Archive for September, 2013

Mushrooms and Health Summit

On September 9-10th the Mushroom Council held its very first Mushrooms & Health Summit in Washington D.C. Mushroom Council representative, Bart Minor, was at the two day event which boasted mushroom experts from leading scientific institutions, nutrition professionals, and a fascinating mock growing room that captured the attention of every single attendee.

Mushroom Summit Presentations

I can’t think of a better way to bring mushrooms out of the dark and into the health spotlight than at our very own Mushrooms & Health Summit. In a room full of scientists, doctors, nutrition professionals, and even foodies, it became evident that mushrooms are something we should be excited about!

I sat there fascinated by all of the emerging research; presentations on everything from weight management and immunity, to vitamin D and umami. Leading scientists and researchers are discovering new facts about mushrooms and what makes them a unique dietary component every day.

The mushroom lunch was a captivating presentation in itself. Culinary experts from the CIA showcased mushroom blendability by demonstrating their sensory sampling panel, and highlighting the research that has come out of these highly successful trials. It should be no surprise the studies found consumers generally like mushrooms as a partial substitution for ground meat because mushrooms enhance the aroma, flavor, and texture of the finished dish.

Mushroom Summit Blendability Sampling

The mock growing room was by far the star of the summit. With a huge display that showcased all commercially grow varieties, summit attendees we both surprised and delighted to see exactly how fresh mushrooms are grown in the US.

Mushroom Summit Growing Room

Since 2005, the mushroom industry has dedicated resources to better understand the nutrition properties and health benefits of mushrooms, and I was honored to see all of these resources come together to shed some light on the humble mushroom.

Parmesan Mushroom Baked Eggs

Robyn from Add a Pinch shares a recipe for the classic baked egg, with a hearty mushroom twist.

Parmesan Mushroom Baked Eggs by Add a Pinch

Parmesan Mushroom Baked Eggs make the perfect busy morning breakfast or brunch recipe that doesn’t taste at all like it was whipped up in a matter of minutes.

What I mean to say is, these Parmesan Mushroom Baked Eggs take less than five ingredients, five minutes to assemble and about 15 minutes to bake, but taste like you’ve worked tirelessly over them for hours.

And we all know that some mornings, we just need more than a pre-packaged breakfast to help us get through our day. Since these Parmesan Mushroom Baked Eggs are so quick to pull together and are packed with tons of flavor and nutrition with little effort, you’ll turn to them time and again.

The Portabella base is hearty enough to leave you full in this meatless variety, but you could also consider blending in some bacon, chorizo or sausage to make it even fancier for a weekend brunch.

I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine.

Parmesan Mushroom Baked Eggs Recipe

Prep time:  5 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Total time: 20 mins

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 4 Portobello mushroom caps
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Garnish with chives, optional

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375º F. Drizzle skillet or small rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange mushroom caps in skillet or baking sheet pan. Carefully break egg and place into mushroom cap, taking care not to burst egg yolk.
  • Top each egg in mushroom cap with a little of mozzarella cheese then with a tablespoon each of Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake until egg has set, mozzarella cheese has melted and Parmesan cheese has begun to brown slightly. Remove from oven and allow to set for about 3 minutes before serving. Top with chives as garnish, optional.

Top 10 Highlights of the 2013 Mushroom Fest

James Beard award-nominated writer, editor, and recipe developer, Joy Manning attended the 28th annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square on behalf of The Mushroom Council. Take a look at her top ten highlights and mark your calendars for next September. 

Flavorful and nutritious, mushrooms are the kind of ingredient that can inspire a party. And for the past 28 years, mushroom growers and the eaters who love them have made the annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Pa., one of the biggest and best parties in food. Spanning the weekend after Labor Day each year, it extends the summer fun one weekend longer with live music, contests, games, a car show, carnival rides, and—of course—tons of delicious food. I had such a great time during my visit this year that I’ve already earmarked that weekend for mushrooms in 2014. Here my top 10 highlights from this year’s fest. If you were there, too, please leave your own highlights in the comments!

Farm Tour

On the quick bus ride between the festival and the Caputo & Guest Mushrooms farm, our driver asked the crowd on board who had driven more than 100 miles to be at the festival. Hands shot up all around the bus, with some folks coming from as far away as California. That should be no surprise—mushroom lovers are an enthusiastic bunch. Mark Malchione, the farm manager, led the tour of the mushroom house, where we saw every stage of the process, from the logs that are made from grains and sawdust to give the mushrooms nutrients and a place to grow, to tiny newly sprouted spores and fully sprouted shiitakes looking ready to slice into a stir fry. Malchione also provided a great shopping tip: look under the cap when buying shiitakes. They should look fresh, unblemished and creamy white. His definitely did.

Talula’s Table

Many food fanatics around the country are already familiar with Talula’s Table, a Kennett Square market and restaurant that is known as one of the most difficult-to-get reservations in the US. What the chefs there may be less known for is their dexterity with mushrooms. They made a variety of treats inspired by the local bounty, including wonderfully crisp mushroom spring rolls.

Chef Jack Mavraj in the Culinary Tent

There was a full roster of great chefs—include celeb Carla Hall–doing mushroom-centric demonstrations in the Culinary Tent. I watched Kennett Square’s own chef Jack Mavraj shake his skillet for the crowd. He cooked homemade agnolotti, fresh pasta dumplings stuffed with three kinds of mushrooms and braised short ribs. He also made a robust four-mushroom sauce—filled with shiitake, oyster, cremini, and maitake mushrooms—to serve with the pasta and short ribs. I may make a vegetarian version in my own kitchen this fall.

Mushroom Shopping

At a couple stands throughout the festival, tables were set up with tons of different local mushrooms for sale. Obviously, the wares could not have been fresher. They were clearly just picked! Some oyster mushrooms were $8 pound—about half the price I might pay in the supermarket. It was the perfect place for someone like me, who cooks with mushrooms a few times a week, to stock up.

Oyster Mushroom Fritters with Feta, Hot Sauce and Spring Greens

Low in calories and rich in nutrients like selenium and Vitamin D, mushrooms have rightly earned their place in the pantheon of good-for-you foods. That doesn’t mean they aren’t also perfect deep fried and served with cheese, spicy sauce, and a salad. The meaty oyster mushrooms tasted almost like boneless chicken wings, especially when mixed with the cheese and sauce. Would I eat this every day? No. Am I counting down the days until I eat it again at 2014’s mushroom festival? Yes.

Breaded Button Mushrooms

Another delicious choice in fried mushrooms: the classic breaded mushroom. I have always appreciated a pizzeria that sells these kind of fried mushrooms, just plain buttons covered in a basic, crunchy breading. At the festival, this classic got a big upgrade just from the pristine, fresh local mushrooms that were used.

Official Mushroom Festival Soup

Even though it was a warm beautiful day, everyone at the festival seemed to want a bowl of steaming mushroom soup. Something about the mushroom’s deep earthy flavor makes for such a perfect bowl of comfort, and the official soup of the festival was no different.

Painted Mushrooms

Not every mushroom highlight was edible. On display at various shops throughout Kennett Square were beautiful, hand-painted mushrooms. Local artists projected their visions onto concrete mushroom forms three feet high; the results decorated the festival and were sold via silent auction.

Mushroom Growers Exhibit

The big shady tent where growers set up tables to represent all the stages of the mushroom growing process was a huge draw. Kids, parents, and grandparents all seemed equally captivated at how the process works. Best of all, the growers themselves were on hand to chat with festivalgoers and patiently answer all the questions everyone had about their work.

Ice Cream Stop at La Michoacana 

As I headed out of the festival, my last stop had to be dessert. The homemade ice cream churned at La Michoacan is a must for any visit to Kennett Square. The shop was into the spirit of the event with plenty of mushroom ice cream bars on hand, and this was clearly a popular choice.

Arborio & Mushroom Fall Side Dish

Erin from $5 Dinners shares a recipe for an Arborio & Mushroom dish that will let your taste buds know it’s fall regardless of what the temperature says.

Arborio and Mushroom Salad by $5 Dinners

When the flavors of fall collide in one dish, all feels right in the world. While the crisp fall weather is here for some, it’s still doesn’t feel like fall for others. Those in the north don their fleeces and enjoy a cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte. However, those of us in the south wish there was an iced version of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and are still sweating through Saturday morning soccer games.

This side dish/lunch/vegetarian dinner hopes to bring harmony into the current mixtures of fall weather across the country. The people in southern Arizona can enjoy this dish at the same time as their friends in northern New Hampshire. It’s a fall flavored dish that can be served chilled or warm, allowing you to enjoy the taste of fall comfort whether you live north, south, east or west.

If you’re looking to make this dish heartier for a main course, don’t forget that you can add some diced chicken or turkey to make a simple 50/50 meat and mushroom blend.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion, or 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (plus 1 cup water)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 sweet apple, such as honeycrisp, peeled and chopped

Directions

1. Heat the butter and olive oil to medium saucepan. Add the onion and basil and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the arborio rice and then quickly pour in the 2 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and let the broth soak into the rice. Then add the 1 cup of water and continue cooking until it has been absorbed.

2. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in the olive oil for 2 minutes, then add the spinach and cook until most of the leaves have wilted. Transfer to mixing bowl.

3. Once the rice has cooked, add to the mixing bowl and combine with the mushrooms and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Stir in the apple pieces.

5. Serve Arborio & Mushroom Fall Side Dish, warm with some chicken, or chilled for a quick lunch on the run.

10 Ways to Celebrate National Mushroom Month

Mushroom Bhuna

Thinking about September can bring to mind a variety of events. It’s the beginning of a new school year, football Sundays and the crispness of fall in the air. For those who have not heard, it’s also an entire month dedicated to our favorite fungi with the official title of National Mushroom Month. Since mushrooms are grown all-year long, their appeal is universal; however, there is a natural comfort to fall meals, and mushrooms are the perfect addition for a healthy dose of nutrition and flavor.  Check out our list of 10 ideas below to celebrate the savory shroom this month.

1) Reinvent a classic in a new way, such as this Mushroom Cheese Steak Stir-Fry.

2) Stuff mushrooms with a variety of flavors AND use mushrooms as the filling for a stuffed pear.

3) Experiment with new flavors in this recipe for Mushrooms Bhuna, an indian inspired dish with garam masala and cilantro.

4) Enjoy pizza for breakfast, with this egg and mushroom inspired breakfast pizza.

5) Whip up a cozy fall risotto, perfect for leftovers the next day.

6) Blend mushrooms into your meat based dishes, with the 50/50 mushroom: meat blend method.

7) Discover how mushrooms are grown.

8) Dine out with mushrooms on the menu.

9) Create a simple and delicious mushroom sauté perfect to accompany or top off any meal.

10) Put a healthier spin on game day with Portabella Skins.

Of course, there are hundreds and hundreds of creative mushroom recipes beyond this list. For more inspiration be sure to check out our full recipe database and Pinterest boards.  It’s time to #Fall4Mushrooms.