Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Agaricus augustus

Agaricus augustus - The Prince.
I found my first Agaricus augustus mushrooms yesterday! They are supposed to be common in May and June growing as secondary decomposers on mulch, compost, grass, etc. Beside their characteristic look and habitat, they also have a distinctive smell. They smell sweet like almond flavor, or anise.
Luckily the mushrooms I had found were fresh with few bugs. I thought about drying them for later since we are leaving town tomorrow, but,I cooked them all up.
I was thinking of slicing and drying them, but ended up cooking all three I had found.
First, I made one into scrambled eggs with herbs and served it over broiled polenta. (no picture, we ate it too fast!)
And then! I found this dessert recipe and made Sweet Augustus!

I have never made mushrooms for dessert, but I cooked them up with butter, almonds, dates, and honey and served them over cardamom rice. I though it was quite tasty, but also a little strange because the prince has such a distinct and intense smell/taste I have never experienced before.

I added a little "milk" (cream) and was all set to watch Harry Potter 5 the Order of the Phoenix with Thomas and Adam.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Synsepalum dulcificum

My younger brother, Thomas, is in town and we spent some time exploring the fantastic green houses at UW. I had heard the folks there grew a magic berry that made sour foods taste sweet. We asked them about it and luckily, the berry season was just starting so we got to take home two small, red, magic berries...from Africa.
Synsepalum dulcificum, the "miracle berry" has a protein that binds to your sour receptors making sour foods taste sweet.

We planned our own 'flavor tripping party' for us and Adam. We got all our sour foods out: pickles, limes, soy sauce, etc.

In the end, the effect was not as strong as we thought it would be. But we could still eat limes!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Root Connection

We joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this season. It is called the Root Connection and it's in Woodinville - just a bikeride away from our home in Redmond.
CSAs are valuable for our communities. They provide fresh, local food and ensure the preservation of farmland in your community.

Adam loves the Mizuna, a spicy mustard green.

Every Wednesday Adam and I pick up our share of vegetables for the week. We have been very happy with the quality and quantity of veggies.
Here is an example of our weekly share:
(2 heads of lettuce, 1 bunch carrots, 1 bunch beets, turnips, rutabagas, zucchini, and U-pick herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, etc.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

UW Farm

At UW (University of Washington), there is a great group called the UW Farmers.
Based out of the green house and using both UW employee and student power, the group gains access to bits of land on campus to plant edible gardens, or "farms."

It is amazing how much food we have grown on unused areas near the great Burke-Gilman bike trail.

Here are some photos:

We grow spinach, all kinds of lettuce and herbs,

kale, chard, cabbage, nasturtiums, summer squash,

winter squash, cucumbers, corn, potatoes, sunflowers, tomatoes, gooseberries, currants, onions, leeks, garlic, peas, beans, amaranth, quinoa, apples, figs, and even kiwi and passionfruit!

We also have 3 chickens that lay every day. I take care of them Thursday mornings, and there are always beautiful eggs to take home.

Beside garden space and free veggies, another great aspect of being part of the Farmers is the community.
There are weekly meetings with lessons on compost, mulch, worms, weeds, starting community gardens, food preservation, and more. There are monthly potluck pizza making parties using the Farm's cob oven.

Everyone brings pizza toppings and we cook about 100 pizza's using a few armfuls of wood.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Once Wed

Here is another website that has posted Rachel Thurston's photos of our wedding!

The site is called Once Wed and they have a section called Real Weddings.

It's fun to see what other people planned for their weddings. So many different ideas, they are all great.

It's funny that it's not until after we got married that I realized there were this many different wedding websites!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bridal Shower

Well, some friends in my home area planned a wonderful bridal shower for me on March 28th. I know that was a while ago, but I wanted to share some of the photos since it was so nice and they planned some great surprises.

They wanted to plan all the food and gifts to celebrate what they loved about me. It was great! At first I was hesitant to even have a bridal shower, but...I'm glad I got to have one :)

It was really fun to see what they remembered and loved about me and to feel so supported and loved by all the women in my life.


First, they invited all the women in my life
Then, they decorated the house with bark and lichens and moss. (I guess everyone knows I love "woodland")
Then, they made delicious food like mushroom tarts and french madeleines! (I used to love french things and was the french club president in high school!)
Then, they served everything on pretty antique plates with family heirloom silverware and linen napkins. (I love antique items, especially ones from your own family heritage)
Then, they got me the best group gift: a huge Excalibur dehydrator! (Adam and I have already been busy making yogurt, dehydrating mushrooms, herbs, strawberries and more!)
Then, they planned another surprise group gift: they told each lady to bring an antique plate so I could start my own mismatched collection of antique plates from the women I love!

It was so fun to see each plate and hear the story of how they picked it out. "I call this one 'The Three Sisters' and thought of you, Briana, and Candice." "This one has a barn and donkey and I thought of the farm you and Adam want to someday live on." etc.)
There was another beautiful group gift and I truly was showered with gifts, advice, well wishes, and love.
And finally...There was homemade kumquat marmalade. A few years ago, I babysat for a week in the house where they threw the shower. They had a kumquat tree and I made marmalade while they were gone. It was so good. The really funny part is that when I realized I was going to be in California in May for our wedding, I immediately remembered that May was kumquat time and told my mom I was going to ask her if I could pick them again. She said, well, we'll see when you get here if you have time!

Thanks LeAnne, Pam, Chris, Shirley, Nancy, Cathy...and everyone for a great shower!
It was so thoughtful, I loved it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


May is morel month, as all good mushroomers know...

Since we got married in May, Adam and I figured we would miss our chance to stock up on morels this year...
We went East into the Cascades a few weekends ago, just to see what we could find.
After 6 hours, we had barely managed to find 1 and 1/2 old dried morels. Then Adam found a perfect fresh one! He was so happy! Probably because he thought we would finally leave!
Right before I took this picture, I believe he said: "I love my morel. I don't ever want to leave it!"


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sarcodes sanguinea

This striking flower is a parsitic plant!
Not only that, it is parasitic on fungi.

To explain further....
Sarcodes snguinea is a member of a parasitic group from the Ericaceae (blueberry, cranberry, azalea, heath & heather plant family) and grows underground by parasitically tapping into the nutrient supplies of a single species of Rhizopogon, a mycorrhizal fungus...that is to say a fungus in a symbiotic relationship with a conifer.

Pretty specific plant.
Sarcodes sanguinea is found in the Sierra Nevada region. My Dad and brother were there hiking, found this strange plant, and emailed it to me.

When I showed it to Adam, he said he saw some in Yosemite 3 years ago and showed me pictures, too!

It's common name is the snow plant.

Here and here are links for more info.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Miss B

Check out this great blog by my friend Miss B called the house that Lars built.
She is in Denmark right now studying textile design, both things sound great to me!
If I ever get back into the art/fashion groove (I'm in the science/fungi groove now), I would want to do textile design for sure.

Seeing all the cool photos of Denmark and the Danes reminds me of my trip to Iceland...

She also recently posted about our wedding here. I liked reading her post because it was so personal since we grew up in the same area and our families know each other.

Thanks Miss B!

Oh! I love this! I just saw it on Miss B's blog here.
I love old windows!

For years I have wanted to build a green house out of old windows and doors!
I have two pretty blue windows in my collection so far that have moved from Provo to Salt Lake, to Seattle, and now to Redmond, much to Adam's disbelief.

I am determined to have a window green house in my future...it's only a matter of time...
and storage space...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Barn Raising

We wanted our wedding to have a sense of community

Ideally it would have been a barn raising.
Everyone in our community would come help us build a barn for our new life together. And there would be potluck pie and dancing all night long!

In reality we planned a celebration with family style dinner, dancing to a live bluegrass band, and plenty of old-fashioned wedding symbols.
We were inspired by this idea: The ritual of guests sharing a meal together underscores the sense of community a wedding is meant to celebrate.

I would describe our wedding as having antique and old-fashioned aspects as well as woodland and family tree elements.

Some of my favorite details from our wedding are:

-The family history photos. From both Adam's and my family, going back four generations.

-Everyone pitching in their talents to make our wedding special. Many people donated services as wedding gifts to us!

-Antique wedding dress from late Edwardian Era (1905-1910) with silver locket, old-fashioned brown shoes, and handsome groom.

-Hyacinth flower wreaths as the corsages and boutonnières for our family. A wreath is the perfect wedding symbol. I love how they turned out!

Though Adam and I would actually LOVE to have a barn on a few acres of land...we will have to wait a few more years.

***Photos are from Rachel Thurston, rachelthurston.blogspot.com, our fantastic photographer***

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Here are my references!
So many people spent time making our wedding awesome, here is a simple list.

I loved everyone who helped out and everyone we hired! I'd recommend these folks to anyone!

Custom Stationary - Brooke Hellewell Reynolds
(former art director for Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Kids)
We worked with Brooke over email. She designed our beautiful wedding announcements using designs from the lace in my antique wedding dress.

Photography - Rachel Thurston
I loved having Rachel as our photographer! She is great to work with, fun to spend time with, and takes beautiful photos.
I sent Rachel an email and a few scanned pages from a magazine and she made sure to get the photos I had in mind, despite the limited supplies we had to work with! My family and I had put so much thought and effort into planning a beautiful wedding, we are so pleased Rachel captured our hard work and the first photos of me and Adam as a married couple!

Live Band - Silver Mountain Fiddle Band
This band was the best! They really made the party and were easy to work with, sounded great, and did and amazing cover of Niel Young's "Harvest Moon" for our first dance. My sister said: "This band might be a new tradition for our family!" (We have 4 more weddings to go!)

My bouquet and Adam's corsage -
C M Armstrong Floral Designs

949-916-7171 www.cmarmstrongdesigns.com
She made the perfect woodland/antique bouquet!

Dru Kent - my mother's close friend who made toffee, shortbread, mushroom palmiers, and more for our wedding. She also helped plan and decorate the location, and listen to and support my mom. Thanks!

My mother's close friend who helped plan, decorate, and lend us her beautiful garden for our party.

Wedding Cake- Savoie’s Fare
Laguna Niguel (949-240-6613)
Jacques made the best cake for us: chocolate with passion fruit mousse filling...yum!

Woodland Log Cakes - Blackmarket Bakery
Irvine 949-852-4609
2 flavors: lavender with Lemon cream, and pistachio with cardamom. They are great at making custom orders.

Meringue mushrooms - Davlyn Howland
Our family friend lovingly made these to decorate our cakes as her wedding gift to us!

Blue Diamond Co-op Almonds - My aunt and uncle Carol and John.
My Aunt and Uncle grow almonds for Blue Diamond in Central California, they gave several pounds for our reception as a wedding gift!

Hair and Makeup - Katie Hoffman
I met with her a few days before our wedding and she came up with some beautiful ideas. I originally wanted finger waves, but she thought they might not last all day. Instead she did lovely pin curls. I loved it and it lasted the whole day!

Family and Friends!
Our wedding was a real community event! Our friends and family did everything from arrange flowers, make food, set up, sew cloth napkins, iron cloth napkins, clean up,

Wedding photos

See these links for more wedding photos!