WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER | PHOTOS (AND RECIPES!) BY DANIELLE KUEHNEL

“The connection you can have with nature is one you can have with nothing else in life,” said Eve Bucwinski. 

“It’s a soulful connection that brings a sense of peace.” Eve is a florist, pro-gardener, moss wall artist, and mother of five boys.

Eve grew up at her family’s farm in Poland and came to the States in 1988. She’s always been a forager but has recently seen a surge of interest in the pastime. The tag #foragingtiktok has garnered more than 94 million views on the social media platform.  To reach this growing online audience, Eve runs six Facebook gardening groups; Upstate Gardening & Outdoor Living, 518 Plant Lovers, Adirondack Butterfly Gardeners, NY Foraging and Outdoors, and Adirondack Plant & Garden Life. 

Like geocaching, foraging is outdoor treasure hunting, she said. 

“You get to collect treasures and use them – in art projects, to eat, or for their medicinal properties.”

In her foraging, forest bathing, and crafting workshops, Eve demonstrates how to read the forest by identifying plants and their uses, as well as deciphering clues about what animals exist in the habitat. 

Eve’s moss walls are displayed at Clifton Park’s Sushi Thai restaurant, Active Ingredient Brewing in Malta, and Plug Power in Latham.

“They’re a very simple way of bringing the green of nature indoors with absolutely no maintenance. They make the space more serene and are a sound absorber.”

Through a multi-step drying process, Eve preserves and enhances the moss’ vibrant colors. To learn her technique and register for all the classes available at local Saratoga County parks and forests every Saturday morning, go to shopgardenofeve.com, find her on Facebook and Instagram.

*Please note - identification is key in foraging and using wild mushrooms. Many are toxic, poisonous, or can be dangerous lookalikes.


 Wild Mushroom Risotto
With Roasted Summer Squash,
Tomato Confit, 
and Garlic Confit

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice (lard, bacon grease, clarified butter, or olive oil are all good)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups wild mushrooms of your choice, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups wild mushroom stock, unsalted (see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups high-quality parmesan, grated
  • 1 cup fresh flat parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crispy Air Fryer Summer Squash (optional, see recipe below)
  • Garden Tomato Confit (optional, see recipe below)
  • Garlic Confit (optional, see recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Warm oil of choice in large paella pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and sprinkle with salt to help sweat out any water. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté approximately 3 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent. Add minced garlic and cook until aromatic but not brown (browned garlic tastes bitter and burnt!).
  2. Add wild mushrooms to the pan of onion and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds or until mixed.
  3. Add arborio rice to the pan mixture. Allow risotto to toast and mushrooms to brown slightly before moving to the next step, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  4. Deglaze pan with wine. Any wine you have open works well, but the Foraging Femmes like chardonnay when available.
  5. Keeping the burner heat at medium, add 1 cup of wild mushroom stock to the pan of ingredients.
  6. Stir constantly. Stir constantly. Consider this a little targeted arm workout before the main event of this meal. In order to coax that dreamy, creamy risotto consistency from the rice, you absolutely must:
  7. Add liquid slowly. Stir gently, constantly.
  8. Continue to add stock to mixture at approximately ½ cup increments while stirring constantly. Allow liquid to be completely absorbed by rice and mushrooms before adding more. Repeat this step until all stock has been cooked into the rice and mushrooms, approximately 25 minutes. Be patient. Once the liquid is absorbed, taste the risotto for doneness. If the rice is too al dente, add more liquid at ¼ cup increments until rice is at desired doneness. Rice should be loose, almost porridge-like.
  9. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter until melted and incorporated. Stir in grated parmesan until melted and incorporated. Stir in fresh parsley until incorporated. Stir in lemon juice.
  10. Taste the risotto and begin to add salt and pepper to taste. The parmesan is generally intensely salty so you may need less than you think! Add additional parmesan, parsley, and lemon juice to taste. The Foraging Femmes almost always throw in another handful of parm.
  11. Adorn risotto with air-fried summer squash, tomato confit, garlic confit, and sprigs of parsley for a truly intense seasonal flavor bomb.
  12. Share with those you love!

Wild Mushroom Stock

Ingredients:

  • Wild mushrooms of your choice, cleaned (filling a minimum of 1/3 of your stock pot, generally)
  • 1 onion, unpeeled, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, quartered

Instructions:

  1. Place cleaned mushrooms, garlic, and onion into stock pot of choice.
  2. Fill pot with water. Cover and heat to boil.
  3. Reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer for approximately 3 hours, or until desired reduction is achieved.
  4. Carefully strain broth with cheesecloth and a sieve.
  5. Use or freeze stock within 4 days. Or pressure-can immediately for 35 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for quart jars; store these shelf-stable jars for up to 18 months.

Crispy Air Fryer Summer Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced into half-moons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees, or the highest setting.
  2. Toss sliced summer squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Spread slices of squash into heated air fryer and fry for 15 minutes, mixing halfway, until squash is to desired brownness.

Garden Tomato Confit

Ingredients:

  • Fresh garden tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Keep cherry tomatoes whole. Rough chop larger tomatoes, removing
    large deposits of seeds. Place all tomatoes into a glass casserole.
  3. Generously drizzle tomatoes with high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Add fresh basil leaves, if desired.
  4. Gently cook for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until tomatoes are plump and starting to burst.
  5. Serve warm or cold. Store in refrigerator in sealed container up to
    3 days.

Garlic Confit

 

Ingredients:

  • Garlic cloves, whole, peeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Place garlic cloves into a small glass casserole or enameled cast iron pan.
  3. Cover garlic cloves with high-quality extra virgin olive oil until submerged completely.
  4. Gently cook for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until cloves are soft and beginning to caramelize to your liking.
  5. Salt lightly to taste. Serve warm or cold. Store in refrigerator in sealed container for up to 1 week.

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