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Cooking with Mushrooms

February 2, 2011 | by Jamie Geller

Four mouth-watering recipes even your kids will love.

I love mushrooms. Really, I do.
And Hubby hates them. He really does.
And the kids are split.
I am working on them.

Mushrooms are a delicacy, I tell them, especially when prepared the right way. My grandfather, a”h, was an outstanding chef and he really knew what to do with a mushroom. Unfortunately, he passed away before I could learn the recipes for his mushroom masterpieces.

Yet the aroma of those dishes linger in my mind. There’s something homey about mushrooms –they are earthy and meaty and gamey and so satisfying, whether grilled, sautéed or stewed. And while you find mushrooms in many different dishes, I favor a special Italian recipe for a fancy dairy meal.

Tonight we are making Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Spinach Walnut Salad. Risotto is an Italian dish made using short-grain rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The stock is added gradually while the rice is stirred constantly. This cooking technique releases the starch in the rice, giving the finished dish a creamy texture. Many risottos include parmesan cheese and butter. So in an effort to keep mine authentic I am using vegetable broth (instead of chicken so we can keep in the dairy) and of course, I am adding mushrooms. My recipe calls for Button, Cremini and Shiitake mushrooms (the kind most commonly found in your local grocery store.)

This a classic Italian mushroom-laden bowl of heaven and my milchig taste buds are dancing already. There is something about a Mushroom Risotto that speaks of comfort and warmth, of curling up by the fireside at the end of a long cold day.

It will be appreciated by those with a finer palate in your household – at least that’s what I tell anyone who doesn’t appreciate my hard work on this dish. The truth is that the palette doesn’t need to be all that refined – even the kiddies will like this creamy rice dish.

Still, I know it’s not Hubby’s favorite meal. He’s a meat & potatoes guy. A girl has to cook something for herself once in a while – but I’ll be reasonable. Tonight it’s mushrooms and dairy. Tomorrow, we can have sloppy joes for din din or even leftover sausage and pepper rolls from last night. (Both the joes and the sausage recipes are from my new book. Yes, I cook out of my books all the time – they are my recipe boxes!)

Hubby and I disagree on tomatoes and eggplant too. I see another compromise coming.

If mushrooms are like manna from heaven for you, you’ll be thanking God for these tasty dishes.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Spinach Walnut Salad

Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4
Yield: 4 cups
Kosher Designation: Dairy
Difficulty: Beginner

    For risotto:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups assorted sliced mushrooms, such as cremini, button and shitake
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper
    For salad:

  • 1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach, washed
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) wedge Danish blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons store bought balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté onions for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring to coat rice in oil. While continuously stirring, add 1/2 cup of stock at a time. Simmer and stir constantly and allow each 1/2 cup to be fully absorbed before adding more. Once all the stock has been incorporated, add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes more or until mushrooms wilt just a bit. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, zest and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine spinach, cheese and walnuts. Toss with dressing and serve with risotto.

Broccoli and Mushroom Pie

Prep: 6 min
Total: 1 hr, 6 min to 1 hr, 21 min
Yield: 8 servings

  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli cuts, thawed and drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 (9-inch) frozen prepared piecrust
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup liquid non-dairy creamer
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Arrange broccoli, mushrooms and onions in piecrust.
  3. In a bowl, place eggs, non-dairy creamer, flour, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Pour over vegetables.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour to 1 and 15 minutes, until mixture is set.
  5. Use a pie server to cut into wedge-shaped pieces; serve warm

Asian Shiitake Mushroom Soup

For a heartier soup, skin and shred 2 poached chicken breasts and add for last 10 minutes of cooking. Or add a handful of rice sticks for last 4 to 5 minutes of cooking.

Prep: 10 min
Total: 1 hr
Yield: 4 – 6 servings

  • 2 (3.5-ounce) cartons sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups Imagine Organic No-Chicken Chicken Broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced; use just white part, about 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 4 frozen crushed garlic cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a 6-quart stockpot
  2. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 50 minutes.
  3. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Baby Spinach and Portobello Mushroom Salad

If you don't have time to sauté, just use 1 carton of fresh sliced white mushrooms in place of the portobellos.

Prep: 10 min
Total: 15 min
Yield: 8 servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (6-ounce) package sliced portobello mushrooms
  • 1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach leaves
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 grape tomatoes, halved
  • For dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Place baby spinach, onion and tomatoes in a salad bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pour over salad.
  5. Spoon mushrooms over salad. Toss gently and serve.

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