Post #456 Mushrooms Again?

February 17, 2016 at 10:51 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #456 Mushrooms Again?

I can’t remember the last time I wrote about mushrooms, so here we are again.  Just accept as a given that I like mushrooms.  A lot.  I know there are other people out there who feel the same way because I sell a lot of mushrooms at the store.  So I’m going to throw out some easy recipes for anyone who wants a quick mushroom pick-me-up.

First, the decision between fresh and dried is critical.  Most of the time, fresh is what you want, but there are wonderful uses for dried without having to soak them in water.

One idea we picked up from one of the cooking channels is to put dried mushrooms through a spice grinder and turn them into mushroom powder.  That powder can be added to nearly anything to give it a quick push of umami, that wonderful mouth feel and flavor that makes meaty and savory dishes delicious.  You can also add dried mushrooms to soups, stews, or slow cooked grains like rice to enhance them.  I make mushroom rice occasionally and it’s always good.

But fresh mushrooms are the bomb.  When we go out to a Japanese style steak house, the first course is always a clear soup with a few mushroom slices floating in it.  It’s a very easy soup to make and I recommend it to anyone who wants a quick hot meal.  Heat two cups of beef broth with a pinch of ground ginger and one garlic clove sliced thinly.  When the broth is simmering hot, but NOT boiling, pour it into a bowl.  Add just the tops of green onion.  You can chop them or leave them whole, it’s up to you.  Then take one mushroom and slice it into paper thin slices.  Float those in the broth for a minute so they cook.  Eat hot with a salad and some bread.  Very good stuff.

I sometimes will grill the caps from a huge Portobello mushroom and use it like a hamburger.  The Portobello is basically just the cute button mushroom on steroids.  It’s a firm, meaty beast that’s well able to stand up to the open flame of a grill, and to act just like a hamburger.  I spread a little olive oil on both sides of the mushroom and sprinkle with a little salt before I put on the grill.  Cooking time varies on the size and thickness of the mushroom.  Typically it’s 2-4 minutes per side, but make certain it’s heated throughout.  Then just put it on a bun and dress it out like a burger.  Many high end restaurants are offering this item on their menus now.

Another easy way to use mushrooms is in an omelet.  Slice or chop two or three large mushrooms.  Heat a non-stick skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil or butter and sauté the mushrooms until they’re cooked.  Beat two eggs until well mixed and add to the pan.  Sprinkle the eggs with your favorite cheese then cook until the eggs are set.  Move the eggs around the pan in one piece to avoid scorching.  Just before serving, flip one half of the eggs over to form a half moon shape.  Slide onto a plate and sprinkle with a little more cheese.  Eat hot.  With toast.  And bacon.  mmmm.

I make home made pasta and one of the dishes is mushroom filled ravioli.  Take five large mushrooms and chop very small, either by hand or in a food processor.  If you use a food processor, don’t over process.  You want to see the mushrooms.  Mix with basil, and parmesan cheese to taste.  Make the pasta, and using your favorite method, fill the ravioli.  The easiest way to do this is to lay our a sheet of pasta and put a tablespoon of filling on it about two inches apart.  Brush water on the pasta in between the dots of filling and cover with another sheet of pasta.  Use your finger to press the pasta where you brushed with water.  Make certain you get a tight seal.  Then use a sharp implement to cut the ravioli into squares around the filling.  A pizza cutter or a knife is great.  Let the ravioli dry for about an hour, then cook in boiling water for about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from boiling water and place in favorite sauce.  Marinara sauce is great, or alfredo sauce.  Eat hot.

Once, while in China, I went to a restaurant with some friends.  It was a fairly chilly day and I wanted some soup so I asked for mushroom soup.  I got this huge tureen that contained about half a gallon of mushrooms swimming in broth.  There must have been two dozen different kinds of mushrooms in there.  I could identify about six.  Some were bland, some were peppery, some were meaty, some spicy hot, but they all were delicious.  I never thought I could get full from mushrooms, but I walked away from the table with my stomach leading by two feet, and burping quietly.

Another time, in Italy, I had Mushroom Crostini, a simple dish but very good.  They toasted bread sliced on the diagonal on a grill so it had char marks on both sides.  They sautéed sliced mushrooms in olive oil until they were crisp.  They put one small slice of tomato on the bread, topped it with a couple of mushroom, and then mozzarella cheese, then put it under a broiler until the cheese melted and was brown.  It was like a tiny little pizza, so much better!

Enjoy

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