Monday, January 21, 2013

Spruce Up Shiitake and Make a Mushroom Streusel!
Written by Mary Ellen

A typical winter scene at F&FP
It’s winter and I recently staggered out the back door with our spruce tree turned tannenbaum as I feel I must do after Epiphany in January. The tree was still gorgeous and fully needled (at least on one side, coming from a crowded row of white spruce), but because we usually don’t get around to cutting our tree until a week before Christmas, I was sad to drag away the once dazzling, fragrant tree. I similarly feel sad (but also relieved) about the decline of wonderful holiday food. 
Our daughter Phoebe was home from college for the holidays and thanks to feed-yourself- apartment living, she has taken the great leap from cookie baking queen to vegetable diva. This is nice because while it's only January 15, I already start to feel the tedium of  post-holiday austerity, and I am thrilled to find Phoebe slice and crumble her way into a January meal with a Shiitake dish that is a little apart from the same old same old. It’s a new dish that I will be making whenever I want something a little special and healthy as a salad topping, a side dish or crunchiness to eat straight from the pan. I will always be satisfied with the memory of Shiitake Streusel making, a random winter night sparkling with creativity, accomplishment and mushroom cookery beautifully handed down to the next generation. 

Phoebe's recent streusel creation.

Shiitake Streusel 

Phoebe’s apartment kitchen is minimally equipped, so all of her recipes are approximate. She gives us visual tips to let us know how much is enough. 

1 to 1 ½ lbs fresh Shiitake
1- 2 T oil
Feta cheese, best quality - 4 oz. crumbled
1/4  to ½ c chopped toasted pecans or an amount to taste
Balsamic vinegar, about 1/2 to 1  T
A rimmed, oiled or parchment lined baking sheet

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)
Trim stems from Shiitake. Slice caps into ½ inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss caps with the oil until the sides of the bowl and mushrooms are glossy. Season well with salt and pepper. Spread mushroom slices out in a single layer on the tray and put them in the hot oven,  turning the mushrooms with a spatula after the first 10 minutes. Let both sides approach golden brown and chewy.

Remove Shiitake and combine with cheese and pecans. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve warm or room temperature as a side dish, salad topping, steamed vegetable or casserole topping, wrap or omelet filling, etc.

Make these delicious buttermilk breakfast biscuits by brushing the tops with beaten egg and pressing shiitake streusel (substitute feta with smoked gouda) on top just before putting them in the oven.