Put Mushrooms on the Menu for Valentine's Day

Don't panic- Valentine's Day is this weekend. Are you ready?

With the day of romance fast approaching, it's time to consider how you'll celebrate. Treating that special someone to a gorgeous meal is always at the top of my list! And while dining out is always fun, spending some quality one-on-one time at home is always a cherished moment. If you're dining in this year, consider putting mushrooms on the menu with some of our favourite meals! From starters, to mains, we've got you covered- the rest is up to you!!

Beef and Shiitake Wonton Cups by Killing Thyme
Warm Mushroom Salad by Closet Cooking
Roasted Mushroom Tart with Béchamel and Fried Sage by eatHalifax
Spinach Polenta with Mushrooms, Leek and Poached Egg
Crispy Polenta with Mushroom & Goat Cheese Ragout by Sweeatsugarbean
Lamb Loin Chops with Mushroom Marsala Sauce
Share your Valentine's Day menu in the comments below!

Guest Post: Braised Chicken Thighs in a Mushroom Lemon Cream Sauce by Sweetsugarbean

We have a guest in our kitchen! Renee of Sweetsugarbean is back with some delicious, cool-weather comfort. Her quick skillet-dinner is perfect for busy weeknights!!

Hi everyone! My name is Renée Kohlman and Sweetsugarbean is my food blog I’ve been writing for almost five years. I live in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where I happily whip up delicious creations in my little green kitchen. Being a professional pastry chef as well as a food blogger, I’m lucky to have turned my passion for all things food into a career I love. When not busy with the pots and pans, I can be found on my computer writing my first cookbook to be published in 2017. Free time includes cocooning with good books, four cats, Downton Abbey, and eating too much chocolate.


I’m always excited when Mushrooms Canada asks me to write a guest post for their blog. Mushrooms are a staple in my kitchen and it’s always a thrill to put them in new recipes. For today’s chicken dish, I used lovely fresh button and oyster mushrooms. Mushrooms are great to use year­round, but especially in winter because they are the only vegetable that contains vitamin D. Bursting with antioxidants and cancer­fighting compounds, not to mention being low in calories, mushrooms play an important and delicious part of my culinary adventures in the kitchen.

Winter nights call for comfort food, and this hearty braised chicken and mushroom dish fits the bill nicely. Chicken thighs are full of flavour, especially when they are cooked with the bone in and skin still on. I seared them in a hot skillet first to seal in the juices and the flavour. Sliced button and oyster mushrooms are stirred in next, along with lots of garlic, rosemary, chicken stock, cream, lemon juice and a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard. All it takes is just 35 minutes in the oven, leaving you time to cook potatoes or pasta and some vegetables to complete the meal. The meat not only falls off the bone, but the sauce, oh the sauce, is incredibly delicious. The mushrooms cook down in the creamy, lemony sauce, with punches of garlic and rosemary. It’s perfect when lapped over a bed of mashed potatoes or pasta. This is comfort food done right.


Braised Chicken Thighs in a Mushroom Lemon Cream Sauce
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
4 bone-­in skin on chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
10 button mushrooms, cut in half
100 g oyster mushrooms, sliced
5 garlic cloves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
¾ cup whipping cream
½ cup chicken stock
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method
Preheat oven to 400F.
Pat the chicken dry and season it on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and pour in the olive oil. Place the chicken in the hot skillet, skin side down, and cook it for 5 minutes. Flip over and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic cloves, rosemary and mushrooms. Remove from heat. Stir in the whipping cream, chicken stock, lemon juice and mustard. Place skillet in oven and cook for 35­-40 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or pasta.


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A juicy, tender chicken dinner on the table in no time! On these chilly winter nights, this flavourful chicken and mushroom combo will be perfect over some creamy potatoes... thanks again to Renee for always making us hungry!!

Don't forget to follow Renee on her blog Sweetsugarbean, on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

Celebrate Stuffed Mushroom Day

Stuffed Mushroom Day?

There's literally a day, it seems, for just about everything! Though I am happy that Stuffed Mushrooms are being celebrated, especially leading into an appetizer-centric weekend. With the Super Bowl airing this Sunday, we're getting our menu ready! And in the spirit of celebration, we're excited to share our collaboration with Food Bloggers of Canada and the very talented, Beth Dunham

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Rich, earthy mushroom caps roasted with a sweet balsamic glaze, stuffed with a creamy mixture of goat cheese and roasted red peppers and crowned with golden toasted pine nuts. Ideal party fare, this appetizer is sure to impress even your most discerning guest. The recipe is a breeze to assemble and, because it's vegetarian, gluten-free, and low carb, almost everyone can partake.  

Many recipes I've tried have resulted in stuffed mushrooms with soggy bottoms.  Depending on the moisture content of the filling or the mushrooms themselves, and the cooking method, the end product can be less than ideal.  By roasting the mushroom caps before you fill them, you not only concentrate the mushroom flavour, but avoid the soggy bottom blues. 

Credit goes to the uber talented Renée from Sweetsugarbean.com for introducing me to this technique; once I tried the Sausage & Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze recipe she developed for Mushrooms Canada, I was instantly a convert.  I've fooled around with many different fillings and numerous variations on the glaze since, and this goat cheese filling with a balsamic glaze is among my very best efforts.   



Ingredients
500 grams large button mushrooms - about 20-24 mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
130 gram soft goat cheese (4.5 ounces)
2 green onions – very finely chopped
1/4 cup finely minced roasted red pepper
Pinch hot paprika
2 -3 tablespoons pine nuts –toasted

Method
Preheat the oven to 375F.  Wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel and remove the stems, reserve for another use.  Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and coat the mushrooms with the mixture using a pastry brush (or your fingers). Line a baking sheet with parchment and arrange your mushroom caps stem side up for roasting.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on their size, until they are light brown. The oil and balsamic will caramelize to form a sweet glaze which will contrast nicely with the earthy roasted mushrooms. Don't be alarmed if the mushrooms release a lot of water during the roasting process. They will shrink a fair bit too.

While the mushrooms roast, toast your pine nuts and prepare the filling. Toasting the pine nuts is the most demanding part of this whole recipe.  They will go from golden brown to black in the blink of an eye, and pine nuts are so expensive I hate to waste a single one.  So, don't blink, and watch them carefully as you toast them in a hot dry pan (cast iron is best) for 2-3 minutes, just until light golden brown.  Remove the nuts from the hot pan, and set aside to cool.  To prepare the filling, stir together the goat cheese, roasted red peppers, green onion, and paprika until combined.  I always taste the filling at this point to see if I want to add a little more paprika.  You could also substitute cayenne pepper or a splash of your favourite hot sauce if you like things on the spicier side.

Once your mushrooms have been roasted, remove them from the oven, and flip them over to allow any excess moisture to drain. When ready, fill the mushrooms with a generous amount of the cheese mixture and press 5-6 pine nuts into the top of the cheese.  After all the mushrooms have been filled, replace the parchment on your baking sheet, arrange the mushroom caps on the tray and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Make sure you take the time to sample one before you serve them, they're likely to disappear quickly.

These stuffed mushrooms are equally at home served alongside fancy hors d'oeuvres at a posh cocktail party or with bowls of nachos and bottles of beer at your next Super Bowl party.

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If you like these savoury bites, be sure to try these stuffed caps too!