"I confess, that nothing frightens me more than the appearance of mushrooms on the table, especially in a small provincial town."
Alexandre Dumas, early 19th century
I don't think I can agree with Dumas anymore! Them mushrooms are growing on me by the day. Such a fascinating world too - apparently there are approximately 38,000 varieties of mushrooms (not all of them edible)! And their growth and proliferation is so odd - the fungus thrives in the dark, totally at odds with the whole "plants thrive in the sunlight" story.
Having grown up vegetarian, I had a really hard time getting used to the meaty, chewy texture of mushrooms. And they seemed to absorb flavors in really odd ways. Besides, I started off with the generic white mushrooms that I still have no interest in. But the rest of the mushroom world awaits exploration - oyster, chanterelle, enoki, shiitake, porcini, morels ... mmmm ... even portabello - if they're sliced and marinated :)
Fun tip when working with mushrooms:
A good way to keep most mushrooms clean and bright is to wipe them with a paper towel dipped in lemon juice.
The last delivery from Pioneer Organics had a batch of shiitake mushrooms that seemed to be craving some spice - or maybe I was just craving a spicy mushroom dish? I know I was definitely craving something quick and tasty, especially after all the fabulous flavors encountered in Mexico&Belize (vacation stories coming soon once I wade through the photos). :P
This time around, I used sumac instead of amchur for the tartness - it seemed to bring out the pungent flavors of the mushrooms more than amchur or even lemon juice - less overpowering, but still tangy.
I promise it'll make you happy!
8-10 shiitake mushrooms - chopped
1 cup shelled peas
1 leek - thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic - crushed
3 tomatoes - chopped
1 T olive oil
1 t sumac powder
1 t cayenne powder
3 T feta cheese
Heat the oil in a wok and saute the leeks till you can smell them (can't miss it) :)
Add the peas and tomatoes and saute for 4-5 minutes.
Now throw in the chopped mushrooms along with spices and stir for another 8-10 minutes on low.
Season with salt.
Top with feta cheese before serving - this went really well with the middle eastern flatbread stocked at Trader Joe's - Yay! for their wheat goodness.