Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's for Lunch? 
Written by Joe

What is this delicious looking creation that Joe is about to devour? Looks like a shiitake sandwich!

One of my favorite things to eat for lunch is a shiitake sandwich. Though one could really play with the last two of the previous sentence, I find a shiitake sandwich makes me happy, healthier and really gives me that “full” feeling after I’m finished eating.

Lunch has always been my downfall when it comes time to lose that extra baggage I put on between the holidays and/or during a snowless winter when I can’t get out to ski. The shiitake sandwich, I find, is a great way to eat well, feel satisfied and get me on the path to consuming fewer calories at lunch.

Last week I had promised our employees I would make shiitake sandwiches for lunch and I didn’t get around to it until this week when they started to look really hungry. The sandwich requires a few ingredients and you can make it as simple or as gastronomically complicated as you wish.

I start by finding shiitake mushrooms that are a bit too open for our retail accounts. Some growers would call these “grillers” as they are generally large and wide open with the gills fully exposed. After trimming the stem off, I put equal amounts of olive oil and butter (we’re cheeseheads remember, so it is always butter) into an iron frying pan over medium high heat. I allow it to melt until it’s hot and the mushrooms sizzle when they are put into the pan. I fry gill side down first until the gills turn a golden brown color. I then flip the mushrooms and add whatever seasoning I am in the mood for. I am partial to sea salt. I like the salt burst when eating, as does my blood pressure. At this time, one can also add a thin layer of cheese if desired. Some of my favorites are any of the white cheeses: Monterey Jack, Swiss, Mozzarella, or Muenster. Feta cheese is also wonderful as it gives an added dimension of flavor.

Shiitake caps sizzle in a butter and olive oil mix.

While the cheese is melting, take two slices of bread and lightly cover one with a thin film of mayonnaise. I find white bread to be the best, particularly Lake Superior Sourdough or even better, a fresh loaf of French bread made by Mary Ellen. Whole wheat breads tend to overwhelm the shiitake and other flavors, but I will use them if nothing else is available...

All this sandwich needs is a few more mushrooms and another piece of bread.

When the cheese is melted, place the mushrooms on the bread, top with the other slice of bread, and enjoy while it is still warm. I’m still looking for a good locally brewed beer to couple with this sandwich, but alas that will have to be another blog.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shiitake Log Inoculation at F&FP
Brought to you by Team FFP

This video is great for anyone new to shiitake log inoculation, but also serves as a nice refresher for those who are more experienced. We had a great time making this, and truly hope you can enjoy it as much as we did. Good luck with your future log inoculations!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Peek Underneath
Written by Laura

Our shiitake logs have been laying indoors since Thanksgiving. It has been well over a month, and we are pleased with what we are seeing beneath the plastic sheets. What exactly are we seeing? Mycelium! We often get calls with concerns when this white substance makes its way to the surface. Some mistake it for mold or some other unwanted invader organism. Rest assured, it's mycelium.

The mycelium on these logs coincide with spawn placement.

This log, inoculated with West Wind, is showing a tremendous amount of growth.

These logs have been dead stacked (like stacking firewood) and covered with cardboard and plastic. On average, the room they are in has maintained temperatures between 62 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally temperatures should be closer to 77 degrees, this allows for optimal spawn run. Our logs are forced to share a room with our mushroom bearing sawdust blocks, so temps are cooler to induce fruiting. The logs themselves will not be fruited indoors. Come spring they will be moved out into our laying yard to enjoy the fresh air and natural elements.