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Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’

A short while ago, I sent out a plea for help.  My gardens were producing Swiss chard faster than I could use it.  I was washing it, blanching and freezing it in order to preserve those precious leaves.  I do not believe in wasting anything but I could not cook it up fast enough.  I have stuffed it, sautéed it, deep-fried it and I was coming to the end of my creative ideas.  Sometimes when you do things repeatedly, you cannot conjure what to do next.

Several internet friends answered my plea.  The Internet might be my idol for that reason.  Ask and you receive.  I am so grateful.  I received many ideas, which I used, and some that I had done before and filed.  However, my internet friend, Kathy Wilka, sent one I hadn’t tried.  I knew her as a politically involved person not as a cook.  So I was aptly surprised when she sent me a recipe for my chard abundance.

What follows is my adaptation of Kathy’s recipe for Mushroom, Barley and Leafy Greens Soup.  It is a soup, which after searching for its origin, I found was attributed to Jay Solomon’s book, Vegetarian Soup Cuisine: 125 Soups and Stews from Around the World.

I am, however, a cook who looks at a recipe and immediately adds my own signature to it.  So, I took the bones of the recipe and altered it to my tastes.  The result was a sublime combination, based on an already sturdy structure that was pleasing, nutritious and filling.

My Mushroom Barley and Swiss Chard Soup, adapted from Jay Solomon via Kathy Wilka

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons high quality olive oil

3 small leeks, cleaned and sliced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt

Several sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed

12 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved and sliced (stems included)

½ cup dry white wine (necessary, not optional)

6 cups homemade vegetable stock (store bought works but it might kill you with additives.)

3 teaspoons Amora Dijon Mustard (expensive and imported so substitute with a good Dijon

you can afford.)

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 rib celery, strings removed and diced

½ cup barley, toasted in a dry fry pan

¼ cup Italian (flat leaf) parsley, roughly chopped

5 cups Swiss chard or Swiss chard with beet greens, stems removed, then coarsely chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium high heat.  Sauté the onions with spices for 3-4 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté a minute longer.

Add the white wine and let it simmer with the vegetables for 2-3 minutes to infuse them and evaporate somewhat.  Then add the remaining ingredients except the Swiss chard (or other greens) and lemon wedges.

Simmer over low heat for 50 minutes, partly covered.  You are not trying to reduce it; you want the flavors to meld.

Next, add the Swiss chard (or whatever greens you are using) and simmer for another 8-10 minutes until the greens wilt but do not fade to dark army green.

Let the pot stand, heat off for 5 minutes before serving.  Ladle into bowls and squeeze a lemon wedge into each.

Add a side salad and a hunk of homemade bread for a heartier meal.  The soup is wonderful as a stand-alone dinner too.

Thank you, Kathy.  I have gallons more Swiss chard and chard to contend with in the coming days so I am hoping this soup freezes well.  In fact, I am sure it does.

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This has to be one of the easiest appetizers available!  It is so simple that my 8 year old niece was able to do this all on her own. The recipe below serves 12 but it is quite easy to size up or down depending in your needs.  I always make more than necessary because they are gone in a flash!

Ingredients:

12 Crimini mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned, or more depending on the number of guests

Drizzle of olive oil to lightly coat mushroom caps

Several grinds of sea salt, taste or 1/4 teaspoon of table salt

Optional, 1 stalk of rosemary leaves, chopped finely

5 oz. high quality goat cheese, divided into 12 servings

1 Tablespoon walnut oil

1/4 cup walnut halves or pieces

Preheat toaster oven, or conventional oven if making a large quantity, to 400 degrees.

Gather all the mushroom caps in a small bowl.  Drizzle until covered in olive oil, about 1 tablespoon.  Stir to coat and add one or two twists of ground sea salt or 1/4 tsp. table salt. If desired, you can add one stalk of rosemary, finely minced to the bowl.  Stir until well combined, gently so that you don’t break or injure the mushrooms.

Next, place each mushroom cap, round side up, on a broiler pan or cookie sheet.  Place in either the toaster oven or conventional oven.  Roast until browned.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, for about 10-15 minutes.

Turn the mushrooms stem side up.

Spoon a heaping glob of goat cheese into the mushroom cap.  Add either a walnut half or chopped walnuts.  Drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon walnut oil.

Let stand at room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes.  Serve.

Another twist to these is to add a few strips of sun-dried tomatoes, sparingly and just for color and a spark of flavor.  Too much is overpowering.

These are good for all occasions from New Year’s Eve, Birthdays and Superbowl to simple dinner parties.  Enjoy!

This has to be one of the easiest appetizers available!  It is so simple that my 8 year old neice was able to do this all on her own. The recipe below serves 12 but it is quite easy to size up or down depending in your needs.  I always make more than necessary because they are gone in a flash!

Ingredients:

12 Crimini mushooms, stemmed and cleaned, or more depending on the number of guests

5 oz. high quality goat cheese, divided into 12 servings

1 Tablespoon walnut oil

1/4 cup walnut halves or pieces

Preheat toaster oven, or conventional oven if making a large quantity, to 400 degrees.

Gather all the mushroom caps in a small bowl.  Drizzle until covered in olive oil, about 1 tablespoon.  Stir to coat and add one or two twists of ground sea salt or 1/4 tsp. table salt. If desired, you can add one stalk of rosemary, finely minced to the bowl.  Stir until well combined, gently so that you don’t break or injure the mushrooms.

Next, place each mushroom cap, round side up, on a broiler pan or cookie sheet.  Place in either the toaster oven or conventional oven.  Roast until browned.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, for about 10-15 minutes.

Turn the mushrooms stem side up.

Spoon a heaping glob of goat cheese into the mushroom cap.  Add either a walnut halve or chopped walnuts.  Drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon walnut oil.

Let stand at room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes.  Serve.

Another twist to these is to add a few strips of sundried tomatoes, sparingly and just for color and a spark of flavor.  Too much is overpowering.

These are good for all occasions from New Year’s Eve, Birthdays and Superbowl to simple dinner parties.  Enjoy!

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The little girl in me, the one with tomato sauce on her cheek, wanted to exclaim, “Lookie what I found!” but the cook in me said I should get a grip and contain my excitement.  After all, I was standing at the counter in a restaurant with other patrons.

All this enthusiasm centered on the delicate petals sitting in a basket on the counter.  At first, they fooled me.  I thought it was a basket of rose petals for, perhaps, sachet.

Pretty in Pink

Eyeing them closer, I realized this was a basketful of beautiful, fragile, Pink Oyster Mushrooms—also known as the “Flamingo Oyster” or Pleurotus flabellatus (that name gives me the giggles by the way).

They are most at home in the tropics, although with adequate levels of warmth, they can be homegrown too.  In most areas of the continental United States, if they are available, they appear from May to September.  (I spied these in Kauai, which is why they defy the continental growing period.)

They decompose faster than other varieties so if you find them and want to use them, be prepared with a recipe so you will be able to put them to use the same day.

The woman behind the counter, Laralei, recommended them for soups, although they lose their pink luster as they languish in a simmer.  Additionally, she shared a delightful recipe with me for a side dish served with fish.

Since I didn’t ask permission to copy her recipe in print, I will simply describe it.  Let your sense of adventure fill in the blanks.  You can also use regular oyster mushrooms with the same flavor results but you will sacrifice the ooohs and aaaahs when the plate arrives without the blooming pink color.

Hollow a mini evergreen tomato and discard the flesh.  Sweat 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots in one tablespoon of butter.  Add the pink oyster mushrooms and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill each of the green tomatoes with some of the mushrooms.  Place the tomatoes on a tray in a 350° oven for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are hot.

Next, quickly wilt some beet greens with butter and the remaining shallots until the bitterness is cooked out of the beet greens (several minutes).  Season with salt and pepper.

Place the tomato on the plate.  Position the beet greens in front of the tomato.  Drizzle some basil oil over the tomato.

Quickly sauté filleted flounder, salmon, red snapper or trout on both sides, in a splash of grapeseed oil, in a hot sauté pan.  Add the fish to the plate.  Drizzle the fish with some beef stock reduction and enjoy.

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