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?