Archive for September, 2016

Chef Spotlight: Adrian Cruz, The Orchard Lounge

Meet Chef Adrian Cruz, one of five winners of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project. He is the third in a series of Chef Spotlights, which offer a behind-the-kitchen look at the inspiration behind chef-created blended burgers.

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“The Concha Burger is the new kid on the block,” says Chef de Cuisine Adrian Cruz of The Orchard Lounge in McAllen, Texas.

New kid on the block, indeed. What makes Cruz’s blended burger so unique? Aside from its delicious toppings like homemade strawberry-fig jam and Applewood bacon, the burger is sandwiched between a Concha bun – a sweet yeast bread roll that can be found in many Mexican markets. As a child, Cruz spent summers at his grandparents’ house in Texas, and would purchase Concha every morning from a bakery truck that was parked across the street. Sharing Concha with his mom and brother over a steaming cup of coffee is one of Cruz’s favorite childhood memories.

Inspired to mimic the sweet and savory flavor profile of Concha dipped in coffee, Cruz decided to experiment with the idea of using Concha as the bun for his blended burger – and it was a hit. For the burger, he uses a blend of beef, pork chorizo and shiitake mushrooms, then tops it with the strawberry-fig jam, chipotle aioli, pickled cucumber, butter lettuce, a duck-fat fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes and string mushrooms. What intrigued Cruz most about joining the Blended Burger Project? The opportunity to create a healthier burger with some of his favorite ingredients. He loves the flavor and texture that mushrooms bring to a traditional patty.

“Participating in James Beard’s Blended Burger Project isn’t about becoming famous, it’s about inspiring other chefs and proving that dreams do come true,” says Cruz. He grew up cooking in his mother’s kitchen at the age of 12, and has honed his skills while training at various restaurants in the Rio Grande Valley. Cruz is excited to show off his chops at the James Beard House this October, or has he calls it, “painting on plates.”

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Chef Spotlight: Logan Guleff, Junior Chef/Logan’s Underground Supper Club

Meet Chef Logan Guleff, Junior Chef/Logan’s Underground Supper Club and one of five winners of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project. He is the first in a series of Chef Spotlights, which offer a behind-the-kitchen look at the inspiration behind chef-created blended burgers.

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Memphis-based Junior Chef Logan Guleff has been cooking since he was two. His favorite recipe is always the next one he creates because he enjoys the journey of being creative and getting to share his dishes with others. He loves mushrooms (in fact, when he was two his favorite food was mushroom pizza!), so when he learned about the James Beard Blended Burger Project, participating was a no brainer. “Being a premier young chef comes with a lot of responsibility. I want to be on the forefront of sustainable, healthy, nutritious food. I live in an urban city and I see food deserts and hunger. Being able to produce a delicious burger that both delights diners and helps turn a burger into a meal we can continue to enjoy for generations is very important to me,” said Guleff. “Plus, it’s James Beard! How could I not join in on the fun?”

Logan’s signature blended burger, “The Mushroom Monster,” consists of half portobello mushrooms and half locally-sourced ground beef. After cleaning the mushrooms, he then cooks the mushrooms until they are dry, which allows him to trim the beef by 50 percent. He uses his spice blend “Logan’s Rub” to marry the flavors and tops it off with fontina cheese, lettuce, tomato, and bacon.

Fun Fact: Logan is the youngest certified judge to judge in The World Championship Barbeque. One of his recipes has been served at the White House, where he met the First Lady and President Obama.

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Happy National Mushroom Month!

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Join the fun(gi) all National Mushroom Month long! ?

How do we love thee, our fungi? Let us count the ways:

1. You can always be relied on to make the most basic meals delicious – think early morning omelets, lunchtime pizzas and burgers, afternoon salads, or late night cheese-filled apps.

2. You are your own kingdom of healthy goodness – neither fruit nor vegetable, but featuring some of the best qualities of both. AND, you’re the only food in the produce section giving us vitamin D.

3. You’re gentle on the Earth – requiring less water and space to grow than most other foods.

4. You blend so well: finely chopped and then blended into proteins, you make burgers, tacos, meatloaf and other favorites more healthy, flavorful and sustainable.

5. Your umami is always an inspiration and an opportunity to discover and create new and exciting meals – think rice bowls, baked frittatas, crepes, and whatever else we can imagine.

You are the one, the only, the mushroom.

 

Mushroom Meal Matchups

Join in the fun(gi) this month in the first-ever “Mushroom Meal Matchups” bracket. We’re pitting 12 delicious mushroom dishes against one another for the title of the mighty, meaty and umami-est mushroom recipe of 2016!

Below find a few of our “best” recipes revealed this year. See all the contenders, vote for your favorite and enter to win prizes at mushroominfo.com/mushroom-meal-matchups.

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Best Bowl: Korean Rice Bowls
Also known as bibimbap (also known as “seconds, please!”).

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Best Brunch: Mushroom Crepes with Gruyere Béchamel Sauce
So good you’ll be eating it for brunch and brinner!

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Best Banh Mi: Shiitake Pork Burger
“The best burger I’ve ever tasted, and I’m not even kidding.” – Chef Billy Parisi

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Best Broccolini: Broccolini Mushroom Salad
The side dish that became the main dish.

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Best in Butter: Steak with Herb Sautéed Mushrooms
A pairing for the ages that only gets better with butter.

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Best Bite-Sized: Baked Mushroom Frittata Muffins
Little in size, BIG in flavor.