February 10, 2009

Mushrooms: The Good Fungus

We had beautiful spring-like weather here today, a respite from the bone chilling cold of last month. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. I even heard birds chirping. So of course, I got on my bike and went for a ride. Bike riding in February is a rarity and even though I ended up covered in mud, it was wonderful. This type of weather has me looking forward to spring but unfortunately I know we’ll still get hit with a few more hard snowfalls before that happens. In spite of that, I’m thinking ahead to longer, warmer days and being able to go outside without wearing 7 layers of clothing.

When I think of spring, one of the first things that come to mind is hunting for mushrooms. Following a warm rain, when the flowers start coming up so do the mushrooms and that makes for some pretty great meals. Luckily, I don’t have to wait three more months to get my fix. Regardless of the season I know I can always get a variety of certified organic, specialty mushrooms from Wylie Mycologicals, (you can order online, although I pick mine up in person) to satisfy my need for fungus enriched dishes. I usually get a box of shiitakes along with some oyster mushrooms and lion’s manes. If I’m lazy I just fry them up in some butter and eat them as is. If I’m feeling like playing around in the kitchen there’s no end to the possibilities. I make pizza for lunch about once a week, (using my regular stove as throughout the winter months I can’t use my wood fired oven) and mushrooms definitely make an appearance as a topping on my weekly pie.

Lately though I’ve also been experimenting with adding mushroom to the crust in powdered form. This came about when I had a surplus of shiitakes and decided to dry them. After the mushrooms are dehydrated it’s easy to blend them into various states. When they’re ground to a powder they can be used as a substitution for some of the flour in the pizza crust. I’m still working on the proper ratio for that one. I’ll let you know when I get it figured out. When the shiitakes are coarsely ground I’ve found they make an excellent addition to, (among other things) hot wings. The little bumps you see in the wing photo are actually bits of mushroom which give the wings a different texture and flavour. Shiitakes take chicken wings to a whole new level.

I also like to make mixed mushroom ravioli. I’ve made these a number of times and never the exact same way twice. On this occasion I used my recently acquired ravioli molds, (yay for new toys!) and made a red pepper cream sauce to accompany the ravioli. I’m still not entirely satisfied with the way that one turned out, so I’m working on that too. It has potential to be better. So do I.

What are your favourite ways to enjoy mushrooms?


19 comments:

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

mmm ... I have been making a lot of mushroom gravy lately ... on dairy-free pizza, in homemade raviolis, stir-fried, etc.

Peabody said...

Mushroom bits on chicken wings. I so would not have thought of that!

Zita said...

Mix mushroom ravioli ... mmm tempting :)

Ben said...

Amazing pictures! I am checking that link out to get some delicious mushrooms in the middle of winter :)

Corey - 2 Equal Parts said...

Chicken a la' King converted my girlfriend from mushroom hater to mushroom lover.

http://www.2equalparts.com/content/chicken-%C3%A0-la-king

Now she's looking for recipes with mushrooms in it!

Sara said...

Mushroom pizza and mushroom pasta are my favorites! I love all kinds of mushrooms, especially chanterelles and morels.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Wonderful cream of mushroom soup arm wrestles with mushrooms on pizza for first place. The only thing about mushrooms I don't like is picky eaters complaining about them.

anna said...

I firmly believe you can't have a good pizza without mushrooms. I am also a huge fan of a nice, juicy, grilled portobello in place of the patty in a burger.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I would so love to try those chicken wings!
Gorgeous photo of the mushrooms. I simply can't get enough of them.
Sauted in butter is just keen with me.

Cookie said...

I LOVE mushrooms and what would pizza and pasta be without them? I also like them in noodles (Asian style!) and STUFFED with CHEESE! YUM!

Manggy said...

Pizza, without a doubt, so I'm even more enamored by the prospect of a mushroomy crust! Eat yer heart out Pizza Hut! :P

Maria said...

What a glorious fungus!! The ravioli and pizza looks fantastic!!

Dana McCauley said...

Love that pic at the top of your post - just stunning!

I recently learned that mushrooms can be a source of Vitamin D2. They really are a wonder food!

http://danamccauley.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/d-is-for-mushroom/

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Mushrooms in the pizza crust -- that's an idea I will have to try. I always keep jars of dried mushrooms in my pantry, and often grind them to add to soups.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That's a whole lot of great mushroom ideas. I loved them most in my Thanksgiving stuffing and in a creamy ravioli stuffing

Jamie said...

I am still trying to make perfect ravioli! Harder than it looks! All these photos have got be drooling! I love making Mushroom risotto in the autumn and winter.

Parker said...

Mushrooms are my favorite, I can never understand why people hate them.... love your use of them in the ravioli and chicken wings.

Sara said...

love that first picture. mushrooms are amazingly beautiful.

jillian said...

I love your idea of adding shitakes to the wings and pizza crust. I am obsessed with all things mushroom and this sounds amazing!