By Alaina Sullivan
Traditional risotto calls for Arborio rice or one of its short-grained cousins; I decided to try it with barley. Risotto-style barley has a more toothsome bite than the rice-based versions, but the process is the same—a ritual of stirring, adding liquid, more stirring, adding more liquid until the consistency turns rich and creamy. The cooking process requires a bit of a watchful eye – a few too many minutes on the stovetop and the grain might get overcooked (you want it to retain a slight crunch). I prepared the barley according to the directions for “Simple Risotto” How to Cook Everything. I folded in a trio of cooked mushrooms (cremini, shitake and portabella), added fresh thyme to complement their earthiness, and finished off the dish with grated manchego to give it that classic creaminess.
By Alaina Sullivan
Mushrooms are delicate but powerful in their ability to add rich meatiness to cooked dishes. This recipe calls for about three cups of mushrooms, though in my fungi-frenzy I measured closer to four. I used shiitake, oyster and cremini — each contributed a distinct texture, creating a rhythm of chewy, porous and meaty spoonfuls. The mushrooms swim in a broth of chicken stock and soy sauce, which intensifies the earthy flavor of the dish. The addition of lemon juice gives a surprising brightness, pulling it up from its savory depths, and strips of nori add a note of the sea. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express
Mushroom and Nori Soup
In a pot over high heat, cook about three cups of mushrooms (any combinations works; oyster and shiitake is especially good) in a couple of tablespoons of butter until they begin to release their liquid; add a diced onion, a minced garlic clove, and a chopped celery stalk and cook until the onion in translucent. Add about four cups of vegetable or chicken stock, a quarter cup of soy sauce, the juice of a lemon, a pinch of celery seed, salt, and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Tear or slice a sheet of nori into strips and put in soup bowls; pour soup over the nori (it will mostly dissolve) and serve.
By Freya Bellin
Thanks to the combination of hearty lentils and mushrooms, this vegetarian dish tastes uniquely meaty. Plus—perhaps the best thing about stir-fries—it’s a quick one-pot meal. Even if you don’t have pre-cooked lentils on hand, they cook in just 30 minutes, so it’s easy enough to have those ready by the time you’ve finished washing and chopping the other ingredients. You won’t need the lentils until the end of the recipe anyway. If you opt not to use (or can’t find) the dried porcinis, consider adding an extra handful of fresh mushrooms to keep the proportions balanced.
The seasoning for this dish is simple, which allows the caramelized onions to really come through. Onions cooking in olive oil always smell great, but once they break down and release their natural sugars, they transform into something other-worldly. As is often the case with foods this delicious, you must be patient with them. I used a heavy pan and probably had the heat a touch too low when cooking this recipe, so my onions took closer to 25 minutes to fully caramelize. Rest assured that it is worth the wait. While the recipe below calls for the onions as a garnish of sorts, I eventually ended up mixing mine into the rest of the stir-fry. The dish makes excellent leftovers, either reheated as is or served over a green salad. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
One-Hour Vegetable Stock
Makes: about 1 quart
Time: 1 hour, somewhat unattended
For this stock, you cut the vegetables into small pieces, which extracts greater flavor; you pan-cook them first, which browns them at least a bit and makes the flavor more complex; and you add a couple more flavorful ingredients (the mushrooms make a difference, as you’ll quickly see, as does the soy sauce). If you have more time for simmering, use it.
Double the quantities here if you want to make enough stock to freeze. Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Recipe from How to Cook Everything.
Makes: At least 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes
Another good use for button mushrooms, which have a fine shape for stuffing.
By Edward Schneider
There were mousseron mushrooms where I was shopping the other day, and in very good condition, too. The plan had been to make macaroni and cheese for a few friends (and, unbeknownst to them, to clear our fridge of odd scraps of cheese that had been hanging around a little too long), and these pretty, tiny, flavorful mushrooms furthered that plan very neatly.
You probably don’t need me to tell you how to make macaroni and cheese. For this one, though, I’ll tell you that I cooked the whole mousserons right in the béchamel sauce base, along with some chopped speck (smoked dry-cured ham, Italian in this case), then proceeded as usual. Continue reading