Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Foraging" for Mushrooms in your own backyard Part II: Let's Eat


According to Paul Stamets, one of the leading minds in the study of mycology, humans are more closely related to fungi than any other kingdom.  We both breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide and even share many of the same pathogens, which is why some of our greatest and most useful medical discoveries have come from fungi including our strongest and most important antibiotics, penicillin being the most common.  Medical, delicious and environmental mushroom discoveries seem to be sprouting up all over the world including the use of oyster mushroom mycelium to detoxify industrial and petroleum waste whether near a factory or a farm.  Mushrooms can be used to not only preserve our environment, but more importantly to help it flourish.  So mushrooms are incredible, good, let's celebrate by...

eating them.  After harvesting our beautiful Oyster mushrooms from the totem pole oak logs inoculated back in April, I decided to put together a quick and easy dinner featuring the new harvest.

All the ingredients with the exception of the spaghetti and the olive oil were grown right here on the farm no chemical fertilizers, sprays or supermarket counters:  Onion, garlic, rosemary and oyster mushrooms.

I recently learned a valuable cooking technique from a young volunteer on the farm.  When sauteeing onions, it's best to let the oil heat in the pan until it begins to move.  At this point, the onions will cook a lot faster than if they were placed in the pan before the oil got hot (Thanks Yan).  I've tried it both ways and I have to say this has been one of the best tips I've received in a long time.  It makes the cooking process go a whole lot more smoothly.

Once the onions begin to caramelize, which you can see when they turn brown, throw in the ripped mushrooms, rosemary and pressed garlic and mix everything until it is blended well. 

You can cook the mushrooms as long as you would like depending on the texture you are looking for.  I prefer to lightly soften them up, maybe get a little brown on the outside so they are still chewy.

I realize now that in my haste, I took this picture without doing such a good job mixing everything together on my plate.  Honestly, I was just to anxious to eat it all before I could make it look nice.

If you have any interest in watching Paul Stamets completely convince you that mushrooms can and will save the world, check out his TED talk here, truly inspirational:


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