There is a company called Back to the Roots and they make products that help regular people connect to the food they eat. Their signature product is a kit that allows you to grow mushrooms out of recycled coffee grounds. They gave all of the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference members one of their mushroom growing kits so we could go home and grow some delicious edible fungas in our homes.
Now, I love the idea of foraging for wild mushrooms but i just know I would kill us all when those morels i picked turned out to actually be death caps. Just for good measure, I would try to deep fry them so we would perish in a grease fire while writhing in the final throws of food poisoning. You know I'm right.
In light of these hard facts, a kit that guarantees me delicious, edible and non toxic oyster mushrooms in ten days in the comfort of my own home is something I can totally get exited about. I went from this:
|day 10, harvest day!|
After twisting the mushrooms off of their stems and storing them in the fridge in a paper lunch bag, we feasted on these beauties in a delicious mushroom, prosecco risotto. Even The Kid, who claims to hate mushrooms, ate three bowls (although I didn't add the sautéed oyster mushrooms to the top of his but the risotto was full of mushrooms and the stock couldn't have tasted more fungal). I have made mushroom risotto many times before but there is something really special about using your own, home grown crop of fungas.
I want to sing from the rooftops about these mushrooms! They are so easy to grow, I felt like a real farmer and have never enjoyed a mushroom as much as I enjoyed my own little oyster mushrooms. They are mushrooms that I brought into this world and nurtured like my own little mushroom children. I would encourage everyone to buy one of these kits for your kids or for your classroom, if you are a teacher, because the only thing cooler is to grow your own butterflies and although, super cool, you can't really eat your butterflies. Truly, even a jaded old hen like myself was so thrilled with the process of growing my own edible fungas that I can barely stop talking about them.
Okay, so I am currently growing some fungas on my left big toenail but that stuff is not edible and I don't think anyone wants me to share.Let's not get all crazy pants.
Mushroom Prosecco Risotto
either 6 cups of chicken stock or a mix of water and chicken stock
about 1/2 cup mixed dried wild mushrooms (or about 1 oz of dried porcini mushrooms)
pinch kosher salt
1 heaping tbls peppercorns
a few stalks of fresh thyme and a few stalks of fresh rosemary
fresh oyster mushrooms ( i had two solid handfuls using two hands for each handful)
2 tbls butter
1 tbls olive oil
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup prosecco
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
the mushrooms from making the stock
a few mores stalks of both thyme and rosemary, chopped finely
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tbls cold butter
garnish optional: a drizzle of truffle oil, shaved parmesan
To make the mushroom stock, bring the chicken stock and water to a simmer and add the dried mushrooms, peppercorns the fresh herbs. Let it simmer very lightly and steep for an hour.Strain out the solids and pick out the mushrooms and put them in a bowl to use in the risotto and discard the peppercorns and the herbs.Keep the stock hot on a back burner on med-low heat.Heat your risotto pan over med-high heat and melt the 2 tbls of butter until it starts to foam a bit. Throw in the oyster mushrooms and stir them to coat them in the butter. Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes until they start to take on some colour and brown a bit. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl.Now, in the same pan, turn the heat down to medium and melt the next 2 tbls of butter with the olive oil. Saute the red onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onions soften. Throw in the rice and stir that around, making sure it is totally coated in the butter/oil and saute that for another couple of minutes until the rice becomes opaque.Add the prosecco and continue to stir the rice using a figure 8 pattern (don't question me here, the figure 8 pattern works so just do it) until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in the mushrooms from the broth steeping process and start adding in the stock, one ladle full at a time. Between each addition of stock, you just keep up with that figure 8 stir, waiting until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle full. Keep this up for about 20 minutes until your rice is nice and al dente. It should be soft but still retain a tiny bit of bite and you want the rice to be quite creamy.At this point, take it off the heat and throw in the cold butter and the cheese and stir it vigorously for a minute until it's all incorporated. Now you have two choices: you can add those buttery oyster mushrooms in and stir them right into the rice OR you can serve up the rice and put a heap of buttery mushrooms right on top of each dish. I like to heap the mushrooms on top of the risotto. If you like, drizzle some truffle oil and a few shaves of fresh parmesan on top of each plate.
|buttery sautéed oyster mushrooms ready to top the risotto|