Recipe: Mushrooms and veggies fry up

It must be getting close to spring. I’m growing tired of soups, stews, and chili’s. I want veggies! Fresh veggies! This is a quick recipe for mushrooms and veggies that can be altered to fit any tastes.  It feels like one of those “fake” recipes because it’s so easy – how can “cook up a bunch of vegetables” possibly be a recipe?

Mushrooms and veggies fry up

1 onion, chopped, minced, sliced thin (as you like)
1-2 bell peppers, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
2 oz dried (or 1 lb. frozen) mushrooms
Several cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 pound of Italian sausage (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

If you’re using dried mushrooms, soak them in a bowl of warm water for about an hour. When soft, remove stems and chop up. For frozen mushrooms, let thaw for about an hour – then remove stems and chop up. Saute mushrooms in a cast iron or other heavy pan until they’re starting to get crispy, 10-12 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pan on medium-high heat, add onions and a few tablespoons of oil and cook, stirring occasionally. When the mushrooms are starting to look a bit translucent, after a few minutes, add the bell peppers. Continue to saute and stir occasionally so everything is cooking and browning evenly. When onions and peppers are mostly cooked, add the zucchini and squash. Continue to saute and stir. Feel free to add more oil if the pan seems to dry. You may cover the pan for a minute or two at this point to help soften and cook the zucchini and squash. Add the minced garlic and cooked mushrooms. Stir to incorporate and saute for another minute or so. You don’t want the garlic to cook for more than a minute or two (garlic burns quickly).

That’s pretty much it! If you like some extra protein in your dish, you can fry up a 1/2 pound of Italian sausage (or any other kind of meat you like) and add that to the veggies at the end.

I decided to whip up some couscous and throw that in with everything as well.  While everything is sauteing, heat 3/4 cup of broth or water in a small pan. When boiling, add 1/2 cup of couscous. Give the couscous a quick stir, turn the heat off, and cover the pan.  You can add a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil at this point too if you like.  Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff up the pasta. You can serve the veggies on a bed of couscous, or dump the couscous in and mix everything up together.

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Recipe: Smoky Mushroom Chili

I’ve been enjoying making various soups this winter out of the Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook put out by America’s Test Kitchen. The other day I came across a recipe for smoky sausage and bean chili and immediately thought of several changes we could make to the recipe. It called for kielbasa but I used some of our mushroom brats. (So if you don’t live in the Twin Cities and can’t get mushroom brats from us, I guess you can settle for some kielbasa).  The recipe also called for liquid smoke. Instead, I used a bunch of our smoked shiitake mushrooms. The mushrooms were a great addition to the chili and they provided a wonderful smoky flavor and smell. (So I guess if you don’t live in the Twin Cities and can’t get smoked mushrooms from us…you’ll have to settle for liquid smoke!)

Smoky Mushroom Chili

2 onions, minced
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound dried navy beans (1 1/4 cups), picked over and rinsed
1 pound mushroom brats, sliced 1/2 inch thick
8 ounces andouille sausage, sliced 1/2 inch thick
12 ounces (3 packages) of smoked shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

1. In a large saute pan heat vegetable oil on medium-high, then saute onions and bell peppers for 10-20 minutes until the onions are starting to brown and bell peppers are softened. Add chili powder, garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook for another few minutes, then transfer to slow cooker.  (You’ll need at least a 4-quart slow cooker/crock pot for this.)

2. Stir broth, beans, mushroom brats, andouille, smoked mushrooms, soy sauce, sugar, chipotles, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

3. Discard bay leaves. Transfer 1 cup cooked beans to bowl and mash smooth with potato masher. Stir mashed beans into chili and let sit until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, avocado, scallions, or whatever else you like on your chili!

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Recipe: Pasta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Cheese

This pasta dish is quite easily adapted. I found it in the New York Times sometime last year and it had been adapted from an Italian cookbook. I changed a bunch of things, and you too can add or remove things to suit your tastes!  I’ll probably revise it again because I felt like there was too much pasta and not enough brussels sprouts – which is saying something coming from someone who prefers pasta over brussels sprouts! Even so, this is a fabulous hearty dish to enjoy in all this cold weather.

Pasta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Cheese

1 3/4 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 to 3/4 pound penne pasta
10-12 ounces shiitake mushrooms
1/2 pound Italian sausage
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup ricotta
8 ounces Gruyere, in 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4 sage leaves, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the prepared brussels sprouts in a large baking pan (either a 10-by-15 roasting pan or a 9-by-13 lasagna pan), toss with a little olive oil and salt, and roast for about 20 minutes, till they are slightly browned and tender throughout.  When the sprouts are done, remove the pan from the oven and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and let water come back to a boil. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Just before draining the pasta, remove 2 cups of the cooking liquid and set aside.

Trim stems from mushrooms and save for soup stock. Chop or slice mushroom caps; set aside. Heat a frying pan and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Crumble Italian sausage into the pan and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until the sausage is fully cooked and there is no pink. Spoon the sausage out into a separate bowl. If there isn’t much oil left in the pan, add another couple tablespoons of olive oil and saute the prepared mushrooms for about 5 minutes.

Tip the drained pasta, mushrooms, and sausage into the roasting pan with the brussels sprouts.

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Add ricotta, Gruyere, and 1 cup cooking water, and toss well. Add more liquid if you think the pasta is too dry.

Warm butter, olive oil, and garlic in a small saucepan. When melted and beginning to sizzle gently, add sage and fry for about 30 seconds. Spoon or drizzle the butter and sage over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 20 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before eating. Those brussels sprouts really hold the heat!

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Winter Projects

Did you miss us? We have had the farmers market the last two weeks and I meant to send updates at least whenever we had a market, but things get busy for me (the farmer’s wife) during this season. Not that Jeremy hasn’t been busy – there are lots of projects going on at the farm!

First up was replacing some roof panels in the packing shed. Some of the translucent panels had been damaged by hail so every time it rained, water dripped in. Not anymore! Also, at long last, the painting is all done in the pack shed!  We are well on our way to getting this building inspected and certified as a food warehouse.

Next up was a shade structure expansion. Having inoculated almost 5,000 logs earlier this year, we are going to need more space for them. Jeremy and Andy (our newest employee), got pipe, cut it to fit, and had it all laid out on Monday.

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Monday was a blissfully warm day (at least for upper Wisconsin in December!) and then the temperature plummeted overnight and the snow arrived. It was far too cold to work outside.  It felt warm enough by Thursday (or we here in the upper Midwest just acclimate that fast) to finish putting up the pipes. Another project done!

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Yet another project on the farm is converting the old inoculation shed/storage shed into employee housing.  For those of you who have been to the farm, you may have noticed this decrepit looking shed propped up on pallets right outside the door of the house.  We plan to move it eventually, but Jeremy and Andy are getting some work done on it first.

Making sure it’s all insulated:

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Taking out the overhead door and replacing it with a window and wall:

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The electrical is done so after the wall was completed they were able to turn on a space heater and get the shed nice and toasty.  This is basically our first foray into tiny houses and we’re pretty excited about it.  Jeremy picked up a small wood stove which will be used for heating it. We do have plenty of wood around to burn!

Lastly, the first load of logs was delivered today – so inoculations for 2018 will be starting soon. No rest for mushroom farmers!

Recipe: Shiitake Mushroom Omelette

I love omelettes. They are so versatile: you can put practically anything in them, you can eat them any time of the day, and they are pretty easy to make. This recipe calls for a stronger cheese like blue cheese. I surprised Jeremy this morning with a demand to make this for breakfast so I could take pictures of it – and all we had on hand was Swiss cheese. It was still a very tasty breakfast.

 

Shiitake Mushroom Omelette

Serves 1 or 2
3 ounces shiitake or other mushrooms
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 Tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp chives, rosemary, or other herbs
1/4 cup blue cheese, or other strong cheese
1/3 cup fresh greens such as arugula or chard, chopped.

Trim stems from mushrooms and save for soup stock. Heat 2 Tbsp of butter on medium low heat. Chop mushroom caps and saute for five minutes, or until soft and slightly browned. If mushroom look dry, add more butter to the pan. Set aside.

Add cream and chopped herbs to eggs and blend. Heat omelette pan on low heat and add 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp butter. When the pan is hot, pour egg mixture into the pan so that the mixture extends to the edges of the pan. Top with crumbles of cheese, and add mushrooms and fresh greens to one half.

When the egg is cooked through, fold omelette in half and serve. Garnish with more herbs if you like. Serve with a green salad or slaw of kale, cabbage, and grated carrot. Enjoy!

Before and After

We had a lot of “before and after” on the farm this last week. As I mentioned last week, we got a start on turning all of that cut wood from last year into firewood. Jeremy thinks he got through maybe 1/3 of the pile of wood. There is a LOT of firewood!

 

Last weekend I was also working on that darn pack shed again. It’s SO CLOSE to being painted! But it’s not there yet. There are just a few bits at one end that are too high up for me to reach and we don’t have scaffolding. We have one ladder that is too tall and one that is too short!  So Jeremy has to finish those bits when he finds some free time. In between painting the pack shed and stacking firewood, I got to work painting a room in the upstairs of the farm house. We thought it could use some freshening and brightening up.

 

All this week Jeremy has had temporary folks coming by to help with the big fall project of moving the 5,000 logs in the woods up to the shade structure at the front of the farm. That is a bit of a long term project, though hopefully it will be wrapped up by the end of November if not sooner!  With the crew on hand Thursday, Jeremy decided it was time to take the shade fabric down from the shade structure. They’ll have to move the fabric on and off as they move more logs in and if the weather warms up to pick mushrooms. But with snow in the forecast, we don’t take any chances leaving the shade fabric up. We left it up once about 2-3 years ago and the weight of just a couple inches of snow from that early snowstorm bent the pipes of the shade structure!  We definitely don’t want to go through fixing that again.

 

We’ve got more to do to button up the farm for the winter and Jeremy is already contacting loggers looking for the new batch of 5,000 or so logs for inoculations to start in December.

I’m going to take a break from regular weekly email updates over the winter – you’ll just be hearing from us when there is a Winter Market happening. You won’t miss us too much though – Winter Markets are practically every other week now!

Recipe: Beef Burger with Shiitake

Beef Burger with Shiitake

Serves 4
4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
3/4 to 1 pound ground beef
1/4 to 1/2 cup blue cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup onion
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
a little salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns
1 to 3 oz. salad mix, sprouts or shoots

Remove stems from mushrooms and save for soup stock in the freezer. Slice mushroom caps. Heat skillet or pan and add 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil, then add mushrooms when fat is hot. Saute until soft and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside and cover.  You can also saute the onions, separately, or use them raw – depending on your preference.

Prepare grill for burgers and buns. Blend cold ground meat with chopped onion, crumbled cheese, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper; then form into thick patties and place on hot grill. Flip patty once and grill on remaining side until done. You can also sear on cast iron skillet at medium-high heat. Remove burgers to platter and cover until ready to serve. While burgers are cooking, brush bun faces with butter or oil and grill or sear briefly, then set aside.

Place burgers on grilled buns, then top with sautéed mushrooms and salad mix, sprouts or shoots. Serve open face or top with remaining bun. Enjoy!

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Okay, our burgers never look perfect (all round like they were cut out by a giant cookie cutter), but they are fabulously tasty!