Thursday, September 22, 2011

Armillaria tabescens ?

i think i love mushrooms as much as holly loves babies.

i think this is Armillaria tabescens (based on Rogers Mushrooms, a NC state park website, and this Duke student's photo log).

mom and dad saw this mushroom first, nathaniel took the pictures (with the fuji, not the nikon... and the fuzziness is from holly's fingerprint on the lens.  ha!).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

recipe: stuffed mushrooms using gimme lean (fake) sausage

my original recipe is from the food network... tyler florence's stuffed mushrooms with sausage.  here are the changes i made to his recipe: 
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 8 large Spanish green olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts raw cashews
  • 2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley 3/4 Tbs dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sage (the gimme lean needs some extra parsley)
  • 2 garlic cloves 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casing 1 tube gimme lean ground sausage
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated pecorino parmasean cheese (i don't even know what pecorino is!)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fresh (homemade) bread crumbs
  • 24 large white  crimini mushrooms, stems removed
Preheat to 400 degrees.

I actually made only half the recipe, as I had only 10 mushrooms from before making soup.  Even with that, I think half the recipe would be enough to stuff 24 mushrooms.  I made "sausage balls" with the leftover stuffing and i had plenty for 24 mushrooms.  Just sayin' - half is plenty.

Chop the raisins, olives, and cashews; put into a mixing bowl along with parsley and garlic. Add the sausage and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Drizzle the stuffing with about  1 Tbs. of olive oil to moisten and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; combine with hands.  Notice how greasy your hands are NOT because it isn't sausage!  Gimme lean has NO FAT in it!

Put the bread crumbs in another bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add the remaining cheese and mix.

I made small balls (like the size you would make for oreo balls) round and then gently stuffed them into the mushroom, one at a time.  Then, I dipped the stuffing side into the breadcrumb mixture and then put it mushroom side down on a stone pan. As I said before, I made stuffing/sausage balls with the remaining mixture and also coated them with breadcrumbs. 

They cooked for about 20 minutes on 400degrees.  They started to brown at about 15 minutes and were a nice golden brown right at 20.  My oven, which typically doesn't cook even, actually did really well with these.  I did roll the "balls" half way along.

Anyway, these were great!  We ate these with our mushroom soup for dinner since there wasn't much left.  I'll definitely use the gimme lean sausage again - and this way too.  Just remembering to add sage for the patties when eating it alone.

recipe: vegan cream of mushroom soup

found this recipe at joythebaker and modified it to fit my ingredients and/or taste.  Please visit her website for pictures!!!  mine looks just like hers and her pictures are already awesome. here is what i made and how i made it.

to start with, the only place i know to find cremini mushrooms NOT in a container, prewrapped (i.e. i like to buy them in a bulk bin) is whole foods - so, nathaniel and i went there yesterday.   we bought 1-1/4 pounds with the stems on (i tried to pick ones with the shortest stems, some large - which i planned to stuff - but mostly little ones. no particular reason).  we also went to buy vegetable broth per joythebaker's recipe, but they were completly out, so i bought a 32 oz container of mushroom broth instead.  they also only had large onions, so got one of those too.

SO, this morning, at 9:25, i started to cook.  i had a clean counter and a clean sink, so that meant everything had to come out.  i started by washing and stemming the mushrooms (i noticed that the original cook did not stem her mushrooms).  i picked out 10 large mushrooms from my original 1-1/4 pounds for stuffing later, so i probably had about a 3/4 to 1 pound of mushrooms in the end.  i left them in a strainer to keep drying.  i put a large pot on the stove, put in about 2 tbs of olive oil in the pot and turned it to "5" (medium).  i peeled my onion and chopped 3/4 of my large onion into med-small pieces and just dumped it into the mostly hot oil and shook the pan.

next i pulled out my handy dandy jar of minced-garlic-in-water (out of the fridge) and scooped in 2 heaping teaspoons in with the onion and shook the pan again.  that was all the garlic i had left in my jar, which is less than what the original recipe called for (but seemed to be enough). 

while that was cooking, i pulled out my food processor and put all mu mushrooms in it.  instead of chopping them by hand, i just let the food processor do the work for me.  when they were all chopped up, i just poured them in the pan with the onions and garlic and stirred. 

next, i added 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of vegan worcestershire sauce and stirred.  (i actually measured those.)

then i added about 1 tsp of black pepper (already ground) and stirred.  i fetched my mushroom broth.  since it is 32 oz and the recipe calls for 3 cups, i poured almost all of it into the pot - and stirred.

that came to a simmer pretty quickly. i put the food processer away and/or in the dishwasher and i got my blender out.  i put 1/2 cup (about 2 handfulls) of cashews into it with 1/2 cup of water into it and let it make cashew milk!  this is what will make the soup creamy.

this is not complicated, but it will sound complicated:  i got out a large measuring cup and a small strainer and put it over the top.  using a measuring cup, i removed the soup from the pot and strained out the chunks.  i put the chunky part into the blender (with the cashew milk already in there).  i let it "blend" (puree) until smooth.  yes, it was hot.  my blender was fine.  i put the puree back into the pot and poured about half the liquid into the blender and turned it on again.  then, i poured that into the pot (a rinsing effort to "clean" the blender).  i did that with the remaining liquid and in the end, my blender was nearly free of "chunks" and it looked clean and ready to be put into the dishwasher without being rinsed!  i also added the rest of my mushroom broth since i was going to let it sit for a while.

anyway, that is it.  when i was finished with ALL of that, including cleaning, my soup was simmering on "2" (low/med low) but really it was ready to eat and it was 9:50.  in that time, i also helped holly clean up the legos and kendal put together a new puzzle.  so, it was really easy to make - and quick.  nathaniel was gone to the trash dump that WHOLE time (several trips of trash and recycling) and when he got home, he said it was awesome.

after he tasted it, i decided it would be really good with a dash of red wine.  so, i added about 1/4 cup of it and it did enhance the flavor... raffaldini red table wine is what i used - we had a little left after kendal's birthday party so i used some of that (this is a bottle that my sister in law gave us when she moved to florida - thanks amy!).

** if you want to make it gluten free, you will have to find a substitute for the soy sauce. i know you can buy wheat free tamari, which would be a reasonable substitute. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

try number one at a self-portrait

can't say that i'm super comfortable with this.  but, i was reading on one of my favorite non-friend blogs - thepapermama - (non-friend meaning someone i don't know)

and i was not trying to own my self portrait here (obviously) but it is a start.  i'm going to keep trying and practicing.

anyway, this started with me trying to get a picture of my hair.  to see how long it isn't.  yes, i'm in the bathroom.  tacky, i know.

then i tried to take a picture of myself.

not great, but not terrible either!  i'm going to keep trying.  one day, i WILL take one i like. 
next time, though, i'm going to put on mascara and lipstick.  boy my face is bland!  :)

Its a 'Shroom of a Day

I had my camera in the car yesterday when we got home.  I noticed how many different mushrooms were in the woods right beside our house, so I took a few minutes to take pictures of them! Seriously, these are all within 20 feet of each other!


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