Archive for March, 2014

Blending is Trending in Dining Halls Across the Nation

From mushroom blended cheeseburgers to crimini mushroom meatballs, blending was trending at three of the nation’s top universities. Mushroom Council representatives witnessed firsthand students’ passion for mushrooms as they toured Yale University, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of North Texas.

Mushrooms Make the “Final Cut” at Yale

In February the Mushroom Council was proud to participate in the 6th Annual Yale University Final Cut Culinary Competition. The secret ingredient of the night? Mushrooms!
Yale Final Cut Recipe Contest Secret Ingredient - Mushrooms!

Teams of students from each of the 12 residential colleges battled in an Iron Chef style format, in which they had one hour to prepare an appetizer and main course dish using fresh mushrooms and Atlantic salmon. Recipes were assessed by a panel of esteemed judges on a variety of criteria including taste, presentation and creativity.

Yale Final Cut Recipe Contest Winning Mushroom Soup

While the colleges had an hour each to complete their meals, Yale students were able to browse through the vendors and sample various products. Mushroom offerings were plentiful; crimini mushrooms sautéed in butter, shiitake mushrooms glazed with teriyaki, and mushroom bean tacos, with cheese, spicy chipotle and a tangy cilantro lime sauce were just some of samples students had the opportunity to try.

Yale Final Cut Recipe Contest Winners 2014

It was a tight race to declare the winner, but it all came down to how the appetizer and main dish paired together as a complete meal. The $1,000 grand prize and the Copper Pot Trophy went to Berkeley College for their Thai Soup dish. Branford College came in second place with their Mushroom Risotto and Grilled Salmon with Caramelized Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts, and Trumbull College came in third, with their Pesto Salmon with Couscous and Mushroom Crepe.

 

Mushroom Mania at the University of Massachusetts

Displays over flowing with mushrooms, mushroom blended burgers, crab cakes, meatballs and wraps, and a mock-growing room featuring crimini, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms were just some of the main highlights of the University of Massachusetts’ weeklong Mushroom Mania event.

Mushroom Mania Mock Growing Room at UMASS

During the week, Mushroom Mania “toured” around campus visiting 4 of UMass’ popular dining halls. On Monday students dining at Worcester were treated to Grilled Mushroom, and Chickpea Wraps and Crimini and Pork Meatballs. Tuesday at Berkshire featured a Portabella “Burger,” Mushroom Mac N Cheese, and a Mushroom Crostini. Wednesday brought all kinds of mushroom favorites to Franklin dining hall; a Baby Bella, Caramelized Onion & Swiss Panini, Mushroom, and Potato and Chorizo Tacos topped the menu.

Mushroom Mania Menu at UMASS

The final night of Mushroom Mania festivities left students dining at Hampshire happy and satisfied; Jamaican Jerk Mushroom Lettuce Wraps with Papaya Salsa, Barbecue Pulled Mushroom Slider with Blueberry and Cabbage Slaw, and the Classic Mushroom Blended Cheeseburger were served; all while students waited for celebrity guest, Chef Jehangir Mehta.

Chef Jehangir Mehta at UMASS Mushroom Mania

Chef Mehta, of The Next Iron Chef fame, spoke to students about the many benefits of blending mushrooms into classic meat dishes, while preparing a delicious Blended Portabella Angus Burger with Enoki Mushroom Fries.  Impressed by the mock growing room set up in the dining hall lobby, students came armed with questions, and seized the opportunity to start a discussion. Mushroom Council representatives, Steve Solomon and Brittany Stager, fielded questions and walked students through the types of mushrooms, how they are grown, and the nutritional attributes.

Chef Jehangir Mehta's Blended Burger at UMASS

The mushroom-centric week was rounded out with a special invite-only dinner hosted by Chef Jehangir Mehta at the University Club.

 

Celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan Makes Guest Appearance at University of North Texas’ Mushroom Mania

Butternut Squash Soup, Charred Kale Caramelized Shiitake Naan Pizza, and Tandoori Portabella Burgers were just some of the offerings Chopped Judge and Food Network Superstar Chef Maneet Chauhan had planned for students during the University of North Texas’ Mushroom Mania promotion in early March.

Mushroom Mania at University of North Texas

Mushroom Mania brought fun and knowledge together at UNT’s Kerr Cafeteria. A mushroom-centric menu, an Iron-Chef style competition between campus chefs, a live cooking demonstration and sampling of Chef Maneet’s Tandoori Portabella burger had drawn students from every corner of the campus. Students were encouraged to try their hand at mushroom trivia in order to win a UNT Mushroom Mania t-shirt; a great way to engage them in conversation and allow them to ask questions. University North Texas Mushroom Burger

University North Texas Mushroom Naan Pizza

Beyond the excitement the menu and chef competition created, the Mushroom Council and UNT wanted to educate students on mushrooms as a sustainable and affordable food option that can be used to extend or replace meat in various dishes and add nutrition. Students were eager to learn about how mushrooms grow, what makes them a sustainable product, and just how beneficial they are to their health. The students and UNT faculty were beyond thrilled with Maneet’s appearance, toting Mushroom Mania as one of their best events.

Cheesy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta Skillet

Robyn from Add a Pinch shares a delicious family meal that takes less than 30 minutes from fridge to table.

Cheesy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta Skillet by Add a Pinch

Pasta recipes are always one of my family’s favorite dishes and thankfully this cheesy mushroom sausage pasta recipe couldn’t be simpler to make. This is a pasta recipe that no one would ever guess was so quick and easy from tasting it!

Easily adaptable to your family’s palate, you can turn up or dial down the amount of spice in this dish based on the sausage that you cook with.

Once you cook mushrooms and sausage together you won’t want to look back. Portabellas are a great pairing to add a bit of heartiness and umami to any meal. Plus, they add a serving of veggies.

I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does!

Cheesy Mushroom Sausage Pasta Recipe

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Total time: 25 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 pint portabella mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with peppers
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 10 ounces twirl, ribbon, or elbow pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, optional

Directions:

  1. Add olive oil and butter to a large, 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add sausage and mushrooms and cook until sausage has just begun to turn brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, chicken stock and heavy cream.
  4. Add pasta and stir to make sure well-combined. Cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in cheddar cheese, salt and pepper and fresh parsley and serve warm.

How to Select and Store Mushrooms

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with the selection of produce at your local grocery store, you’re not alone! With so many choices available, it’s often hard to push yourself out of your culinary comfort zone and experiment with new ingredients.

With varieties of fresh mushrooms ranging from portabella, to shiitake, oyster and the classic white button, many people may not realize the diverse flavors that can be added to a dish with a generous serving of mushrooms.

In addition to being low in calories, fat-free, low-sodium and naturally gluten free, umami-rich mushrooms are a natural complement (or replacement) to the meat in dishes you may already love.  If you’ve been holding off on mushrooms because you didn’t know where to start, Chef Bill Briwa from the Culinary Institute of America and Bart Minor, President of the Mushroom Council, answer your questions about how to select and store fresh mushrooms, sending you on your way to create the mushroom dish of your dreams!

How to Select Mushrooms:

  • Purchase mushrooms that are firm with a fresh, smooth appearance. These mushrooms are best used raw in salads or for stuffing. More mature mushrooms will be softer and slightly browned — these will have more flavor, but a shorter shelf life. Chop and cook the day of purchase.
  • The surface of the mushroom should be dry, but not dried out, and appear plump.
  • A closed veil under the cap indicates a delicate flavor, while an open veil and exposed gills mean a richer flavor.

How to Store Mushrooms:

  • For prolonged shelf-life, store mushrooms in their original packaging or in a porous paper bag.
  • Some mushrooms may keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.
  • Fresh mushrooms should never be frozen, but sautéed mushrooms that are frozen will keep for up to one month. They are great to have on hand to toss into any meal like pastas, sandwiches/wraps, in salads, etc.

With a little inspiration and a basket of mushrooms, you can kick up the flavor of your dishes in a brand new way. Peruse our Mushroom Meal Makeovers Pinterest board to get inspired, then make your way to the grocery store to pick some beautiful ‘shrooms! Here are a few of our favorite meals made over:

Seven-Minute Spring Ramen Bowl

Brooke from Cheeky Kitchen shares an updated veggie-filled version of a college staple, without losing the college budget. 

 Seven-Minute Spring Mushroom Ramen Bowl by Cheeky Kitchen

Are you on the search for something quick, fresh, and healthy? We’ve got you covered! This quick and simple ramen bowl uses budget-friendly packets of premade ramen, tosses them with on-sale, in-season veggies (Bonus tip: mushrooms are always in season), and serves itself up quick, for just about $1 per bowl. Now, that is one dinner you need in your life every day!

I’ve been delighted (and slightly obsessed) with the mealtime wonder that is packet of ramen. Like a blank canvas, it’s the perfect way to start tons of quick meals, and the best part is…it costs just pennies per serving!

If you’ve always thought of ramen as a cheap college eat, it’s time to rethink this affordable, accessible mealtime starter! This easy recipe will have you happily slurping down noodles and perfectly steamed mushrooms, asparagus, and a simple poached egg in just seven minutes!

Seven-Minute Spring Ramen Bowl

Start with premade Udon noodles or packets of ramen. Both options will yield a bowl of warm, light soup in seven minutes flat.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet ramen, chicken flavored
  • ½ cup asparagus spears, cut to 3” length
  • 1 ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 ½  tablespoon sesame, avocado, or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon scallions
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro

Directions:
1. In a medium pot, cook ramen according to package directions. One minute before ramen is done, toss asparagus spears in to the pot. Transfer to two bowls. Add mushrooms and oil to the pot. Turn stove burner to medium-high heat. Spread mushrooms flat on the bottom of the pot, sprinkle with lemon pepper, and cook until golden brown. Transfer mushrooms to soup bowl.

2. Add 2 cups of water to pot. Bring to a boil. Add vinegar to boiling water, then gently crack one egg on each side of the pot. Immediately turn off burner, but leave the pot on the hot burner.

3. Use a fork to gently pull the eggs whites toward the center of your egg, giving it a nice round shape. Allow eggs to sit in hot water for 4 minutes, then use a large slotted spoon to gently remove and place one egg on top of each ramen bowl. Garnish bowls with chopped scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately and enjoy!

The Proper Way to Clean and Store Mushrooms

How many times have you noticed a gorgeous  mushroom display in the store and hesitate because you’re not sure what to do with them once you get home? Our goal at the Mushroom Council is not just to inspire you to add mushrooms to your plate, we also want to teach you HOW to add them into your next meal.

Our latest video provides a step-by-step guide on the process of cleaning and preparing fresh mushrooms with The Mushroom Council president, Bart Minor and Chef Bill from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.


Once you have all of those fresh mushrooms ready to go, you’re going to need a simple and delicious recipe for them. Our recipe database is full of ideas, but we’re sharing a few thought starters to get the creative juices flowing!

What are you inspired to cook with mushrooms this week?