Vegetable of the Week: Mushroom pt. 5

Preparation and Serving:
– Mushrooms should be washed before use by rinsing them under cold water for a few seconds and then patting them dry
– Do not soak mushrooms in water because they will absorb the water
– Mushroom skins can be peeled or not, but peeling them compromises their flavour somewhat
– Both the caps and stipe are edible and are usable in recipes
– Most mushrooms can be eaten raw, for example white mushrooms can be easily sliced and eaten with dip
– Mushrooms can also be sautéed in a frying pan, baked, roasted, boiled, stuffed, marinated, served on rice, pasta, meat and salads or used in pies, soups, sauces, dips and many more.

Mushroom Lentil Burger

Savory Lentil Mushroom Burgers
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
– 2 teaspoons chia seeds
– 3 tablespoons warm water
– 1 medium onion
– 6 ounces mushrooms, washed
– 3 cloves garlic
– 2 cups cooked lentils (green or brown), well drained
– 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
– 2 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch (can be omitted but burger may not hold together as well)
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free tamari (omit for soy-free)
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
– 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
– 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional or to taste)
– 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
– Generous grating black pepper

Directions:
1. Mix the chia seeds and warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Chop the onion finely. Place the mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until they are finely minced. Mince the garlic.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to brown, adding a splash of water if they begin to stick. Stir in the mushrooms and garlic and another splash of water. Cover and cook until the mushrooms soften (about 2-3 minutes), stirring often.

3. When the mushrooms have softened, transfer them to the food processor and add the lentils. Pulse until the lentils are just combined with the mushrooms. Add the chia seed mixture and all remaining ingredients and pulse to combine well. It’s okay if a few lentils remain whole, but the mixture should be more sticky than crumbly. If it seems too wet, add a little more oats.

4. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and set aside for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or with parchment paper.

5. Shape the burger mixture into 6 patties, each about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. Place them on the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Since ovens can vary, check them after 25 minutes to make sure they are firm in the middle but not burning and give extra time if necessary.

6. Use a spatula to remove the burgers from the baking sheet. Serve at once or refrigerate for later use.

(Source: Recipe taken from http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2012/09/savory-lentil-mushroom-burgers.html)

Vegetable of the Week: Mushroom pt. 4

Selection and Storage:
– When selecting mushrooms look for those that are firm and reasonably uniform in colour
– Try to avoid purchasing mushrooms that appear discoloured and/or that have soft spots
– Mushrooms should always be stored in the fridge so that they remain fresh longer
– Mushrooms are best stored on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator in a brown paper bag
– While stored in the fridge, mushrooms should remain covered so that they don’t dry out
– However, whether you store your mushrooms in a brown paper bag or keep them in plastic packaging, they should never be completely sealed off and there should always be some venting

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
– 3 tablespoons butter
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 3/4 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
– 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
– 1 1/2 cups sour cream
– 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
– 8 ounces dried egg noodles

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
2. At the same time, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring until softened. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are limp and browned. Remove to a bowl, and set aside.
3. In the same skillet, stir in vegetable broth, being sure to stir in any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture has reduced by 1/3. Reduce heat to low, and return the mushrooms and onion to the skillet.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, stir together the sour cream and flour; then blend into the mushrooms. Return the skillet to the burner, and continue cooking over low heat, just until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

Vegetable of the Week: Mushroom pt. 3

Health:
– One portobello mushroom provides the same amount of potassium as a banana, a factor in maintaining healthy blood pressure
– Portobello mushrooms also provide 6% of daily fibre requirements per 100g
– 100g or 4-5 medium sized mushrooms contain 4 % of daily Vitamin D requirements
– Mushrooms are a significant source of riboflavin, niacin, pantothenate, copper, selenium and phosphorus

Portobello Mushroom Pizza

Portobello Mushroom Pizza
Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:
– 5 portobello mushrooms
– 4 cherry or grape tomatoes
– 1 green pepper
– 1 red pepper
– Tomato sauce
– Fresh basil leaves
– Cheese (Grated mozzarella or cheese of choice)

Directions:
– Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
– Line the baking tray with aluminum foil.
– Wash the mushrooms well, remove stems, and use a spoon to remove gills from the underside.
– Arrange the mushrooms in the pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
– They will create a lot of water, hence the need to bake before filling.
– Use paper towels to absorb any remaining water in the mushrooms.
– Line the mushroom with basil leaves, cover with a little tomato sauce, and arrange diced pepper cubes and cherry/grape tomatoes on top.
– Sprinkle with grated cheese, gratin/bake for about 10 minutes.

(Source: Recipe adapted from http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Portobello-Mushroom-Pizza-897877?columns=3&position=42%2F56)

Vegetable of the Week: Mushroom pt. 2

– As of 2006 there were 29 mushroom operations in the Ontario Greenbelt, which represented 34% of Ontario’s mushroom operations
– Ontario Greenbelt mushroom operations are most heavily concentrated around Hamilton and York regions
– Popular varieties such as white, brown, portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms are all grown in Ontario
– White mushrooms have a mild taste when raw and become richer in flavour when cooked
– Brown mushrooms have a stronger flavour than the white and also have a meatier texture
– Portobello mushrooms, since they are more mature, have a stronger flavour and even meatier texture than brown mushrooms
– Shiitake mushrooms are rich and woodsy in flavour with a meaty texture after being cooked
– Oyster mushrooms have a subtle flavour and velvet-like texture when cooked
– Because mushrooms can easily be grown indoors, they remain in season all year long

Portobello Mushroom Pot Pie

Portobello Mushroom Pot Pie
Makes a 10-inch pie plate

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose or pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup margarine (regular or vegan)
2 tbsp. milk (dairy or non-dairy such as soy or almond)

For the filling:
1 medium onion chopped
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed, cubed
4-6 white mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small potato, cubed
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 tbsp tamari
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
3/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp flour

Directions:
To prepare the crust: In a food processor, blend the flour and salt together. Add the margarine and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add “milk” and blend until well combined and a dough forms. Remove dough, roll into a ball, and wrap in plastic; chill for at least 1 hour before using. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 10 inch pie plate or an 8×8 inch baking dish and set aside. In a large saucepan on medium heat, saute the onions and mushrooms in oil until onions are translucent. Add the potatoes, celery, carrots, tamari, thyme, sage, and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Cover with a lid and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until potatoes can be poked easily with a fork. Stir in the flour and simmer until sauce begins to thicken. Transfer cooked vegetables to baking dish. Roll out the chilled dough and place evenly over top of vegetables. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

(Source: Recipe adapted from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer/http://yourveganbff.blogspot.ca/2011/09/day-3-portobello-pot-pie-all-purpose.html)

Vegetable of the Week: Mushroom

– Mushrooms are actually a fungus and not a vegetable
– Mushrooms are classified as edible when they are not toxic to humans as well as based on taste and aroma
– Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of any number of types of macrofungi (fungi with fruiting structures visible to the naked eyed)
– Mushrooms are typically made up of a cap, stipe (stem) and gills/pores, and can vary greatly in size depending on species and maturity level
– One of the most popularly eaten mushrooms is Agaricus bisporus, which has several common names depending on maturity
– Agaricus bisporus is called a white mushroom (or button mushroom) when white in colour and immature, or a brown mushroom when brown in colour and immature
– A portobello mushroom is an Agaricus bisporus that has reached maturity
– Other types of mushroom often found in grocery stores are shiitake, oyster, enoki and chanterelle
– The earliest evidence of humans consuming edible mushrooms is 13,000 years ago in Chile
– Edible mushrooms are also known to have been eaten in ancient China, Greece, Egypt and Rome
– Unlike plants, mushrooms do not grow through photosynthesis, but through biochemical decomposition processes
– Growers grow mushrooms in specially produced compost made up of ingredients such as corn and hay
– Growers must wait 30 days from the time that compost is mixed with mushroom spawn in order to begin harvesting
– The majority of commercially available mushrooms are produced on indoor trays
– Other mushroom growing techniques include outdoor log harvesting and wild harvesting
– China is currently the biggest mushroom producer in the world

Pureed Mushroom Soup

Pureed Mushroom Soup
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
20 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 medium-to-large potato, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
2 sprigs thyme, leaves taken off the stem
2 14.5 oz. cans of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

Directions:
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms, potato, thyme, broth and enough water to cover, about 2 – 3 cups. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the mushrooms and potatoes are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree the broth and veggies until smooth. If using a blender, work in batches and fill only halfway, allowing the heat to escape. Transfer to a clean pot as you work. Adjust the soup’s consistency with a little water if needed, and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

(Source: Recipe adapted from http://une-deuxsenses.blogspot.ca/2011/09/pureed-mushroom-soup.html)