Archives for posts with tag: mushrooms

There’s a place to forage mushrooms near Oakland–lots of places I’m sure, but only one I’ve been to several times. Once–the first time!–we left with a huge cache of chanterelles; twice with nothing; and always with a crop of poison oak that lingers for over a week and a half. The spot is not welcoming to foragers, but so far, so good, no tickets.


I can’t imagine how much that first cache would have would cost at the store.

sack of mushrooms

Saute the leeks first but don’t cook the mushrooms. Use a tiny bit of cheese or daiya (which is really only tasty when used sparingly). I’ve become lazy and I buy pizza dough at the store. Hottest oven possible, preheat the baking sheet.

crispy edgesteakettle photobomb

Leek and Mushroom Pizza
makes one pizza, enough for two people and a little leftover

one lump of pizza dough (get it at the store, or do this, which makes two lumps)
3 T olive oil
2 C sliced washed leeks
1/2 lb. assorted mushrooms
1/4 C daiya or mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

If you’re using store-bought dough, take it out of the bag and place it on a floured cutting board. Let it come to room temperature before trying to manhandle it. I use a rolling pin, and let it rest for 10 minutes whenever it seems like it doesn’t want to get any bigger. Turn, flip, and dust the dough with flour regularly.

Put your pizza pan in the oven and preheat to 500.

Heat 2 T of the oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Saute the leeks for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and some of them are brown and a little burny.

Slice and tear the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.

Take the pizza pan out of the oven. Put the dough on it (I fold the dough into quarters to make it easy to move, then unfold and stretch it on the pan). Brush the remaining 1 T olive oil over the dough, concentrating on the crust. Sprinkle the leeks over the dough, then the raw mushrooms and cheese. Bake for 8-12 minutes–check on it at 8, and remove from the oven when the crusts are golden brown.


I should never be surprised by the things my mom knows how to make off the top of my head, but once in a while I am. I guess miso soup isn’t very complicated. But I had been daydreaming about it, and mentioned it to my mom, and the she rattled off her recipe, step by step, and I went out and made it. Miraculous and easy. The years of macrobiotics pay off.

Obviously one of the beauties of miso soup is that you can put whatever you want in there. But I am very partial to this combination of things, and think you should try it. I know miso soup is supposed to be simple, and this one isn’t really. But it’s mealtime miso. Really savory and satisfying but also healthy as all get out–I don’t say that much but this soup fits the bill. And also simple. No sauteing. One pot. Lasts for days.

Miso Soup with Udon and Greens
serves four hungry people who like 2 bowls of soup each

2 pieces of kombu (approx. 1″ by 4″)
a knob of ginger, about tablespoon sized, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 C dried shiitake pieces, soaked in 1 C warm water (optional)

1/3 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. dried udon noodles
1/2 C light yellow miso paste
2 bunches spinach, stemmed, washed, and roughly chopped
12 oz. silken tofu, cubed
4 scallions, finely sliced

sesame oil, for serving

First you make the stock, which is flavored with seaweed, ginger and mushrooms. I soak the mushrooms separately though because they can be gritty. So in a big pot, add the kombu and ginger to 8 C water and bring to a boil. Fish the soaked shiitake pieces out of their warm water bath, finely chop them, and add them to the pot along with the shiitake soaking water, pouring slowly to make sure that any residual grit doesn’t make its way into the pot. Cover, turn the heat off, and let sit for at least an hour (I usually do this in the morning or early afternoon). After an hour, fish out the kombu and slice it very thinly, then add it back to the stock.

When you’re ready for soup, add the fresh sliced shiitakes to the stock and bring to a boil. Add the udon noodles, bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook according to package directions. When the udon is done, ladle some of the stock into a bowl and add the miso. Whisk to combine, then dump back into the pot. (This is easier than chasing lumps of miso paste around the pot of soup.) Add the spinach and tofu and stir very carefully until the greens are just wilted. Turn off the heat, stir in the scallions, and serve with a little anointing of sesame oil.

Have you had cashew cream? It’s a vegan delight. Vegans like it. Omnivores like it. My cat likes it. (She’s an aspiring vegan–she dragged my chickpea cutlet sandwich to the floor the other day.)

The basis for this dish comes from the Stanford Inn by the Sea, a lodge in Mendocino that I can’t possibly afford. It looks really nice. (Pets are welcome! Though they seem to prefer pot-bellied pigs to cats!) Anyways. Instead of going, Justin and I made their pasta.

Then I made it again for Justine and Travis.

Why yes, that IS a set of russian doll measuring cups!

There are two ways you can go with this recipe. You can be all homestyle, and mix the veggies into the pasta and slop it on a plate (this is what I do). Or you can be fancy, mix the pasta with the sauce, plate it, and then gently arrange the veggies on top (I don’t do this). I will say, however, that the deliciousness of the sauce has a lot to do with the wine you buy. There’s a full cup in this recipe, and you boil it down to boot, so the quality actually matters (I hate to say). I had good results when I used an $8 bottle of sauvignon blanc. I’d say don’t go under $5-6.

I’d also say you should try this especially if you haven’t made a cashew cream before. I don’t really love cashews–but they make a really shocking cream when you blitz them with water. Try it–you may find you don’t need to long after alfredos anymore. I upped the vegetables and added mushrooms for a little heft, but the sauce alone is brilliant–creamy, very savory, almost unctuous.

Fettuccini with Black Pepper Sauce, Asparagus, and Oyster Mushrooms
adapted from Ravens Restaurant (recipe in Vegetarian Times)
serves 4

1 C raw cashews
1 C water
1 C decent white wine
1 T nutritional yeast
1 T lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. fettuccini
1 bunch spinach, washed and stems removed
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed and sliced into 1.5″ pieces
1/3 lb oyster mushrooms, pulled into bite-sized pieces
1 t olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of salt.

Blend the cashews, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain out any solids using a fine mesh strainer (if you have one of those conical ones they use on Top Chef, use that). Discard the solids and whisk in the pepper. Taste for salt–it needs quite a bit. Start with 1/2 t kosher salt and add from there.

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, simmer the wine 7-10 mins until reduced to about 1/3 C. Stir in the cashew sauce and set aside.

Time to start cooking the pasta.

Now, in a big skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir the spinach into the sauce–this prevents clumps of spinach in the final product. In the same saucepan over medium high heat, saute the mushrooms with a big pinch of salt until soft, about 5 mins. Set them aside. In the same saucepan, crank the heat to high and saute the asparagus for a few minutes, until it’s a little tender and blistered. Set aside.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 C of its cooking water. Put the pasta back in the big pot with the asparagus and mushrooms and stir in the cashew sauce. Thin with a little pasta water if needed. Serve immediately.

Every time I move I wonder if I really need to keep my back issues of Gourmet. I own a lot of books. Magazines are maybe even heavier than books? And publicly bemoaning the loss of Gourmet is one of those nostalgic foodie activities that makes me feel sort of self-conscious.

But man…that mag had some RECIPES. In a rut, such as the one I experienced recently that revolved (i.e. continues to revolve) around tofurkey sandwiches, Gourmet makes me excited about foods again. My holiday plans now involve this elaborate mushroom and farro pie that’s encased in puff pastry–doesn’t that sound awesome? And my first post-thanksgiving cooking expedition had me rolling (yes, more) mushrooms in delicate blanched collard leaves and toasting a festival of nuts and seeds in olive oil.

An assortment of the nicest mushrooms you can find ends up super-buttery with the addition of some aromatics, wine, thyme, and a little champagne vinegar (some of which are in the original recipe, some of which I added). The collards, however delicate, still taste like collards, so if you’re looking for something milder you might try cabbage. I’ve never made any such bundles–we weren’t a stuffed cabbage family, and I’ve made the conscious decision to leave dolmas to the professionals–but I found it very soothing to roll up these little fat envelopes, patching them as needed, overlapping the stem seams, folding in the edges like a burrito.

The nutty rice is a straightforward winner. If you don’t do nuts, seeds would be awesome–sesame, pumpkin, sunflower. Maybe even some soynuts. They end up toasty and crunchy and did I mention oily? But oily in the best way, in the way that white basmati rice with butter tasted at other folks’ homes when I was growing up.

Wild Mushroom Bundles with Nutty Brown Rice
adapted from a couple recipes from Gourmet
serves 4, at least

1 bunch of collard greens (you only need 8 leaves, but it’s good to have the extras for emergency patching)
2 T olive oil
3 T finely chopped shallot
1 t kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. wild mushrooms, sliced (I used hen of the woods, oyster, and crimini)
1/2 t dried thyme leaves
1/4 C dry vermouth
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C finely chopped parsley
1 t champagne vinegar

Remove the stems and thick center ribs from the collards. They’ll now be split much of the way down the middle but this is fine. Cook the collard leaves (all of them) in a pot of salted water for 6 minutes. Drain, and lay out the leaves in a single layer on a kitchen towel to dry.

Heat a frypan over medium heat and add the olive oil, shallots, and salt. Saute until the shallots soften a bit, about 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic. Saute one minute and add the mushrooms and thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and their liquids have evaporated. Add the vermouth and white wine and simmer until the liquid is almost gone. Take the frypan off the heat and stir in the parsley and vinegar.

Preheat the oven to 450.

Working on your kitchen towel, lay out a collard leaf. The big ones are easiest to work with. That split down the middle? Overlap the cut edges so that it disappears. Spoon an eighth of the mushroom mixture (about 1/4 C) into the center of the leaf and roll up like a burrito–fold over one edge, fold in the sides, and roll. Place in a greased 8×8 baking dish (any 2 qt. baking dish will do). Repeat with the rest of the bundles.

Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top of the collards, and sprinkle with any nice big-grained salt you have on hand. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Nutty Brown Rice

4 C water
1.5 C short-grain brown rice
1/2 t kosher salt
1.25 C mixed nuts chopped (I used pecans, almonds, and pepitas)
3 T olive oil

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the rice and salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain the rice.

Heat the olive oil in a large frypan (the one you used for the mushrooms works really excellently) and add the nuts. Stir and saute until the nuts are golden, about 4-6 minutes. Dump in the rice, stir it up, and serve. A little chopped parsley on top looks pretty.

I may have had seitan in my youth but I’m pretty sure I ate it for the first time last week, in a really glorious shepherd’s pie that I intend to recreate soon with tablespoons and camera in hand. Homemade seitan looks pretty much like brains, even when you slice it up, and there was some leftover after the pie. I’ve been on a quest for a meat-free way to recreate one of my favorite comfort dishes, spam and rice (thanks Katherine!), and it occurred to me that maybe these leftover gluten lobes would fry up nicely.

They do. They really do. I’m a new seitan convert now, as is Ruth, who both made off with the bag of gluten in the night, and immediately jumped up on the counter when I fished the lobes out of their broth and began licking them when I turned my head. That cat likes some weird stuff, for a cat.

The chinese broccoli, or gai lan, is my green of choice for this comfort meal. In the past I’ve cooked it very simply–some oil, salt, red pepper flakes. When I made it a few days ago though I found a lone shiitake in the fridge, and a few giant serrano chiles, so I added them. As it turns out a little mushroom is a very welcome addition to these wonder greens, which combine the satisfying stems of broccoli with leaves that are substantial but not at all bitter. I love gai lan. If you want really mushroomy greens, use 1/3 lb. of shiitakes–this is quite a lot. If you want to taste the greens though, go easy–a handful of mushrooms will be plenty. (I went full throttle in this incarnation of the dish and regretted it a little.)

The crisped seitan becomes a vehicle for one of my favorite condiments, hot mustard–I will eat egg rolls, which I don’t particularly like, if it means I get to slather something in hot mustard. Actually, the whole dish is basically a condiment party; Alex and I used no fewer than four different condiments when we ate this. Also: great leftovers.

Crispy Seitan with Chinese Broccoli and Hot Mustard
serves 4

1 lb. seitan (I used this recipe; you can buy it pre-made too)
1/2 C AP flour
3 T brewer’s or nutritional yeast
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
4 T canola oil, divided

2 bunches chinese broccoli (gai lan)
shiitake mushrooms, anywhere from a handful to 1/3 lb., sliced
1 serrano chili or jalapeno, very thinly sliced
2 T canola oil
1 t kosher salt

rice for serving
condiments of choice: rice vinegar, sriracha, prepared chinese hot mustard, gomasio.

Drain the seitan and slice it into 1 cm slices. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and pepper, and dump the result onto a plate. Dredge each piece of seitan in the flour mixture, really pressing down. The seitan is quite wet and will hold onto a lot of the flour if you press. Place the dredged slices of seitan on a cooling rack and let them be for now.

[dredged seitan is pretty ugly]

Now, onto the gai lan. Slice off the dried stem-ends and discard. Then slice the stems into 1 cm pieces. Wash and drain the stems and set them aside. Now slice the leafy part into 1 inch ribbons. Submerge them in a big bowl of water, wash them thoroughly, and pull them out to drain in a colander.

Time to start multi-tasking. In a large frypan that has a lid, or even better, a dutch oven, heat 2 T canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 t kosher salt. Saute these for 3 minutes or so, until they start to soften. Now add the gai lan stems. Stir, and throw a lid on the pan. Fry/steam for 2 minutes. During this time, heat a medium-sized frypan over medium-high heat and add 2 T canola oil. Add half the seitan slices and swirl the oil around to make sure they’re all getting nicely fried. These cook about 4 minutes per side, until they’re browned and crispy.

Take the lid off the pot of greens, crank the heat to high, and add the chiles. Fry for a minute or so, and then add the gai lan ribbons and another 1/2 t kosher salt. Start stirring; the leaves will begin to wilt almost immediately, so it gets easier to stir them around. They have a lot of water to release so you can ignore them a bit now. Back to the seitan; flip the slices using a fork and swirl the oil around again. These don’t stick AT ALL which is so nice.

Now you’re just finishing up. Remove this batch of seitan slices once they’re browned on both sides and set them on the cooling rack. Add the remaining 2 T canola oil to the fry pan and crisp up the second batch of seitan slices on both sides. By now the water may be all boiled off from the greens; at that point they’re done so just keep checking. Don’t worry if your multi-tasking doesn’t result in perfect culinary simultaneity. The greens are happy with a lid on them, staying warm, and if the seitan is done first that’s ok too–it stays crisp if you put it on the cooling rack.

Serve with rice (I cooked mine in the seitan broth). I like a little rice vinegar on my greens, and a pretty hefty drizzle of hot mustard over the seitan.

My friend Judy came into Amber Waves the other day and recited the Dr. Joel Fuhrman GOMBS diet to me. GOMBS is an acronym for the foods that prevent cancer:

G = greens, esp. broccoli, but even green tea is good
O = onions, and that includes all of that family
M = mushrooms (every mushroom has anti-cancer properties, not just reishi or shiitake)
B = berries
S = seeds

I started thinking about a good side dish incorporating some of these foods, and as snap peas were on the counter:

Snap Peas, Shiitakes, and Onions

1/2 lb. fresh snap peas
1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly root to top
4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 T olive oil
1 T tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 T sesame seeds

Put dried mushrooms into a small bowl and pour boiling water over them, just to cover. Allow them to rehydrate while you prep the peas and onion. You can use fresh shiitakes, but they seem to lack the wonderful flavor of the dried.

Clean snap peas by pulling off one end towards the other, stripping the tougher vein away from the pod. New tender pods don’t need this, older ones do. Wash them and cut them in thirds, or halve the small ones.

Reserve the soaking liquid, and slice the now soft shiitake into strips, discarding the tough stem.

Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until wilted, then add the snap peas and shiitakes and the soaking liquid. Stir until water is almost entirely evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sesame seeds, stir briefly, and serve. Once the peas are in the pan, try to keep cooking time at around 3 minutes, as you don’t want to overcook them. This recipe would be terrific in winter with broccoli or cabbage and a little longer on the flame.

or, sad refrigerator pizza.

It doesn’t look too sad. But some aspects of this pizza were bootleg at best. The mushrooms, which I bought from the mushroom lady at the Mar Vista farmers market, had been in the crisper for over a week. For no discernible reason, I decided to dry fry them instead of plying them with fat. Don’t do this. I had no appropriate cheese, so I used a variety of vaguely inappropriate cheeses (hey, ricotta salata doesn’t melt). I had leftover tomato sauce in the fridge, one that has become so ubiquitous that people no longer blog about it, but rather blog about how many other people have blogged about it. For all that, and my undying respect for all things smitten, I wasn’t the biggest fan. The butter tasted great, of course, but my fancy can of San Marzanos never really sweetened up. To top it off, I didn’t cook the pizza for long enough, so although it looked pretty its crust was soggy. Easy enough to remedy–the pizza lived up to its generic duty of being better the next day, in part because of the crisping power of my toaster oven. And that’s the thing about pizza: I messed this one up in at least five different ways and it still make several great meals, especially with a side of zucchini salad with harissa.

The real star here was the half recipe of pizza dough I pulled from the freezer. Did you know you can freeze pizza dough? I didn’t, until the last time I made some. It thaws fast. And because it’s rested for god knows how long in deep freeze, it responds well to stretching and pulling. That said, it’s always worth while to give the dough a break mid-shaping. The gluten will relax a bit and allow for more shaping in a few minutes. See, before and after dough-siesta:

I used olive oil on the sheet pan and on my hands, but if you’re lucky enough to have a pizza stone in your oven (or a grill! grill your pizza!) then you want to use flour. Either of these cooking methods will give you a better crust than oven alone, even if that oven is cranked to 550. And on that note, I recommend not cooking this during a massive heatwave.

Wild Mushroom Pizza with Tomato Butter Sauce
serves 2-3

Half a recipe of pizza dough*
1 1/2 C wild mushrooms, torn into pieces and sauteed in 1T olive oil until wilted (1 1/2 C, I guess–but what you really want is the amount that you can imagine covering a pizza. Also: wild mushrooms are nice, but so are those white buttons from the supermarket).
1 1/2 C grated cheese (at least half of that should be something melty, like mozzarella. I also used a nub of gruyere, some parmesan, and even a few slices of deli swiss julienned. Also an unidentified remnant. Not a great combo, to be honest.)
1/2 C slivered red onion
1/2 C tomato butter sauce, or whatever jar of sauce lurks in your fridge, or one big tomato sliced
olive oil
salt and dried oregano

Preheat your oven to its highest setting. You can also do this, then turn on the broiler to get it really steamy. If you have a pizza stone, make sure it’s in there. Turn on the kitchen exhaust fan, open your windows, and close the door to the bedroom unless you want your pillows to smell like whatever gets vaporized as your oven comes to temp.

Pat out your pizza dough until it is as thin as you like it–I like thin, so I aim for 1cm. Give it a rest, and keep patting (or rolling, if you’re into that) until you’ve reached your preferred thickness. If you’ve used flour for this process, give the surface a smear of olive oil, especially around the crust area. Since the tomato sauce is more of a condiment than an omnipresent slick in this recipe, the olive oil is important. Without it you’ll have a cracker topped with mushrooms.

Scatter the sauteed mushrooms on the pizza, followed by the cheese and onions. Dollop the sauce over the top, and give the assembled product a sprinkling of salt, oregano, and olive oil. If you’re using a pizza stone, use your pizza peel, or a sheet pan with no sides, or a piece of parchment under your pizza, to get the beast in the oven. Otherwise, the pizza goes in the oven, which is super hot by now, and stays there 8-12 minutes (less, probably, if you have the pizza stone). The cooking time depends in large part on how hot your oven is willing to get. The pizza is done when you can see that the crust has firmed up–haul it out of the oven and lift an edge with a spatula. When you do this the pizza should stay in the same plane as its edge (does that make sense?). If the pizza flops back to the sheet pan, it’s not done yet.

Cool five minutes on a rack, then slice up. Clean scissors work well if you don’t have a pizza wheel.

*I use Martha’s pizza recipe from her Baking Handbook

1 C warm water (around 110 degrees)
1/4 t sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 oz.)
14 oz. all purpose flour (2 3/4 C), plus some for dusting
1 t table salt
1 1/2 T olive oil

Sprinkle yeast and sugar over water in a small bowl. Stir with a fork and let stand until foamy. If the mixture doesn’t get foamy, it’s time to buy new yeast!

In a food processor (or stand mixer, or bowl with wooden spoon), pulse flour and salt to combine. Add yeast mixture and oil. Pulse until the mixture comes together but is still a little sticky. Martha says the dough should pull away cleanly from your fingers when you squeeze it. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and give it a few kneads until it’s smooth. Drop it in an oiled bowl and flip it over so the whole dough ball is oiled. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 40 minutes, until the dough is doubled in size.

Punch down the dough (this is the best part). Fold it in on itself a few times, and leave it in its bowl, smooth side up, until it’s doubled again (30-40 minutes).

Punch it down again and turn out on a floured surface. Divide into two pieces; either make two pizzas, or wrap one piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate (or freeze!) it. Now you have pizza dough.