Monday, April 30, 2007

Mushrooms, A Source of Vitamin D?

Mushrooms could soon be considered a source of Vitamin D

Do you spend your 20 minutes outside in the sun as part of our daily requirement for Vitamin D? A lot of Canadians may find it hard to with the unpredictable weather, and long winters.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cancer, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes and osteoporosis. So how can you get your daily requirement of Vitamin D? You could spend 20 minutes outside, but researchers say that you soon might be able to pop a few mushrooms and you will be well on your way.

“This could be it,” said Robert Beelman, a Penn State food scientist who has spent more than a decade working with mushrooms. If this study is successful, mushrooms could provide your body with almost the entire daily required of Vitamin D. In order to get that from other foods, for example milk, an adult would have to drink about 40 glasses a day.

Today, mushroom farmers typically grow the mushrooms indoors in the dark, switching on fluorescent lights only at harvest time. That means they now contain negligible amounts of vitamin D. Research suggests that if mushrooms are exposed to UV light following harvest they synthesis Vitamin D.

Beelman said his research has shown that exposing growing mushrooms to three hours of artificial UV light increases their vitamin D content significantly. The only drawback is that the white button mushrooms — like people — tend to darken with increased UV exposure.

BakuSun & The Globe and Mail

My questions is, how many of you would still buy and eat white mushrooms if they contained significant amounts of Vitamin D, but were turned slightly brown in the process? Does having a snow white mushroom matter in this type of situation?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Make Room for Shrooms

"Plenty of varieties available to add flavour to any dish


There is one ingredient -- once considered gourmet, but now part of our everyday cooking -- that never fails to add great flavour to a dish.

The mushroom.

In Canada there is a thriving mushroom-growing industry, with white mushrooms the leader in production. They come in three sizes, the prized "button," regular medium, and jumbo, ideal for stuffing. A second version of this mushroom is brown, known as a crimini. Firmer than its white counterpart, the crimini has a slightly more intense meaty flavour. Both mushrooms can be eaten raw and cooked, and are as delicious in a salad as they are in a stir-fry or ragout.

For a long time, these were the only kind of mushrooms we saw in the market. But, then, kaboom! The neat little white and brown mushrooms were joined by a coterie of different looking -- and some would say more interesting -- mushrooms. The portobello surprised us all with its size -- it's the largest of all domestic mushrooms, and in fact is just a well developed brown or crimini mushroom. Because portobellos are larger and older, they have lost some of their moisture, deepening their earthiness and meaty flavour. Portobellos are the ultimate stuffed mushrooms, beloved at barbecue parties where they offer a much appreciated and stylish vegetarian alternative to grilled meat and poultry. Many cooks like to scrape out the gills, the pleated darker underbelly of the fungus, before brushing with olive or canola oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, and arranging over the coals.

Then, getting more exotic, came two more mushrooms. The oyster, all pearly grey and velvety and shaped like their name. It's great on the grill, just lightly brushed with olive oil and dressed with a little garlic, salt and pepper.

Shiitake mushrooms, familiar in their dried form by anyone who cooks Chinese food, are the most expensive of the newest mushrooms, and generally only the cap is used as the stem is too tough. However, this is the mushroom to use when mushrooms have a starring role in a dish, rather than playing backup. In many Asian dishes, and frequently in salads, we see the white skinny and very leggy enoki -- so charming to float over consomme or toss in a salad.

All of these mushrooms were originally wild and their cultivation has broadened our choices for delicious meals.

This is a spring stew that is delicious over rice or noodles, or for a dramatic presentation, in split pop-overs.

2 tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil (approximate)
3 lb. (1.35 kilos) boneless stewing veal, trimmed
2 tbsp. (30 mL) butter
3 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups (1 L) sliced white mushrooms or shiitake caps
2 cups (500 mL) sodium- reduced chicken stock or broth
1/4 cup (50 mL) each chopped fresh dill and flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) crumbled dried
1 tsp. (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
4 tsp. (20 mL) each flour and soft butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
Fresh dill sprigs

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat half of oil over medium-high heat. Brown veal, in three batches, adding more oil as needed. Transfer browned pieces to a large plate as you work. Drain off any fat.
Melt 2 tbsp. (30 mL) butter in same pan. Add onions, garlic, carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; saute until liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
Return veal and any accumulated liquid to pan. Stir in stock and use it to scrape up any brown bits from bottom. Stir in dill, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered until veal is tender, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, blend together flour and soft butter; stir it into liquid around veal, stirring until liquid thickens evenly.
(Make ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes in shallow container. Refrigerate uncovered until cold; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat to continue.)
Stir in cream; heat through and season to taste if desired. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs.
Serves 8.

This recipe combines fresh white or crimini mushrooms with dried porcini or morels. This classic recipe is an easy-to-make starter.

1 (14 g) pkg. dried porcini or morel mushrooms
2 tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil
3 cups (750 mL) sliced white button mushrooms or shiitake caps
6 green onions, green and white parts separated and both thinly sliced
6 cups (1.5 L) sodium- reduced chicken stock or broth
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Pinch freshly ground pepper

Rinse dried mushroom; place in a large liquid measuring cup. Cover with 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water; cover and let mushrooms hydrate until soft and plump, about 20 minutes. Reserving liquid, drain through coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined sieve. Slice mushrooms thin and set both mushrooms and liquid aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add button mushrooms and white part of onions. Fry until mushrooms tender and liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Add stock, mushroom soaking liquid and rehydrated porcini mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and pepper. (Make ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate uncovered until cold; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat to continue.) Ladle into warmed soup bowls; sprinkle with green part of green onions.
Serves 6 to 8.

Even though watercress is available all year round in Toronto, it is still a harbinger of spring.

1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil
1 tbsp. (15 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp. (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
11/2 cups (375 mL) thinly sliced white or cremini mushrooms
1 tbsp. (15 mL) minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp. (15 mL) snipped chives
4 cups (1 L) loosely packed watercress, no coarse stems (about 1 to 12 bunches)

In a salad bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, parsley and chives. Toss to coat mushrooms evenly. (Make ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.) Add watercress; toss lightly and serve right away.
Serves 6.

Note: A few enoki mushrooms added as garnish would not be amiss in this salad.

The paper bag is key to letting the mushrooms breathe and preventing them from turning into crisper slime. Like all fresh produce, buy what you plan to eat within a few days. The mushrooms may surprise you by lasting longer, but to be fair to them -- and to appreciate them at their best -- buy and enjoy."


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mushroom and Cheese Squares

"Mushroom and Cheese Squares

Preparation Time: 15 mins. Cooking Time: 25 mins.

This is an easy brunch dish to make ahead of time OR cut in smaller squares for a party.

1 tbsp butter 15 mL
8 oz thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (white, crimini or shiitake)
250 g
1/4 cup Each diced red pepper and green onion 50 mL
1/2 tsp Each dried crumbled rosemary and thyme leaves
2 mL
1/4 tsp pepper 1 mL
6 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
50 mL
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 mL
2 cup shredded old white Cheddar or Gruyere cheese 500 mL

In medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat and sauté mushrooms 3-4 minutes; add peppers, onion, rosemary, thyme and pepper. Continue to cook and stir about 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. In large bowl whisk eggs; mix flour with baking powder and whisk into eggs. Stir in mushroom mixture and cheese. Pour into lightly greased 9”(22 cm) square baking pan. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let stand at least 5 minutes or longer before cutting into 6 rectangles for main course OR 1”(2.5 cm) squares for appetizers. Serve hot, room temperature or cold.Makes 6 main course servings or 42 appetizers

Tip: Reheat in low oven or on medium power in microwave."

Recipe Courtesy of Mushrooms Canada

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mushrooms Are Full of Minerals

Mushrooms Are Full of Minerals

When you think of vegetables that have tons of minerals do you picture leafy greens, spinach and other green vegetables like broccoli and asparagus? Well, next time think White! Yes, the mushroom is full of important minerals your body needs for healthy development.

Not only does a 1/2 cup of mushrooms satisfy your one daily serving of Fruits and Vegetables as recommended by Canada's Food Guide, but it also provides tons of minerals.

Here, I’ve listed the nutrient amounts and % Daily Values (%DV) of these important minerals for a 100 gram serving of uncooked, white button mushrooms.

16% DV (0.3 mg)
• Found in all body tissues, with the bulk in the liver, brain, heart and kidney.
• An essential micronutrient that plays a role in making hemoglobin.
• Also involved in energy production.

3% DV (0.5 mg)
• A component of hemoglobin and myoglobin and is important in oxygen transfer.
• A component of numerous enzymes.
• About 70% is found in hemoglobin, about 25% is stored in liver, spleen and bone.

2% DV (9.0 mg)
• Macronutrient with 50% found in bone and the other 50% almost entirely inside body cells.
• Serves as an important part of more than 300 enzymes responsible for regulating many body functions including energy production, making body protein and muscle contraction.
• Also helps maintain nerve and muscle cells.

9% DV (86.0 mg)
• A component of every cell and other important compounds including DNA and RNA which are responsible for cell growth and repair.
• Part of phospholipids present in every cell membrane in the body.
• Is a major component of bones and teeth.
• Important for pH regulation.

9% DV (318 mg)
• Helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells.
• Helps maintain blood pressure.
• Important for muscle contraction and transmission of nerve impulses.

13% DV (9.3 mcg)
• Is involved in fat metabolism.
• Acts as an antioxidant with vitamin E.

3% DV (0.5 mg)
• Helps the body use carbohydrate, protein and fat.
• A constituent of many enzymes and insulin.
• Promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair. Adequate zinc intake is essential for growth.
• Involved in immune function.
• Also plays many important structural roles as components of proteins.