Recipe: Prairie Mushroom Risotto

Just to warn you, this recipe uses a lot of pots and pans! If you’ve only got a few pots/pans you can probably tip cooked items into bowls to wait while you move onto further steps. This recipe is a little bit complex but it is so worth it. The arborio rice seemed a bit starchy toward the end, not as much flavor as I had hoped. I thought the dish was ruined, but then I added the butter and Parmesan, waited a couple minutes, and was blown away by the flavor. I will be eating this dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this weekend! It all comes together really well in the end and you will not be sorry you gave it a try.

Prairie Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4
2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms or 10 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 oz. wild rice
about 3 to 4 cups stock or water
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 scallions or spring onions, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped – optional
8 oz. arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1 1/2 wine glasses of dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp butter
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
3 oz. crumbled friesago cheese

If you’re using dried mushrooms, soak them in water to cover for an hour, then pat dry with a towel. Set aside the soaking liquid. For fresh or rehydrated mushrooms, remove the stems and chop the caps. Heat 4 tsp oil on medium low. Saute the mushrooms until browned and slightly crispy. If mushrooms look dry add more oil to the pan. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the wild rice, cover the pan, and reduce the heat. Simmer for 25 minutes; drain well. (The rice doesn’t have to be done as it will be cooking more later.)

Put the stock (and mushroom soaking liquid if any) in a saucepan on low. In a separate pan heat the remaining oil, add the scallions or onions and garlic, and fry slowly for about 4 minutes. When the vegetables have softened, add the arborio rice and turn up the heat. The rice will begin to fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wild rice and wine and keep stirring.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add the mushrooms, and then add your first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a high simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch from the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take between 15 to 45 minutes depending on your preference; keep adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir gently. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately with crumbled friesago.

 

recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “The Naked Chef Takes Off”

Recipe: Oyster Mushroom and Braised Leek Soup

Serves 4 or 6

8 oz. fresh Oyster mushrooms
3 large onions or leeks – white part and 2 inches of the green
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 sprigs rosemary or 2 Tbsp dried rosemary – held in a tea ball or cloth bag
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chives chopped

Remove mushroom stems and chop mushrooms and set aside.

Chop onion or cut each leek in half lengthwise and place in a shallow pan with the stock and the rosemary. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 25 minutes, or until the leeks or onions are tender. Remove and discard the rosemary. Remove the leeks and chop into bite-sized pieces. Puree two-thirds of the leeks, all of the stock, and 3 tablespoons of the butter until smooth. Cook the soup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm. Reserve the remaining leeks for garnish.

Saute the garlic in 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with mushrooms and remaining leeks. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle the chives around the bowls and top with freshly ground black pepper.

 

adapted from recipe by Charlie Trotter

Road trip!

Last week we took advantage of the long weekend for a road trip and some work on the farm. (To be clear, Jeremy, as a farmer, NEVER has weekends; but I, the farmer’s wife, definitely have weekends.) Jeremy has been thinking about buying a fancier tool for mushroom inoculations. Field & Forest, located near Peshtigo in eastern Wisconsin, has the tool and invited us to come take it for a test drive.

We left first thing on Friday morning to drive the four and a half hours across the state. Our route took us over some tiny state roads winding through stunningly beautiful farmland and forests. We got to Field & Forest just after lunch and spent some time catching up with our friends, mentors, and mushroom spawn suppliers, Joe and Mary Ellen. Joe and Mary Ellen have been in the mushroom business for many years and are very helpful with advice and commiserating about the difficulties of a mushroom farmer’s life.

We got down to business with Joe and one of their employees showing us the machine, demonstrating how it works, and letting Jeremy take a shot at it.

 

 

There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you can inoculate logs twice as fast as our current tool. Now that we’re up to 5,000 logs a year this tool would make a huge difference in the amount of time it takes to do inoculations.

But – the BIG but – it is $8,000!! Jeremy figures it would pay for itself in the first year or so as he wouldn’t need to hire as many people to help with inoculations. But it’s a lot of cash up front and we have a lot of other expenses to think about. I think we’re going to hold off for now on getting this tool and hope that between Jeremy and his current employee (who is pretty amazing at inoculating) they can do the slower process for at least one more year.

(But if you, or someone you know, has $8,000 lying around and you want to help make this dream tool our tool, drop us a line!)

After trying out the tool we spent more time with Joe and Mary Ellen and got a tour of their farm. It was fun to catch up with them and compare notes on mushroom farming!

First thing Saturday morning we headed back home. As I mentioned last week, we had a big painting project.  We’ve got to get this monstrosity of a pack shed all painted so we can get it certified as a food warehouse.

packshed

The eternal optimist in me thought, “oh, this will be easy! Just a quick weekend job!” Ugh. I was so wrong. It’s a fussy thing to paint just the 2x4s and beams of a building, especially when you first have to scrub off years of accumulated dust (and a little bird poop) just so the paint will stick!  This will be an ongoing project but hopefully we’ll get it done by the end of the month. The small portion we managed to clean and paint does look pretty good. Stay tuned for pictures when we get this project all wrapped up!

Recipe: Grilled Polenta and Mushrooms

Once again I got really excited about making this recipe, one of my favorites, and didn’t bother to read the recipe Jeremy had put together until afterwards. Of course he fancied it up so my photos don’t look like what you’d get if you follow this recipe. Oh well, it just shows the diversity of ways you can use mushrooms, right??

The “un-fancy” way to make this is just to cook the mushrooms and some garlic and put that over the grilled polenta, with a little Parmesan. Simple!

Grilled Polenta and Mushrooms

Serves 4
1-1 1/2 Tbsp. coarse salt
1 2/3 cups polenta or course cornmeal
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6-8 oz. shiitake or other mushrooms
2 slices bacon
more olive oil as needed
1 small onion, diced
2 to 4 Tbsp white wine or stock for deglazing
pepper to taste
about 1/2 a cup of cream
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Polenta
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 ceramic or glass mold, cool, turn out, and cut into pieces with a wet knife. Grill on a very hot, dry grill or sear in a nonstick skillet until golden brown.

Shiitake mushrooms and sauce
Fry up bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and drain most but not all of the fat from the pan; reserve the fat you drain off. Cut bacon into small pieces. Saute onion until tender. Deglaze the pan with whatever liquid you choose and then let the liquid reduce till thickened; set onion sauce aside in another dish.

Remove mushroom stems. If the mushrooms are small you can leave them whole or cut into halves; if they are larger you can slice them up.  With the pan on medium, add the reserved bacon fat and mushrooms. You want each mushroom to have contact with the pan, so cook in batches if necessary. If the pan gets dry add olive oil. Cook mushrooms two to three minutes, then stir. Saute another couple of minutes, or until soft.

Add the onion sauce to the sauteed mushrooms. Add pepper to taste, cream, garlic, bacon and cheese. Heat through thoroughly. Serve over polenta.

Variation: marinate the Shiitake for a few hours in oil, a little vinegar or white wine, salt and pepper then grill them. Chop half of the grilled mushrooms and combine with other sauce ingredients, then top polenta and remaining mushrooms with sauce.

Mushroom sauce recipe adapted from ReTorte food blog. Polenta recipe reproduced from Saveur Magazine.

Recipe: Shiitake Spring Rolls

Another fun way to eat shiitake! Jeremy says spring rolls are just a vehicle for eating peanut sauce, and I can’t argue with that. But if you can’t eat peanuts – don’t worry. The sauteed shiitake are so tasty – especially if you saute them till they’re just a bit crispy on the edges – you won’t miss the peanut sauce at all.

 

Shiitake Spring Rolls

Serves 4
1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
or
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
1-1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1 oz. rice vermicelli
4 rice wrappers
1 bunch cilantro
2 to 3 oz. microgreens, sprouts, spinach or baby lettuces
1 scallion
1 small carrot
thai peanut sauce
or
4 Tbsp teaspoon hoisin sauce
4 Tbsp finely chopped peanuts, or to taste

Cooking Instructions
If using dried mushrooms, soak in warm water to cover for an hour or two, then pat dry with a towel. Save liquid for soup stock or other recipe. Remove stems, then heat oil on medium low heat. Slice mushroom caps and saute until fragrant and soft, or about 5 minutes. If mushrooms look dry add more oil to the pan. Set aside.

Add vermicelli to boiling water; boil until al dente or 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Prepare vegetables. Slice scallion into 2 to 4 inch slivers; grate carrot; wash and de-stem cilantro; and you may want to chop lettuce or spinach.

Fill a large bowl with hot tap water and dip a rice wrapper in water for 15 seconds to a minute or until soft but still holding its shape. Lay wrapper on cutting board and place ingredients at the center – like a burrito – starting with the mushrooms. Fold in the ends so that the filling stays inside and roll up tightly. Recipe makes four spring rolls; serve immediately with peanut or peanuts/hoisin sauce.

Recipe: Mushroom and Chevre Bruschetta

Confession time: We have a TON of mushroom recipes (as you might imagine) and when I started up this little weekly update I planned out what recipes I’d share each week. I’ve been looking forward to this week for a while, which is designated “shroom + bruschetta” week.  For recipes we don’t have pictures for we’ve been trying to make them up that week and get pictures, but that doesn’t always happen.

But mushroom bruschetta is easy! And so yummy!  Jeremy whipped up a batch yesterday for dinner and it was… SO. GOOD.  Amazing!  Unfortunately, what he made (and painstakingly photographed) is not actually the recipe we had all ready to go! The recipe below is basically a fancier version of what we usually make. It just goes to show the versatility of this recipe.

Our version? Jeremy sauteed shiitake and oyster mushrooms and a bit of garlic. He spread a couple slices of lovely baguette with butter and seared the buttered bread in a hot cast iron pan. The mushrooms/garlic were piled on top and sprinkled with a little grated parmesan. I promise you: this little mushroom topped toast is absolutely divine.

But this version with chevre sounds pretty amazing too. You will not be sorry, whatever version you try!

 

Mushroom and Chevre Bruschetta

Serves 4 as appetizer
10-12 ounces shiitake and/or oyster mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves – 1 peeled and finely chopped, the other halved
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves picked
1 sprig summer savory, leaves plucked – optional
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 dried red chili, crumbled
1 small pat butter
1 lemon
3 oz. herbed chevre
4 small slices bread such as sourdough

Trim stems from mushrooms and save for soup stock. Chop mushroom caps. Put a large heavy frying pan, big enough to hold all the mushrooms in one layer, over heat and add about 1-2 tbsp. olive oil. When hot, add all mushrooms to the pan and give it a shake to
toss the mushrooms in the oil. Add the chopped garlic and fresh herbs and stir again. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the crumbled chili, add to the pan and sauté gently for a few minutes. If the mixture becomes dry, pour in a little more oil.

Once the mushrooms have started to turn a golden color, after about 3-4 minutes, add the butter and a nice squeeze of lemon juice(not too much) and toss again.

To finish this off and make it into a creamy sauce, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of water into the pan. Simmer for a little longer, until you have a nice simple sauce that just loosely coats the mushrooms.

Toast the bread and rub toast with the cut side of the remaining clove of garlic. Place each slice on a serving plate, top with a healthy dab of chevre and pile the mushrooms and pan juices on top.

adapted from Jamie’s Oliver’s “Jamie at Home”

Recipe: Midsummer Shiitake Green Salad

Serves 4
ingredients for the dressing
1/4 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
or
1 oz. fresh shiitake or oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons mushroom soaking water (if using dried mushrooms) or water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum powder

ingredients for the salad
4 to 6 oz. fresh Shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 to 4 oz. salad mix
pint jar of microgreens or sunflower sprouts
4 oz. chevre or blue cheese

shiitake sesame dressing
If using dried mushrooms, put them in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until the mushrooms are soft, at least an hour. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet, stirring until they are golden in color. Remove from the heat so they don’t burn.
When dried mushrooms are soft, save 2 tablespoons of the soaking water, trim and discard the stems; chop the mushrooms. Put the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, reserved soaking water (or just water), sesame oil, the chopped mushrooms and xanthan gum in a blender. Whir just until the mushrooms are in tiny pieces, about 10 seconds. Add the toasted sesame seeds and blend a few seconds more. Store in a glass jar, refrigerated if not using right away.

the salad
Assemble salad – including salad mix, microgreens or sprouts, and cheese. Remove stems from mushrooms and slice or chop caps. Save stems for stock. Heat oil in pan or skillet and add mushrooms. Saute mushrooms stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until soft and slightly browned. Top the salad with hot mushrooms and shiitake dressing and eat immediately!

 

Salad dressing recipe reproduced from the Muffin Talk blog

Abundance

This is the time of year when the mushrooms really start going crazy. The temperatures and humidity are just right and the mushrooms are extra happy. It’s also when we first start to see the fruits of our labor in the spring (pun intended!)

Jeremy was giving a tour of the farm a few days ago and saw the first of the mushrooms popping out on our 2017 logs. We never soak and force-fruit logs in their first year. They just lay out in the woods growing mycelium and basking in the dappled sunlight. Usually in August and September they test out their fungus growing powers and pop out several mushrooms per log. With almost 5,000 logs in the woods this year, that’s going to be a LOT of mushrooms.

first2017mushrooms

The first of the 2017 mushrooms!

Not to be outdone, the logs that we force fruit get a bit crazy too.

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All these mushrooms are picked by hand, so there is a LOT of picking to do! They can also grow incredibly fast. Jeremy will go through in the morning and pick the mushrooms that are ready and by late afternoon a bunch more mushrooms, that weren’t ready in the morning, will be ready to pick.

Unfortunately, August is one of the slowest months for mushroom sales! Orders from co-ops and groceries are down and the farmers market isn’t as hopping as we would like. We’ve got mushrooms on sale right now at The Wedge and Seward Co-ops and the other co-ops in the upper Midwest that carry our mushrooms will have them on sale by the end of next week. Just our way of enticing more people to buy and cook mushrooms. We’re selling mushrooms to Restaurant Alma and Northern Fires Wood Fired Pizza as well, so those are two other ways to get your mushroom fix.  We’d like to sell mushrooms to more restaurants. If you work for a restaurant that might be interested, drop us a line!

 

Recipe: Summer King Oyster Salad

Serves 4
1/2 cup white vinegar
2-1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 cracked garlic clove
up to 4 cups of seasonal vegetables like scallions or red onion, and green beans or cucumbers
1 bay leaf
6 to 8 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1 or 2 tsp more as needed
1 tsp vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 tightly-packed cup cleaned nasturtium leaves or other spicy greens
8 oz. fresh king oyster mushrooms
2 slices of thin-cut bacon, cut in half
2 cups cleaned arugula

The pickles
Heat vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt, and garlic in sauce pan on medium heat until it begins to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Put vegetables and bay leaf in heat-tolerant bowl and cover with vinegar mixture. Stir to evenly coat vegetables and allow to cool to room temperature or chill.

The dressing
Add together 6 to 8 Tbsp olive oil, vinegar, a clove of garlic, pinch of salt, and a cup of nasturtium leaves or other greens. Blend until smooth in a blender or food processor.

The warm and savory part
Slice or shred mushrooms. Cook bacon on medium heat until browned on each side. Remove bacon to paper towel. Add mushrooms to pan with a pinch of salt, cooking until soft and aromatic, or 5 to 10 minutes. Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil to the pan if the mushrooms look dry.

Make a small bed of arugula on each plate and top with a bacon strip, then add some drained pickles and hot mushrooms on the side. Drizzle the dressing over all and enjoy!

Recipe: Pesto and Shiitake Pasta

pestomushroompasta

Serves 4
4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 lb pasta
1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups basil leaves – packed
1/2 to 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sunflower or olive oil
3 Tbsp pine nuts or to taste
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup parmesan or friesago cheese

Bring 2 or 3 quarts of water to boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt and pasta and boil till al dente. If the toppings aren’t yet done, you may leave the pasta in cooking water to keep warm, but turn off the heat when pasta is still firm.

Place basil leaves, oil, pine nuts, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt in blender. Blend until smooth. Add more oil and stir carefully if it is too thick. Add more salt, pine nuts, or garlic to taste and blend again. You should be able to taste all flavors equally, though the pine nuts will be more of an aftertaste. Add 1/2 cup or more to taste of grated friesago or parmesan cheese, then stir or blend to integrate.

Remove stems from mushrooms and save for soup stock in the freezer. Chop or slice mushroom caps. Heat skillet or pan and add 2 Tbsp olive oil (or butter), then add  mushrooms when oil is hot. Saute until soft and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Serve pesto on top of hot pasta with mushrooms and remaining cheese, or serve cold for a midsummer picnic.

Variation: if you have garlic scapes available, use 2 oz. of them in lieu of the garlic and use between 2 and 2-1/2 cups of basil. This is also a delicious topping for a burger or steak, with more shiitake mushrooms!