This all started because I wanted to buy artificial grass and use it on a table. Beats me what I'm going to do with the grass now that I've gotten the idea out of my system. The mushrooms came as a secondary idea, but even with that, once I started seeing mushrooms, there was no stopping me.
Fortunately, rather than whipping together crazy dishes, I actually had the thought to create a menu that worked well together thanks to a few websites I came across.
Mushroom on Camembert
This is actually one recipe used two ways. I had made Exotic Mushroom Pâté from a recipe on Gourmet Mushrooms Inc, but tasting it as I cooked it, I couldn't help but want to keep some aside. A flick though The Flavour Thesauraus gave me the directions to serve mushrooms on Camembert.
Begin by toasting 1/2 cup of walnut in the oven. Heat 40g of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add one chopped spring onion, a clove of minced garlic, 1 cup chopped mushrooms (I use a variety of different ones for more depth in flavour), the walnuts and 1/2 tsp of dried thyme. Cook for several minutes. Next, add a good pinch each of nutmeg, allspice, cayenne and salt. Pull the pan off the fire as you add 1/4 cup of port. Put back on stove and simmer until liquid is almost evaporated. Whatever you do, please don't put a lid on while the port is cooking. I set my pan and lid on fire by doing just that. You won't know it's on fire until you take the lid off, it suddenly combusts and all you can muster out is 'oh shit'.
Unwrap the Camembert, place on a lined baking tray and pop into oven until cheese softens slightly and parts begin to melt. Pull it out, arrange it on a serving plate, and top the Camembert with the walnut and mushroom mixture.
Exotic Walnut and Mushroom Pate
This next dish is simple. Follow the exact same instructions as above (or just double it as you go), up until you pull it off the stove. Simply pop it into a blender, puree it up, scoop it into a dish or two and place in the fridge to chill before serving with crackers or bread. It's surprising how different the same ingredients can taste when served whole versus blended together.
Wild Mushroom Ragout
This recipe comes from the incredibly seductive Intercourses; An Aphrodisiac Cookbook, a cookbook I've turned to time and time again.
Wash 1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms (I used oyster and king oyster mushrooms, portobellos and button mushrooms), chop into bite sized pieces and separate.
Over medium high heat, usng a nonstick pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook one type of mushroom for several minutes until browned.
Place these mushrooms into a bowl, and cook the next type of mushroom, again for several minutes. Continue this until all the mushrooms are cooked.
Half way through cooking these mushrooms, I took the pan off the stove and gave it a quick rise so I didn't get burnt bits mixed in.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add a minced clove of garlic, for a minute until softened.
Toss all the cooked mushrooms back in the pan and add 2/3 cup of red wine, and a pinch each of nutneg, ground cardamom, ground cloves and salt. Let simmer for 3 minutes.
Next add a 1/4 cup of water and let simmer with the cover on for 5 to 10 minutes.
Uncover to let the sauce reduce before adding in a tablespoon of chocolate. I mixed a bit of dark unsweetened and milk chocolate. Stir until melted.
Serve it over pasta, polenta, toast or, in our case, rice noodles.
(as found on http://www.joyofbaking.com/MeringueMushrooms.html)
These little puffs of sugar are not only easy to make, they're incredibly addictive. But for something so easy to make, the instructions are kinda long. So instead of re-writing how I did it, I'm just going to link the the Meringue Mushrooms recipe over on Joy of Baking, the one I followed to a T.
My only difference- a plastic pastry bag with the end snipped off works perfectly well, especially if you're unskilled (like me), make a complete mess of the kitchen, your hands, face and anything you touch, find icing shoots out the back and need a clean pastry bag every five minutes.
And I just used a knife to scoop icing as glue for the cap and stems.
When finished, display on crushed pistachios.