Mushrooms Forever

Mushrooms are one of my all-time favorite foods. I love them sautéed in garlic butter. They are welcome in my omelets, over steaks, in cheese sauces, on pizza and in quesadillas, as well as soups and stir fries. I love them in stuffing, on grilled sandwiches, in casseroles, their caps filled with crab or most anything imaginable.  The only use I don’t have for mushrooms is raw in fresh salads.

There are 5 main flavors associated with foods, according to an old text book picture of the human tongue I saw back in high school: salt, sweet, sour, bitter, and a recent edition, umami (some also add ‘spicy’ for a total of 6 flavors).  Umami is a Japanese word for ‘meaty’ or ‘savory’, a perfect description of the mushroom’s earthy essence.  Mushrooms can give depth and body to a sauce like few things can, making them a stealth ingredient in some of my sauces and soups (pureed and blended to remain anonymous).

The nutrients in mushrooms become more available to the body when cooked. Their strong cell walls take a little time to break down but will freely give up their treasures under heat. Other qualities of mushrooms: they are a low calorie food; a good source of potassium; contain B-vitamins and antioxidants (particularly selenium).  Some even have Vitamin D. One of the most thoroughly researched living things on earth, mushrooms are the basis for numerous antibiotics and other medicines including statin drugs (ex. LovaStatin, a derivative of the oyster mushroom).  Clinical studies are underway to validate the effectiveness of certain mushrooms in the treatment of cancer in humans. Animal studies have already confirmed the mushroom’s anti-tumor, antiviral, and cholesterol-lowering properties.  What’s not to love about mushrooms?  Let’s pay our respects and get cooking!

The following recipe is a scientific mystery. Put the baked mushrooms on a serving dish and they vanish! Great for entertaining and easily made ahead. Bake and serve immediately.

Garlic Mushrooms with Herb Cheese         

Serves: 4 polite guests get 2 each; or 1 selfish guest makes a meal

1 package (6.5 oz) Boursin Light Garlic & Herbs Gourmet Spreadable Cheese

Mushroom Caps (or whole mushrooms, stems removed – about 8 medium size)

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil, or grapeseed oil

2 Tablespoons onions or shallots, minced

1 large garlic clove, minced

Parsley, minced, for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove stems from caps and wipe off mushrooms with a damp paper towel.  Stuff caps (level) with Herb & Garlic Boursin Cheese.  Put all mushrooms in a shallow baking dish.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter and oil with onion (or shallots) and garlic. Sauté vegetables until tender, about 3 – 5 minutes.  Let sauce cool slightly then pour over mushrooms. Garnish mushrooms with parsley then bake uncovered for about 10 – 15 minutes or until done, still slightly firm but not mushy.  Remove to serving platter and drizzle garlic butter mixture over mushrooms. NOTE: You can get fancy and sprinkle on some toasted bread crumbs right before baking, and combine a small, well-drained can of crab meat in the cheese mixture (which will make it go a lot farther and you’ll need more mushrooms. Worse things could happen).

Sources:  http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/DietandNutrition/shiitake-mushroom (American Cancer Society), and Nutrition Fact Sheet – Discover Mushrooms: Nature’s Hidden Treasures, American Dietetic Association, 9/2010).

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Deb G on February 29, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I couldn’t agree more Joy as I have yet to meet a mushroom I didn’t like and the varieties are endless – each one bringing it’s own special flavors and texture to a dish. I love the meatiness of a portobello just marinated with some good italian vinaigrette and baked with some roasted peppers and feta – another great appetizer. Or just cook those portobellos and go meatless for a great burger sub on a bun – just dress as you would your favorite beef burger. The possibilities are endless and healthy.

    Reply

  2. I love your idea on the roasted peppers and feta on top of portobello, dressed Italian! Thanks for sharing, Deb. Mushrooms are a great alternative to meat and we could do with a good bit less meat in our diet.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jeanette Dunkerly on March 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I am Cindy Forte’s mom. This recipe for the mushrooms sounds delicious. I will try it.

    Reply

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