Archive for August, 2009

Kitchen Swap: Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff from UNH

mushroom_stroganoffKitchen Swap: Chef Ralph Coughenour’s Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff: Chef Ralph Coughenour began his culinary career in 1974 and is currently the director of University of New Hampshire Dining Services. We talked to Chef Coughenour about his astounding feat of serving 15,000 meals a day to the student body, about students’ favorite mushroom dish, Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff and the potentially growing trend of vegan, vegetarian and flexitarianism on campus.

1.       What is your favorite mushroom dish?

I love mushrooms in all different ways so it’s hard to say, but there’s a restaurant in Pennsylvania that serves cremini caps stuffed with escargot that I love.

2.       Have you noticed a growing trend of vegetarianism on campus?

Vegetarianism and veganism have definitely become more popular over the years. At the same time students who eat meat are eating more vegetarian meals as the idea becomes more main stream. We have a dining facility on campus with a dedicated vegan station and we’re seeing more and more non-vegans going there for their side dishes.

3.       What role do mushrooms play in the cuisine at University of New Hampshire?

When I’m looking to add better flavor and a hearty meaty texture to a dish, I add mushrooms. I use a lot of Portabella and cremini mushrooms because they have a great texture and stand up better in a dish. We use tofu, seitan, beans and mushrooms as meat replacers in vegetarian dishes. We go through a lot of Portabellas for sandwiches and also make a popular dish serving a Portabella cap as a steak.

4.       What seems to be the most popular mushroom dish on campus?

The students’ favorite mushroom dish is actually the vegan mushroom stroganoff. That’s followed by mushroom fajitas and a mushroom strudel, which is filo dough stuffed with oyster, shiitake and cremini mushrooms topped with a port wine glaze.

5.       Can you tell us about your Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff recipe?

This dish is a nice comfort food. We make a roux with olive oil mixed with flour instead of the typical cornstarch with water. This makes for a more refined flavor with a really nice velvety consistency. This dish definitely has crossover appeal for both vegans and students who eat meat. The mushrooms in the Stroganoff replace the texture of the protein and add a robust meatiness to the dish.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Ralph Coughenour, University of New Hampshire Dining Services, Durham, NH

Recipe courtesy University of New Hampshire Dining Services, Durham, NH

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff: Yield: 24 servings


  • 2                      ounces olive oil
  • 4                      ounces diced onion
  • 1                      ounce minced garlic
  • 3                      pounds button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1                      pound cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2                      ounces white wine
  • 2                      ounces tomato paste
  • 3 ¾                   cups plain soy milk
  • 4                      ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2                      pounds whole wheat fettuccine
  • ½                     ounce chopped fresh parsley


Heat the oil in a large rondo and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the sliced button mushrooms and sauté until the juices are released. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Sauté the cremini mushrooms until the juices are released. Strain the creminis, reserving the liquid.

In a separate pan, heat both mushroom liquids with the wine and tomato paste until almost boiling. Mix 1 cup of the soy milk with the flour to make a slurry. Stir the remaining 2¾ cups soy milk into the mushroom liquid. When it simmers, whisk in the slurry until smooth. Add both kinds of mushrooms into the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Toss the mushroom sauce with the fettuccine. Serve 6-ounce portions, garnishing with fresh parsley.

Note: This is for about 3½ ounces of sauce to 2½ ounces of noodles. Peas are a colorful addition too.

Recipe of the Week: Child's Play from Busy Dad

Photo Credit: Busy Dad BlogWe’ve enjoyed offering a parent’s perspective here on the Mushroom Channel from time to time.  Why it’s important to incorporate mushrooms into a child’s diet, ways that families have found they can enjoy mushroom-inclusive meals, tips for picky palates, etc. In fact, I can safely say we’ll be continuing to look for advice from Moms and Dads in those areas. That said?

Seeing Busy Dad‘s 7 year old, “Fury”, request and cook sauteed mushrooms to go on top of his burger was probably the highlight of my week (he was supervised).  I like it because it shows how easy it is to plus up a meal from both a taste and health perspective and it shows that despite what you may have heard, kids like mushrooms.

I’m not denying the existence of picky eaters in the least.  My brother, for one, would not eat anything without ketchup and/or applesauce on it from ages 3-8. But I think the general idea is that if you have a child in the kitchen, letting them help to make nutritious meals from “whole foods”?  You’ll be surprised by what starts to appear on their “favorite foods” list.

Polenta with Wild Mushroom Gravy from Eat Live Run

Photo Credit: Eat Live RunHi guys! Jenna from Eat Live Run here. Well most of you know that although I am not officially a vegetarian, I still try to eat veg most days. I just feel so much better when I do! And what is crucial to eating hearty veggie meals? Mushrooms…of course! I created this side dish (or main dish if you please!) while in a frenzied stressed out mood, searching for something comforting and tasty.

In my Southern mind I was thinking “country style gravy over biscuits” but then this Polenta with Wild Mushroom Gravy came out instead. :)  This creamy vegetarian gravy is actually lighter than you think…it uses a tiny bit of half and half for creaminess without too many calories and saturated fat. I use store bought polenta here to save time but of course you could always make your own fabulous polenta by hand!

Its actually really easy….main ingredients are just cornmeal, salt and water. It does take a little while though so for the weeknight, I recommend buying the pre-made stuff, available in your supermarket’s produce section. Other than polenta, try this delicious gravy over biscuits, pasta or even chicken or steak! Serve this dish with a crisp fruity white wine, such as Murphy-Goode’s The Fume.

Polenta with Wild Mushroom Gravy

Serves 4

  • 1 roll of store bought polenta, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • pinch of freshly ground white pepper
  • sea salt to taste
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ground pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots and cook for about three minutes. Add garlic, cook for thirty seconds. Add mushrooms. Stir and let cook on medium high for 6-8 minutes or until mushrooms are soft.

Sprinkle flour, red pepper flakes, thyme, white pepper, sea salt and black pepper over mushroom mixture. Stir well to combine and cook for three minutes. Slowly add white wine and bring to a simmer. Add broth and cook until thickened. Gently stir in the half and half and keep warm on the stove.

In another skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Sear the polenta rounds for about 30 seconds on each side, flipping over gently. Remove from heat and keep warm on a plate until ready to serve.

Serve the wild mushroom gravy over the polenta rounds.

Weekly Links: Mushroom News from Around the Web

Fill up on meatless fajitas Bradenton Herald thinks you should skip the skirt steak and try portabella mushrooms instead. With an earthy flavor and a dense, meaty texture, they are the perfect vegetarian stand-in for meat. Another plus: The portabella holds up quite well on the grill.

Mushrooms in lettuce wraps As a great healthy snack or meal, the New York Times suggests you test out these tasty mushroom lettuce wraps. Healthy and full of nutrition and flavor, you’re sure to become a mushroom fan after trying them.

A new way to keep the doctor away NBC 3 – WAVE reports on new lab studies at Arizona State University. They are researching an immune system defender. ‘We were looking to see if the mushrooms could in fact induce an inflammatory response, not excessively but to the point of boosting the immune system so that it could better handle a challenge,’ said Dr. Keith Martin, Ph.D., researcher at Arizona State University, leading the study. Click the link above to find out more.

Mushroom pesto pasta Looking to jazz up your typical pasta dish at home? Dallas Morning News took the traditional meal and added a fun mushroom spin, inviting some new flavors and textures to the food party. Try it out, we think you’ll love it!

Edible fungi – For the love of mushrooms Examiner reports that California is second in production of mushrooms, and produces almost 20 percent of the total mushrooms grown in the United States. Bet you didn’t know that! Also bet you don’t know that the vitamin content of mushrooms is actually similar to the vitamin content found in meat. Check you the link above to find out more mushrooms great nutritional value.

Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s bite back in burger wars Check out Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Burgers! QSR reports that Carl’s Jr. offers nine varieties of the charbroiled 100 percent Black Angus beef Six Dollar Burgers that include premium toppings such as Portobello mushrooms, with a patty weighing about a half pound.





Recipe of the Week Part Deux: Marsala Burgers from Smells Like Home

Photo Credit: Smells Like HomeLet me preempt a question or two.  Yes, I did just post the Recipe of the Week yesterday.  I’m quite proud of that one actually because it acted as a love letter to a food blog trend I’m happy to see.

But then I saw this mouthwatering morsel of meat and mushrooms and I was powerless to resist. And I’m thinking it’s an appropriate piggyback to yesterday’s post because Smells Like Home is a Barefoot Blogger, one of the groups I was talking about yesterday. Marsala Burgers are the brainchild of Giada de Laurentiis and I highly recommend you running over to Smells Like Home to pretend you can smell these coming straight off the grill.