Archive for the ‘Council Representative’ Category

Mushrooms Make Back to School Time Trendy

Summer is quickly coming to an end and “back to school” time is in full swing. While the kids might be thinking about the latest trends in clothing and back to school gear, you might be thinking about what they’ll be eating for lunch. Council Representative, Kathleen Preis, tells us how the simple mushroom is making lunch menus across the country not only tasty this school year, but trendy.

Spicy Meatballs. Philly Cheese “Steak” Sandwiches. Chili con Carne. Sounds like the menu at a gourmet restaurant, while in reality this is what your kids could be dining on this school year. That’s right; all these trendy foods have made their way to school lunch trays across the nation, all because of mushrooms.

School Foodservice Directors everywhere have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the new blendability concept – blending finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat – and have created healthier and trendier menu items for their school lunch programs.  “Mushrooms are on trend – the coolest thing to eat… We need to be on trend, we need to be serving those foods and meals that have a trendy buzz about them,” says Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, an award-winning child nutrition expert. And those buzz worthy, trendy menu items will have kids gobbling up their serving of vegetables!

So when your kids come home from school this year saying how much they loved that turkey burger with cheese and bacon, don’t fret; thanks to mushroom blendability you can be sure they ate their veggies as well!

Mushroom Blendability Was a Hit at the School Nutrition Annual Conference

Over the past year the mushroom industry, food service directors and meat processors have been hard at work hoping to bring blendability to the forefront. The outcome of these efforts were obvious at this year’s School Nutrition Conference, and Council Representative Kathleen Pries, was there to share all the benefits of blendability with knowledge seeking directors.

The energy, excitement and enthusiasm at the SNA ANC in Boston, Massachusetts last week was palpable. School food service directors from across the nation were eager to visit the Mushroom Council booth to learn about fresh mushrooms and blendability.

Located in the United Fresh Pavilion, the Mushroom Council had the opportunity to work with other likeminded exhibitors to bring school foodservice directors real solutions to increase fresh produce consumption in schools. The Fresh Produce Pavilion showcased a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to schools, as well as highlighted the produce industry’s commitment to helping schools meet the new fruit and vegetable requirements for school lunch/breakfast.  With the new “Smart Snacks in Schools” requirements going into effect, and continuing media attention on healthier school meals, it is more important than ever that the fresh produce industry be fully engaged with schools.

To demonstrate how meatless options can be just as tasty, and how blendability can enhance school meals, we sampled Spicy Mushroom Meatballs, Mushroom Blended Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties, and Meatless Portabella Cheesesteaks. Attendees were thrilled to hear student’s favorite meals can be made healthier without losing taste, volume or texture. But we weren’t the only ones showing off blendability, three additional companies showed mushroom blended products totaling 11 products on the show floor for school foodservice directors to sample and add to their menu.

The presence of mushroom blendability at this year’s School Nutrition Association Conference was especially important given the current debate on regulating nutrition requirements in the school lunch program.  Concepts like mushroom blendability demonstrate that districts can serve healthier versions of foods kids love without sacrificing taste or acceptance.  The acceptance with districts, processors and industry influencers of mushroom blendability is a huge opportunity to continue to improve student lunches.

We at the Mushroom Council are tremendously lucky to be included in the groundbreaking group of individuals and organizations that form the School Nutrition Association. We would like to thank everyone at the conference for a truly memorable week!

Food Network Celebrity Chef, Jehangir Mehta, Shares His Favorite Burger Recipe

Summer is the perfect time to fire up the barbecue and grill up some homemade burgers. Whether they are blended, topped or meatless, summer is the burgers time to shine. Council Representative Brittany Stager, recently sat down with Celebrity Chef, Jehangir Mehta, and asked him to share his favorite burger recipe just in time for summer.

It should be no surprise that the Mushroom Council loves Chef Jehangir Mehta. After watching his rise to fame on the hit Food Network Show, The Next Iron Chef, and his battle against Chef Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America, Chef Jehangir Mehta has quickly become the chef to watch. Chef’s eclectic style of cooking is apparent when dining in his restaurants. Pulling inspiration for his menus from his travels, life experiences, and own flavor preferences, Chef Mehta creates and serves unique and unforgettable dishes. As the spokesperson for the National  Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Chef is also very conscious of dietary restrictions such as celiac disease, and menus several items that are gluten-free.

With copious amounts of mushrooms on his menus (at Me and You, Graffiti and Mehtaphor) and his passion for blendability, it’s obvious Chef Mehta knows the benefits of mushrooms. From their flavor enhancing capabilities, to their ability to blend perfectly with any ground meat, fresh mushrooms are one of Chef’s kitchen staples.

I had the opportunity to travel with Chef Mehta to several colleges and universities this year, including UMass, Texas A&M and the University of Washington, and witness him demo over 1,000 of his famous Graffiti burgers. These burgers sure do draw a crowd. Ground angus beef is blended with finely chopped portabella, white button and king mushrooms, and mixed with some not so typical burger seasons such as ground turmeric, ground coriander, and lemongrass powder. The flavor rich patty is then grilled and served atop a fresh, buttery brioche bun. A side of golden enoki fries top off the dish, served with Chef’s famous mushroom ketchup.

Chef was kind enough to share his famous recipe with us, making it easy for us to enjoy this flavorful burger at home this summer.

Chef Jehangir Mehta’s Mushroom Blended “Graffiti” Burger
Makes 24 sliders, or 6–8 burgers depending on size

Ingredients
1 lb Angus ground beef
5 tbsp Portobello mushrooms (2.5 oz)
5 tbsp King Trumpet mushrooms (2.5 oz)
2 tbsp Button mushrooms (1 oz)
2 tbsp Onion, diced (1 oz)
1 tbsp Tomato, diced (.5 oz)
2 tsp Cilantro, chopped (15 leaves)
½ tsp Ginger, chopped
½ tsp Garlic, minced
1/2 of one Thai bird chile, chopped (about 11/2 tsp)

Spices (1/3 tsp each)
Tumeric, dry ground
Onion powder
Tomato powder*
Coriander, ground
Chile powder
Lemongrass powder*

Finely chop mushrooms or grind in food processor to roughly the same consistency of the ground beef. Blend all the ingredients together by hand and form whatever size burgers you choose. Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours before cooking. Salt lightly on both sides. Grill to desired doneness. Serve without bread or on a brioche bun.

Enoki Fries
1 (3.5 oz ) bag Enoki mushrooms, trimmed 2 “ from base

Batter Ingredients
1 cup Chickpea flour*
1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Tumeric, dry ground
1 tsp Chili flakes
1 tsp Cumin seeds, crushed (use the back of a small pan on a hard surface)
1/2 cup Water

Mix all the batter ingredients very well, taste for salt. Dip the enoki in little clusters to coat them in the batter and deep fry at 365˚-375˚ till crisp. Serve immediately.
*can be found at natural food stores, Whole Foods, PCC Natural Markets or online.
Chef Jehangir Mehta is also taking part in “Broadway Bites” this summer at Greeley Square Park, located at the intersection of 33rd Street and Broadway in New York. The pop-up market brings together New York City’s most popular chefs, small culinary businesses and artisan producers, setting them up with outdoor kitchens in the heart of Midtown.

Chef Mehta will be offering a mushrooms-centric menu including Pork & Portabella Dumplings and the and mushroom blended Graffiti Burger, topped with pickled onions and shiitake mushrooms, and accompanied by garlic fries.

The event runs daily from June 3rd to August 1st, from 11 am to 9 pm. If you are in the area you should definitely give Chef’s Graffiti Burger a try!

Celebrity Chef, Jehangir Mehta, Helps the University of Washington Celebrate Mushroom May-nia

What happens when you bring an iron chef to the University of Washington? May-nia ensues! Students at University of Washington were eager and excited to meet Chef Jehangir Mehta during a weeklong “Mushroom May-nia” event, and Council Representative Brittany Stager was there to capture the enthusiasm.

Enoki, king trumpet, shiitake and beech; just some of the types of mushrooms students at the University of Washington had the opportunity to enjoy during last week’s “Mushroom May-nia” event.

Several of the school’s dining halls served a rotating menu of mushroom dishes all week. Everything from roasted chicken with mushroom sauce to pulled portabella mushrooms and smoked tofu in a steam bun. A free sampling at the university’s highly trafficked “Market” caught the attention of hundreds of students, who lined up to try the simple sautéed white button mushrooms.

Mid-week, Mushroom May-nia excitement grew as students were ready to welcome Food Network celebrity Chef, Jehangir Mehta for a prestigious private dinner and live cooking demos. On Wednesday night Chef Mehta prepared a special dinner for a table of 20 guests including the University’s President, Michael Young, and several students who were nominated by their peers for the exemplary leadership skills.

The 4 course mushroom menu was a work of art; starting with a Mushroom & Scallop Tartar, a Black Cod, Seared Duck Breast over Zucchini and Enoki “Noodles,” followed by a mushroom infused Chocolate Panna Cotta. With every course, Chef Mehta addressed the guests, explaining his inspiration behind each dish. From health and flavour, to family and personal experience, Chef’s passion for mushrooms was truly apparent.

Thursday’s demo brought 100 hungry students to UW’s “Chef’s Table” at Local Point Dining Hall to see Chef cook his famous Graffiti Slider Burger; a blend of portabella mushrooms, king mushrooms, and angus beef. Students in the audience couldn’t believe how much flavor the blended burger had, some even exclaiming “I never would have guessed there were mushrooms in it!”

The blendability concept is one that has been highly accepted in schools, colleges, and universities, and as Chef Mehta found out, sure knows how to draw a crowd!

Celebrity Chef Jehangir Mehta’s Blended Burgers Take Texas A&M by Storm

What’s better than a blended mushroom burger? How about a blended mushroom burger prepared by Food Network celebrity chef, Jehangir Mehta? Texas A&M Students were in for a treat earlier this week when Chef Mehta showcased blendability to a group of hungry students; and Council Representative, Brittany Stager, was there to witness all the excitement.

Students from all across campus made their way to Texas A&M’s Sbisa Dining Hall on Tuesday April 22nd to learn about mushrooms, take in a cooking demo by Food Network Chef Jehangir Mehta, and enjoy a delicious sample of blended mushroom burgers.  There was not a seat to spare in the audience, and even more students gathered around, as Chef Jehangir took the stage. Taking a minute to talk about the many benefits of mushrooms, the concept of blendability, and his true passion for nature’s hidden treasure, Jehangir had the students excited about the demo to come. Over 250 blended mushroom burgers were served to students with an overwhelming acceptance; some even came back for thirds!

Chef Jehangir’s appearance kicked off a larger mushroom event at Texas A&M University, as dining halls and cafeterias across the campus served up feature mushroom dishes. From a mushroom meatloaf served to the 2500 hungry cadets, to a 50/50 mushroom blended sausage, students enjoyed the week long mushroom festivities.

Even the University staff were energized about the event; “the promotion when very well! The students loved the Celebrity Chef. It was something different they never had on campus before,” says Texas A&M University Dietitian, Chanika Moses, “hopefully we can do something like this once a semester.”

The Council looks forward to continuing to work with Texas A&M to further educate students on the many benefit of mushrooms, the sustainable farming practices, and the nutritional advantages of blendability.