My wife and I fell in love over a plate of mushroom salad at a local fondue restaurant. No fooling. We did.
Nothing says romance like a delicate pile of raw, thin-sliced and lightly seasoned mushrooms in a delicious salad, followed by cubes of French bread dipped in melted cheese on New Year’s Eve. We shared our first kiss that night. Pretty soon, we were married. Not long after that, our first son came along.
And we owe it all to mushrooms.
OK, maybe we don’t owe it all to mushrooms. But we do love them, and they have been a staple item on our weekly shopping list for years. I do most of the grocery shopping, and grabbing a carton of sliced baby bella mushrooms for sautéing and salads is down to muscle memory at this point.
Our family’s love of the hearty taste and meaty texture of mushrooms made me a natural for the Life of Dad ShroomTember celebration. September is National Mushroom Month, and the Mushroom Council has teamed with Life of Dad writers and “expert” chefs (like me!) to help stimulate your culinary imagination for creating easy-to-make, nutritious and delicious mushroom meals.
Plus, share your best ShroomTember recipes this month for a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card. There are three ways to enter, and the details are at the Life of Dad ShroomTember contest page. Here are the generalities:
Create an original mushroom-inspired recipe. It can highlight the simplicity of the mushroom (Week 1), the blendability of the mushroom (Week 2) or the deliciousness of one of America’s tailgate favorites, the mushroom burger (Week 3). Share a photo of your meal on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #ShroomTember and email it to MushroomCouncil@lifeofdad.com.
The winners will be chosen by the Mushroom Council based on creativity of the recipe, quality of the photo and how hungry it makes us!
Oh, and be sure to join me and Life of Dad on Sept. 23 for our ShroomTember Twitter party at 1 p.m. eastern time to learn about recipes and for a chance to win great prizes. Don’t forget to use the National Mushroom Month hashtag, #ShroomTember.
Meanwhile, here’s a little something mushroom-related that I dreamed up. It’s an example of the Simple Dinner category, which is live during Week 1 of the contest and runs through Sunday, Sept. 14.
I know it’s not winter quite yet, but cold weather weekends are right around the corner in many regions around the country. This easy meal will warm you and your family on chilly Saturday afternoons. I guarantee you’ll want to whip this up more than once during the winter months. It’s an example of how mushrooms are a great way to bring flavor and nutrition to the plate or bowl. For our family, mushrooms really are the ultimate comfort food. Enjoy!
Mushroom brie bisque a la Florida with baby bella and smoked Gouda grilled cheese on ciabatta bread
Mushroom brie bisque a la Florida
12-16 oz. mushrooms (baby bella, shiitake, pearl oyster), finely chopped
½ white onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 pinch oregano
1 pinch basil
1 pinch nutmeg
½ stick butter
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups heavy cream
½-pound brie, hulled and cubed
2 tbsps. corn starch or all-purpose flour
2 tbsps. water to mix with corn starch or flour
Directions: In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Mix finely chopped mushrooms, onions and spices, then add to melted butter. Add bay leaf to melted butter/mushroom blend. Sauté butter/mushroom mixture for five minutes, or until moisture begins to evaporate from mushrooms. Mix in chicken or vegetable stock and heat on medium-low for 10 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and brie cubes. Whisk gently until cheese melts. Add corn starch or flour mixed with water. Remove bay leaf. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Avoid full boil. Season to taste. Serves 6-8 people.
Baby bella and smoked Gouda grilled cheese on ciabatta bread
Four slices bakery fresh ciabatta bread
Six-eight thin slices of baby bella mushrooms
One round slice of smoked Gouda cheese
Butter or margarine
1 pinch garlic salt
Directions: In a large non-stick skillet, lightly sauté baby bella mushroom slices with a tbsp. of butter and the garlic salt. Brush a light layer of butter on the outside of two slices of ciabatta bread. Cut the round Gouda slice into equal halves. Place one of the Gouda halves on an unbuttered side of one slice of bread. Place three-four sautéed mushroom slices on top of Gouda, and cover the mushrooms and Gouda with the other slice of ciabatta bread, buttered side out. Over medium heat in the skillet, grill the sandwich on both sides until the cheese begins to melt and the buttered side of the bread is golden brown. Repeat with the other two slices of bread, the second half of the Gouda slice and the rest of the sautéed mushrooms. Serves one-two.
Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad, LLC for the #ShroomTember promotion. Sponsored by The Mushroom Council, the #ShroomTember promotion gives anybody the chance to win a $500 Visa gift card.