Guest Post: Beef and Mushroom Tortilla Pie by eat. live. travel. write.

We've got a guest in our kitchen today! We are very happy to welcome back Mardi of Mardi is here to share her first Blendability recipe!! Combining mushrooms and ground beef in this flavourful recipe is a great way to add veggies to your family meals.

Hi! I’m Mardi visiting the Mushrooms Canada kitchen from eat. live. travel. write. and I’m excited to be sharing a “Blend & Extend” recipe today. To tell you the truth, I've been mixing mushrooms with my ground beef for a while now – it’s a great way to add an extra serving of vegetables to dishes that tend to be meat-heavy (think meatloaf) and since finely chopped mushrooms look similar to and blend seamlessly with ground beef, you can make your classic ground beef dishes healthier without losing out on taste or texture. I love the “extend” part of the Blend & Extend concept because there are a few dishes I tend to make often that use ground beef where 1lb is too little and 2lb is too much – swapping out ½ the beef for mushrooms is a great alternative since it adds flavor and bulk but doesn't weigh the dish down. One of these dishes is a favourite “make ahead” meal – a layered tortilla pie – kind of like Mexican lasagna with corn tortillas in place of pasta. This version uses mushrooms and beef for the meat layer alternating with layers of beans, salsa and cheese. It’s definitely a meal in a slice.

Beef and mushroom tortilla pie

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
For the meat:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb mushrooms (I used crimini and shiitake)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
For the beans: 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
To assemble:
1 ½ cups salsa
12 6-inch corn tortillas
200g shredded cheddar cheese
To serve:
Sour cream
Avocado slices

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
To cook the beef and mushrooms:
Place the mushrooms in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
Pulse until they are finely chopped.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the shallots and garlic and cook sauté until they start to soften but not brown.
Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to brown (at this point you might want to drain any excess liquid or you can lower the heat and continue to cook until the liquid is mostly cooked off).
Add the beef, mix to combine well with the mushroom mixture and cook until the beef is browned.
Stir in the coriander, cumin and red pepper flakes and season with salt, to taste.
Set aside.
To cook the beans:
In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the shallot and garlic until they just start to soften.
Add the drained beans and cook over medium heat until they are soft enough to mash.
Stir in the cumin and coriander then use a potato masher or the back of a soup ladle to gently crush the beans. You can leave some whole so the texture is not completely smooth.
To assemble:
Cover the bottom of a deep round baking dish (9-inches/ 23cm in diameter with a capacity of 2L) with about ¼ cup of the salsa.
Top with 2 corn tortillas – you will have to cut them to fit the shape of the dish so the bottom is completely covered.
Top with about 1/3 of the beef and mushroom mixture, then ¼ cup of the salsa then scatter about ¼ of the cheese.
Layer on 2 corn tortillas, cut to fit the dish, then top with 1/3 of the bean mixture, then ¼ cup salsa and more cheese.
Continue to layer the tortillas, beef and beans until you have used up all the ingredients. Make sure the top of the pie is just salsa and cheese on a tortilla layer.
Depending on the size of your dish, you will get 2-3 layers each of beef/ mushrooms and beans.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400˚F, then broil on high for 3-5 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown and bubbling.
Serve slices with a dollop of sour cream and some extra salsa and fresh avocado slices.

Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher to elementary school-aged boys and the author of eat. live. travel. write. - a blog focusing on culinary adventures near and far. She has lived and worked as a teacher in Australia, Hong Kong, England, France and now calls Toronto home. As part of her job, she runs a cooking class twice a week for 7-13 year-old boys, Les Petits Chefs and Cooking Basics. She’s also a cook, baker, traveler, photographer, writer, she was a co-founder of Food Bloggers of Canada, Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Toronto and in her spare time teaches cooking classes around Toronto. 

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Veal & Mushroom Ramen by Celebrity Chef Anna Olson

Foodland Ontario partnered with Grow Guelph, an Economic Development partnership between the University of Guelph, City of Guelph’s Economic Development Department and a number of local business support agencies, at the Canadian Restaurant and Food Service Association (CRFA) Show held on March 2-4, 2014.

Celebrity chef and TV host Anna Olson was a featured presenter, showcasing recipes that ‘Go Global with Local’. At these sessions, Anna showcased locally grown foods, and demonstrated how to use the commodities to deliver an array of menus that come from around the world. At the Ontario Pavilion Cooking Demonstration, Anna Olson exhibited recipes and flavour pairings containing Ontario Maple Syrup, Goat Cheese, Protein and/or Mushrooms.

Photo by Grow Guelph
Photo by Grow Guelph
Enoki mushrooms are the most asked about mushrooms when we're out at consumer shows and thanks to Anna we have another tasty Enoki recipe to share! She highlighted the use of Enoki mushrooms in this wonderful ramen recipe... try it at home!

Photo by Grow Guelph
Ramen noodles aren't just for college students on a budget. Japanese ramen noodle dishes have a long tradition and are seeing new popularity in New York and beyond.

Veal & Mushroom Ramen
Serves 2 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 oz portion veal tenderloin or loin
4 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
1 Tbsp sugar
4 Ramen noodle “squares”
2 Tbsp dark miso paste
175 g (1/2 pkg) extra firm tofu
4 cups bean sprouts
3 cups shredded green or purple kale
150 g enoki mushrooms
sesame oil & Togarashi*

1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Sear the veal portion on all sides so that it is browned, but not cooked through. Remove the veal from the heat and set aside.

2. Bring the stock, with the garlic, soy, ginger and sugar up to a full boil. Add the Ramen noodles and cook under tender. Whisk in the miso paste and arrange the noodles and ladle the broth into 2 bowls. Arrange the tofu, bean sprouts, kale and enoki mushrooms in groupings on top of the bowl (once stirred in after presenting, all the ingredients will warm up). Slice the veal as thinly as possible and lay on top (the hot broth will cook it further). Serve with seame oil and Togarashi.

* Togarashi is a 7-spice blend that is used to sprinkle on noodle soup dishes. It does have a little chili heat to it, and can be found in the Asian section of many groceries.


Thanks to Anna, Foodland Ontario and Grow Guelph for sharing this recipe and photos with us! I have to admit, I did fall in love with ramen noodles in college, but this recipe will let me enjoy them again, guilt-free!

Follow Anna Olsen's culinary adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Blend & Extend: Asian Lettuce Wraps

We're excited to share our new Blend & Extend: Mushroom & Beef Blendability concept with you! We now have the website up and running, two shows in Hamilton and Ottawa under our belt and 10 fantastic new recipes and cooking videos!

Our samples at the shows went over so well! We even had families, who thought they hated mushrooms, coming back for seconds and even thirds! Try the first Blendability to hit the blog, Asian Lettuce Wraps, at home with your family. They're perfect for spring, which we hope is here to stay now.

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Lighten up lettuce wraps by blending half the beef with meaty tasting mushrooms.

Serves 4 | Prep Time: 15 mins. | Cook Time: 15 mins.

8 oz fresh mushrooms 
1/2 lb lean ground beef 
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp dried minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried minced onion
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 head Boston lettuce
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped cashews (optional)

Place the mushrooms, onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground beef; pulse until well combined.

Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom mixture and seasoning blend. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until browned.

Stir in red pepper, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and vinegar. Simmer for 5 minutes; remove from heat. Serve in Boston lettuce leaves garnished with shredded carrot and chopped cashews.

Tip: Pack leftover mushroom mixture and lettuce separately to take for lunch the next day.