Tag Archives: mushrooms

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto with Green Bean and Red Pepper Salad
Mushroom Risotto with Green Bean and Red Pepper Salad

This is the classic Italian mushroom risotto recipe, using Arborio rice for good absorption of the stock. The right type of rice makes a big difference.

Time and patience makes a difference, too… you need to allow enough time and steady stirring to make sure all the stock is completely absorbed. The mushrooms are cooked separately, then added in at the end, so that the rice is not discolored.

You can also add other vegetables, like carrots and celery and peppers, with the onion and garlic to add color and make a richer dish. Serving with a salad (like lemony Green Bean and Red Pepper) makes a nice counter to the richness of this dish.

This is especially good when made with homemade stock.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Ingredients (Onion)Ingredients

  • 2 + 2 Tablespoons butter (some for mushrooms, some for risotto)
  • 2 + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (some for mushrooms, some for risotto)
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms (stems removed): crimini, white button, shiitake, or a combination
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup onion (one medium onion), small dice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded, plus more for garnish, if desired
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 sprigs Italian parsley or leaves of basil, chopped, for garnish

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat stock over medium heat to simmering, then keep warm while putting together the rice.
  2. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil in large sauté or frying pan until bubbly and shimmering. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook for 3 -5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Melt another 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil in large (4 quart) Dutch oven until bubbly and shimmering.
  4. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cooking for 1-2 minutes or until softened and translucent, but not browned. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  5. Add rice and stir, making sure that rice is well coated with oil, cooking for about a minute.
  6. Add wine, stirring until it is fully absorbed by rice.
  7. Begin to add the simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula until completely absorbed before adding another 1/2 cup. Keep cooking and stirring all the rice, scraping the entire bottom of the pan and around the edges. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to use at the end.
  8. After about 25 minutes, when rice is tender (no longer dry or crunchy but not mushy either – taste to test it) and all the stock has been absorbed, add in the last 1/4 cup stock, plus the sautéed mushrooms and 1/4 cup cheese.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately, garnished with black pepper, parsley or basil, and more cheese, as desired.

©2016 Barbara Newton-Holmes  First appeared on CulinaryOracle.com July 30, 2016

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Spooky Action at a Distance (Mushrooms)

“Sorry, Einstein. Quantum Study Suggests ‘Spooky Action’ is Real.” Article in New York Times, Oct. 21, 2015, by John Markoff 

Mushrooms growing in the dark


They come out of darkness …

… the earthiness of compost and absolute sunlessness.

Not plants, not animals, but fungi, mushrooms bubble out of the darkness in just a few days.

Crimini mushrooms
Crimini mushrooms

Yet, they are among the most beneficial foods we can eat, providing support to the immune and cardio-vascular systems. Low in calories, but high in nutrients, from B vitamins to a range of minerals, including copper, selenium, and potassium.

And, Jiminy Crimini! They are so delicious, especially when just picked.

Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
Last Saturday, my friend Marilyn and I took a road trip up into the mountains north of Escondido, joining a Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) members’ tour of Mountain Meadow Mushrooms farm.

Mountain Meadow Mushrooms farm
Mountain Meadow Mushrooms farm

According to David Barnes, General Manager at the farm, “It all starts with straw from the stables at the Del Mar Racetrack.”  (I’d wondered what that smell was when we drove up.)

The straw and manure go through extensive measures of ingredients and temperature and aeration to break down the organic matter and ensure purity of the compost. By the time the compost beds are inside the long, cinderblock houses, ready for production, it is purified.

We put on hairnets at the start of the tour, and stepped into special solution before entering each growing house. The darkness inside the houses smells sweet and earthy, even before any mushrooms appear.

David walked us from one end of the farm to the other and back again, from one building to the next, explaining the various stages of production and packaging. It was fascinating how complex and precise it all is. Food safety is paramount.

But, the most revealing was in the taste. I obviously had never had a fresh-picked mushroom before. It was like being given one picked from Plato’s cave – sublime, the pure essence of mushroomness.

I wanted to make something for dinner that would properly feature these beauties, without cooking the life out of them. Of course! Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Ghai), with an extra generous portion of mushrooms, only just heated in the final broth.

Happy Halloween!

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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In a Pickle (Pickled Jalapeños)

“Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.” Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington


Living in San Diego, I have grown to love jalapeños …

… with avocado in guacamole, with tomatoes in pico de gallo, roasted and blackened with tomatillos for salsa verde, even with watermelon and cucumber in a salad.

They are my “go-to” chili for a bit of spice, playing well with others, especially if there’s a little sweetness. Plump and muscular, like biceps on the Jolly Green Giant, jalapeños are genial and accommodating in a crowd.

Pickled jalapeños and hearts of palm
Pickled jalapeños and hearts of palm

But, they do well on their own, too, especially if they’ve had a little time to soak in sweetened vinegar, hang out for a while with friends like garlic and hearts of palm, relax with a few botanicals – bay leaf, oregano.

I find my Pickled Jalapeños don’t last long on a Happy Hour table.

My friend Mark, from Vermont, discovered that a wheel of pickled jalapeño is the perfect topping for a slice of Cabot Vermont Premium Cheese on a multigrain pita cracker. My husband Mark likes them right out of the jar.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Pickled Mushrooms and Orange Slices

Makes 1-pint jar or two 8oz jars.

Pickled Mushrooms and Orange Slices
Pickled Mushrooms and Orange Slices


1 cup orange Muscat Champagne vinegar (from Trader Joe’s or similar))

1 cup filtered water

2 teaspoons oregano

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

1 /4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 Tablespoons truffle oil

3 – 1/2 inch slices organic orange, quartered

8 oz (by weight) organic crimini mushrooms, wiped and quartered

Additionally, 4 oz organic crimini mushrooms, wiped and quartered

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – In a saucepan over high heat, combine, vinegar, water, oregano, bay leaves, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Bring to a boil for one minute.

2 – Remove pickling liquid from heat. Add oranges and 8oz. mushrooms, stirring and cover with pickling liquid.

3 – Cover and let stand for 20 minutes or until cool. Add the additional 4oz raw mushrooms and mix well.

4 – Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the mushrooms and oranges from the liquid and pack into a large jar, at least 1 pint, or individual 8-oz. jars.

5 – Pour the pickling liquid into a measuring cup. Add the truffle oil and whisk well into an emulsion. If using smaller jars, divide the liquid among the jars, filling them up to the top.

6 – Cover and refrigerate for up to two to three weeks.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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