Posts Tagged ‘Featured Contributor’

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

Jennifer of Savory Simple combines sweet, caramelized onions, decadent mushrooms and rich goat cheese in this delicious tart appetizer – perfect for holiday entertaining.  

Savory tarts are a perfect party appetizer that I especially love to serve around the holidays. People love them! This caramelized onion, mushroom and goat cheese tart is a favorite of mine because it can be mostly prepared in advance. The mushrooms and onions can be cooked up to 3 days before using so that on the day of the event, all you need to do is roll out the dough, assemble the tart and bake it. It takes very little time to come together and it’s always a crowd pleaser!

 

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large or 3 small yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces mushrooms (I used baby bellas), coarsely chopped
  • 1 spring thyme
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on low in a large skillet. Have a measuring cup full of water on standby. Add the onions to the skillet along with a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions, stirring, until they begin to caramelize. Turn up the heat to medium-low. Once a brown glaze has formed on the bottom of the skillet, pour approximately 2 tablespoons of water into the pan to deglaze and use a spatula to scrape up the brown bits and stir them into the onions. Repeat this glazing and deglazing process until the onions have been thoroughly caramelized and taste bitter and only slightly sweet, approximately 25-35 minutes. Use more or less water as needed. Set the caramelized onions aside.
  2. Clean the skillet and place back on the stovetop. Add the mushrooms, thyme leaves and a pinch of salt. Heat the mushrooms over low heat until they begin to release water. Turn the heat up to medium-low and cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until the water has mostly evaporated. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Set the mushrooms aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry sheet to approximately 9×10 inches. Use a fork to poke several holes throughout the dough (this will help prevent air bubbles). Spread the caramelized onions evenly on top of the dough, leaving a small border around the ends. Top with the mushrooms, followed by the goat cheese. Sprinkle the salt on top.
  5. Use a pastry brush to add egg wash to the border of the tart (it will give the dough some color). Place the tart in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the puff pastry is cooked through. Check the tart periodically while it’s cooking to make sure air bubbles are not forming. If one appears, carefully use the tip of a knife or fork to deflate the dough, then allow it to finish cooking.
  6. Allow to cool for several minutes, and then cut and serve.

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.

Blendability Recognized as a Way to Transform School Lunches

Earlier this month the Mushroom Council was invited to serve mushroom blendability products at the Vendor Showcase Lunch at School Food Focus. Council Representative, Kathleen Preis, was there to demonstrate how blendability can transform school lunches.

The Mushroom Council could not have been more honored and grateful for the invitation to serve mushroom blendability at School Food FOCUS at the beginning of the month. Being surrounded by other vendors who are working towards transforming food systems to support students’ academic achievement and lifelong health, while directly benefiting farmers, regional economies, and the environment was incredibly inspiring.

The Mushroom Council Booth
At our booth we sampled a delicious blendabiliy Shroom’n Turkey Meatloaf. Foodservice directors eagerly waited for samples; all the while noting how moist and flavorful the meatloaf was – attributing all these wonderful properties to blendability. It’s amazing how mushrooms can instantly improve any dish they are paired with; that it’s no wonder why mushrooms have become a go-to ingredient for school foodservice directors.

Touring Oakland Unified School District
On the first day at School Food FOCUS we had the amazing opportunity to visit two schools in the Oakland Unified School District. Hosted by Jennifer LeBarre, the school foodservice director for OUSD, we visited the site of the central kitchen being planned for 2016, and learned the strategies being implemented to transform school food in the district. Hearing how dedicating city funds directly to the school foodservice program, and how quickly this massive project is not only being accomplished but supported, was inspirational.

After our central kitchen tour, we traveled to an East Oakland campus to eat lunch and experience “California Thursdays,” a collaborative project between Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the Center for Ecoliteracy, which showcases dishes made from fresh, California-grown ingredients as part of the California Food for California Kids™ initiative.

School Food Focus Lunch

Hearing the elementary schools’ favorite meal from the “California Thursday” program was a tofu and noodle dish made me certain students would absolutely devour our mushroom recipes. Capping off the tour, we visited OUSD’s school produce market and a truly spectacular school garden.

School Food Focus Garden Tour

If there is anything we can learn for Jennifer and her talented team it’s that slowly introducing scratch cooking dishes to her students and staff can ease the acclimation process and increase acceptance.

Thank you to all the foodservice directors at School Food FOCUS who now recognize mushroom blendability as a realistic technique to transform school lunch at a large district level.


School Food FOCUS, is an collaborative effort funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and a growing number of sponsors, individuals, and private funders,  to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. FOCUS aims to transform food systems to support students’ academic achievement and lifelong health, while directly benefiting farmers, regional economies, and the environment.

Mushrooms Take Over the Campus at University of Southern California

A weeklong mushroom-centric campaign called Mushroomapalooza kicked off this past Monday at the University of Southern California. Council Representative, Brittany Stager, was there to help educate students on the many health benefits of mushrooms, as well as take in some of the delicious mushroom items menued on campus during the week.

Interest piqued as the fresh mushrooms display was set up at Cafe 84 on the University of Southern California campus. A wide array of fresh, local and cultivated mushrooms were put on display at the cafeterias sauté station to celebrate the launch of Mushroomapalooza; a week long mushroom promotion hosted by seven campus restaurants and the Mushroom Council.

Students waited patiently at Cafe 84′s sauté station for their fill of simple sautéed mushrooms; a medley that consisted of shittake, crimini, maitake, and beech mushrooms. Mushroom pizza, risotto, salad, and soup were just some of the mouth-watering mushroom filled items that made an appearance on the cafeteria’s menu for the week.

Cafe 84, along with several other campus restaurants including McKay’s, The Lab Gastropub, Morton Fig, Lemonade, Seeds, and Traditions celebrated Mushroomapalooza by serving up fresh mushrooms all week long. Students enjoyed everything from a simple mushroom & spinach crepe served at Seeds, to crispy tempura oyster mushroom at USC’s pub, Traditions.

The students weren’t the only ones excited by the appearance of mushrooms, USC chefs showed some excitement too; “I love what you can do with all the different varieties of mushrooms. But it was important that we didn’t over think the mushroom menu at The Lab. I wanted to create dishes that were unique but still familiar – soup, flatbread, pot pie, tacos, these are all familiar pub dishes,” says Chef Joe Ledesma, who was thrilled to take part in the festivities. Chef Mikery Hatfield, Executive Chef at McKay’s, also had a great time coming up with their mushroom menu, “there are so many ways to menu mushrooms, but I wanted to really feature one new dish every day.”

Mid-week the students were invited to experience two more mushroom centric dishes, Chicken & Mushroom Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Smoked Shiitake, Kale, & Spelt Salad, prepared by Chef Eric Ernest and Chef Lance Avery at the USC Weekly Farmer’s Market. Beyond the free samples, students were eager to win a Mushroomapalooza commemorative t-shirt, taking part in USC’s “Shirts for Selfies” contest.

The Mushroom Council was 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.

Spring Into Swapability

This unseasonably warm weather has had me thinking spring for weeks! I don’t know about you, but when the temperature starts to tick up, I can’t help but get into the mood for grilling. As luck would have it, this goad to grill gave me an excellent opportunity to experiment with the whole “swapability” notion of substituting a portion of a higher-calorie ingredient, like meat, with a portion of mushrooms instead. I’ve been tinkering with it in the kitchen and find it’s an easy way to get an extra serving of veggies on my plate and an extra tasty meal in my stomach.

After searching for mushroom recipes that could easily be made on the grill, I settled on this tasty little number… burgers, of course! I decided to put together a batch of meaty Mushroom Burger Wraps. The original recipe is made in a skillet, but when the weather is this beautiful, you have to hit the grill. I’m telling you, these bad boys are so tasty, you may not ever make a full beef burger again! Of course, for all you turkey fans out there, this is a delicious swap for you, too.

In addition to swapping mushrooms within the burger wraps, I also marinated some sliced portobellos in a balsamic vinaigrette and threw them on the grill alongside the burgers for a complete lean, mean dinner that had me thinking summery thoughts in the middle of March. Not too shabby!

Mushroom Burger Wraps (serves four)

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 6 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 2-ounce whole-wheat tortillas
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Chop mushrooms into ¼-inch pieces.  Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 teaspoons canola oil.  Place mushrooms in pan and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain. Return mushrooms to pan and season with freshly ground black pepper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, ricotta cheese, ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and basil. Form mixture into 4 burgers.

3. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil. Cook burgers for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until done. (Or grill burgers.) Serve in tortilla.

Tips: These are delicious with caramelized onions, fresh tomato and cheddar cheese.