half
3 cups real whipping cream
12 egg yolks
2 vanilla beans
1 cup sugar
Zest of 4 Meyer lemons
3 lbs finely chopped chanterelles
1 tsp. finely chopped thyme

Instructions:
Blanch zest in boiling water for 2 minutes. Refresh. Chop in fine mince.
Combine half and half, cream, sugar, honey, lavender, vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer. Cool. Strain.
Sauté mushrooms in 2 tbsp. butter for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (around a pinch of each). Add thyme. Cool.
Heat cream mixture to simmer in a non-corroding pot. In a bowl, whisk eggs, and add hot cream in small amounts. Return to pan on low heat, stirring constantly. When thick (when it coats the spoon), chill.
Add mushroom mix, lemon zest, and cream.
Turn into an ice cream maker and follow instructions. Freeze.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival