As a child, I turned up my nose and made gagging noises when approached with a meal containing mushrooms. A fungus? You want me to eat THAT? My mother always said that I should keep trying things I didn’t originally like because “your taste will change.” How right she was!
I am not a vegetarian. I still eat meat occasionally. I guess that would make me a “flex-a-tarian.” Labeling isn’t important to me, so I just say that I eat meat when I can get pasture-raised, antibiotic-free, local meat. I eat it in moderation. I did not grow up that way. Being from the Midwest—Kansas City, Missouri to be exact—I grew up eating meat at nearly every meal. As a young adult, I finally came to the realization that cooking meat stressed me out. What if I didn’t cook it the right way—should I be grilling, braising, sautéing, roasting? What if it wasn’t done enough? What if it was overcooked? Plus, it was the most expensive thing on my home-cooked menu; so screwing it up could be disastrous for my palate and my wallet!
Eventually, I embraced roasting; let my husband do the grilling; and I occasionally sautéed. Several years ago, we decided as a family that eating more vegetables and grains would probably be best for our long-term health. Enter, the mushroom. It was time to try this little fungus again. I had read that it had some great health benefits and that it was a great meat substitute. I fell in love with the portobello immediately. Soon, I embraced the shitake, the oyster, and finally…the porcini. Now, I cannot imagine life without mushrooms. They add such a rich, almost meaty, flavor and texture to many of my favorite dishes.
How do you feel about this edible fungus? If you haven’t tried it in a while, you should. Remember what my mother said…and aren’t moms always right? Perhaps having it prepared in a new and exciting way will help. Here are a few recipes that might work…
- 4 large zucchini
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 1 tbs. butter
- 2 c. finely chopped mushrooms (Shitake/Oyster/Cremini)
- ½ c. quinoa
- 1 cup mushroom stock
- 1 medium shallot – minced
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 carrot – diced
- ¼ c. dry sherry
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme- chopped (I use lemon thyme)
- salt & pepper
- ¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- Rinse and drain the quinoa. Place mushroom stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and cover. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 12 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
- Remove the ends of each zucchini. Slice in half lengthwise. Using a grapefruit spoon, scoop out the seeds and make a trough for the filling. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a skillet and add the olive oil. Over medium-high heat, sauté the shallot and carrot in the olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the temperature down to medium and add the chopped mushrooms. Sauté for an additional 4-5 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the dry sherry to deglaze the pan. Stir well.
- Turn the heat to low and allow it to reduce. There should be no liquid left.
- Remove from heat, add the quinoa and the thyme.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fill the zucchini with the quinoa/mushroom mixture. Place in a baking dish. Add ¼ cup of water to the baking dish.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover, top each zucchini with cheese and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until zucchini is fork tender and cheese is melted.
- 3 large Portobello Mushroom caps – thinly sliced
- 1 medium red onion – halved and thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper – sliced
- 3-4 tbs. olive oil
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. Ancho powder
- ¼ to ½ tsp. Chipotle powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 2-3 cloves garlic – minced
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the mushrooms, the onion, and the red pepper into a bowl. Add the olive oil and stir to coat.
- Add the spices, the garlic, and the salt. Stir to combine.
- Place mixture on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir mixture and continue to roast for another 5 minutes.
- Serve on corn tortillas with cilantro, onion, avocado, and crema sauce.
- ½ c. sour cream
- ¼ c. cilantro leaves
- ¼ tsp. chipotle powder
- 1 tbs. lime juice
- pinch salt
- Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until combined. I use a plastic squeezable condiment bottle to store this lovely sauce.