Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mushrooms. Saving the world one diesel spill at a time.

"Fungi that can clean up fossil fuel spills? It can happen! Paul Stamets, a mycologist dedicated to the preservation of ancient mushroom species, grew a mound of giant oyster mushrooms on a pile of diesel-contaminated soil.

This was an experiment with fungi that break down hydrocarbons such as oil and gasoline. The fungus spores produce an enzyme that denatures hydrocarbon chains, so not only did the mushrooms grow on contaminated soil— they thrived.

Six to eight weeks later, the mushrooms decomposed and flies laid eggs there. Birds came to feed on the fly larvae, and in the process dropped seeds. Grass grew, other insects moved in, and soon what had been a toxic pile of contaminated soil— one which led to a lawsuit and a fine, in fact— was integrated back into a thriving ecosystem."

Source: About My Planet

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Best Life Diet Recipe


4 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup pearl barley, sorted and rinsed
1/3 cup dry white wine
8 ounces portobello or white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

In saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Cover pan and turn off heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Reduce heat to low. Add barley and stir to coat with oil. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine is absorbed. Add hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and adding 1/2 cup more of broth each time the previous addition is almost absorbed. This should take about 30 minutes. (You might have a little leftover broth.) If barley is not yet tender and all the broth is gone, add a little water and cook until tender.

In skillet over medium-high heat, place remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add mushrooms and shallots and saute until mushrooms are golden and shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. (If mixture begins to stick, remove skillet from heat and spray mushrooms with nonstick cooking spray. Return skillet to heat and cook until mushrooms are golden and shallots are soft).

Stir mushroom mixture and basil into barley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Yields 4 servings.

- "The Best Life Diet"
(Simon & Schuster, $26)
by Bob Greene.