Recipe: Mushrooms and a lot of veggies

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:

20180628_195400.jpg

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!

Advertisements

Soaking logs

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!

fruiting mushrooms

A flurry of activity

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.

LogsInWoods

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!

treeMushrooms1

Recipe: Mushrooms and Veggies over Grilled Polenta

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.

PolentaAndVeggies

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!

 

 

Recipe: Spring Shiitake Scramble

Our growing season is starting very late this year. We still don’t have mushrooms growing at the farm! In town though, we have a jumbled pile of dried up old logs hanging out in the side yard.  This last week one of those logs produced our first shiitake of the year. I spotted it one morning on my way to work and spent all day thinking about how to eat that one mushroom. Unfortunately, the squirrels were considering the problem too and they beat me to it. I came home to find a third of the mushroom stolen away!  I wanted that mushroom too much though, so I trimmed the mushroom, gave it a wash, and threw it in a tiny little scramble. It was amazing. Thank you squirrels for not taking the whole mushroom!

20180507_175751.jpg

Spring Shiitake Scramble

Shiitake mushrooms
chives or spinach
cheddar cheese, shredded
ham, chopped up small (optional)
egg, beaten

Remove stems from mushrooms and chop. Heat a small skillet or frying pan on medium high. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat. Add mushrooms and saute for a minute or two. Add ham (if using) and cook for just a minute or so till it’s warmed up a bit. Add the egg, chives, and cheese all at once. Stir and mix until the eggs are all cooked. Voila!

What’s in a name?

Cherry Tree House Mushrooms.

It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue (well, unless you’re us and you’ve been saying it for 9 years). We’ve heard, and answered to, a lot of variations over the years:

  • Cherry Treehouse Mushrooms
  • Cherry Tree Mushrooms
  • Cherry Mushrooms
  • Treehouse Mushrooms

Besides being long and a bit unwieldy, the name hasn’t really matched us well for years. We chose the name when we started growing mushrooms at our house in Minneapolis, which we called the cherry tree house. Full story here. As difficult as the name is, it has been more difficult to think of a new name.  We’ve had numerous conversations over the years that usually devolve into silliness or fizzle out as we realize we just can’t come up with something we like better. A recent conversation went something like this:

Jeremy: Okay, let’s take this back to the beginning. We’re starting a farm! Isn’t this exciting? What are we going to call it? Something with “mushroom farm” in it.

Aimee: Why?

Jeremy: Because we grow mushrooms.

Aimee: Why?

Jeremy: Because…I like mushrooms.

Aimee: Why?

Jeremy: Ha, ha! I hate that question.

Aimee: This is the best conversation ever!

Jeremy: We did mushrooms because goats weren’t legal in the city when I started the farm!

Aimee: [silence, accompanied by the look you sometimes give your partner when you’re a bit exasperated…you know, “the look.”]

We went on thinking about how else we could define the farm. Does the name need the word “farm” in it? Should we use a word that would show our location, like “Clayton Mushrooms Incorporated,” or something with Blackbrook? Apparently that’s the name of a creek nearby…but of course there is also already a Blackbrook farm! Well, our farm is in Polk County. Nope – we will not have the word “Polk” in our farm name! We need something evocative, something that feels woodsy. I guess it should have “farm” and “mushrooms.” (I know what you’re thinking: “why?”)

We searched blogs and sites online with various lists of “easy steps for naming your farm” which weren’t really easy and didn’t really help us pick a name. I liked the idea of picking a name that was funny.

Jeremy: Our name can’t be funny.

Aimee: Because you have no sense of humor?

Jeremy: You got it.

I am happy to say our marriage survived this conversation…but we haven’t quite come up with a name. At one point Jeremy was sure we had come up with THE new name. But a few days later, we were both feeling lukewarm about it. I said to Jeremy, “Of course this new name doesn’t roll off the tongue and sound great. It’s not the name we’ve gone by for 9 years. It’s going to be be weird and hard to get used to a new name!”

But the time really has come to re-name. We’d like to ask you, our supporters and fans, to let us know what you think. Here are some of our ideas. Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line, or comment on Facebook: which name(s) do you like the best?

  1. Cherry Tree Organics
  2. Heartwood Mushroom Farm
  3. Heartwood Mushrooms
  4. Northwoods Mushroom Farm
  5. Northwoods Mushrooms
  6. Woodland Mushroom Farm
  7. Woodland Mushrooms
  8. Cherry Tree House Mushrooms (for anyone who feels they can’t handle the change – it’s okay to say so!)

Recipe: Mushroom Deviled Eggs

I sometimes struggle to think of new recipes for the blog/newsletter which is silly because you can practically put mushrooms in everything. Like say…in deviled eggs!

A friend of ours gave us a few mushroom cookbooks last year and I’ve finally been looking through them. One of them is newer and has some mouth-watering looking recipes. The other one is from the 60s and has some interesting sounding recipes, such as:

  • Cream of wheat mushroom soup
  • Jellied mushroom soup
  • Pushcart Polpetta (??)
  • Flaming mushrooms
  • Dried limas with dried mushrooms

There are a few dishes in the book that actually look okay, like the Mushroom Deviled Eggs. I was dubious, but they are actually quite tasty.

deviledeggs

Mushroom Deviled Eggs

6 ounces mushrooms
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
3-4 Tbsp butter
12 hard-cooked eggs
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper

Make sure you hard-boil your eggs before you start on this recipe so they can be cooled sufficiently to peel and work with.

This recipe works fine with fresh, frozen, or dried mushrooms. If you’re using frozen mushrooms, thaw them for at least an hour before use. Squeeze out some of the extra moisture and pat dry. If you’re using dried mushrooms, soak for at least an hour, or till mushrooms are soft, before using. Squeeze out the extra liquid and pat dry.

Remove stems from mushrooms and mince the caps. Heat butter in a skillet on medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and mushrooms for about 4 minutes, until onions are caramelized and mushrooms are starting to get crispy. Set aside.

Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks with the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and white pepper. Work the eggs into a smooth paste. Add the mushroom-onion mixture and mix well.

Fill the egg white halves with the mixture. You can spoon the mixture in, use a pastry bag with a large star tip, or cut the corner out of a plastic baggie and use that.

Enjoy!