All of my life, I have hated mushrooms.
My memories of mushroom-aversion run deep and wide, all the way back to that traumatic time as a kid when my gag-reflex over being forced to eat the mushrooms on my plate got me into what I thought was some terribly unjust trouble.
Over the years though, I came to start appreciating mushrooms’ culinary uses. Contrary to my long-standing belief that it was their ability to “absorb” flavors that was supposed to make them great — a claim I always found dubious — I found instead that they were actually an excellent source of flavor themselves.
Eventually I would find out why, when I came to be familiar with the concept of umami, the so-called “fifth taste” beyond those of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Sometimes it’s explained as “savory,” but the Japanese word actually translates to give a meaning more like “deliciousness.” Umami is something found in foods which are high in glutamates, and one of the highest glutamate foods is, as it turns out, mushrooms. With this knowledge — and frankly, having married a woman who loves mushrooms — I was happy to begin experimenting with using mushrooms in my cooking. As it turns out, they’re actually really good when given a chance. Who knew?
Their request? Come up with a quick and easy mushroom recipe, and encourage others to do the same, for a chance at winning $500 for the best recipe.
I’m more than happy to oblige!
I went and got myself a nice pack of interesting local mushrooms, and got thinking about what I could make…
I’d recently tried my hand for the first time at making ricotta gnocchi (I’ve previously posted a recipe for a delicious potato gnocchi as well), and it was so good that decided to try adapting it to make mushrooms the star. This might look complicated, but it’s actually a pretty quick and easy recipe and surprisingly fast. One of the benefits to gnocchi is that it involves rolling out dough into awesome snakes, and is very forgiving as far as shaping the actual gnocchi themselves, so this is a perfect dinner to cook with the help of your kids.
There are three contests throughout #ShroomTember. Each of them could land you a $500 prize for the best recipe!
Create a quick, simple dinner featuring mushrooms that any parent can throw together after a long day of school, soccer practice and work. Make it delicious, but also make it simple. Your meal should be something that will soon be in everyone’s weekly rotation.
MLB playoffs are almost here. The family is getting together to watch the pennant races. Put a fresh spin on your family’s “go-to” ground meat recipes by blending and extending your meal with mushrooms. Ground meat and finely chopped mushrooms go together like peanuts and Cracker Jacks. The combination works because finely chopped, umami-rich mushrooms look similar and take on the flavor properties of meat. The possibilities in this challenge are endless and the 7th inning stretch will never be the same again. Get the Blendability playbook at mushroominfo.com/blendability.
It’s time to hit the grill! We want you to create the ultimate handheld meal for football season. When you’re tailgating, plates and utensils aren’t always an option, but deliciousness is mandatory. Your challenge is to put together the absolute best mushroom-infused burger you can. Marinate a portabella patty, blend a beef or turkey burger with fresh ‘shrooms, or grill up a mushroom topper to create burger bliss and you can be doing a touchdown dance with an extra $500 in your pocket.
So get your chef’s cap on, come up with the most delicious, mouth-watering recipe that you can, and enter any or all of the contests!
To enter the contest you must:
The Mushroom Council will choose the winners on the basis of:
**Be sure to join us for the #ShroomTember Twitter party on September 23rd at 1PM EST to learn all about the great recipes and to win some cool prizes.
All of the info you should need on contest rules, judging, etc, you can find on the contest landing page here: http://shroomtember.lifeofdad.com
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.