Archive for the ‘Council Representative’ Category

“Mushroom Mania” Pops Up on USC’s Campus

The second annual Mushroomapalooza kicked off earlier this month at the University of Southern California. Mushrooms were featured on just about every menu across campus, and Council Representative, Steve Solomon, was there to cover the festivities.

Kicking off at Parkside Cafe, the Mushroomapalooza tour had students coming out in droves looking to try a dish featuring fresh mushrooms. Ten of USC’s most popular campus restaurants menued mushrooms during the weeklong celebration, prompting students to give mushrooms a try!

Head Chefs at McKay’s, The Lab Gastropub, Morton Fig, Lemonade, and Parskside, all jumped at the chance to include mushrooms in their favorite dishes. McKay’s served a Tom Kha Soup with Sweet Shrimp, Morton Fig served Grilled Lamb “Lollipops” with Polenta Cakes, Mushroom Confit, and Red Wine Mint Reduction, and The Edmondson put a twist on a classic and served Portobello “Corn Dogs” with Housemade Mushroom Ketchup and Tater Tots… just to name a few!

Midweek students were invited to the weekly campus farmer’s market for free samples of Israeli Couscous Medley of Mushrooms with Lemon Truffle Vinaigrette and Organic Tuscan Black Kale, Button Mushrooms with Kumquat Vinaigrette from Lemonade. Students were blown away by the flavor combinations, which made them eager to try more! And what would a mushroom promotion be with a t-shirt giveaway? Students couldn’t wait to get their hands on a “I don’t give a shiitake” t-shirt.

The Mushroom Council was once again proud to take part in this campaign; educating students on the many benefits of mushrooms and allowing them to experience their true versatility in all the dishes served across campus is exactly what the Council strives for. See you next year Trojans!

Magnificent Mushrooms: Behind the Scenes with a Mushroom Farmer

Mushrooms are truly a magnificent piece of nature, and their growing process is more scientific and interesting than one might thing. Follow along as Council Representative, Kathleen Preis, talks to a local mushroom farmer about the fascinating world of growing mushrooms.

It’s a cold winter day here in Pennsylvania, and even with snow banks reaching up to my knees, local mushrooms are being grown and harvested today. Mushrooms are one of the only items in the produce section that are grown every single day of the year, and it’s an amazing process to learn about. Lucky for me, I am right in the heart of mushroom growing country (Kennett Square, PA), with access to dozens of family farms that grow over 60% of the US’ fresh mushrooms.

Kathleen: What exactly is a mushroom?
Mushroom Farmer: Mushrooms are fungi, which are so distinct in nature they are classified as their own kingdom – separate from plants or animals. There are thousands of fungi in the world, but only a few are edible. Most mushrooms you find in your local supermarket are grown indoors, on a mushroom farm.

Kathleen: Tell me about the mushroom growing process.
Mushroom Farmer: Mushrooms are our most unique growing vegetable, and mushroom growing is one of the most unusual stories in agriculture. Before they make their way to your plate, mushrooms go through a growing process in a highly controlled environment unlike that of any other produce.

Kathleen: Are mushrooms good for you?
Mushroom Farmer: Up until a decade ago, most believed mushrooms were consumed only for their flavor, and didn’t contribute anything nutritional. However, as we invest in more nutrition research we find mushrooms have a great nutrition story to tell! Mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attribute more commonly found in meat, beans or grains. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium (8%), riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more.

Kathleen: What’s your favorite mushroom recipe?
Mushroom Farmer: While I enjoy complex mushroom dishes like this Portabella Mushroom Burger With Crispy Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Sauce, my family and I cannot resist classic comfort foods like meatballs, tacos, and spaghetti. My current favorite is the Mushroom & Turkey Meatloaf. The mushrooms blend seamlessly with the turkey, and add moisture!

 

2014 Was the Year of the Mushroom

This year mushrooms were everywhere! From schools and universities, to online communities and restaurants; 2014 was most certainly the year of the mushroom! Council Representative, Kathleen Pries, breaks down the four best mushroom highlights of 2014.


1. Mushrooms Get Noticed Online. It was a record breaking year for mushroom mentions online! Serious Eats featured seven posts showcasing blended recipes of chefs Linton Hopkins and Jehangir Mehta, the Mamavation weight loss community challenged their followers to incorporate the blend into their weight loss strategy, and Life of Dad hosted a #ShroomTember recipe challenge in September. Burger Business listed blended burgers as a trend to watch, Health revealed five surprising facts about mushrooms, and the Washington Post told us why the meat-mushroom blend makes sense. The humble mushroom is definitely getting noticed.


2. Mushrooms on the Menu.
Isn’t it incredible that over 80% of all restaurants serve mushrooms? In fact, mushrooms are one of the fastest growing items on the menu. And it’s no wonder why, mushrooms are not only delicious, but versatile, adding flavour and texture to any cuisine. Some of our favorite restaurants featured mushrooms on their menus this year; Atlanta’s king of burgers, restaurateur and chef Linton Hopkins menued his blend burger, while Seasons 52 developed a new mushroom duxelle for their Signature Burger. Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants realized the many benefits of the Blend and introduced a Turkey and Wild Mushroom Meatloaf, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill continues to menu their Veal Marsala Meatball, which is a half-pound blended meatball that combines veal and mushrooms.

The Better Burger Project also rolled through Boston’s Copley Square in September. Seven Boston chefs competed in the “Earth and Turf: The Better Burger Challenge” in an effort to make a delicious tasting burger by blending meat with finely chopped mushrooms. All participating chefs menued their “better burger” creations at their restaurants in October.


3. Mushrooms in Schools. Mushrooms were popping up on school menus across the country this year! From Cincinnati Public Schools to the University of Washington, students were introduced to many different types of mushroom menu items. Chef Jehangir Mehta treated the students at the University of Massachusetts to his famous blended “Graffiti” burger, while Food Network celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan showcased her favourite blend dishes at the University of North Texas. In July, the Mushroom Council introduced school foodservice director to the Blend while exhibiting at SNA ANC in Boston. Many directors and showed interest and agreed the Spicy Mushroom Meatballs were the perfect way to get kids to eat their mushrooms!


4. Mushrooms as a Superfood. 2014 was also a banner year for mushroom research. A first-of-its-kind sensory study on the Blend was conducted by the Culinary Institute of America and University of California-Davis proving the flavor and nutritional benefits of the blend. A Nutrition Today manuscript was published calling for mushrooms to be crowned as their own kingdom based on their distinct nutrient and culinary characteristics. More and more, mushrooms are being recognized for the superfood they are!

We are definitely looking forward to continued success in 2015!

Mushroom Burgers: The Top Trend to Watch in 2015

The humble burger is making its way to the top of trends lists everywhere, but not without the addition of mushrooms. Council Representative, Kathleen Preis, gives us an inside look at the hottest restaurant trend that is sweeping the nation: mushroom burgers.

We all know it; burgers are limitless and are very adaptable, just like mushrooms. So it’s no wonder why they are making their way onto top 10 lists everywhere. Celebrity Chef and Industry Expert Mareya Ibrahim recently said, “In 2015, expect to see more mushroom blends on menus and in products.” Burger Business even suggested restaurants and burger bars will begin creating better non-meat burgers, just like Crabtree’s Kittle House Inn in Chappaqua, N.Y. did, introducing a Mushroom, Quinoa, Chickpea, and Corn burger to their menu.

Beyond flavor, there are plenty of reasons to blend or top burgers with mushrooms. Adding mushrooms to veggie burgers boosts the meatiness of the dish. Blending mushrooms into a ground beef burger yields larger patties while offering potential sodium, fat and calorie reduction. This simple, yet revolutionary way of serving healthier meals without comprising on flavor is catching on.

Give mushroom burgers a try! You can find some of our favorites at the following restaurants:

Checkers and Rally’s
Primetime Steakhouse Double
“The Primetime Steakhouse Double features two beef patties, a slice of Swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, onions, and an Au Jus mayo, on a toasted Kaiser bun.”

Applebee’s
Mushroom Swiss “Smash” Burger
“Portobello & button mushrooms, smoky mayo & Swiss cheese”


Max and Erma’s
Turkey Avocado Swiss Burger
“Topped with sautéed mushrooms, Swiss, Avocado & Ranch dressing. The name says it all.”

Coco’s Bakery
Smoked, Gouda Mushroom Burger
“Sautéed mushrooms, smoked Gouda cheese, caramelized onions, crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and mayo.”

Smash Burger
Truffle & Swiss Burger with Organic Arugula and Mushrooms

“This delicious twist on our Truffle Mushroom Swiss burger now creates a synergy of flavors with the Organic Arugula and a perfectly balanced burger packed with flavor. Also available on our grilled chicken sandwiches!”

 

Mushrooms Take a World Tour at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

You know it’s Fall when the Epcot Food and & Wine Festival takes over Disney. From celebrity chef demos and tasting seminars to 25 international marketplaces, delicious surprises can be found across the park. Council Representative, Steve Solomon, spent the day at Epcot experiencing all the festival has to offer… and even found a few mushrooms along the way!

Mushrooms embarked on their first culinary adventure at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival; a 60+ day event attended by more than 100,000 people. With 25 countries representing 6 continents, fresh mushrooms popped up in Africa, Italy and New Zealand, just to name a few.

Celebrity Chef Jehangir Mehta made a special guest appearance at the festival’s Party for the Senses, demoing a Mushroom & Tuna Tartare and his famous mushroom blended Graffiti Burger. The crowds “oohed and awed” over the fact that the burger was made using Angus beef and a blend of portabella, king trumpet, and button mushrooms. Other Disney chefs, including Pam Smith, Jenny Sly, and Brian Knox, took The Blend challenge during their culinary demonstrations blending fresh mushrooms with duck, turkey and beef.

Outside of the culinary demos and special events, country specific kiosks served up fresh mushrooms in many different forms. Italy served a Filetto di Pollo, con Funghi al Marsala, Canada served a Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce, and France served a Gratin de Crozet de Savoie. Most impressive was the South African Bobotie at the Africa kiosk. This traditional South African dish (reminiscent of a quiche) blended ground turkey with finely chopped mushrooms to give it a flavor that’s completely unique.

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival runs until November 10th, so if you are craving some culinary fun, excitement and maybe even some mushrooms, this festival should not be missed.