Archive for May, 2009

Weekly Links: Mushroom News from Around the Web

Doctor uses some foods as medicines Keith Martin, a nutritionist at Arizona State University revealed some fascinating research to the Washington Post this week. Martin found that in the presence of viruses like the common cold and the flu, all mushroom varieties can help raise the levels of the immune system’s proteins to three to five time normal! Your immune system just called and would like a side of mushrooms for dinner tonight. :)

The You Docs have a beef about red meat Move to the meaty mushroom! That’s what “The You Docs” are telling the Idaho Statesman. Big, thick and juicy, Portabella mushrooms have been rated as satisfying and tasty as beef in studies, and they make your arteries younger. Use in place of beef in stroganoff, or throw ‘em on the barbecue for a “make yourself younger with great taste” burger.

White vegetables: The forgotten color Many people believe that white vegetables have no significant nutritional value. Not so! In fact, most white vegetables are packed with flavorful nutrients that fight disease. KIVI-TV reminds you to enjoy those white veggies, mushrooms included!

Asthma’s possible link to vitamin D Did you know 40,000 American miss work or school every day because of asthma; that’s a lot of people and a lot of work! USA Weekend reports on recent research linking low vitamin D levels and asthma.

Pizza with mushrooms, goat cheese, arugula and walnuts Nothing beats a good pizza with mushrooms, but check out this exceptional recipe from the New York Times, mouth-watering goodness!

Mushrooms: A nutritious part of a balanced dinner The Wilmington News Journal declares mushrooms should be a part of everyone’s diet and we couldn’t have said it better! With few calories, no fat and full of vitamins and minerals, who could disagree.

Another reason to take vitamin D: Your lady business Fit Sugar reports on yet another reason why vitamin D is imperative for your health. The impact of being vitamin D-deficient goes beyond softening our bones; it affects the health of your lady business. A new health study found that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of a woman developing vaginosis, the most common bacterial infection for women of child-bearing age.

Words of the Week: Mushrooms and Immunity from the Washington Post

(Continued from full article)

“Over the years, these frustrating experiences have prompted me to take a closer look at nutrition and herbal research. Take that soup: Unlike standard pharmaceutical cold preparations, which study after study has shown do little to block symptoms or speed up recovery, ginger and mushrooms have the potential to help, and with virtually no ill effects. Indeed, a phalanx of lab-coated scientists have finally convinced me of something that generations of traditional Chinese and Japanese healers, and my great-grandmother, already knew to be true: Ginger is an excellent decongestant, and mushrooms boost your immune system.

Some of the most compelling mushroom research has been done by Keith Martin, a nutritionist at Arizona State University and author of more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Martin and his colleagues have tested a variety of common mushrooms, such as white buttons and shiitakes, and found that in the presence of viruses such as those that cause cold and flu symptoms, all of them can raise the levels of the immune system’s proteins to three to five times normal.

Although mushroom extracts and supplements have gained popularity on store shelves, with promises that they can stop the spread of cancer and help manage infections, Martin cautions that no one has been able to definitively pinpoint the substances that give fungi the immune-boosting qualities he has identified. “Nutrition researchers have gotten themselves in trouble before when they tried to find the magic bullet in foods,” he says, referring to studies where high-dose nutrient extracts given to reduce a cancer paradoxically caused a cancer spike in the study participants.”

- Daphne Miller for the Washington Post

Elle's New England Kitchen Presents Grilled Portobello & Pepper Pizza

We have a new Featured Blogger in our midst and she’s combining two of our favorite things- Grilling and Pizza!  Everyone say hello to Elle from Elle’s New England Kitchen!

Lately, my husband and I have been trying to cut meats mostly out of our diet.  We’ve been doing surprisingly well!  We have decided to keep one day a week to have meat.  It can be whatever we choose.  Last week, it was burgers, because we had last minute company and had some in the freezer.   They were good.Photo Credit: Elle's New England Pizza

Since we just celebrated a holiday weekend, we decided to smoke some beef ribs for our “one meat dinner per week thing.”  They smelled amazingly good while smoking.  They were delicious, too!  But afterward, we realized we didn’t feel as good as we had been feeling.  In fact, as tasty as they were, the meat didn’t sit well at all in our systems.  Our bodies were loving the new, lighter way we’d been eating–lots of fresh, raw foods, and lighter, vegetarian meals–and they let us know about it!

Which brings me to the reason for this post.  Portobello Mushrooms.  They’re such a great substitution for meat, and they lend themselves so well to what you’re cooking.  There are so many ways you can use them too!

I had four of them in the fridge that needed to go into something.  I had a few ideas, but the one I kept coming back to was pizza.  I’d been dying to try grilling pizza–and since it’s grilling season, we had no reason to put it off.  In thinking of different ways to season the mushrooms, I remembered some Italian Sausage Seasoning I had.  One of my all-time favorite street foods is a sausage and pepper sandwich.  I’ll have one anytime (though my body might disagree now).  So it was natural for me to equate the sandwich to pizza.

Grilling pizza is easy, but a little tricky at first.  I think having a couple of pieces of dough for “test runs” is a good idea.  They still taste great, but it may take a couple of tries to get them to look the way you want.  At least, it did for us.  And speaking of dough, we’re still looking for a favorite recipe.  So for this recipe, we used a couple of dough balls from our local pizza joint, Sal’s.   They sell them ready to go, and their crust tastes so, so good–it’s a quick, easy fix.  You can also get the toppings ready ahead of time.  I like to sauté them first, to get rid of the extra moisture in them.  If you put them on the pizza raw, they tend to make your pizza soggy.

Grilled Portobello Pepper Pizza

Olive oil
4 large Portobello Mushroom caps, rinsed(Some say not to, but I rinse them just before using.)  I also scrape out the gills underneath
1 teaspoon Italian sausage seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Your favorite pizza dough
Thinly sliced provolone and mozzarella
Your favorite pizza sauce, but see the recipe we like below*

Rinse and dry the mushrooms, then slice them into strips, then into chunks.   Toss them in a bowl with a little olive oil, the Italian sausage seasoning, and the fennel seeds.  Sauté with the garlic in a little more oil until done to your liking, set aside.

In the same pan, heat some olive oil, and add the onions and peppers.
Sauté for about 5 minutes, add the garlic, and sauté for about 4 more minutes.
Add the vinegar, sauté for 1-2 more minutes, and set aside.

Now get all of your pizza things ready to go and head out to your grill.   We used my friend Kat’s method as a guideline.
Basically, get your coals hot.  Then take the dough that you’ve flattened out and shaped on lightly oiled foil.  Put the dough–foil side up–on the grill, and carefully peel off the foil.  Cook the dough for a couple of minutes, remove from grill, and place toppings on the grilled side of the dough.
Resist the urge to add too many toppings to grilled pizza.  Return it to the grill and close the  lid for 5 minutes or so, until it looks done.

That’s it!  And I challenge even the meat lovers out there with this one.  It’s a great way to make pizza.  And something fun to do with family or friends.  Everyone can choose the toppings they like and go from there.  Get to know your friends, the mushrooms!

*Pizza Sauce
1 clove garlic, mashed and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
dash red pepper, optional
Combine all ingredients.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 2 pizzas.

Weekly Links: Mushroom News from Around the Web

Turn down grill heat on cancer risk It’s Memorial Day weekend and many of us are looking forward to officially breaking out the grill, yay! However, you might want to reconsider what foods you grill this season. Health News Digest reports on research from Duke University Medical Center suggesting that recent findings add fuel to the link between grilled meat and cancer. This weekend consider grilling a Portabella burger instead of meat (you’ll love it!).

Magic mushroom burgers As mentioned above, Duke University Medical Center findings suggest that grilled meat may contribute to a higher risk of cancer. Here’s a tasty recipe from The Plain Dealer to try on the grill, “Magic Mushroom Burgers!” Easy and delicious!

Portobello mushroom $6 burger back at Carl’s It’s back! The “Portobello Mushroom $6 Burger” is now available at Carl’s Jr. Let’s be honest, Portobello mushrooms are delicious, versatile and part of a nutritious diet, especially for young hungry carnivores, and we know fun guys will really like this burger. Fun guys, fungi…get it?

Savory Dutch baby pancake, mushroom pancake filling Who doesn’t love starting their morning with mushrooms?! The Seattle Times goes beyond the typical “mushroom omelet” with this mushroom pancake filling. Can’t wait to test this out!

Foodies flock to Twitter-friendly carts Are you tweeting yet? NBC Philadelphia reports on a pair of ordinary taco trucks that recently became recognized by foodies and consumers nationwide. While this is no small task to accomplish, Twitter allowed the food vendors to successfully spread the word about their business, and popular foodies expect this trend to continue. Stop by Twitter and say “hello” to us (@MushroomChannel), we’d love to hear from you!

Changing the way Americans eat mushrooms The Hokto Corporation recently starting producing mushroom within the U.S. and offers four unique types of mushrooms, including King Trumpet, Maitake, Brown Beech, and White Beech. According to the Examiner, the American facility is the only one of its kind to produce all four varieties under the same roof.

ROW: Southern Fairytale Presents Penne with Chicken &Mushrooms in Vodka Sauce

Photo Credit: Southern FairytaleMother knows best.  That’s why when one of my favorite moms posted this gorgeous recipe, I knew I’d found a winner for this week’s award.

Penne pasta with mushrooms, chicken, spinach and vodka sauce- Rachel from A Southern Fairytale has a new classic on her hands.

Even though I know Rachel mostly as a mommy-blogger, admittedly things with vodka in the title doesn’t usually run to the front of my mind when I’m coming up with chicken finger alternatives for kids. But for date night? I’m thinking she had a very happy hubby at the dinner table.

When I was talking to Rachel about the recipe, I did ask the question that seems to come up a lot around here. “Do your kids eat mushrooms?” We know that vitamin D is important to healthy growth and we all love them, so why are mushrooms occasionally relegated to the “grown-up tastes” table?

Well Rachel’s kids happen to love them so stay tuned, we thought the topic deserved a post of it’s own. Help is on the way!