Archive for August, 2010

The Mushroom Masters: Portabella Playoff

Hello mushroom fans! Today we kick off the first week of The Mushroom Masters competition with the Portabella Playoff. Our portabella entry in this global competition against Australia and Canada comes to us from Sara of Sprouted Kitchen. Before you check out Sara’s yummy salad below, make sure you visit Tastespotting today and every Tuesday throughout Mushroom Month to vote for your favorite entry! Let’s show Australia and Canada what we’ve got!

Balsamic Portabella Salad (Serves 4)

Ready in 30 Minutes


  • 2 Portabello Mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • ½ Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • Salt
  • 4 Cups Organic Baby Greens
  • ½ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Marcona Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese (or more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Salt/Pepper


  1. Heat the grill to medium heat, while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Peel and halve the onion. Slice into half moon shape slices, as thin as possible. On medium heat, add the butter to a sauté pan until fully melted, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Move around to coat. Continue to stir every few minutes as onions begin to caramelize and turn brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. While onions are cooking, prepare mushrooms. Wipe them clean with a moist paper towel to remove dirt. Cut off the stem and brush each with half of the oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put them on the grill with the gill side up to start and close lid, grill for 3 minutes on each side. Note: the freshness and mushroom may vary the cooking time here. You want them to be fully warmed through, without getting too soggy. Remove and cool to room temperature.
  4. Prepare salad. In a large bowl, combine the greens, gorgonzola and the tablespoon of the olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss gently. This is only lightly dressed, as the onions and mushrooms will also add some moisture to the salad. Cut the portabellos into slices. Top each salad with a quarter of the mushrooms, cheese and marcona almonds. Add more toppings to taste.

* This could easily be made into an entrée salad with some grilled steak on top, or more mushrooms for the vegetarians!

The Mushroom Masters: A Tournament of Taste

My dear mushroom fans from around the globe, we are on the cusp of something quite grand. As a partnership with the exceptionally gorgeous site Tastespotting, we are thrilled to announce that this September we will be celebrating National Mushroom Month with a four week competition featuring some of the most talented food bloggers around the globe.

In addition to our regular weekly posts from our team of ten mushroom mavens, we’ve invited four photo-centric US-based bloggers to compete on our behalf in this Olympics of umami. Canada and Australia will also have four bloggers for their national team and you’ll be able to find each week’s recipe on their respective blogs (linked above).

The Masters start on Tuesday, August 31 with the Portabella Playoff. For the home team, we are thrilled to announce Sara of Sprouted Kitchen as the US nomination.  We are longtime fans of her work and this was the perfect opportunity to get to work with her.

The competition will of course be stiff with Angela of Oh She Glows representing Canada and Jules of Stone Soup representing Australia.

Be on the lookout for Sara’s recipe next week and links every week to Tastespotting where you can vote for your favorite of the three photos/recipes featured.

Let the games begin!

Wordless Wednesday: Grilled Portabella Sandwich from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

Grilled Portabella Sandwich from Everybody Likes Sandwiches.  I saw this post, I considered the source and then I vowed to make it this week.

Mushroom Arancini with Cremini Tomato Sauce from Eat Live Travel Write

Today’s post comes to you from Mardi at Eat. Live. Travel. Write.

For my second post here on The Mushroom Channel, I am sharing a recipe that combines some old favourite flavours with some new inspiration.  I have wanted to make arancini (Italian rice balls) for some time now but it calls for leftover risotto and we never have any leftovers!  On returning home from a recent trip to California, three things were in my favour with regards to making arancini – firstly, I hadn’t cooked for over two weeks and was missing my kitchen. Standing over the stove making a big pot of risotto sounded like a pretty good place to be.  Secondly, whilst in San Francisco, I had the good fortune to visit Far West Fungi in The Ferry Building, where I picked up golden chanterelles, dried morels and some porcini mushroom stock cubes that are hard to find in Toronto.

Thirdly, I had some St André cheese and some fresh cremini mushrooms in the fridge needing to be used up.  I got to thinking that the chanterelles would be a perfect addition to a favourite mushroom risotto, whilst the morels and St André would make an excellent filling for the rice balls. You could, of course, use any type of dried mushroom you like.  I started out by making the risotto the day before I needed it for the arancini.  It was difficult not to eat it then and there!

Mushroom Risotto (Serves 6)

This is the first risotto I learned how to make – adapted from a Joan Campbell recipe my mum sent me to Paris with when I moved there in 1994, photocopied from a magazine- I still have the piece of paper!  It might be an oldie but it’s a goodie!  This adaptation of the recipe is a fabulous dish for vegetarians at a dinner party but one that even die-hard carnivores love too!  It is so simple; it has become our “go-to” recipe, even for weeknights.  It’s simple but elegant and very classy.


  • 1 litre mushroom stock
  • 650mls water
  • ½ stick (3 tablespoons) butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, peeled and finely diced
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup of dry white wine
  • small pinch saffron
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms (I used dried golden chanterelle mushrooms soaked in water for about 30 minutes)

Bring water and vegetable stock to a boil.  Add the saffron to the stock.  Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt butter and olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan.  Fry onion until it is translucent.  Add the Arborio rice and season with salt and pepper.  Mix so that onion and rice are well combines and the grains of rice are well coated.

Add the wine and stir until the wine has nearly evaporated.  Add a ladleful of the stock/water and mix until it has been absorbed.  Add another ladleful and continue, a ladleful at a time until all stock has been used.  Risotto should be slightly al dente (chewy).  Stir in the drained and roughly chopped chanterelles and cheese and remove from the heat.

The next day I got to work on the arancini.  For the filling, I used about 15g of the morels, soaked in boiling water for about 30 minutes, then drained and roughly chopped and about 16 small cubes of the St André.  This amount of risotto made 10 generous arancini, so 10 starters or 5 main courses.  I prepared the eggs for dipping (4 eggs, beaten) and the panko breadcrumbs (you can use ordinary ones but I like the texture of panko).

I wanted them to be about the size of small oranges so I took some of the mixture and flattened it in my palm, then added the filling.  I took about the same amount of mixture again and placed it on top of the fillings and squeezed hard to form tightly compacted arancini. I heated some olive oil in a shallow pan whilst I dipped the arancini in egg and the panko.  They took about 20 minutes to fry evenly all over at a medium heat.

Tomato and Fresh Cremini Mushroom Sauce


  • 16oz can peeled tomatoes
  • a generous handful of basil
  • 4 garlic cloves,
  • 3/4 cup fresh cremini mushrooms, roughly diced

Heat tomatoes, basil and garlic over medium heat until bubbling, reduce temperature and blend with an immersion blender.  Add the diced mushrooms and continue to reduce to desired consistency.  I like a runnier sauce so don’t reduce it that much.  Top the arancini with the sauce and some fresh basil.

This was an incredible dish – your carnivore friends will never even miss the meat because of the meaty mushrooms in the filling, the risotto and the sauce – and the best part? The morel and St André surprise inside.

A lovely dish to make with your leftover risotto – that is if you have any! – or simply to make from scratch.  Served with simple salad leaves, it’s a perfect light meal where mushrooms really are the star of the dish.

Gnocchi ai Funghi {Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce} from Bell'alimento

Today’s post comes to you from the lovely Paula of bell’alimento.

Gnocchi are little pillows of potato goodness and I’m my opinion, comfort food at it’s finest. The good news is, it’s not as difficult as you might imagine, you just need a little time. I like to make it in stages. Do a little work, take a little break, do a little work, take a little break and before you know it you’ll be enjoying a plate full of deliciousness!

Once you’ve mastered the basic gnocchi recipe, you can experiment by adding all kinds of different flavors. Naturally, here we’ve added mushrooms and we’ve given the gnocchi themselves a deep, decadent flavor with truffle paste! This would be simply divine with a butter and sage sauce on it’s own, but oh no, we’ve continued the mushroom theme and created a flavorful sauce full of mushrooms plus a little spice for extra measure. You can after all, never have enough mushrooms, right ; )

The secret to making light and fluffy gnocchi is the amount of flour you mix in. Too much and the gnocchi will be tough and dense {and who wants that} You want your dough to be tacky but not sticky or “wet”. Your hands will let you know when this is just right. Just add a little flour at a time until it’s perfect, you’ll know when ; )

The recipe is easily doubled and you can tailor the heat and mushroom level to your taste, simply add more or less of the Calabrian Crushed Red Pepper Chili Flakes and truffle paste and voila!



What you’ll need:
4 medium- large Russet Potatoes
1 tablespoon Truffle Paste
1 egg – beaten
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano – Grated
2-3 cups of all purpose flour

8 ounces of mushrooms – sliced
1 teaspoon Calabrian Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
3 cloves of garlic – crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken broth

What to do:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes onto a rimmed sheet pan and bake for approx 45 minutes to 1 hour until fork tender. Allow to cool just until you are able to safely work with them and then remove skins.

2. While the potatoes are still warm, place them into a food mill and grind. Transfer milled potatoes onto a rimmed cookie sheet and place in refrigerator to cool completely.

3. Once cooled, transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface. Form a well, add eggs, Parmigiano, a large pinch of salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Begin mixing/kneading. If dough is still too wet add another cup of flour. Continue until you have a ball of dough {adding flour only if necessary}. Once your dough ball is formed, add the truffle paste and work in until well combined.

{NOTE: put a large stock pot of generously salted water onto boil now}

4.  Using a pastry scraper, cut the dough into small manageable sections. Roll the sections of the dough into logs of equal proportions. Once the logs are in place, use your pastry scraper and cut them into 1? sections. Transfer them to a lightly floured rimmed cookie sheet. Continue until all pieces are cut.

5. When the water is boiling, place the gnocchi into the water and allow them to cook until they rise to the top and swell up.

6. WHILE the gnocchi are cooking, make the sauce by placing a large sauté pan over medium – high heat. Add the olive oil, butter, crushed garlic and allow to melt and for the garlic to turn a light golden color. Add the mushrooms and allow to cook down slightly. Add chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and allow sauce to reduce. Stirring as necessary. Remove garlic before serving.

7. When gnocchi are done. Transfer them with a slotted spoon into the sauce pan, toss GENTLY to combine. Garnish with additional basil and Parmigiano Reggiano if desired.

Buon Appetito!