January 2017 Cooking Challenge

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pdcooks, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. pdcooks

    pdcooks

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    Hello all. Being new to the site I had no idea how the challenge worked. I see now it's up to me to choose a new one so here it is...

    Mushrooms!

    I've been focusing on them for a couple of weeks as a personal challenge and I developed a great cream of mushroom soup that kicks it. So, it's a great time of year to play with our fungal friends!

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Wonderful, we haven't had a mushroom challenge for years!
     
  3. mike9

    mike9

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    Nice - so many options between fresh and dried.  Something with Duxelles comes to mind.  Interestingly enough I made a soup with porcini tortellini tonight, but I didn't make them from scratch.
     
  4. butzy

    butzy

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    I am in town today, so just have to make sure I remember to buy mushrooms...
     
  5. teamfat

    teamfat

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    I like mushrooms. I've no doubt related this story before, but I won't let that stop me.  When I was young, maybe 6 - 7 years old or so I had my first memory of mushrooms. My father did some land surveying now and again on weekends as a side bit to his job as Dowagiac City Engineer, a small, somewhat rural town in southwest Michigan. One weekend he and a friend who worked with him had no side jobs lined up, but this friend was an avid mushroom hunter. They gathered, and they gathered well.

    I remember coming into the house after playing outside and immediately being disgusted by the terrible stench of my mother frying up a big skillet of those mushrooms in butter.  If only I could have her back today, frying up that same batch of shrooms now that I know what culinary treasures they are.  Sigh.

    Think my first step in this challenge will be a batch of beef broth, I have some ideas.

    mjb.
     
    koukouvagia likes this.
  6. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Do you guys know wood ear mushroom?  It looks like this


    More likely you will find it dried and when you soak it in water you get something like this:


    It is pretty much THE mushroom to add to ground pork mixtures for vietnamese cooking (chinese too).   I chopped it up and added it to spring rolls.  Also pork, shallot, scallion, garlic, glass noodles, fish sauce, sesame oil.  It looks small in the picture but that's like a 7 lb ball of meat there. We fried over a hundred spring rolls


     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    A basic omelette. Button mushrooms, jarlsberg (very swisslike) and bacon.

    Sauteing in butter with some salt, pepper and dried thyme. A little minced garlic will be added later.


    Filling the omelette. I'm one of those heathens who doesn't like runny egg in my omelette.


    Ready for Breakfast. Picture has some odd forced perspective as the plate is square...


    Yum!

     
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  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a good dish. I usually have some dried wood ear on hand--most often use it in some form or Mu Shu.  There was a blog a few years back that was doing a charcuterie challenge. The author did a chicken ballotine with wood ear mushrooms in place of the traditional truffle. It looked quite good. 

    Now you have to tell me what to do with the snow fungus I bought on a whim. I've seen it done in soup, but am looking for something with more punch to it. But maybe snow fungus is too delicate for that?

     
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    @phatch  I find that sauteeing in butter makes the butter burn.  Is it just me?  I usually sautee in just a little olive oil and then add a pat of butter in the last minute or 2 of cooking.
     
  10. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't have that problem, but we might have different technique. I find that the mushrooms quickly soak up the fat and don't release it again until they're just about done. At that point, I've reduced the heat usually as well.  So there isn't really opportunity for the butter to burn. I was also only on medium heat for this because there wasn't that much mushroom in the pan.  I only had maybe a teaspoon of butter in this pan so it wasn't heavy with butter. Just enough for  some flavor really. 

    Certainly there's nothing wrong with what you're doing either. And what you're trying to achieve in the dish has impact.  My goal was butter flavor and minimal fat as the bacon adds enough extra to the omelette. If I were going to top a steak, some extra fat would have been nice. 
     
  11. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    @phatch   snow fungus looks best in a clear soup, the clearest you can make.  The texture is kind of between jellyfish and birdsnest if that makes sense.  I think if you stir fry it or cook it some other way it will break apart
     
  12. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the input. 
     
  13. chefross

    chefross

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    I really enjoy mushrooms plain and simple. I have made a French dish simply called "Toast aux Champignon."

    the recipe is very simple but takes patience. They key to this dish is making sure the mushrooms are cooked well, and the croutons are crisp.

    Here ya go....

    Toast aux Champignon

    Serves 2

    1 pound fresh mushrooms (cleaned of dirt) quartered if large

    8 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1 tablespoon Olive Oil

    Pinch of Nutmeg

    2 tablespoons Cognac or Armagnac

    Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper

    Fresh Chopped Parsley

    4  ½” thick slices of day old French Baguette sliced on a bias and crusts removed

    You’ll need 2 sauté pans.

    Divide the butter in 2. Place 4 Tbls in one pan along with the olive oil and melt.

    Add mushrooms when pan and butter are very hot.

    Sauté mushrooms as they release their liquid and allow that to evaporate.

    Continue to cook mushrooms until they are golden brown and cooked well.

    Add the cognac or Armagnac and swirl the pan.

    Evaporate this too.

    Optional:   (You may ignite this for a dazzling presentation and also to quicken evaporation time.)

    Add nutmeg and adjust seasoning.

    While the mushrooms are cooking, melt the remaining butter in the second pan.

    When butter and pan are hot add the croutons and brown both sides until golden.

    To serve, remove the croutons to a heated plate and pour the mushrooms and browned butter over and around them. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  14. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    @Chefross  sounds delicious, I think you should make it and submit it to the challenge.
     
  15. chefross

    chefross

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    I thought I just did...
     
  16. foody518

    foody518

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    Mushrooms! 

    I hope to have a chance to contribute to this thread over the weekend :)
     
  17. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    You need to cook it this month and post a picture. That's the challenge. 
     
  18. chefross

    chefross

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    Gotcha.....thanks and I will
     
  19. pdcooks

    pdcooks

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    I've heard of Wood Ear Mushrooms, though I've never used them. I love how we can work in so many different directions with this one simple ingredient. I was walking in a forest in New Hampshire last year and came across an old Asian couple collecting mushrooms. Off hand now I forget the name of the mushrooms but I do remember reading that they were very much like Chanterelle mushrooms. I have found Morel Mushrooms under the Apple Tree in my childhood home and did a quick sauté' with butter and bacon that was great. Such a broad flavor profile you can find.
     
  20. pdcooks

    pdcooks

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    As a reply to the conversation between Koukouvagia and Phatch, I will often sauté mushrooms dry on a non stick skillet and at the end add the fat whether it's bacon fat, butter, olive oil and so on.