Archive for the ‘Council Representative’ Category

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.

Blending is Trending in Dining Halls Across the Nation

From mushroom blended cheeseburgers to crimini mushroom meatballs, blending was trending at three of the nation’s top universities. Mushroom Council representatives witnessed firsthand students’ passion for mushrooms as they toured Yale University, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of North Texas.

Mushrooms Make the “Final Cut” at Yale

In February the Mushroom Council was proud to participate in the 6th Annual Yale University Final Cut Culinary Competition. The secret ingredient of the night? Mushrooms!
Yale Final Cut Recipe Contest Secret Ingredient - Mushrooms!

Teams of students from each of the 12 residential colleges battled in an Iron Chef style format, in which they had one hour to prepare an appetizer and main course dish using fresh mushrooms and Atlantic salmon. Recipes were assessed by a panel of esteemed judges on a variety of criteria including taste, presentation and creativity.

Yale Final Cut Recipe Contest Winning Mushroom Soup

While the colleges had an hour each to complete their meals, Yale students were able to browse through the vendors and sample various products. Mushroom offerings were plentiful; crimini mushrooms sautéed in butter, shiitake mushrooms glazed with teriyaki, and mushroom bean tacos, with cheese, spicy chipotle and a tangy cilantro lime sauce were just some of samples students had the opportunity to try.

Yale Final Cut Recipe Contest Winners 2014

It was a tight race to declare the winner, but it all came down to how the appetizer and main dish paired together as a complete meal. The $1,000 grand prize and the Copper Pot Trophy went to Berkeley College for their Thai Soup dish. Branford College came in second place with their Mushroom Risotto and Grilled Salmon with Caramelized Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts, and Trumbull College came in third, with their Pesto Salmon with Couscous and Mushroom Crepe.

 

Mushroom Mania at the University of Massachusetts

Displays over flowing with mushrooms, mushroom blended burgers, crab cakes, meatballs and wraps, and a mock-growing room featuring crimini, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms were just some of the main highlights of the University of Massachusetts’ weeklong Mushroom Mania event.

Mushroom Mania Mock Growing Room at UMASS

During the week, Mushroom Mania “toured” around campus visiting 4 of UMass’ popular dining halls. On Monday students dining at Worcester were treated to Grilled Mushroom, and Chickpea Wraps and Crimini and Pork Meatballs. Tuesday at Berkshire featured a Portabella “Burger,” Mushroom Mac N Cheese, and a Mushroom Crostini. Wednesday brought all kinds of mushroom favorites to Franklin dining hall; a Baby Bella, Caramelized Onion & Swiss Panini, Mushroom, and Potato and Chorizo Tacos topped the menu.

Mushroom Mania Menu at UMASS

The final night of Mushroom Mania festivities left students dining at Hampshire happy and satisfied; Jamaican Jerk Mushroom Lettuce Wraps with Papaya Salsa, Barbecue Pulled Mushroom Slider with Blueberry and Cabbage Slaw, and the Classic Mushroom Blended Cheeseburger were served; all while students waited for celebrity guest, Chef Jehangir Mehta.

Chef Jehangir Mehta at UMASS Mushroom Mania

Chef Mehta, of The Next Iron Chef fame, spoke to students about the many benefits of blending mushrooms into classic meat dishes, while preparing a delicious Blended Portabella Angus Burger with Enoki Mushroom Fries.  Impressed by the mock growing room set up in the dining hall lobby, students came armed with questions, and seized the opportunity to start a discussion. Mushroom Council representatives, Steve Solomon and Brittany Stager, fielded questions and walked students through the types of mushrooms, how they are grown, and the nutritional attributes.

Chef Jehangir Mehta's Blended Burger at UMASS

The mushroom-centric week was rounded out with a special invite-only dinner hosted by Chef Jehangir Mehta at the University Club.

 

Celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan Makes Guest Appearance at University of North Texas’ Mushroom Mania

Butternut Squash Soup, Charred Kale Caramelized Shiitake Naan Pizza, and Tandoori Portabella Burgers were just some of the offerings Chopped Judge and Food Network Superstar Chef Maneet Chauhan had planned for students during the University of North Texas’ Mushroom Mania promotion in early March.

Mushroom Mania at University of North Texas

Mushroom Mania brought fun and knowledge together at UNT’s Kerr Cafeteria. A mushroom-centric menu, an Iron-Chef style competition between campus chefs, a live cooking demonstration and sampling of Chef Maneet’s Tandoori Portabella burger had drawn students from every corner of the campus. Students were encouraged to try their hand at mushroom trivia in order to win a UNT Mushroom Mania t-shirt; a great way to engage them in conversation and allow them to ask questions. University North Texas Mushroom Burger

University North Texas Mushroom Naan Pizza

Beyond the excitement the menu and chef competition created, the Mushroom Council and UNT wanted to educate students on mushrooms as a sustainable and affordable food option that can be used to extend or replace meat in various dishes and add nutrition. Students were eager to learn about how mushrooms grow, what makes them a sustainable product, and just how beneficial they are to their health. The students and UNT faculty were beyond thrilled with Maneet’s appearance, toting Mushroom Mania as one of their best events.