Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Adventures in Mushrooming!

photo by ana traina, 2011
Some days, surprises are just the natural order of things, and today was one of those days for me.  It all happened this morning when I went out on my porch to take my morning try at mastering the fine art of hula hooping, (inspired by Laura Dinnerman) and I spied my discarded Pearl Oyster Mushroom kit.  It had bloomed or flowered, no it had “shroomed”!  I was over the hula hoop with joy! You see, it was a completely unexpected sight because I had bought this kit several months ago, and according to the directions on the box, I should have had some “shrooms" after ten days. I did not, even though I had followed the directions to the letter. Yet, I could not bring myself to throw the kit out completely, so I carelessly tossed it under the azalea bush without a single hope that it would ever “shroom” for me. Now, here is the rub, my nearly forgotten Pearly Oyster Mushroom kit had ultimately “shroomed” but my azalea bush which, like I said, my Pearlies sit under, is utterly tangled with deadly nightshade! So let's just say, although, I am thrilled with my Pearlie Oysters, I will not be making this tasty recipe, unless, I go out to the supermarket. Or... Perhaps, I shall just order another kit...

Oyster Mushroom Chowder

Serves 4 as a first course 

A robust soup for an air conditioned  night.
    •    4 tablespoons butter
    •    1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
    •    1/2 cup minced onions
    •    1 cup cubed peeled potatoes
    •    2 cups milk, scalded
    •    Salt and pepper to taste
    •    Dash of ground mace
    •    Dash of Tabasco sauce
    •    Pinch of dried thyme
    •    2 egg yolks
    •    1/4 cup dry sherry
    •    1 cup half and half
    •    Bread cubes browned in butter and drained well
    •    Minced fresh parsley

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and onions, and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the pan and slowly cook the potato cubes for 10 minutes or until tender. Gradually stir in the milk. Add the salt, pepper, mace, Tabasco, and thyme. Allow this to come to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, sherry, and half and half and slowly blend the mixture into the chowder. Add the onions and mushrooms and heat almost, but not quite, to a boil. Taste to correct the flavoring.
Serve at once in soup plates. Float the bread cubes in the soup and sprinkle with parsley.
-Kitchen Magic with Mushrooms