Archive for June, 2013

Behind the Scenes: The Blend Takes Over the CIA Kitchens

Boom poles and light reflectors, food processors and spatulas – join Council Representative, Bart Minor, behind the scenes at our recent mushroom cooking video shoot.

With the sun barely peeking over the horizon, the Mushroom Channel team and I headed to the infamous Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California. Bright eyed and bushy tailed we entered the facility and to our delight were greeted by some very familiar aromas – sautéed mushrooms, chili, lasagna, and tacos, just to name a few. At 7:00am the kitchen was already bustling. The staff were preparing a full-fledged mushroom blended smorgasbord. Mouths watering, we made our way to the culinary demo theater where 2 days of intense filming were about to begin.

Fresh Mushrooms on Display

The industrial kitchen set was adorned with fresh mushrooms. Shiitakes, maitake, and oysters filled basket upon basket, while big, beefy portabellas bulked up the backdrop. It was evident how excited the crew was to shoot these videos. Promptly at 7:30am, Chef Bill Briwa arrived, and we were ready to get blending!

CIA Chef Bill Briwa Cooking Mushrooms

Chili, meatballs, tacos, and burgers – The Blend recipes were flowing. Chef Briwa worked diligently blending mushrooms into many of our everyday favorites – boosting the flavor, lowering the calories & fat, and creating a meal that we know our families love. Focusing on techniques, how-to, and delicious blended recipes, Chef Briwa answered many common mushroom questions and offered exclusive tips and advice along the way.

Mushroom Blendability Recipes by CIA

Twenty four hours and sixteen videos later, the crew called it a wrap! With that we are happy to present the first mushroom cooking video in our video series – Mushroom Blending.


From American classics to Italian favorites, maximize your meals with mushrooms!

If you are looking to see more behind the scenes footage from our CIA video shoot, you can find the full photo album on the Mushroom Channel Facebook Page.

Grilled Caprese Portabella

Brooke from Cheeky Kitchen combines the concept of stuffed mushrooms with the appeal of caprese salad with this recipe for a Grilled Caprese Portabella.

Grilled Caprese Portabella by Cheeky Kitchen

Stuffed mushrooms are a deliciously enjoyable food, but you have to cook those babies in the oven. In all honesty, who wants to do that in the middle of these hot summer months? Not I. So, I rejiggered the stuffed mushroom, and combined it with a classic summer flavor combo…Caprese Salad! These 3-ingredient Grilled Caprese Portabellas are fast, fresh, and fabulous to eat! This meal is easy. It’s simple. And, frankly…it’s splendid beyond all imagination. Any meal that is healthy and full of mushroom flavor is a total dream in my book.

Fire up the grill, or cook indoors. I’ve included instructions for both. This meal is rich and hearty, but kissed with that summer Caprese flavor we all love so much! Make it on mini portabellas for appetizers, and full-sized portabellas for an entrée.

Grab a fork and dig right in. Delicious!

Grilled Caprese Portabella

  • 2 portabella caps
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees or preheat the grill.
  2. Drizzle portabellas with olive oil, chopped garlic, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill on a hot grill, or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper inside the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Top with mozzarella and tomatoes. Return to oven for 8-10 minutes more or pop back on the grill until the mozzarella is melted.
  5. Remove from the oven or grill and top with fresh basil.
  6. Serve and enjoy

Fight Summer Boredom with Kids in The Kitchen

Grilled Portabella Pizza

In April we were thrilled to introduce the “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” launched as a part of First Lady Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. Working in cooperation with the USDA, MyPlate, Epicurious and the US Department of Education, the First Lady urged kids to get creative and submit their favorite MyPlate inspired healthy lunch recipe. Last week the fifty-four winning recipes of the “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” were announced and the aspiring chefs who submitted the winning entries were invited to the White House’s annual “Our Kids” state dinner.

Even though this year’s challenge is over, including kids in the preparation of meals can act as a great cure for summer boredom. With summer vacation in full swing, your kids may have entered the dreaded “Mom, I’m bored” phase. Instead of racking your brain for activities to keep them occupied while you cook, throw an apron their way and engage them in meal prep.

Is your child a finicky eater? Fear not! Kids are not only more likely to try new foods when they’ve helped prepare them, but are more likely to continue healthy eating practices if they are instilled early on. A couple of evenings in the kitchen could spark a lifelong appreciation for nutrition-packed mushrooms.

Without the looming deadlines of homework or athletics practice, this summer is the perfect time to share your favorite tasty mushroom recipes with your little ones. Swap mushrooms into your child’s favorite dish for a fresh take on an old favorite. We love using grilled portabellas as a healthier alternative to pizza crust. Make sure to check out our Pinterest board for even more Kid-Friendly Mushroom recipes.  Inviting children to help you whip up a healthy meal is not only a load off of your shoulders, but can become the foundation for a lifetime of health consciousness.

The USDA is a great resource for kitchen activities for kids. Here are just a few benefits for parents who involve their children in cooking:

  • Quality time spent with kids and their parents/caregivers
  • The opportunity for kids to learn how to cook
  • Kids are more likely to eat new foods that they’ve helped prepare.

Remember to put safety first when little ones are in the kitchen. Bubbling pots and sharp knives are hazards that require close adult supervision. In addition, encourage kids to wash their hands in warm soapy water before starting on your favorite recipe.

Bring your kids into the kitchen to cook your favorite mushroom dishes and enjoy the extra quality time with your loved ones! Here’s a few of our favorite recipes to get the ideas flowing!

Grilled Mushroom and Peach Sliders

Paula from Bellalimento shares a juicy recipe for Peach Portabella burgers that bring a delightful  pairing of sweet and savory to your next summer meal. 

Grilled Mushroom and Peach Sliders by Bellalimento

These grilled mushroom and peach sliders are perfect for summer. They’re light bright and juicy. Yes things can be juicy and even meaty without having actual meat in them.  Don’t believe us?! Well then, you’ll just have to try these for yourself. We’re swapping out the meat and replacing them with mushrooms. Big beautiful Portabella mushrooms.  We like to call it swapability. Have you heard of this? It’s exactly what you think it might be, swapping out one thing for another. In this case its mushrooms for meat, but it can also be the process of replacing a portion of meat in a burger with finely chopped mushrooms, giving the meat lovers in your family the best of both worlds.

The Mushroom Channel is celebrating a summer of mushrooms with a “Swap It or Top It” recipe contest. Whether you blend, top or swap your burger with mushrooms, there are plenty of options to amp up the creativity. The combination of peaches and mushrooms in this dish provides a great foundation for the MyPlate category, which requires a burger to include ingredients from the five food groups.

These portabella peach sliders are a great way to start an evening dining al fresco with friends. Go ahead and fire up the grill!

Grilled Mushroom and Peach Sliders

Serves 4


  • 4 Portabella mushrooms – stems removed
  • 1 peach – pitted, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 petite Kaiser rolls – toasted
  • bean sprouts
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella
  • balsamic cream – optional


  1. Heat grill pan over medium heat.
  2. Place mushrooms and peaches onto grill. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Cook peaches until grill marks appear and mushrooms until softened. Turning as necessary.
  4. To assemble:  Cover bottom of Kaiser roll with bean sprouts. Top with mozzarella, mushroom and peach slices. Drizzle with balsamic cream.

The Ultimate Summer with Mushrooms

Stuffed, Blended and Topped Mushrooms

Every season we strive to inspire our devoted mushroom lovers with recipes that fit the bill for any occasion. With the grills firing up and the patios opening, we’re turning the table and looking to get inspired by YOU this summer.  We want to discover how you fit mushrooms into your favorite summer meals in our featured “Swap It or Top It” recipe contest.  From now until July 31, enter your best mushroom recipe based on the categories of Swapability, Best Topped Burger or a featured MyPlate burger.  The grand prize winner will win $5,000 and two runners up will win a $500 and $1,000 gift card to Williams-Sonoma.

In honor of the summer festivities, we created two Pinterest boards to capture mushroom inspired dishes that use mushrooms in two different ways. Within our “Trend to Blend Board” you’ll find our favorite burgers, tacos and pizzas that blend finely chopped mushrooms with meat to make a meal packed with flavor and nutrition.  You’ll also find the “Mushrooms Top it Off Board,” which highlights everything from hot dogs to tostadas topped off with hearty mushrooms.  Every week new recipes will get added, but don’t miss checking out a few of these highlighted recipes below.

Be sure to stock up on plenty of mushrooms, and come back every week for new featured recipes that’ll have you hoping summer never ends.