Friday, December 16, 2016

The Mushroom Hors d'oeuvres Recipe
Contest Winners and their Kitchen Magic

by Mary Ellen Kozak

For years we have been in search of the perfect mushroom hors d'oeuvres; something beyond the idea of the stuffed button mushroom (delicious as they are). While we are still searching for a collection of room temperature mushroom hors d'oeuvres, we’d like to introduce the following winning recipes. They are hot mushroom heaven and relatively simple to make. Thank you to everyone who submitted a recipe for this contest. Cold buffet cooks: If you are looking for a recipe that doesn’t need to be served warm, there is nothing more tasty and simple than Shiitake Mushroom Butter served on a cracker or slathered on bread dough with cheese and baked into a chewy mushroom cheese bread. Buon Natale, Joyeux Noel and Merry Christmas!

This first place winning recipe was submitted by David Mitten of Chillicothe, Ohio. When Janice tried this recipe, she liked the versatility of the finished dish. “It can be used on pizza, crostini, puff pastry, or a flavorful meat like tenderloin - all great options.

First Place: Shiitake Mushroom Bacon and Cheese Dip

Shiitake Mushroom Bacon and Cheese Dip

6 strips of bacon, cut across grain into 1/8 inch slices
1/4 c (1 medium) shallot, finely diced
3 c (6-8 oz) fresh Shiitake caps diced into ¼ inch cubes (smaller if
this is to be used as a spread)

6 oz cream cheese, softened
3 oz grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 T dry sherry
¼ c mayonnaise
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

For serving:
1 loaf of crusty French bread, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and spread out on a sheet pan. Bake at 350° F until slightly crisp. May also be served on a sturdy, good quality cracker.

Sauté bacon slices in a heavy skillet until crisp but not burnt. Remove bacon strips, leaving about 1 T of the drippings in the skillet. 

Add shallot and diced mushrooms to the drippings, and a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium heat until shallots and mushrooms are slightly brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Into a mixing bowl mix the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire, sherry, black pepper, and mayonnaise.  Mix together and then add the shallots, mushrooms and bacon, incorporating all.  Scrape into a shallow casserole dish and bake at 350 until bubbly and slightly browned- about 20 minutes. The dip may alternatively be microwaved until bubbly but will not brown.

Serve immediately 

(I have refrigerated leftovers and used the "dip" in sauces and toppings. ~MEK")

David Mitten has been growing mushrooms for two years and keeps very busy
with many other natural and outdoor activities such as beekeeping, hiking, kayaking,
shooting and outdoor exploration in general, not to mention keeping up
with his wife Beth and two sons, Jeff and Jared.

We were delighted when farm market customer Amy Koffarnus from DePere, Wisconsin won 2nd Place. When I prepared the recipe at F&FP for a photo, there was a gasp and a crowd of staff around the plate... and then the tarts were gone. “My love for mushrooms has definitely changed and grown over the years," Amy says. "I finally took the time to buy my first kit from Field and Forest Products and will never look back. I asked Bridgett Lowery who runs 416 Cuisine LLC in DePere to teach a cooking class in my home. The recipe submitted is actually inspired by one she taught. I had insisted we used some of the mushrooms I bought at the farmers market just days before. These mushrooms really brought a lot of extra flavor to the appetizer as they do with any meal. I use them in egg bakes, stir-fries, mushroom spaghetti and homemade cream of mushroom soup. It doesn’t get any better then having them at your fingertips by growing them in your kitchen! Happy cooking!” 

2nd Place: Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gorgonzola Tarts
Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gorgonzola Tarts

1-2 packages of puff pastry shells
2 large onions
1 T butter
1 pound mushrooms (a blend of different mushrooms works well;
particularly Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms)

4 T butter
5 oz Gorgonzola cheese
4 oz cream cheese, softened
Arugula for garnish

To caramelize the onions, melt the butter in a saute pan while you thinly slice the onions. Sauté on very low heat, stirring often and adding a little water as necessary (about 45 mins). Reserve.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the Shiitake and tough bits from the base of the Oyster mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms and melt the 4 T butter. Sauté mushrooms over a medium high heat until excess liquid has evaporated, then lower the heat. Sauté mushrooms until just golden around the edges. Add reserved onions and cream cheese. Stir to combine, adding a bit of water, if necessary to make a creamy mixture. Stir in Gorgonzola.

Bake the shells according to package directions. Cool slightly on a rack and then spoon the filling into the shells, top with arugula and serve. 

3rd Place: Lion's Mane Puff Pastries

Damien Logan from Middletown, Ohio is the 3rd Place winner with his Lion’s Mane creation. We don't see a lot of recipe development with Lion’s Mane, so we were thrilled that this was a winner!

Damien was a young kid when his Dad first took him morel hunting. He doesn’t remember eating any mushrooms but must have had fun because his interest in mushrooms has definitely grown. “When I was old enough to participate in scouting, I found myself heavily focused in wilderness survival skills and studied wild edibles. I got pretty good with several local mushrooms, puffball being my favorite.” As an adult, Damien has hiked the entire Appalachian trail in under 6 months which utilized his outdoorsmanship and powers of observation in the natural world. The renewed interest in such things led to a study in permaculture and the integration of systems when working with home gardens. “I’ve come to a point in life where I expect to own a home within a year and will begin applying what I know to the property. Among these things is growing mushrooms within the garden as part of a woven system.”

Lion’s Mane Puff Pastries

1 T butter or olive oil
2 c chopped Lion’s Mane mushrooms
1/3 c finely chopped onion
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 T finely chopped chives
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 large egg
1 (17.3-oz) package frozen puff pastry sheets
2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter or oil in a sauté pan and add the onion and chopped Lion’s Mane, stirring until soft. Cook long enough to release some moisture from the mushrooms and to add a little color to the onion. Allow to cool to room temp, then refrigerate half an hour.

Beat the cream cheese in a mixer at a medium speed until smooth. Stir in mushrooms and onion mixture until combined. Add the Parmesan, chives, and paprika. Mix completely and cover. Chill 1 hour minimum, up to 24 hours.

Bring the pastry out of the freezer to thaw and preheat oven to 400° F. In a small bowl, whisk 1 T of water into the egg and set aside. Lightly flour your counter top, then roll the thawed puff pastry sheet into a 6 x 10 inch rectangle, roughly and cut in half lengthwise. 
Spread half of the cream cheese and mushroom mixture into the center of each rectangle, brushing edges with the egg mixture. Fold each pastry half lengthwise over the filling. Pinch the edges to seal them, then cut each pastry into 10 pieces, and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.Repeat process with remaining puff pastry sheet. (Optional: Freeze prepared but uncooked tarts on a baking sheet for an hour until firm, then transfer into zip-top freezer bags and store frozen for up to a month.) Brush the remaining egg mixture over the tops of each pastry piece. Sprinkle with pepper and bake on parchment lined baking sheet at 400° F until golden. Serve hot.

Special thanks to Janice Thomas and her panelists in making and sampling our contest submissions. If you are ever in the Door County, Wisconsin area, check out her calendar of fun, instructional, and of course, DELICIOUS classes at

Shiitake Butter

Shiitake Butter

1 lb. Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
2 T butter
1 small onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 T soy sauce
About 1.5 lbs. of salted butter, softened

1.) Tear up a pound of stemmed Shiitake. You’ll be cooking these down and pureeing, so large pieces are okay.

2.) With medium heat, melt 2 T butter in a medium skillet and add 1 small chopped onion. Sauté until soft.

3.) Add mushroom pieces, stir around a bit and cover. Every few minutes, check the pan and stir things around, keep the heat warm enough to cook the mushrooms but try to avoid browning the onions.

4.) Once the mushrooms start to cook down and you see a liquid at the bottom of the pan (about 5-10 minutes) add the salt and sugar. Reduce the heat and keep stirring things around every few minutes until the cloudy liquid at the bottom of the pan starts to become clear. Remove the lid and add soy sauce and cook a few minutes more, then shut off the heat.

COOL the mixture (duxelles) until it reaches room temperature. Stir things around in the pan as it sits to aid in even cooling. Once the mushrooms are only slightly warm to the touch, puree in a food processor until the mixture is a paste.
6.) HERE is the secret to making an excellent Shiitake butter: make sure everything, especially the ingredients and mixing bowl, is at room temperature for this final blending of mushroom puree and butter!

What is “room temperature” butter you may ask? If the Sami people of the far north have hundreds of words for snow, the pastry chef ought have the same amount of words for butter, but the best description might be “medium soft.” Ready a mixer with a whip attachment if you have it; otherwise regular beaters will do.

Measure out your puree and ready an equal amount of medium soft butter. The puree volume can vary depending on the raw mushrooms moisture content, but it should be around 3 cups.

Whip or beat the butter until fluffy, then stir in the puree. Finally, whip it until the butter and mushrooms are well blended. This is the secret to making a consistent, well-blended butter. If components are too warm, you’ll end up with soup; if they're too cool, you’ll end up with chunky butter.

This recipe makes about 3 lbs. of Shiitake Butter. Transfer to individual deli containers or jars for gifting, or wrap in freezer paper. This recipe can be doubled by using a standard 4 ½ qt. mixing bowl.