Cooking Wild Mushrooms

Mushrooms have so much water that they’re ideal for the grill or a dry sauté. Learn more at
Northwest Montana has a reputation as morel country—one that’s unfortunately being increased by extended wildfire “seasons.” But as I learned by talking with local forager Dale Johnson for my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, morel mushrooms also tend to crop up in areas thick with cottonwoods. So we’ve been looking closer to home for these flavorful fungi over the last couple of weeks. No luck yet—I’m suspicious that they’ll be in hiding from the near-freezing nights as long as my asparagus—but we’re keeping our eyes peeled.

Dale shared more than just tips on foraging for morels. He also offered up some of his favorite cooking techniques, many of which apply to all sorts of wild mushrooms. He emphasized how there’s so much water in mushrooms like morels that they will have the best flavor and texture if they’re cooked first and then hit with butter, soy sauce, cream, or other favored ingredients. I’ll be following Dale’s advice and grilling or dry sautéing our morel harvest.
Learn to cook with wild mushrooms

Spring Vegetable Quiche

I soon expect to gather enough asparagus and baby spinach for my first spring quiche. Learn more at
If you’ve been reading my latest Twice as Tasty columns for the Flathead Beacon and some of my other recent work, you know that spring has been oh-so-slowly arriving in Montana, with days of sun, snow, rain, frost—and sometimes all four in a single morning. The garden is beginning to wake up, with the greens we let go to seed last fall sprouting in freshly weeded beds and my first round of cold frame seeds showing signs of life. Walking onions and chives have been available for harvesting in small quantities, and rhubarb and mint will soon be big enough for the first crisp and mojitos.

However, the asparagus is still stubbornly in hiding from freezing overnight temperatures. As soon as we consistently get nights just a couple of degrees warmer, I expect to gather enough of it and baby spinach for my first spring quiche.
Learn to make Spring Vegetable Quiche

Indian-Inspired Shrimp in Yogurt

Use a shrimp dish to feature a single homemade ingredient, fresh yogurt, and save the shrimp shells for stock. Learn more at
I snuck lots of fun kitchen ideas in last week’s blog post, including my streamlined recipe for Homemade Yogurt, all of the homemade ingredients I use when making the bean dip featured in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, and my favorite homemade dippers. If you found the lineup intimidating rather than inspiring, you’ll like the shrimp dish that’s in my column this week. If you’re a gardener, you’ll likely reach for homegrown onion and garlic; if you’re near coastal waters, you may be hauling up shrimp pots or buying directly from local fisherfolk. Otherwise, I use it to feature a single homemade ingredient: fresh yogurt.

As I mention in the column, plain yogurt is the most versatile, whether you’re making your own or buying it at the store. From one batch of plain yogurt, I can blend a serving into a smoothie, mix another with jam and top it with granola, and stir some into a savory bean dip or the sauce I use on shrimp, fish, or potatoes.
Learn to make Indian-Inspired Shrimp in Yogurt

Creamy White Bean and Yogurt Dip

A stellar bean dip relies on quality ingredients like homemade yogurt. Learn more at
Although I’m in the mood for spring, Montana’s weather hasn’t been cooperating: we woke up to 10 inches of fresh snow on Monday. So it seems appropriate that I’ve been making and sharing hearty bean recipes in recent weeks in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon and on Fifth Season Fresh. These recipes can pair some of my summer freezer stash or spring green goodness with filling beans in dishes that bring a bright pop of flavor and warm me down to my chilly toes.

For a quick filling bean snack, check out the dip in my Flathead Beacon column this week. In it, I talk about choosing quality ingredients for simple recipes like bean dip. To my mind, that means homemade yogurt.
Learn to make Creamy White Bean and Yogurt Dip plus Homemade Yogurt