On my way home yesterday, Jeremy texted, “You’re getting a lot of veggies for dinner!” We have a CSA share through Blackbrook Farm (who we also sell mushroom add-ons through) and yesterday Jeremy picked up our box of veggies. So many beautiful veggies! Jeremy set to work cooking up as many different things as he could – and added mushrooms of course! To the best of his memory, here’s what he did:
Mushrooms and a lot of veggies
— 1/2 cup wild rice
— 4 strips of bacon, chopped
— vegetable oil
— 4 large scallions, chopped
— 3 bok choy, chopped
— 2 cups of chopped bok choy and kohlrabi leaves (and/or other greens)
— 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, with stems removed, chopped
Place the wild rice in a wire strainer and rinse with cold water. Place the rice in a pot and add water so water is 3/4 of an inch above rice. Bring to rolling boil for ten minutes then simmer, covered, until the rice opens and becomes fluffy, or about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally while simmering. Keep an eye on the water and add a little more if the pan starts to get dry and the rice isn’t ready yet.
While the rice cooks, fry the bacon in a teaspoon of oil on medium heat. When soft (3-5 minutes), add the chopped scallions, chopped bok choy, mushrooms, and salt to taste. Stir occasionally as this cooks. Once this mixture has cooked through and begun to caramelize, add bok choy and kohlrabi leaves (and/or other greens), and cook another few minutes.
Top rice with veggie/mushroom mixture and add toasted pecans. Enjoy!
I wrote about our log soaking last year and shared a video of the new system. As I said then, it would get much faster once everyone got used to the new system. After a whole season of learning tips and tricks last year, this process has gotten much faster and easier.
Here’s a video of Andy loading the logs into the tank last weekend. (Warning to our mothers: close your eyes about 30 seconds in and pretend nothing happened!)
Force-fruiting is going well and the mushrooms are picking up the pace!
A lot has been going on the last week or two at the farm. We finished moving all the newly inoculated logs out of the fruiting house. They are enjoying their summer home in the sun-dappled woods.
Even though the weather is still a little bit weird, we decided to start force-fruiting so the first batches were soaked and set up in the fruiting tunnel. This year we’re trying something new. The extra rack above the fruiting racks is to hold the fruiting blanket, instead of having the blanket directly on the logs. The blanket keeps moisture and humidity in for the first couple days until the logs start “pinning” – that is, when the mushrooms start to grow. We can’t wait to get our first big flush of mushrooms!
We’re also experimenting with a few in-ground mushrooms this year – Almond Agaricus, Bluefoot, Blewits, and Winecaps. We grew Winecaps at our house in Minneapolis way back in the day, but it wasn’t practical to have them at any of the locations our farm has been at over the years. With our own property, we can do whatever we want (WHATEVER WE WANT! =) ), so we’re going to give them a try again.
We’ve eaten Almond Agaricus, which smells and tastes like almonds, but we’ve never grown it. We picked a nice sunny spot on the edge our field and Andy (farm employee), did an epic job of tilling it up, getting rid of weeds and grass. Jeremy dumped in a bunch of mushroom compost and mixed the spawn in with that and then covered the whole bed over with straw. If all goes well we should be seeing these mushrooms popping up in a month or two – in plenty of time for folks to get some at the farmers market!
The Blewits and Bluefoots (Bluefeet?) like more shade. We picked a shady spot in the yard near the house and Andy and Ashley (our other farm employee) laid down cardboard (for weed control) and they’ve been dumping in compost, leaves, and wood chips. We’ll probably inoculate these shady patches over the weekend and cover them with straw mulch. These varieties take much longer to fruit so we probably won’t get any till next spring. We’ll all have to be patient!
The search results on our website tell me this will be our fifth recipe with polenta. If you don’t like polenta as much as I do, you can always put this amazing mushroom/veggie dish over something else – or eat it on its own.
Mushrooms and Veggies over Grilled Polenta
For the Polenta
1-1 1/2 Tbsp. coarse salt
1 2/3 cups polenta or course cornmeal
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Put salt into 7 cups cold water in a medium heavy pot. Add polenta and whisk in. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Add olive oil, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring often with a wooden spoon until polenta thickens and pulls away slightly from bottom and sides of pot, or between 20-40 minutes – depending on grind.
Pour into a wet glass baking dish and cool. Cut into pieces with a wet knife. Grill on a very hot, dry grill or sear in a nonstick skillet until golden brown.
Mushrooms and Veggies
6-8 oz. shiitake or other mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 handful cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 brat (we used our own mushroom onion brat from the farm!)
2-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Saute onion in hot oil (2 Tbsp) until translucent and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Then add mushrooms, zucchini, and cauliflower and cover, stirring every few minutes. Cook until veggies are tender. In another pan fry brats in remaining oil until browned. Remove from heat and slice.
Add together veggie and mushroom mixture and brats. Spoon on top of polenta and add grated Parmesan cheese, and enjoy!