Archive for the ‘Kitchen Swap’ Category

“Mushrooms On The Menu” Photo Contest – Cast Your Vote!

In November, the Council sent out a call for the most eye-catching and delicious mushroom dishes at restaurants across the country. A number of you rose to the chow challenge and sent us images of the mushroom dishes you’ve ordered out that look good enough to eat (and presumably, you all cleaned your plates). Now it’s time to choose a winner and the competition is tight- we really need your help!

Just take a look at all of the photos below and then vote for the corresponding letter and description at in the poll at the bottom of this post.

The entry with the most votes will receive a $100 gift card, 2nd prize is a $75 gift card and 3rd prize is a $50 gift card.

Voting ends December 17 at 5:00 p.m. CST, so vote now!

A)  Stuffed Pork with Spinach Salad, Tomatoes and Mushrooms at Capri Restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina. Submitted by Paula Jones.

B)  Turkey Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy at Rockit Bar & Grill in Chicago, Illinois. Submitted by Amanda Downing.

C)  Rack of Lamb at La Famiglia Italian Restaurant in Destin, Florida. Submitted by Tom Garner.

D) Chicken Mushroom Platter at Cholla Prime Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona. Submitted by Joseph Assaf.

E)  Mushroom Burger with Truffle Aoili at Rockit Bar & Grill, Chicago. Submitted by Amanda Downing.

F)  Mushroom Deep Dish Pizza at Gino’s East in Chicago, Illinois. Submitted by Sydney Williams.

G)  Mushroom Torta at Oxco in Chicago, Illinois. Submitted by Elizabeth Karmel.

H)     Mushroom Lasagna from Shroom Shack. Submitted by Krsna April Rosner.

[poll id=”2″]

“Mushrooms on the Menu” Restaurant Photo Contest

The old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” but we beg to differ. The Council is hosting a “Mushrooms on the Menu” contest to recognize the most eye-catching and delicious mushroom dishes at restaurants across the country. Send us a photo of a mushroom dish you’ve ordered in a restaurant for the chance to win a gift card of up to $100 to use the next time you dine out.

From today until Wednesday, November 17, share your photos via Twitter or email and you’ll automatically be in the running! Include a brief description of the dish and name the restaurant and location. All approved photos will be uploaded to the Mushroom Channel the week of November 15 and readers can vote on their favorite entries.

Check out some examples of our great mushroom finds, and then get started on your own pics! Want to increase your chances of winning? Get tweeting! Every person who re-tweets your entry using the #shroompic hashtag will count as a vote toward your submission!

To Enter:

Don’t forget to include a description of the dish, the restaurant and location it’s from

Key Dates:

  • Submit photos from Wednesday, 10/27 – Wednesday, 11/17 on Twitter @mushroomchannel or via email
  • Look for your photo on the Mushroom Channel blog and VOTE from Thursday, 11/18 – Sunday, 11/29
  • First, second and third place winners will be announced Monday, 11/29


  • Participants may enter more than one entry provided a different mushroom menu item is photographed and submitted
  • Photos that show mushrooms at restaurants will be selected and posted to the Channel for voting (no illegal or inappropriate content, please)
  • All entries can be used by the Mushroom Council in future marketing communications
  • 1st prize is a $100 gift card, 2nd prize is a $75 gift card and 3rd prize is a $50 gift card
  • Winners of previous Mushroom Council Grocery Store Challenge contest are not eligible to win again

For extended contest rules, click here.

“Hongos:” a row of delicious mushroom tacos (shared as an appetizer) from Mexican fave, Mercadito (Chicago, IL)

Sautéed mushrooms top a savory “Ratatouille” vegetarian crepe at Le Creperie (Chicago, IL)

Mushrooms Star in Collegiate Culinary Challenge

Recently we attended the National Association of College and University Culinary Services (NACUFS) Annual Conference in San Jose, CA. We were there to cheer on the mushrooms staring in this year’s Culinary Challenge (and we were there to support the chef’s too!).

NACUFS’ annual Culinary Challenge is a recipe competition that recognizes college and university culinary professionals in a venue where they can show off their talents and regional food styles. Before making it to the big dance in San Jose this summer, competing chefs battled against their peers in six regional contests. The victorious chefs then faced the 2010 Culinary Challenge: preparing four portions of an original hot entrée during a live-action competition using a pre-selected featured ingredient, the portabella mushroom.

This was the first time NACUFS selected a non-meat item/protein, so we were pretty pumped that mushrooms made the cut. NACUFS reps told us they chose mushrooms because they can be used as the “center of the plate” and in a variety of ways. Case in point, the dishes showcased in the challenge demonstrated how creative you can get with mushrooms.

The winner of the challenge was (drum roll please) Kylie Charter from the Rhode Island School of Design who whipped up a mouth-watering Stuffed Salmon, Vegetables and Muscat Mustard Creme, served with portabella gnudi and pea green and radish salad.

Here’s Kylie posing with her dish….

And I want to give a shout-out to the other fearless competitors and their mushroom-loving creations. They’re all winners in our book!

  • Steven G. Nalls, Colorado State University: Portabello and Chicken Roulade with glazed root vegetables and shaved fennel & arugula salad
  • Peter Mark Imranyi, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: Portabella Mushroom Creme Fraiche Gnocchi with Poached Lobster, served with pickled fennel, Swiss chard, tomato concasse and a Madeira-scented mushroom consommé
  • Eric Moe, Northern Michigan University: Venison ‘Stew’
  • Eric Haney, University of California – Berkeley: Grilled Portobello, Apple and Fennel Risotto, Grilled Radicchio, Glazed Carrots, and Truffle Vinaigrette
  • DeWayne McMurrey, Texas Tech University: Portabella Roulade with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Tournee Carrots with Mushroom Jus

If you want to try your hand at any of these dishes, you can find the full recipes here.

While we were catching the action, we also had a chance to meet and chat with the chefs and judges about why they love cooking with mushrooms. One of the competing chefs told us he hearts ‘shrooms because they bring a nice earthy flavor to any dish. We couldn’t agree more!

To see all of the event photos, check out our album on Facebook. Enjoy!

Lights! Camera! Mushrooms!

We recently worked with Dan Coha to take some amazing pictures of delicious mushroom dishes from chefs and their restaurants across the country.

To find these delectable mushroom recipes, we first tapped our network of champion mushroom chefs.  We received an overwhelming amount of recipe submissions from chefs in high-end, trend-setting restaurants, university dining halls and even fast food chains- the variety and breadth of mushroom love knows no bounds.

It was a tricky task to narrow down all 50+ recipes to only eight for the final shoot. We chose recipes that embodied new culinary trends, demonstrated creative mushroom applications and of course…tasted absolutely delicious!

Shooting eight mushroom dishes took more than you might think. A chef helped recreate each of the recipes while a special food stylist – armed with a pair of tweezers – painstakingly made each dish look picture-perfect (no pun intended).

But, the picture wouldn’t be complete without the help of a prop stylist. What’s a prop stylist you may ask? Check out the image below; lots of time and energy goes into each photo’s environment, so to speak, to create the perfect ambiance that accentuates the dish being photographed. This Thai Stroganoff was especially tricky. We went for the warm feeling of the brown setting.

Below are just some of the mouth-watering pictures we got to take home, but stay tuned; we’ll be featuring these new photos and their accompanying recipes regularly as we interview the chefs who created them.

Queso Fundido con Champinones Adobados – Chef Richard Sandoval, Zengo, Washington, DC

Sugarcane Portabella with Arugula Salad – Chef José Luis Ugalde, Gibraltar, El Granada, CA

Kitchen Swap: The Pump Room’s Portabella Mushroom Wrap

The Pump Room opened in 1938.  In its hayday, the restaurant’s old school elegance and illustrious guests made the Pump Room one of Chicago’s top dining destinations to see and be seen. In addition to being famous for its lofty customers and history, we have the Pump Room to thank for inventing the Bloody Mary!

Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast inside the Ambassador East Hotel, the Pump Room has served the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman among many other celebrities and socialites. Of course, the shining star of them all is the Pump Room’s delicious Portobello Mushroom Wrap. In accordance with its old Hollywood style, the Portabella Mushroom Wrap is made with mascarpone cheese and a port marinade for a chic and tasty twist.

The hotel and restaurant were recently purchased by Ian Schrager, the man behind Studio 54. While business may have slowed in recent years, we have every confidence that someone who knows a little something about iconic nightlife will be able do the restaurant justice and that it’s famed portabella wrap will continue adding to a long history of star power.

Portabella Mushroom Wrap

Recipe courtesy of Chef Joe Kindred, The Pump Room, Chicago
Yield: 24 servings

  • 6 Red onions, quartered in rings
  • 3 ounces port wine
  • 1 1/2 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • 24 Bell peppers (red, yellow, green)
  • 2 pounds large garlic cloves (skin on)
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 24 Portabella mushrooms, stemmed and gills
  • removed
  • 8 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil,
  • divided
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 48 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 24 Large spinach tortillas
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, grated


Combine the onion rings (keeping them intact), port, and balsamic and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain off the marinade and grill the onions until softened.

Toss the peppers and garlic with olive oil to coat and roast in a 350-degree oven until the pepper skins have begun to blacken and the garlic is tender. Slip the garlic from the skins into a food processor. Peel and seed the peppers.

Combine 2 cups olive oil, the shallots, 12 ounces balsamic, the thyme, chives, and 3/4 cup of the basil. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss the mixture with the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms, upside down, on a sheet pan lined with parchment or aluminum foil. Put the shallots and herbs in the mushrooms, but reserve any liquid left in the bowl. Roast until the mushrooms are tender. Return them to the remaining marinade to cool slightly.

Put 6 roasted red peppers in a food processor with the garlic. Add the yolks and remaining 6 tablespoons of the basil. Puree until fairly smooth, then add the mascarpone 4 ounces at a time and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For each serving to order: Warm a tortilla and spread it with 2 tablespoons of the red pepper mascarpone. Slice and lay 1 mushroom on top and add several pepper strips. Top with 1/4 onion, separating the rings. Sprinkle 1 ounce of mozzarella evenly over the vegetables. Melt the cheese. Slide the hot tortilla onto a plate.