Archive for September, 2009

Fungi + Foodies: BlogHer from the Lovely Lens of Kath Eats

I had the opportunity to go to the first annual BlogHer Food Conference this past weekend in San Francisco. My fungi friends from the Mushroom Channel wanted to meet me in person. After an amazingly short plane ride from East Coast to West, I found myself shaking hands with this gorgeous group  of mushrooms!

Mushroom Display

They were so hospitable, apologizing for getting a little peat moss on my hand during the shake. (The little ones started to giggle.) I learned the names of each one – Oyster, Enoki, Cremini, Button, Portabella, Beech. What an diverse group they were!

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I had a chance to hang out with some of them and converse with their head mistress, Jessi. It was a fun morning. Jenna from Eat Live Run (right) is another Mushroom Channel Contributor and Jessi (middle) does most of the other talking as the MC’s MC/Editor!

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A little later a cooking demo began featuring Top Chef’s Ryan Scott.

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My mushroom comrades were quite surprised when he took one of their own to be included in his frittata sandwich. But it was a wondorous event since mushrooms wait their entire lives to be cooked. It was the ultimate joy ride for that little shiitake!

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Chop, Chop

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He LOVED it!

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His favorite part, though, was canon-balling into the warm skillet with the eggs.

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Goodbye little friend!

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After a few conference sessions I came back to the Mushroom Table to see how their day was going.

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And I discovered Ia few more friends had been called up to another great cause – Mushroom Soup!

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Toppings included crispy porcini and a bacon infused cream, which was made by putting bacon in heavy whipping cream, straining it and then whipped it. It was out of this world!!! You can find the whole recipe here!!

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Foodies lined up for a sample

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One of the best mushrooms soups I have ever tasted.

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Also being served was a Quinoa Stuffed Portobello. Vegan and full of diverse flavors and so easy. Brush a portabella cap lightly inside and out with olive oil.  Fill with thin layer of pre-roasted garlic (about 4 cloves) then prepared quinoa on top (I like Trader Joe’s but all are pretty simple to prepare).  Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes for an exceptionally healthy and satisfying meal.

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My day with Mushroom Council was far too short, but a delicious one to say the least. They have ambassadors in markets all around the country, so I will be in good company when I visit the grocery store each week :)

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Editor’s Note from The Mushroom Channel: Every single gorgeous photo was taken by Kath Younger of Kath Eats Real Food. Thanks so much Kath- it was great to see you guys!

Cream of the Crop: A Thank You to BlogHer Food

Consider this post a hymn of gratitude to 35o people. The Mushroom Channel had a tremendous opportunity this weekend. To be your friendly fungi at a conference full of people who love food, love to cook and love to eat, we were truly in our element and I want to thank the team at BlogHer Food for helping us do that.Mushroom Display

And a big thank you to everyone who came to our dinner at RN74 and stopped by our table for a chat and some soup (or quinoa-stuffed portabella). And everyone who was there with us in spirit, if not IN San Francisco.

We had a beautiful dinner, a great display, our mushrooms were used by a Top Chef and taken home by a James Beard award winner. We ran out of soup just in the nick of time with familiar faces returning for seconds. I cannot imagine a better weekend and we’ll have photos coming to you on Monday.

Speaking of the soup, as promised, I give you Mushroom Soup with Bacon-infused Cream and a Mushroom Crisp. As a welcome, as a thank you, as a promise to keep delivering. We had some great conversations about every kind of recipe, about vitamin D and mushrooms’ role in breast cancer prevention. Your blogs have been and will continue to be a tremendous resource for us and I hope you’ll see us returning the favor.

Mushroom “Cappuccino” (8 servings)

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup leeks, white parts only, sliced

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, no stems, sliced

3/4 cup sherry, dry

1/4 each thyme bunch, leaves only

1/2 each tarragon bunch, leaves only

1/8 cup cornstarch, dissolved in ¼ cup of water

4 1/2 cups chicken stock (can be subbed out for vegetable or mushroom broth)

1 teaspoon cocoa powder, ground cinnamon or mushroom powder

Savory Bacon Cream (optional)

3/4 cup cream, 38%

2 each apple smoked bacon slices, cut in 1″ strips

Pimentón Mushroom Crisps

1 pound portabella mushrooms Olive Oil, for brushing Pimentón, to taste Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Directions

Portabella CripsFor Mushroom Cappuccino: Caramelize shiitake mushrooms in butter. Deglaze pan with ¼ cup of sherry. Add leeks, onion, and garlic and cook about 8 minutes, until the onion is transparent. Add more sherry if needed to maintain texture and moisture. Meanwhile, heat chicken stock separately. In a separate pan, sauté remaining mushrooms in batches until they are golden and wilted. Lightly salt them to increase release of their liquids. Deglaze sauté pan with sherry or some of the chicken stock to dissolve brown particles stuck on bottom. Add sautéed mushrooms to shiitake and onion mixture with fresh herbs. Mix in hot stock and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.Bacon-Infused Cream. Photo: Kath Eats

While stirring, add cornstarch mixture to thicken, if needed. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender or processor until it is smooth. Return soup to pot. This soup can be prepared ahead of time by covering it and refrigerating it. It can be reheated over low heat before serving.

For Savory Bacon Cream(optional): Combine cream and bacon, place in double boiler for 30 minutes. Strain and chill below 36°F. Remove any firm bacon fat from surface.Using hand held wire whisk, beat cream to a soft peak. Keep it cold until serving.

For Pimentón Mushroom Crisps: Preheat oven to 400°F. Hold mushrooms by stems and, using a sharp slicing knife or mandoline, slice each mushroom cap crosswise or horizontally into thin, almost translucent, slices. Reserve stems for another dish. Lay out mushrooms in a single layer on sheet pan (you may require more than one). Brush each mushroom with olive oil and sprinkle with pimentón.Mushroom Soup

Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Season with salt, place on a paper towel to drain and serve. For each serving, to order: Ladle soup into coffee cups or small glasses. If you ‘d like, place dollop of Savory Bacon Cream over soup. Top with cocoa powder or mushroom powder and garnish with a few Pimentón Mushroom Crisps.

Weekly Links: Mushroom News from Around the Web

Cooking With Mushroooms The Nibble gives us an entire overview of this low calorie, fat-free, and versatile ingredient perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks. Find tips of saving money when purchasing mushrooms, choosing the right mushroom for your recipe, a cooking with mushrooms overview and a glossary of mushroom types. This is a must-see!

Cancer-fighting Fungus The Sudbury Star reports that fresh mushrooms are not only a delicious way to eat healthy, but emerging research suggests that nutrients in mushrooms, specifically beta-glucans and selenium, may have potent antiprostate cancer activity. A link to Mushrooms Canada also provides even more health and nutrition information.

Study Finds Breast Cancer Fighting Properties within Mushrooms Not just fighting prostate cancer, Natural News reports how a recent study shows evidence that mushrooms have cancer-fighting properties that reduce the risk of breast cancer as well. According to Dr.Chen who conducted a study on mushrooms, “white button mushrooms may be an important dietary constituent for reducing the incidence of hormone-dependent breast cancer in women. Prevention strategies involving mushrooms are readily available, affordable and acceptable to the general public.”

Even Carefully Selected Foods Won’t Make You Immune to Flu Jennifer LaRue Huget brings us the latest information on using diet to prevent health risks with the cold/flu season approaching. Huget suggests that foods, like mushrooms, remain a part of the equation to prevention. She recommends “quick, small combinations” of a variety of immune boosting foods.

UnRecipe: Meatless in Seattle Denise Sakaki, of Wasabi Prime, sympathizes with her vegetarian friends who’s vegetarian options turn out to be “some limp pasta salad or an expressionless pile of steamed vegetables” when dining out. Sakaki uses the meaty Portabella to whip up some tastey caps filled with mozzarella, tomatoes and a smear of pesto. Check out what she calls her UnRecipe/MacGyver-style cooking vegetarian meal worthy of a Swazye roundhouse kick!

Demand for Shiitakes Mushrooms Sherry Lucas of the Clarion-Ledger shares this unique story of Shiitakes mushroom farmers in Mississippi who see demands for Shiitakes grow during peak production in November-March, surprisingly not during September (National Mushroom Month). Providing mushrooms locally, they suggest buying “from the people around you, because it’s going to be fresher. And everything tastes better when you know that the people that are making [mushrooms] are good people and are from the same place that you are.”

Kitchen Swap: Alexandra Guarnaschelli of Butter

Turf and Turf from ButterThere are few American chefs, much less female chefs, who can boast staying power in Michelin-starred restaurants.  Executive Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli of Butter Restaurant in New York City can boast indeed. The daughter of esteemed cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, Alex spent her childhood surrounded by food. She studied at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy and ended up working at the esteemed Guy Savoy’s three-star restaurant in Paris. She was rapidly promoted to sous chef at La Butte Chaillot, another Savoy establishment. “The first three months were terrifying-imagine being a young American woman in charge of a French kitchen with 10 young, male cooks under you?  Professionally, it was a life-changing experience,” she says. Alex has competed on Iron Chef America and currently hosts “The Cooking Loft” on the Food Network. Stay tuned for her new Food Network cooking show airing this October!

1. What’s it like to be on Iron Chef?

It is the most glorious, nerve-shredding experience a chef can imagine. I had the time of my life! The hour of cooking went by in a flash. It was amazing to see how much three people can accomplish in an hour. The smoky kitchen stadium, the chairman, Alton Brown and the audience just add to the pressure (and fun).

2. Any advice for aspiring women chefs?

I think it is better than ever for women to enter this industry and I would say not to get discouraged from following a dream. If you love to cook, go to school for it! Work in a kitchen of a chef you admire for free for a little while to see if you really love it. I think mustering the courage to enter the field is the hardest part. After that hurdle is completed, it becomes about a love for cooking.

3. Do you have a favorite mushroom dish?

At Guy Savoy, he serves a mushroom soup with a warm brioche that has a duxelles (mushrooms cooked with shallots, cream and lemon juice) that is the most mushroomy dish I have ever tasted. The taste of the buttery brioche with the mushrooms is hypnotic. I love it because it pairs white button mushroom with truffle. It’s like the two ends of the spectrum financially with regard to mushrooms but one makes the other more noble!

4. What role do mushrooms play at Butter Restaurant?

For me, there are the seasonal wild mushrooms I love to use as a flavor signifier for the change in season. I love Chanterelles, Cepes and Morels the most. Morels are a symbol of spring to me. I also use cultivated mushrooms year round and deeply love them. I love white buttons, cremini, Portabella and oysters in particular. They offer nutty and earthy tones to a lot of my dishes. They offer a steaky texture against other ingredients. I would be lost without them.

5. Can you tell us about your Turf and Turf dish?

I think it really came about because I love Surf and Turf to begin with. I thought it would be a fun way to draw attention to the fact that mushrooms can really hold their own in a dish and be as exciting as the classic steak and lobster pairing. We need to be eating mushroom all the time and this dish is my testament to that fact!

Turf and Turf: White Buttons and Crimini with Mussels and Hazelnuts

Ingredients

  • 4½  pounds fresh mussels, thoroughly scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 3  cups dry vermouth
  • 12  tablespoons lightly salted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds white button mushrooms, ends trimmed, quickly washed and thoroughly dried
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed, wiped clean and thoroughly dried
  • 6 shallots, medium sized, peeled and thinly sliced
  • To taste   Kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3  ounces blanched hazelnuts, whole
  • 3 or4 lemons, juiced

Directions

For a 2 to 3 serving portion: Heat a skillet large enough to hold 12 ounces of mussels in a single layer. Add the mussels and ¼ cup vermouth. Cook for 1 minute. Add about 3 ounces of cold water. The mussels shouldn’t take long to cook, just 2 to 3 minutes. Take care to stir the mussels from time to time so they cook as evenly as possible. Use kitchen tongs to pluck the mussels from the pan as they open.

When all of the mussels are cooked, strain and reserve the liquid for the sauce. Remove the mussels from their shells. Discard the shells. Reserve the mussels in the refrigerator until 5 minutes before serving.

Using a small paring knife, quarter both kinds of mushrooms. Heat another skillet large enough to hold the mushrooms in a single layer. Heat the skillet slightly and then remove the pan from direct heat. Add 1½ teaspoons of butter, and let it melt quickly and turn a light brown color. Return the skillet to the heat and immediately add 1 sliced shallot, 4 ounces button mushrooms, and 2 ounces of cremini mushrooms. Season lightly with a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt to taste.

Add 1½ teaspoons of butter to a small skillet and add ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) of hazelnuts. Season them lightly with salt and “simmer” them over low heat until they turn light brown. Set aside to cool.

Cook the mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes, until they start to give up liquid. Add another ¼ cup vermouth. Cook for an additional 1 minute and then drain out any cooking liquid. Combine the mushroom and the mussel liquids in a small pan and allow the 2 flavors to simmer together for 1 minute. The sauce may need a pinch of salt. The flavor should be an initial taste of sweet mussel followed by an undertone of earthiness from the mushroom. Swirl in 1½ teaspoons of butter and a touch of lemon juice. Keep warm.

Heat the large skillet until hot, about 2 minutes. Remove from the direct heat and add 1½  teaspoons of butter. When it turns light brown, return the skillet to the burner and add the shelled mussels and mushrooms in a single layer. Cook for 1 minute without stirring

Mushroom Risotto with Acorn Squash and Duck Confit from Healthy Delicious

Photo Credit: Healthy DeliciousAlthough it’s only mid-September, the air is starting to have a crisp chill to it that leaves me craving comfort foods.

Mushrooms are perfect for this time of year – they compliment my other favorite fall flavors like game and squash perfectly, and they can be used to add volume to a dish without adding a lot of calories.

In the summer I tend to eat a lot of portabellas and other firm mushrooms because they’re great for grilling, but in the fall I turn my attention to smaller, earthier mushrooms. For this risotto, I used a blend of porcini, shitake, black, and oyster mushrooms that contributed a bold flavor and varied texture to the completed dish.

  • 3 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 oz. mixed dried mushrooms (such as porcini, shitake, black, and oyster)
  • 1 small acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 2 Tbs butter, divided
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • duck leg confit, shredded

Roughly chop the mushrooms – you want to preserve their texture, but ensure that they are bite-sized so that a knife is not needed to eat the final dish. Place mushrooms in a large bowl, and pour boiling water over them. Let the mushrooms steep for about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and boil until a fork can easily pierce the flesh – about 15 minutes. Scoop the flesh from the peel and puree using a food processor or blender.

Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and 1 Tbs of butter. Once melted, add the green onion and garlic. Cook about 1 minute, or until garlic softens and becomes fragrant. Stir in the rice, and cook about 3 minutes, or until only a small dot of white remains on each grain. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until all of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the mushroom broth ½ cup at a time, allowing the liquid to be fully absorbed before each new addition. Continue this process until all of the broth has been used and the rice is fully cooked.

Heat the remaining butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Fold ¾ of the mushrooms, sage, thyme, and squash puree into the rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide between four dishes. Top each dish with reserved mushrooms and the duck confit.

This post from Featured Contributor Healthy Delicious.