Calling All Chefs!

The James Beard Foundation is inviting restaurants and chefs all across the country to participate in the Better Burger Project™ by featuring a “Better Burger” on their menus.



The Better Burger Project is an in-restaurant menu promotion that strives to improve the burger by blending ground meat with finely chopped mushrooms, creating a more delicious, healthy, and sustainable burger. The James Beard Foundation is inviting restaurants and chefs all across the country to participate by featuring a “Better Burger” on their menus.

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up here!

2. Create your “Better Burger,” blending at least 25-percent fresh, cultivated ground mushrooms into your burger patty. Learn more about the blend here.

3. Menu the dish throughout the promotion period, from Memorial Day through July 31, 2015—and beyond if you choose!

4. Ask your customers to vote on Instagram by sharing your “Better Burger,” posting with #BetterBurgerProject.

After the promotion concludes on July 31, 2015, the five (5) chefs with the most Instagram uploads by consumers will win a trip to New York City in October 2015 to cook their “Better Burgers” at the official welcome reception for the annual JBF Food Conference at the historic James Beard House. We’ll be monitoring social media participation during the promotion and posting weekly updates to our blog and on, so be sure to check back often.

Learn more and sign up at

Roasted Mushroom, Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Hash

Paula of bell’alimento shares a hash that you won’t want to miss.

Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts are both so earthy naturally they pair well together. This hash is so extremely versatile. It’s great for breakfast, brunch or brinner (breakfast for dinner). It so simple to prepare it’s almost a non-recipe. I start buy using Brussels sprouts that have already been shaved for me – meaning they’re ready for me in the bag. It’s a convenience item for sure. If you don’t have that in your store, you can simply cut whole Brussels sprouts yourself or use your food processor. I’ve used baby portobello mushrooms for this recipe but any fresh variety will do. You start with a quick saute of the shrooms and sprouts with a few flavorful friends added to the mix that bring everything together. We’ll end the hash with a sunny side up egg. It’s also optional but recommended.

Roasted Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Hash
Yield: 2-4 (depending on serving size)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces fresh mushrooms – quartered
2 cloves garlic – minced
9 ounces shaved Brussels sprouts
kosher salt/pepper
1 tablespoon lemon infused olive oil
2 slices thick cut bacon – cooked crisp and crumbled
sunny side up eggs – optional

Into a large saute pan add oil and butter. Heat over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms have softened.

Add Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until Brussels sprouts have softened.

Finish with drizzle of lemon infused olive oil and garnish with crumbled bacon.

Top with optional sunny side up egg.

Pork Mushroom Fried Rice

Denise from Chez Us shows us how to easily make pork mushroom fried rice with the blend. 

Fried rice seems simple enough, and it is still so easy to mess up a recipe.  We had some terrible fried rice recently, and it prompted me to get into the kitchen to work on a recipe that would be flavorful and not gummy.  When I saw our editorial calendar for the Mushroom Channel, and our first recipe was a side dish using The Blend approach, I decided to reinvent my fried rice recipe to incorporate mushrooms.  Lucky for us and now lucky for you, I have this deliciously easy recipe for Pork Mushroom Fried Rice.

I like working with The Blend method as I can cut back on the amount of meat that I would normally use in a recipe, and incorporate ground mushrooms.  I think this is a great method for getting picky kids to enjoy mushrooms as well;  I would use it on them all the time if I have a few running around the house.  It is easy, as you chop up mushrooms to resemble ground meat, and add to the recipe.  I typically, cut back half of the meat called for and replace with the same amount in mushrooms.  For this Pork Mushroom Fried Rice recipe, I used half ground mushrooms and pork, along with flavorful Chinese inspired flavors.

There are a few key points to making great fried rice, and in my opinion will make or break the recipe.

  • Use day old rice. I cook up a batch of long grain rice the day before I am going to make this recipe, and place in the refrigerator.
  • Use a pan that gets really hot and does not burn. If you have a seasoned wok, that is great. I use a cast iron paella pan, for all stir-fry, including this recipe.
  • Have all ingredients ready to go after each step.
  • Follow the steps as each one adds more seasoning to the ingredients.
  • Season with salt after the soy is added, as you may not need any.

This recipe is great served as a side dish with a broccoli beef or even steamed fish such as halibut.  I like to keep some leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day, as it is equally as delicious with a fried egg on it!


1 1/2 lb of cremini mushrooms

1/2 pound ground pork

2 eggs, beat

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice

8 green onions, thinly sliced on a diagonal

1/2″ knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 cups of cold white rice

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon of mirin

kosher salt

black pepper

How To:

Place 1 pound of the mushrooms into a food processor and chop to resemble ground meat.  Thinly slice the remaining 1/2 pound and set aside.

In a large wok or frying pan add the ground pork, and cook of medium meat, stirring often.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the ground mushrooms into the pork, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for another minute.

Place the mushroom/pork mixture into a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, there should be enough fat from the pork, add the beat up eggs and scramble over medium heat until light and fluffy.  Remove and place the eggs into a small bowl.

Add the thinly sliced yellow onion to the hot pan.  If there is not enough fat left from the pork, add a little canola oil, about 1 tablespoon.  Stir and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Add the garlic to the onion mixture, stir and cook for another minute.

Add the carrots, stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the thinly sliced mushrooms, stir and cook until they are golden;  about 3 – 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the Chinese Five Spice over the mushroom mixture and stir.

Stir in the frozen peas and cook for 1 minute.

Remove the vegetable mixture from the pan and place into a bowl.

Raise the heat of the stove to medium high, and add the 2 tablespoons of canola oil to the hot pan.

Add the green onions and ginger.  Stir, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cold rice, stirring, until the rice is lightly crisp, about 3 – minutes.  It is okay if it sticks a little, I like to scrap up this part and mix with the rice.

Drizzle the sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin over the rice, stir and cook for another minute.

Stir in the pork and vegetables, and cook for 1 minute.  Lightly folding the ingredients together.

Stir in the egg, and season to taste with salt and pepper.



“Mushroom Mania” Takes over Five Cafeterias at Penn State University

It should come as no surprise to see mushrooms at Pennsylvania State University, but when Mushroom Council representatives, Kathleen Preis, Katie Poppiti, and Nicole Stager, took over five Penn State cafeterias, a full-fledged Mushroom Mania ensued!

Student’s tastebuds tingled as they caught a glance of the Mushroom Mania lunch menu at Penn State University earlier this month. Cream of Mushroom Soup with Crimini and Portabella Mushrooms warmed students up, while the Beef, Pork and Mushroom Blend Slider Topped with Pesto & Sharp Provolone had them questioning whether or not the burger was in fact made with mushrooms; it was just so delicious!

By the time dinner rolled around, students were clamouring for more! The dinner menu featured a Grilled Pork Chop with Five Mushroom Umami Gravy and a Mushroom and Goat Cheese Flat Bread Pizza that was the talk of the town.

Beyond the food, students lined at the Mushroom Selfie Station and tried their hand at Mushroom Jeopardy. Participants were asked a variety of trivia questions including; mushrooms contain 90% _______.; what are the best growing conditions for mushrooms; or name that mushroom variety. Hundreds of Mushroom Mania commemorative t-shirts and gift cards were given out to mushroom savvy students, who became very intrigued when told the many health benefits of mushrooms. Yes, they not only taste good, but they are good for you too!

Mushroom Mania came to a successful close on the Thursday morning when Kathleen Preis, of the Mushroom Council, presented to a menu committee of 13 chefs from across Penn State campuses. Not only were they thrilled about the Mushroom Mania campaign, they were excited to include more blended menu items on their school menus for the year ahead!

Mushroom and Leek Spaghetti Carbonara

Paula of bell’alimento shares a classic Italian dish.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a classic Italian dish. It’s my hands down all time favorite meal and if I could I would eat it every single day. There are many twists on this classic dish and this recipe is one of them. I’ve added leeks and fresh mushrooms to the mix and it’s a twist that we’ll be twirling on our forks on a regular rotation.

We used portobello mushrooms for this recipe but any variety of fresh mushrooms would be lovely. The trick with carbonara is to multi task. While your pasta water is boiling and you are cooking your pasta to al dente perfection in your saute pan get your pancetta (or bacon) crisping. Then you’ll saute the leeks and mushrooms in the bacon goodness (hello flavor). A quick toss of the cooked spaghetti and then the egg mixture and you’re on your way to a happy happy tummy.

Mushroom and Leek Spaghetti Carbonara by Bell'alimento

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 slices pancetta or thick cut bacon – cubed
1 leek – thinly sliced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms – sliced
2 whole eggs + 2 additional egg yolks – beaten
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
kosher salt/fresh cracked black pepper
1 pound spaghetti

1. Place a large pot of generously salted water onto boil. Once boiling, add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water prior to draining.

2. Into a large saute pan add oil and heat over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.

3. To pan add: leeks and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms have softened. Remove pan from heat.

4. Into a small bowl add eggs and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer spaghetti to saute pan. Toss to combine. Add egg mixture. Toss to combine. If mixture it too thick add some of the reserved pasta water.

6. Garnish with additional black pepper and additional cheese if desired.