Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Carol Taylor – Mushrooms.


This is an edited post from the Cook from Scratch series of 2018 as a complement to the .. Food Therapy Mushrooms Carol Taylor shares some delicious recipes to encourage you to include mushrooms on a regular basis in your diet.

The mushroom is such a versatile little vegetable there are your common garden variety that you see in every supermarket or market and then the exotic looking ones which can be found paired with beef or chicken in a pie, beef and mushrooms or onions is a favourite Chinese dish for many. Mushroom stroganoff is another way to use the mushroom and I am sure the breaded mushroom is still a favourite starter for many.

The King Oyster mushroom is very nice cut and layered with bacon on a skewer, brushed with some teriyaki sauce and cooked on the BBQ…..It is a lovely meaty mushroom which I use a lot here as it is freely available and it stores well.

Sliced and cooked with butter and garlic, eaten with some freshly made sour dough bread to mop up the juices it is a lovely thing.

There are some 20,000 varieties of mushrooms and Sally tells me some 2,000 of them are edible…That is an awful lot which are not. Thais do a lot of foraging and I have seen many weird and wonderful mushrooms available on the local markets but I stick to what I know as there are also a few deaths here every year from eating the wrong mushrooms so if you do forage please, please make sure you properly identify any mushrooms you find…before you eat them…

No desserts again this week as I think a mushroom is preferable in a savoury dish unless it is (and I haven’t) had them for years those sweet coconut mushrooms I used to love them…But sadly not available here…

Firstly I have one of my favourite Thai soups which is also probably known throughout the world…Tom Yum…

Tom Yum Soup with Prawns (Tom Yum Goong)

This is one of my favourite Thai soups and the first time I made it from scratch I questioned the colour as in many restaurants it is a bright orange colour. It is because a Tom Yum paste or stock cube is used…This one is made from scratch it also doesn’t have that sharp taste but is more mellow and I think more pleasant.

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres of water
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1 inch chunk of galangal
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 Thai chillies
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 500gm Prawns
  • 300 grams of oyster mushrooms
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut into quarters.
  • 2 white onions (medium-sized) cut into large chunks.
  • 1 and half teaspoons of sugar
  • 7 – 10 tablespoons of fish sauce (depending on your taste)
  • Juice of 5 -8 limes.
  • Handful of cilantro ( Coriander)

N.B Next time I will use shallots instead of white onions and I recommend using lowest amounts of limes and fish sauce and Taste! Adjust if necessary as everyone’s taste varies.

Lets Cook!

First thing to do is put about 2 litres of water in a large pot to boil. Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.

Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling-pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1 inch strips or so.

Take about 1 thumb sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.
Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.

Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.

I used about 10 Thai bird chilli for this recipe, but you can use however many you like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you’d still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.

Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.

You can put the lid on just so it starts to boil which releases the herb flavours quicker.

Now prepare your prawns I remove everything except for the tail…..others put in whole peeled prawns…personal preference.

Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes.

Then add your mushrooms, which you should pre rinse beforehand.

Cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and onions.

Cook for further 6-8 minutes.

Now add prepared prawns and cook for 2-3 mins max (if overcooked the prawns will sink to the bottom of the pan. If you get any scum on the surface of soup it’s from the prawns then just skim off with a spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

Taste and adjust if necessary.

This delicious soup is now ready to serve.

The other Tom Yum soup which is popular here is Tom Yum Gai (Chicken) which uses chicken instead of prawns and adds coconut milk.

Stuffed Mushrooms

I think one of the biggest mushrooms I have eaten is a stuffed Portobello mushroom which stuffed is a meal in itself.

Just take the caps and put gills up in an oven proof dish and pop in a pre-heated oven on 450F and roast them for about 20 minutes or until just tender. Mix some breadcrumbs with some parmesan cheese, season with salt and cracked black pepper then mix in a little chopped parsley and a little ½-1 tbsp olive oil then put on top of the mushroom gills and put back in the oven for 5 mines until the top is a little crispy and golden.

Enjoy!

Mushroom Pate:

Ingredients

  • A cup of shelled walnuts
  • Half a cup of minced shallots
  • ¼ lb shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ lb Crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ lb Portobello mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tbsp of roasted garlic puree
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Lets Cook!

Pre-heat your oven to 350F, 175C

Spread the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven until lightly brown. Take out and set to one side.

In a large pan melt the butter and add the shallots, cook until translucent then add the mushrooms, garlic, parsley, thyme , salt and pepper, cook, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Next blend the walnuts and oil together until they form a thick paste, add the mushroom mix and blend until it reaches your desired consistency…some like a coarser pate than others.

Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

Put in small ramekins or one large dish. Cover with cling film and chill for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Mushrooms on Toast:

Ingredients to serve 2 people.

  • 2 slices of sour dough bread or bread of your choice. Toasted.
  • 170 gm of mixed mushrooms
  • 1=2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 slices of bacon or prosciutto
  • Few sprigs of Parsley, chopped for dish and to garnish
  • Knob of butter

Let’s Cook!

Fry your bacon or prosciutto and set to one side. Cut into pieces.

Add the butter to a pan then add mushrooms cook for 2 minutes, add crushed garlic and crème fraiche cook for 3-5 mins and stir in some chopped parsley.

Pile mushrooms on top of toast and garnish with bacon and some parsley.

If you are feeling really peckish then top with a poached egg.

Enjoy!

Mushrooms also go well in a cream or tomato sauce over pasta or in a lovely mushroom risotto. As I said before they lend themselves to so many savoury dishes and cream of mushroom soup is very nice…One of my grandsons favourites.

Now for a taste of Italy some wonderful home pickled mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 3⁄4cup lemon juice
  • 6 cups water
  • 8 cups small mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2teaspoons dried oregano or 4 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2tsp dried basil or 4 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 8 small bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups red wine vinegar or 6 cups white wine vinegar

Let’s Cook!

Combine lemon juice and water in a large pot.

Add mushrooms and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Drain off liquid.

Place herbs and mushrooms, garlic and bay in clean hot jars.

Bring vinegar to a boil and pour over mushrooms leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Seal and process for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Enjoy!

Rich Mushroom Ragout:

Lastly I have a recipe for a lovely rich mushroom ragout which even the die hard meat eater, including my hubbie grudgingly has to admit it is ok…..I think it is because he thinks if he says it is really nice I may serve him more veggie dishes and he is a die hard

This dish can be served with lovely mashed potato or some beautiful buttered new potatoes or with rice…I had to add that as I am a rice lover…

Ingredients

  • 200 gm shitake mushrooms halved
  • 200 gm chestnut mushrooms halved
  • 3 large field mushrooms quartered
  • 70 cl bottle of full bodied red wine
  • 600ml fresh vegetable stock or you can use stock cubes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 450 gm baby carrots, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 300 gm baby onions or small shallots
  • 140 gm fine green beans topped and tailed
  • 4 skinned, deseeded tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Flat leaf parsley to garnish

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and add the baby onion and the mushrooms cook over a high heat stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes…Remove from pan and set to one side.

Add wine, garlic, bay leaves and thyme to the pan, bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced by half. Return the onions and mushrooms to the pan add the carrots, tomato puree and the stock and bring back to the boil then simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the carrots are just tender.

Blend the corn flour to a paste with a tbsp of cold water and mix until smooth then stir into the casserole. Bring to a rolling boil and stir until thickened. Season to taste (remove bay leaves and thyme) add the green beans and tomatoes to the pan, cover the pan and reduce to a simmer, cook for a further 15 minutes. Sprinkle over chopped parsley before serving.

Serve with potatoes or rice.

Enjoy!

Again many thanks to Sally for letting me collaborate with her and add my recipes to her Health Benefits of eating mushrooms.

And my thanks to Carol for showing us how we can include simple vegetables, such as mushrooms into our daily diets so deliciously.

I will be sharing more Cook from Scratch in coming weeks

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  Amazon US

Connect to Carol

Blog: Carol Cooks 2
Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo
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