Mushrooms

Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook For Japan

April 18, 2011
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The first time I ate cold soba noodles was while flying on Japan Airlines. The noodles were served in a little black lacquered box with dipping sauce, a step up from the airline standard cup ‘o soup snack. I tucked in and was surprised to find the noodles were cold! These noodles were a revelation; they were so refreshing! I know airplane food is not normally inspiring, nor usually the best example of a nation’s cuisine, but these noodles were shockingly good.

When I got home, I wanted to try making them myself and thought it might be nice to combine the noodles with some tofu and beautiful fresh Maitake mushrooms. Of course, you can replace the tofu with the protein of your choice; fish, chicken, or even roasted pork belly. After I made this dish, almost 7 months ago, I’m not sure why, but I never posted the recipe.

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Wild Mushrooms with Polenta, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

April 4, 2011
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Spring has sprung in Southern California! In one week we’ve gone from rain and chill to sunshine and 90 degrees. It was quite a shock to the system and I suddenly find myself craving lighter food, salads filled with fresh vegetables and meatless meals. This dish fit the bill perfectly, served one night with a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and a small spring salad with a light vinaigrette.

Recently, I was contacted by the nice people at Gourmet Mushrooms who asked if I was interested in trying out some of their organically grown mushrooms. This offer piqued my interest because they had some mushrooms I’ve never tried, nor seen in my local market. A box arrived via FedEx, and surrounded by insulated packaging, was a wicker basket tightly packed with 2 pounds of gorgeous mushrooms.  These mushrooms are certified organic, and while not technically “wild” they are certainly …

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Hand Cut Pasta with Maitake Mushrooms and Squash Blossoms

August 9, 2010
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Last week I was given some Maitake mushrooms, also called Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and immediately started thinking up dishes where I could showcase their earthy goodness. Sometimes simple preparations are best; good sweet butter, fresh herbs, homemade pasta all compliment the star of the show; the mushroom. I added the squash blossoms because I had them in my garden, but if you don’t have any, you could leave them out, or replace them with zucchini, sliced into very thin ribbons.

These mushrooms not only taste good, but have been heavily researched for their cancer-fighting properties and may help balance blood sugar. In the wild, they can grow in pods of up to 40 or 50 pounds those these were commercially grown, organically, in little 3.5 oz cups, making them look a little like a mushroom cupcake.

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Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

February 13, 2010
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Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Most people think the creamy texture in risotto comes from the addition of lots of butter and parmesan cheese. This can be true, especially when you order it in a restaurant where they may take shortcuts or have a heavy hand with the cheese. In reality, it’s the natural starch surrounding the arborio rice kernel and patience while cooking which creates this effect.

The slow stirring of the rice releases starch which binds with the cooking liquid (stock or water), resulting in a creamy texture without adding a lot of butter or cheese. Traditionally, risotto is finished with a small knob of butter and a few spoonfuls of parmesan, so if you want to add those in, by all means do so. I left them out because I’m still doing the 21 day cleanse diet.  The earthy flavors of the mushrooms and the bright taste of the fresh asparagus …

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