Archive for May, 2011

Mushrooms: Ready for Their Close-ups!

Shiitake and Egg Breakfast Pizza courtesy of Chef Todd Humphries, Kitchen Door, Napa

We’re fresh from the studio, following our annual foodservice photo shoot of marvelous mushroom dishes from some of our favorite chefs.

To prepare for the shoot, we perused menus from top restaurants and college campuses across the country and selected the best mushroom entrees. After all that hard work tracking down awesome recipes, we got to have a little fun at the photo shoot.

Mushroom Bulgogi Tacos courtesy of Chef Robery Mayberry, University of Texas, Austin

A lot more goes on behind the scenes than you would think (a testament to our talented photogs, prop stylists and chefs)! From the slicing and dicing to the cooking and assembly, these plates had more prepping and primping than we do, all to ensure that our mushrooms looked porto-bellisimo! (you know, Italian-mushroom speak for “lovely.”)

It was like Goldilocks and the many mushrooms—we had to make sure that the size, shape, colors and props were just right. What can we say, all part of a day’s work here at the Channel. Though, staying focused is a challenge when the workplace is filled with one delicious aroma after another. While each dish was in front of the lens, our on-site chefs manned the kitchen cooking up the next shot. With this crowd of mushroom fans, it’s hard to believe any of these dishes made it from the stove to the set. Test out the recipes for yourselves!

Portabella and Halloumi "Burgers" from Food for My Family

Shaina Olmanson is the food writer, home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family and Olmanson Photography. This is her first recipe for the Mushroom Channel and we’re willing to cosign it as the one that could turn the meat-lovers in your house meatless…at least for one night a week.

I spent several years as a vegetarian, and it’s a lifestyle that still sings to me, calls me even.  Contrast that to my husband’s classic Midwestern meat-and-potatoes upbringing, sandwich them together and you’ll find us today where navigating the landscape of real food, and seeking to fuel our four children’s bodies with the best nutrition available, settled quite happily into omnivore status.

With an effort to change the way we think of food and the way we eat our food comes giving and taking, and sometimes it also means exploring those meatless meals for my husband, who loves vegetables but prefers to pair them with a side of meat (to help fill him up).  His dislike for meat-like products is strong, and he declares good vegetarian burgers to be something of a myth that is talked about but does not exist.  That is, he did until I changed the concept.

Rather than imitating meat, this meatless burger is a play on the whole sandwich with giant portabella mushroom caps as buns and a slice of grilled halloumi takes the place of the burger.  These were not only accepted, but devoured and raved about after dinner.  I may just turn the carnivore yet.

Portabella and Halloumi “Burgers”

  • 4 portabella mushroom caps with stems removed
  • 3 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 thin slices halloumi
  • 2 thick slices tomato
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 handful basil leaves

Heat grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees).  Wash mushroom caps and cry.  In a shallow bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Place mushrooms gill side down in the mixture.

When the grill is hot, grill the mushrooms on the gill side first for about 5 minutes or until they start to sweat.  Flip and grill 2-3 minutes more.  Add halloumi to the grill and grill 2 minutes on each side over relatively high heat until grill marks form on the cheese and it becomes soft and pliable.  Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the tomato to taste.

Assemble the “burger” with the mushroom as the bun, the halloumi cheese as the burger, the lightly salted tomato and fresh basil leaves.  Wrap and serve hot.

Makes 2 servings.

Of note:

:: For a true vegetarian meal, find a vegetarian halloumi made with non-animal rennet.

:: Be sure to wrap these sandwiches before serving or plan to eat them with a knife and fork, as they are a bit slippery.