Feature Friday: Discover the Umami

Everybody knows that there are four primary tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. But did you know there is actually a fifth primary taste? It’s called Umami.

Umami is a Japanese word meaning savoury or delicious. It extends the finish of savoury foods, making them linger on the palate longer.
Found in savoury products, such as meat, cheese, broth and sauces, umami is subtle, blends well with other tastes, and expands and round-out flavours.
In other words, Umami enhances the flavours of the foods it is served with making them taste better.

Most people don’t recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays a very important role in making food taste delicious. Mushrooms are full of umami, which is why restaurants serve them on burgers, steaks, and in pasta and salads. Remember how that morsel of steak exploded with flavour when it was served with fresh sautéed mushrooms? Your mouth tingled as you began to enjoy the food, making you say “Mmmmm.” That’s umami!

So how can you amp up the umami flavour in your everyday meals?
– Pile umami toppings on pizza — tomatoes, pepperoni, mozzarella and fresh mushrooms.
– Add fresh Parmesan shavings to a mushroom and tomato bisque.
– Top a pork tenderloin with a warm mushroom cream sauce.

If you love food (and who doesn’t?), be sure to put Umami-rich mushrooms on your weekly shopping list, and discover the Umami for yourself!

– Brittany

Questions from You: Morel Mushrooms

Q: “I’ve been lucky enough to get some morel mushrooms! Aside from sauteing them in butter, do you have any recipes for preparing them?”

A: We currently do not have any recipes that are specific to morel mushrooms, but what is great about the recipes in the Mushrooms Canada Recipe Library is that most of them call for just “fresh mushrooms.” This means that you can use any variety of fresh mushroom you happen to have on hand; including morels!

The beauty of cooking with fresh mushrooms is that you can use whatever variety you like in a recipe. By switching up the type, your meals take on a different flavour and texture profile, making it taste new each time you prepare it.

Here are a few recipes I would suggest trying with fresh morel mushrooms:
Easy Mushroom Ravioli with Four Cheese Sauce
French Mushroom Duxelles
Provencal Poached Salmon Dinner (include your morels in a mixture of white and criminis)

Cheers!

– Brittany

Feature Friday: Long Weekend Recipes

After a long and grueling winter, Canadians look forward to the Victoria Day long weekend as it signifies the beginning of summer (phew, finally!).

With cold drinks in hand, we flock to social gatherings and backyard barbecues hosted by family and friends.

With all the relaxing and socializing that’s happening, planning a menu to serve your guests is probably the last thing on your mind. That’s why Mushrooms Canada has come up with the three best mushroom recipes to serve at your get-together this holiday weekend.

Appetizer

Fresh Mushroom and Tomato Salsa
Serve with baked tortilla chips for a low calorie snack. It is also a great accompaniment to burgers, scrambled eggs and grilled fish or meat. For a Tex -Mex flavour substitute cilantro for basil and parsley.

4 oz sliced fresh Mushrooms 125 g
1 large ripe tomato, seeded 1
1/3 cup diced red or green onion 75 mL
2 cloves garlic, minced 2
1-1½ tbsp minced jalapeno pepper* 15-22 mL
1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
1½ tbsp lime juice 22 mL
1 tbsp Each minced fresh basil and parsley 15 mL
1/4 tsp salt 1 mL

Dice sliced mushrooms to yield 1 ½ cups (375 mL) and dice tomato to yield 1 cup (250 mL). In a bowl combine mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, olive oil, lime juice, basil, parsley, and salt; stir to combine well. Let stand 20 minutes to allow flavours to develop or chill up to 24 hrs. Makes 3 cups (750 mL)
*Jalapeno peppers vary in heat so taste and adjust as desired.

Mushroom-layered-salad_WEB

Mushroom Layered Salad
An easy salad to make the day before for a relaxed buffet, picnic or potluck dinner. For convenience buy pre- sliced ready to serve mushrooms. Let salad chill for 3-24 hours.

Salad:
4 cups mixed salad greens OR spinach 1 L
1 cup thinly sliced carrots 250 mL
1 lb. sliced fresh Mushrooms 500 g
1 cup cooked fresh OR frozen green peas 250 mL
1 cup chopped mixed sweet peppers 250 mL
1 cup chopped red onion 250 mL

Dressing:
1/2 cup light mayonnaise 125 mL
1/4 cup 2% yogurt 50 mL
1/4 cup lemon juice or white wine vinegar 50 mL
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 50 mL
1/4 tsp ground pepper 2 mL

In 3.5 qt /3.5L salad bowl, arrange layers, starting with salad greens, carrots, mushrooms, peas, peppers and onion. In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, Parmesan and pepper. Spread over top of salad. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator several hours or overnight. Toss before serving. Makes 8 servings.
Tip: Vary the vegetables according to the summer season and add cooked bacon bits with onions if desired.

Main

Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
Dress up ready–made fresh or frozen plain patties with this yummy sweet and sour topping. It is great on cooked steak as well. For convenience make it ahead and reheat in microwave.

2 tbsp olive oil 25 mL
2 large onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups/750 mL) 2
2 pkgs (227 g) pre-sliced fresh Mushrooms 2
2 cloves garlic, crushed 2
1/2 tsp salt 2 mL
1/4 tsp pepper 1 mL
1/4 cup water 50 mL
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 25 mL
1 tbsp brown sugar 15 mL
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (optional) 25 mL
4 4 oz/125 g lean hamburger patties 4
4 large hamburger buns split 4

Preheat barbecue to medium heat. In a 12”(30 cm) non-stick skillet heat oil on medium –high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently 5-7 min or until starting to brown; add mushrooms and continue to cook and stir for another 5-7 minutes or until browned. Add garlic, salt, pepper and water; cover and simmer over low heat 10- 12 minutes or until tender. Stir in vinegar and parsley, if using.
Meanwhile grill patties according to directions or about 5 minutes on each side or until no longer pink inside. Place a burger on bottom half of each bun; top each with ½ cup (125 mL) warm mushroom topping and tops of buns. Makes 4 burgers or 2 cups (500 mL) topping for steak.
Variation: Spread bottom half of buns with garlic mayonnaise and top each one with a lettuce leaf, then the burger and toppings.

So enjoy this holiday weekend with family, friends and good food!

Cheers!

– Brittany

How to Reconstitute Dried Mushrooms

Although we like to believe that everyone uses fresh Canadian mushrooms, that is not always the case. Dried mushrooms are becoming more popular as they keep well in the pantry, and are convenient to have on hand (just in case you run out of fresh!).

But how do you reconstitute them properly so they maintain a pleasant flavour and favourable texture?

Chef Lori Schneider, owner of a Catering company in Austin, Texas, has the perfect video showing How to Reconstitute Dried Mushrooms.

– Brittany

Check Us Out: Mushroom News Online

Check Us Out: Mushroom News Online brings together all the interesting and delicious mushrooms stories from the web to one place.

News Finds:

Fight Swine Flu with Mushrooms
The ordinary white button mushroom can help you beat the swine flu, researchers at Tufts University say. They have discovered that this lowly fungus, which for many years was thought to have no medicinal or nutritional value, gives our immune systems a big boost.

Mushrooms Make a Green Choice
The ways that fresh mushrooms recycle, reduce and reuse, making them a truly green choice.

Fresh mushrooms make this family recipe tasty and nutritious
Looking for a way to get your kids to eat healthier? This delicious Ginger Beef & Mushrooms Stir-fry is a great way to incorporate the nutritional benefits of mushrooms into your children’s diets in a fun and familiar way.

Mushrooms on the Barbie
A delicious recipe where Portobellos go from grill to bun in under five minutes! Yum!

Chicken and Mushroom Pie
A delicious classic is served up hot with fresh button mushrooms. Try varying the types for a different flavour each time.

Blog Finds:

13 Deadliest Mushrooms on the Planet
A list, complete with pictures, of the most toxic mushrooms in the world. Make you think twice about picking the mushrooms in your front yard!

– Brittany

Please note that links provided will redirect to another website. Mushrooms Canada does not endorse or take any responsibility for content provided on such websites.

Feature Friday: Freezing Fresh Mushrooms

One of the most common questions I receive on a daily basis here at Mushrooms Canada is “how do I freeze fresh mushrooms?”

I say, great question! People who prefer to buy fresh mushrooms in bulk, or when they are on sale, often need a way to preserve the mushrooms, as their self life in the refrigerator is only about 5-6 days (if kept in a brown paper bag).

Freezing fresh mushrooms is a great way to keep large quantities and a way to have Canadian mushrooms readily available in your home.

Fresh mushrooms cannot be frozen without being cooked first as they are made up of over 90% water. Here are some tips, pros and cons to freezing fresh mushrooms.

Sautéing and Freezing Fresh Mushrooms
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to freeze fresh mushrooms. To start, simply rinse the mushrooms in a colander under cool running water to remove any particles of peat moss. Do not soak the mushrooms as they will absorb water and increase the risk of getting freezer burnt. Pat them dry immediately with paper towels.
Slice or chop the fresh mushrooms, or if using pre-sliced mushrooms – you are one step ahead. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil (per 8oz of mushrooms) in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add mushroom to hot pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are brown and tender. If you wish to have flavoured mushrooms you may also sauté with garlic, onions, and/or spices.
Allow mushrooms to cool, then transfer to a small freezer container. Pushing the mushrooms to the bottom of the container and sticking a small piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mushrooms will help prevent freezer burn, making sure the lid is on tight will also help to prevent freezer burn. Be sure to label the containers with the date. They can be kept for approximately 2-3 months.

Uses
When ready to use your frozen mushrooms simply pop them out of the container and drop the frozen block into the frying pan. Add ½ tbsp of oil and sauté until mushrooms are warm. There is no need to pre-thaw the mushrooms. If using in a recipe, sauté mushrooms until warm, then add other ingredients.

Pros
– The is the best method to use when you want to maintain the taste and texture of a fresh sauté.

Cons
– If the mushrooms are not packed tight into the container, air will start to cause freezer burn.
– Freezer burn can slightly alter the taste and texture of the mushrooms.

Recipes you could use frozen fresh mushrooms in:
Creamy Mushroom Lasagna with Three Cheeses
Provencal Poached Salmon Dinner
Rustic Salmon Quiche

For more information on the many ways to prepare fresh mushrooms visit the Serve & Enjoy page on the Mushrooms Canada website.

– Brittany

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