Mushroom madness has hit my house. Well, maybe not the whole house since I am the only one who will eat them… At least, in a few cases the only one who knows they are eating them. Ha! I have been known to sneak them into dishes without telling Dear Hubby and Girly Girl. But before you starting thinking I am some kind of maniacal mushroom maniac, please settle down. It’s not like either one of them are allergic or anything like that.
As far as my husband goes, mushrooms are right up there with mayo in the “things I will not eat” category. I have quizzed him about both several times, asking if either were part of some kind of frat hazing or wrongly implicated in a case of food poisoning (but more likely a virus as most people know, its just way more dramatic to say, “I’ve got food poisoning!”).
Dear Hubby has never divulged the details, so I in my mind, both were most definitely part of some college shenanigans-type hangover incident. I attended college in the 1980’s – when the legal age to drink was 18 in my state – so folks, that makes me qualified to know about such things. And as far as Girly Girl goes, she is 5 years old. Of course she doesn’t like mushrooms – “Euwww!”
But none of this kept me from purchasing my very own mushroom farm after it popped up on an email from the shopping site, Open Sky. Actually I saw a list of recommended products from one of my favorite chefs, Hugh Acheson, and this was on that list. I had a credit also so I took a chance and here I am harvesting fresh oyster mushrooms a mere 3 weeks later. Thanks Hugh!
This is a fun winter-time project in my locale as it is cool and dry enough to grow these in the perfect indoor conditions now. In a couple of months it will be humid and hot – perfect to grow mold but not great mushrooms.
It took about a week or so for the first tiny ‘shrooms to appear. Once they popped up, it was go time. They grew very, very quickly – my husband is convinced he could see them growing before his eyes, so that was a tad freaky. My harvest was 4 days after they broke ground, although I could have taken them after the third day. But I had to time the harvest to coincide with making my favorite mushroom recipe – mushroom goat cheese toasts from the Mustards Grill Cookbook.
Chef Cindy Pawlcyn created a wondrous restaurant called Mustards Grill in Napa, CA and having been lucky enough to dine there (a long time ago) I can attest to that. I am glad to know she and the restaurant are still going strong after almost 30 years. This recipe relies on fresh ingredients and simple techniques, perfect to showcase those awesome mushrooms.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese “Toasts”
Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook
- 2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbl butter, divided
- 2 shallots, sliced paper thin
- 4 cups fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped/sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- ¼ cup Madeira, Calvados, Cognac or Applejack
- ¼ cup goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons cream or half&half
- 12 round slices of French or rustic bread, toasted
- ¼ cup fresh minced parsley
Heat the olive oil and 1 tbl butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté the shallots until transparent – about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the Calvados or Applejack and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Remove form heat and stir in 1 tbl butter.
In a small bowl mix the goat cheese and cream until smooth. Spread each toast with a helping of goat cheese, top with warm mushroom mixture and sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Note: Any leftover mushroom mixture makes a superlative omelet filling or burger topping too!