I really, really eat a lot of mushrooms…
I just love ’em! Now, I’m not sure if it’s a common thing for children to dislike mushrooms, and I in no way actually remember disliking them – but if you were to ask my dad, he’d tell ya!
I’m not exactly clear on what it is that changed, palate of course, perhaps preparation. I don’t know. I have gone from all of my childhood and teenage years disliking them, to magically one day being absolutely infatuated. My mom didn’t care for mushrooms really either, so perhaps just a lack of them being around is what spurred me to think I disliked them.
None of that matters anymore, as mushrooms are now a staple in my kitchen. A dang near every day staple – actually.
Mushrooms are the perfect substitute for a meaty meal. Why? Because they are meaty! They are fleshy and filling, not to mention completely packed with awesome health benefits. Oyster mushrooms (one of my favorites) are even carnivorous! The oyster mushroom mycilia can actually digest worms. Whooaaa!
Seriously cool. They’re like little aliens, we know so little about them and yet they are so important to our planet. Ancient little wonders (and by little, I suppose I mean HUGE considering the mushrooms popping up in your back yard are directly connected to the ones on the next block – and beyond) that take care of our soils, our plants, and us! Yes, us! Little cancer fighting bad asses that jump start, kick start, mega boost immunity and help our own often bogged down systems get rid of junk.
Typically shiitakes are my go to, oyster follow in a close second – but morels, they are a rarity. Being so close to the Rocky Mountains, the river and treed areas around the city can be crazy treasure areas for morels in springtime. The tricky bit is, when searching them out…. if you go a day early, you won’t be able to see them; go a day late – and they will be gone!
Morels are a special little mushroom, and considering this is a very special weekend to a whole lotta people – I figured I would pull out of the stops. A special meatless meal that would curb the belly rumbles of even the most fussy carnivore.
Mashed potatoes worthy of my dad, the best mashed potato maker in the whole world. Yes, the whole world. Crisp asparagus with steam activated orange zest, sauteed mushroom medley and a thick ka-pow kick butt onion gravy. The gravy is dialed way up in super hero awesomeness with a blend of 14 powdered mushrooms by Harmonic Arts, it’s totally optional and since I would assume most people don’t own a little jar of that bad boy, no worries. Also, not super adventurous with mushrooms? No prob there either, it’ll still be just as tasty sticking to creminis or whatever you fancy. Everything is finished with an extra dose of orange zest, and some crushed pink peppercorns. Yep, yum.
Mashed Potatoes with Asparagus & Mixed Mushrooms
5 Russet Potatoes
3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
Salt & Pepper
Peel and cube the potatoes, dump them into a pot of hot salted water and boil until soft. Drain, and toss back into the pot along with the coconut oil and almond milk. Mash those loves up until smooth. Season to taste and cover – set aside.
16+ Spears of Asparagus
2 Tbsp Water
1 Tsp Coconut Oil
1/2 Tsp Orange Zest
Get a pan nice and hot on the stove, about medium high. Allow it to warm up dry, then add the oil and allow it to melt. Hold the asparagus below the tip of the spear and near the end, bend break off the woody stem of each – wherever it chooses to break. Add the asparagus to the pan and allow them to heat for a minute or two. Add one tablespoon of water – allow the steam to fill the pan and cook another minute. Repeat with the second tablespoon of water, cook for another two or three minutes then add the orange zest. Remove from heat and set aside – covered.
*Make Gravy and Medley at the same time*
1 Cup Shiitake Mushrooms
1 Cup Oyster Mushrooms
1 Cup Morel Mushrooms
1 Cup Water Separated into Thirds
Salt & Pepper
If using multiple different types of mushrooms, cook each kind separately one after the other using the same pan. If using cremini or button mushrooms – do as many as there is room for without over crowding. Start the pan on medium high, dry. No oil, no water, no anything. Get it nice and hot, then add the mushrooms and let them pan roast for a minute or so. Add 1/3 cup of water, and stand back while it steams and sizzles. Season. Remove mushrooms from the pan when they are soft, pour reserved mushroom liquid into the gravy pot. Repeat with remaining mushrooms, adding the liquid to the gravy each time until finished. Cover the bowl containing the mushrooms to conserve heat.
Earthy Onion Gravy
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 Yellow Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Cup Water
Reserved Mushroom Liquid
1 Tbsp Mushroom Powder (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Dice up the onion and the garlic while the coconut oil melts in a small pot. Add the onions and sautee until soft and translucent. Add garlic. Add in the mushroom liquid with each batch of mushrooms, depending on how much liquid there is in the pot – add the extra half cup of water. Finish with the mushroom powder, season with salt and pepper. Using a stick/emulsion blender blitz the gravy until all chunks of onion are smooth. Season if necessary.
Scoop 1/4 of the mashed potatoes onto each plate, divide asparagus and press lightly into the mashed potatoes to make a flat surface. Top with mushroom medley. Spoon the gravy over top, allowing it to seep down one side of the mound and onto the plate. Finish with a touch of orange zest, and some crushed pink peppercorns (or fresh cracked pepper).