Mine may not be magic, but they do give me a little ZING!

I spent my lunch hour on a quest! I don’t yet know if the time spent was successful, but I love a good research project. I’ll tell you about my super-sleuthing after I first describe the sequence of events that initiated the challenge.

I’m going through a how many ways can I eat mushrooms phase. It started right before Christmas when I was walking through Whole Foods and came upon this most gorgeous display of mushrooms, all piled delicately in little beds that seamed together in an earthy patchwork. I also noticed the price and shook my head. The abundance! The privilege! The sheer decadence! Fortunately, price per pound in mushrooms doesn’t translate into much of a burden!

Just look at the variety!

And then my daughter obliged my interest with a most creative Christmas gift. I am now enthusiastically monitoring a Grow Your Own Mushrooms kit! After reading the instructions I was able to establish the particular growing medium in a matter of minutes and it is now in a dark corner of my kitchen where all I now need to do is keep the soil moistened.  Every day I expectantly check and I am beginning to see small patches of white mushroom mycelium beginning to grow up into the casing.  I’m still at least a couple of weeks away from my first harvest, but I can’t wait.

Here's something I can grow in January!

The growing medium has a wonderful earthy smell.

My mushroom adventure continues!  Friday night we joined friends at Tokyo Wako for good food and culinary artistry! With “Teppan” style dining, the beef, seafood and vegetables are prepared in front of the guests on a solid griddle right at the table. The chefs then do their best to entertain with juggling utensils, a trick here and there, and the always popular fire-shooting volcanoes (picture stacked onion rings with a touch of Vodka).

Our chef was a good sport and posed for the camera

Tokyo Wako is a Japanese steakhouse, and I’m a vegetarian. Not to worry! I ordered the vegetarian entrée and couldn’t have been happier.  And to add to my story, our friends do not like mushrooms, so their loss became my gain.  And speaking of gain, I must confess that I primarily opt for a vegetarian diet because I believe it is a healthier choice for me. However, as the gorgeous array of broccoli, carrots, onion, bean sprouts, snow peas and mushrooms moved from griddle to plate, our skillful and very speedy chef flounced the largest dollop of butter on those babies!  But I immediately took a giant mental side-step and pronounced that in the new year any calories I didn’t ask for don’t count! All I can say is YUM!

Yum! And I ate it all!

So today’s quest? Le me tell you! My new food obsession is a Porcini Dijon Cutlet, described by Field Roast Grain Meat Co. in this way: “The delicate flavor of earthy porcini mushrooms mixed into our Wild Mushroom grain meat provides a dark and satisfying back drop for the pungent zestiness of dijon mustard. After being dipped in batter, we dredge the mushroom cutlet with our finest breading recipe made from artisan breadcrumbs and chunks of fresh mushrooms. The result is both terrestrial and ethereal.” Can’t you just taste it?

Melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

My internet search didn’t reveal the calorie count, and I am a little concerned about words like “dipped in batter” and “dredged”—but at noon today I contacted the company, vociferously praising their product and politely requesting nutritional information. And I concluded my inquiry with a little begging. If I could just buy these in bulk directly from them I would be a fan for life and I’d even give up on my concerns about the calorie count.  They’ll get back to me. I’ll be glad to let you know how this comes out! You may want to follow my lead and it will nurture our well-being!

If you think you know all there is to know about mushrooms, you might want to test your knowledge on a great site, the mushroom channel, full to the gills (pun intended) with outstanding recipes and culinary suggestions! I repeat…YUM!

…Debra

31 thoughts on “Mine may not be magic, but they do give me a little ZING!

  1. I’ve been craving mushrooms, too, Debra. I bought some at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday and made half of them into indifferent empanadas tonight (out goes that recipe!). I’m thinking the other half will be pizza or leek-mushroom tart.

    • A leek-mushroom tart! That sounds wonderful! You are much more creative than I, but I think we share some very similar tastes! And I was all poised to go to the Farmer’s Market myself on Saturday and we had company…I’ll be sure to check it out next weekend! Debra

  2. My mouth is watering and it is only 7:30 am here, Debra. I’m just starting to really explore cooking with mushrooms and this really inspires me now to try more recipes. I know what you mean about the mushrooms at Whole Foods. They make mushrooms, and every other piece of produce, look so appetizing, don’t they? I’ll check out your links a little later. Thanks.

    Oh, what a thoughtful daughter and great gift. I do hope you will report on the results.

    • It is a fun gift, Penny, and I think it may be a fun project for the girls to discover…although I sometimes get just a little concerned about showing too much enthusiasm about mushroom cultivation with preschoolers. I know Sophia would be easily warned, but Karina seems to be the curious one who just might decide to investigate the toadstools in the yard! I will have to share some pictures when the little mushrooms begin to appear! D

  3. What a great gift and post! When I was an infant, my parents’ home had a room in the cellar that had an earthen floor. They used it to grow mushrooms. I’ve no recollection of any of this and wouldn’t dream of doing it today, even if I had a suitable floor. Your Tokyo Waco dinner looks incredible! I may be a carnivore but would find that dinner filling and very pleasing.

    • Yes indeed, Johnn, pair a little shrimp or steak with those veggies and yiu would certainly have enjoyed the meal! I don’t know, but if I had the cellar similar to the one you describe I might be awfully tempted to try growing mushrooms…how about truffles? Ha! Fun just to think about it!

  4. Debra, this post is a gift for MTM. He has been researching all manner of ways to grow mushrooms once we have a structure on our mountain property, where the climate will be more conducive than our main home. We both love to eat mushrooms but can’t find the variety here that bigger cities afford. I’ll be interested to hear how your grow-it-yourself kit blossoms? Blooms? Produces? :)

    • I do think we are really spoiled here in California and sometimes I get a little grumpy with friends who don’t seem to appreciate that :) Have you ever used catalogues for dried mushrooms? They aren’t the same as fresh, but they are a good substitute. I will definitely share how they grow…I, kind of curious, too! D

  5. Okay, Debra, I’m ready for a taste of those Porcini Dijon Cutlets and I have my knife & fork poised and ready. Now awaiting your message to come on over to try-em! BTW, I love your outlook for the new year, “any calories not asked for don’t count”! Along with your other readers, I look forward to the photos showing the mushroom growth.

    • I do resolve issues very easily, don’t I Ellen! I just change the rules…I can call it being pragmatic, or some would just say “waffly”–I think of it as a virtue. Ha! We’ll get together soon and I’ll serve these cutlets. And if I can somehow buy them from the wholesaler…I’ll share! :-) D

  6. Dear Debra,
    I, too, am a vegetarian, but I’ve never cared for mushrooms. The blurb from the Field catalog is written scrumptiously and makes my mouth water. But it’s the picture of the veggies stir-fryed by the Japanese chef that really has me hungry right now! Good luck with the mushroom growing. What a thoughtful gift from your daughter.

    Peace.

    • I think it may just be exposure, Dee, that didn’t make them a fond favorite…I know some people don’t like the consistency, and I can understand that. I served the cutlets during the holidays just to test out my family members who say they don’t like mushrooms either, and they were a hit. It probably is the breading! Ha! I sure do hope I don’t find out they have the calories of a Big Mac! I’ll report back! :-) D

    • Thank you so much for stopping by! I must say that I will have to spend time on your site…Professor Vegetable! What a fabulous name to lead with, of course! There are different mushroom growing kits and if this is successful I’d like to try some of the others. I’ll be looking into what’s available and sharing about them! Debra

    • It’s true, isn’t it Eve? Don’t you wonder how tastes can be so defining and what one person regards as ambrosia, someone else simply considers fungus? LOL! I’m’ glad to find another vegetable lover. We need to keep inspiring one another to spread the good word :-) Thank you for coming to our site. I’m eager to visit yours, too. Debra

  7. Debra, my husband and I made a family resolution to eat vegetarian four days a week. So for proteins the first things that came to my mind, being new to the vegetarian world, were beans and mushrooms. It’s good to know you can do so much with so many kinds of mushrooms. I’ve found a few edible wild ones here, but I love the idea of a grow-your-own kit. And the porcini mushroom idea sounds fantastic. I really hope they get back to you on the buying in bulk deal!

    • Beans and mushrooms are a great combination. I know you have young children, and I wonder if they are pretty flexible in their diet? I don’t know if I would have the resolve to even try with a young family, but of course many people do! I’m just thinking back to how picky my children were! I’m also not very adventurous out in the wild, so you obviously know what you’re doing! I think growing from a box just sounds safer for someone like me :-) I’ll definitely report back what I learn from the company…I still haven’t heard from them! Maybe I scared them off with my overt enthusiasm! Debra

      • Actually, I’m lucky because my 2-year-old will eat anything that doesn’t eat her first and my 3-year-old is vegetarian-inclined. She will fill up on fruits and veggies before touching her meat, and she is not a fan of beef or pork (unless it’s on pizza). I consulted my pediatrician in Texas a couple years ago, when we were considering the change, and she said that so long as they eat some fish (the ones with omega-3 fatty acids) and poultry (chicken has nutrients that are good for us) each week, then it should be okay. As it turns out, though, the 3-year-old is picky about mushrooms (she will eat them so long as she can’t see them in her food), but they both love all kinds of beans.

        I think growing mushrooms in a box is safe for most people. I was just wondering if you could order a specific kind, because the 3-year-old will eat certain mushrooms but not others (I could Google it, huh?)

        You’d think a company would want to sell in bulk directly to customers to make more money. I can’t find the porcini cutlets in the stores here, sadly. That would be the only way I could get them. :-(

      • That’s just amazing, and absolutely wonderful! that your little ones will eat so well. Wow! And I do encourage you to look up the different mushroom “boxes” because from what I can see, there are a lot of different choices. It would be fun for your children, too, I would imagine! We’ll have to start a campaign to have better access to some of these interesting vegetarian entrees. YOu never know! :-) Debra

  8. Thanks for sharing Debra! This was very interesting and I am planning to try the Field Roast Grain Meat Co. I went to the website and it looks yummy!!

    • I’m so glad you’re also interest in Field Roast, Amanda. I haven’t heard a word directly from the company, but I found out that I can buy the Porcini Cutlets (by the box) directly from Whole Foods. It’s a little pricey, but the boxes are quite large. I haven’t made arrangements yet so I don’t know all the details, but I’m working on it :-) D

  9. I bought one of those grow you own mushroom things that was already started. I kept it in my store room (which is damp, like the rest of the house) and sprayed it with water every few days. The mushrooms grew but I left them too long I think. When I harvested & cooked them they were really tough (actually inedible) which was so disappointing. Don’t know what I did wrong but I’m not a natural gardener, hope you have better luck with yours!!

  10. Pingback: Re-Capping the Mushrooms… | breathelighter

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