Seasonal Chef: Mixing it up with Mushrooms

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The air has turned crisp in the northeast. As I look out of my home office window happily the tree is still bright green. I’m not ready to give over to the change of season just yet. Though I must admit the evenings and mornings have been a little cooler, and my cooking is starting to gravitate too warmer dishes. The markets are still chock full of delicious greens and vegetables, and loads of gorgeous mushrooms. Not just the run of the mill white button mushroom, but a stunning array of these beautiful fungi. Here is a link that will show you a: wide variety of mushrooms. Mushrooms are very accessible these days at the farmers market and at the supermarket. Although, you will find more to choose from at the farmers market and specialty stores like Whole Foods. I highly encourage you to reach out of your comfort zone and try a few that you’ve never tasted. Simply roasting or sautéing in a bit a butter or olive oil is the best way to go. Do a taste test line up!

mixed mushroom

This week I picked up a pretty basic variety of portobello, shiitake and crimini (aka baby bella). They each are slightly different, but take on a beautiful rich flavor when cooked. All together I have about one pound in total weight and decided on a quick soup. If you follow me you may have noticed I like doing soups. They really are very easy to make and have a fraction of the sodium content of the canned variety. I honesty can’t remember the last time I bought a can of soup at the store. Most basic soups can be made in under 30 minutes and will provide you with 4-6 servings. Just the cost difference alone should change your mind, not to mention the taste. So with just a few additional  ingredients this recipe will come together in under 30 minutes.

It bears worth repeating that you should look for firm mushroom caps, free of soft black spots. Cleaning should be done with a soft brush, damp towel or paper towel. You never want to fully rinse your mushrooms under water. They will quickly turn soggy and not be good eats. As with many other vegetables slice and dice your mushrooms to the same size. This will allow them to cook at the same rate. I decided while I was cleaning and chopping this bunch it might be interesting to reserve a bit for the garnish. That step will not take much time and be accomplished while you are doing some other prep. I used the portobello mushroom for the garnish. The are the densest and hold up the best in sautéing.

Mixed Mushroom Soup, Seasonal Chef recipe

This soup basically has five ingredients: mushroom, onion, yogurt, garlic and thyme. You can use water or vegetable stock as your liquid. Either will work beautifully. If using a canned stock look for a variety with the least amount of sodium. If you are going to all the trouble of making your soup from scratch you might as well not blow it with the sodium. Kitchen Basics has an unsalted variety that seems to be the lowest out there. Water will work just as well, allowing the mushroom flavor to shine. Click this link to see my recipe for Mixed Mushroom Soup.

I will be demoing this coming weekend at the John Jay Homestead Farm Market this coming Saturday from 11:00-1:00. Stop by for a taste of my Mixed Mushroom Soup. I will be using mushrooms from Do Re Me Farms. Throughout our Westchester farmers markets you will find Do Re Me, Wiltbank Mushrooms and Madura Farm mushrooms. Pick some up the next time you spot them and give them a try!

Buon Appetito.

One year ago: Grilling Eggplant
Two years ago: Apples

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer’s markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

2 Comments

  1. Speaking of Good Eats, both Alton Brown and Cook’s Illustrated have tested the mushroom washing myth, and came to the same conclusion – washing mushrooms under water is perfectly fine. Brown found even letting his mushrooms stand in a bowl of water for a full 30 minutes, 1/4 lb of mushrooms absorbed about 1 teaspoon of water – and the same amount when he merely sprayed them clean with the sprayer attachment from his faucet. He theorized that most of that absorption was through the cut end of the stems, so if you’re only using caps, wash them first, then remove the stems, and your mushrooms should be perfectly dry.

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