Focus Local Mushrooms

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook 

We have the great fortune of being “local” to the mushroom capital of not only the U.S., but the world-Kennett Square, PA, that is! They even host the world’s annual Mushroom Festival.

Tips for Cooks

Mushrooms should smell sweet and earthy, have dry, firm undamaged caps. If they’re spongy or sticky, avoid them.

Wipe clean with a slightly damp paper towel. Cultivated mushrooms grow in a sterile medium, so they don’t need thorough rinsing-water makes them soggy.

Store in a paper bag in the fridge.

 Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the health benefits and nutrition from The Mushroom Lovers Club website.

Stir-fried Greens with Beef and Shiitakes

Serves 4

Always a winner, this quick stir-fry adds the nutrition and earthy flavor two kinds of mushrooms of our now popular kale. Make sure to have your ingredients prepped and ready for quick cooking.

  • About 1 pound beef sirloin steak
  • 1 cup vegetable or beef broth 
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger,grated
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons peanut, divided
  • 3/4 pound carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces kale, trimmed of ribs and thinly sliced
  • cilantro leaves for topping

 Cut beef into very thin slices. Cut those into 1/2 inch wide strips. In a small bowl mix broth, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and cornstarch together. Hold until vegetables are stir-fired.

 Set a wok or 5- to 6-qt. pan over high heat. When hot, pour in 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat. Add beef and fry, stirring occasionally, until meat is mostly cooked but still a bit pink, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

  Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; add carrots, baby bellas, shiitakes, and cook until barely tender-crisp, 2 minutes. Add kale and sauce; cook, stirring, until leaves wilt, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Return beef to pan and cook until bubbling.

Serve, topping with cilantro.

*Look for Hoisin sauce in your supermarket’s Asian-foods section.


Portabella Melt with Red Bell Mayo

Makes 4 burgers

 This “portabella steak” has made waves all over the web, including the veggie burger alert. “Veggie burgers may seem like safe havens for nonmeat eaters and calorie counters alike. But the shocking truth is that vegetarian burgers offer little to no refuge from the onslaught of calories, fat, and sodium found in beef burgers. (Exhibit A: Ruby Tuesday’s 952-calorie Veggie Burger.) Don’t mess around with fake patties; instead, go straight for a meaty portobello cap, rubbed in olive oil and balsamic and topped with a crown of melted cheese. ”  

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers, blotted dry
  • 4 large portobello caps, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded gouda or mozzarella
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 4 whole-grain buns
  • A few handfuls of mixed greens, arugula, or other lettuce

Heat a grill or grill pan. Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and red peppers. 

 Rub the mushrooms with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Grill, top side down, for 2 to 3 minutes, flip, and immediately add the cheese. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the mushrooms are fully cooked. While the mushrooms are cooking, grill the onions until browned and toast the buns.

 Top each bun with greens, grilled onions, mushrooms and the red pepper mayo.

Mushroom, Spinach and Fennel Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Serves 8

 Does this salad take you back in time?”Every hippie menu in the ’70s had a spinach and mushroom salad,” chef Mark Peel says about this recipe, inspired by a restaurant from his college days in Isla Vista, California. So why did it go away? This rendition is a bit updated with a very “fall” vinaigrette containing apple cider and miso.

  • 8 ounces lightly packed baby spinach
  • 3 large eggs, hard-cooked and cut into wedges 
  • 5 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 large head fennel (about 4 in. wide), trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Combine spinach, eggs, and mushrooms in a large shallow serving bowl.

 Add 1/2 inch water to a medium saute pan and bring to a boil. Add olive oil and fennel to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate to drain and cool.

 Make the cider vinaigrette.

 Add cooled fennel to salad, drizzle with dressing toss gently to coat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.


Apple Cider Vinaigrette 

  • 1/4 cup apple cider 
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion

 Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Alternately, you can make this in a canning jar with an immersion blender. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk; stir in red onion.