Guest Post: Beef and Mushroom Tortiere by The Gouda Life

We have a guest in the kitchen today! Kelly of The Gouda Life is back sharing another fabulous mushroom recipe. Embrace the autumn season with this hearty, comforting and oh-so-delicious Blend & Extend recipe. 

It's no surprise that food, meat especially, can be expensive. Especially when you're trying to buy locally sourced, ethically raised meat. I'm always looking for ways to save a few dollars and make our food budget stretch as far as it can  in the kitchen. The Blend and Extend campaign really helped put this into motion. Using mushrooms to stretch a dish using ground beef, or vice versa, is a simple way to make that meal last a bit longer, and pack in a few extra nutrients while you're at it. It's also a great way to get kids onto mushrooms if they haven't quite found a taste for them yet.


This Beef and Mushroom Tortiere houses all the flavours of a French-Candian classic, but bumps up the nutrition and stretches your beef budget with the addition of some fried mushrooms. The texture isn't affected as you're giving the mushrooms ample time to cook and firm up, and the flavour is only amplified by the rich, earthy meatiness of them.


Whether you're making tacos, stir fry, meat sauce or shepherds pie, adding mushrooms to your beef mixture both saves money and tastes amazing. Bon appetit!

Beef and Mushroom Tortiere by The Gouda Life
makes 2 pies

Ingredients
4 tbsp olive oil, separated
1.5 lbs cremini mushrooms, diced
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper, to taste
2 9" top/bottom pie shells (my favourite recipe here)
1/4 cup cream/milk/eggwash

Note: you can brown the beef and mushrooms in separate pans at the same time if you don't mind dirtying two pots. Otherwise, brown them back to back in the same pan. 

Method
Put a heavy skillet or dutch oven over med-high heat and heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add in the mushrooms and leave them, without stirring, for 10 minutes. They should go from dry, to watery, and back to dry. You'll need them to release all their moisture in order to crip up. Continue to cook, stirring if necessary, until mushrooms are golden brown and crisp (about 20 minutes total). Remove mushrooms from the pan to a towel-lined bowl. Add in the other 2 tbsp olive oil and add the ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and fragrant. Add in the mushrooms and diced onion.  Cook for 5 minutes more so onions can soften. Add a few pinches or salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Let mixture cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 and put the rack in the lowest position.

Roll your dough out and split the pie filling between the shells. Cut a vent hole in the middle of each pie. Brush with eggwash or light cream/milk and bake pies for 45-50 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Slice and serve. If you want to save one, cover tight with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 5 months.


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This is a wonderful comfort dish that has been made slightly healthier by using the Blend & Extend concept. This is a great way to enjoy the comforts of fall without feeling guilty. Thanks Kelly for sharing such a tasty recipe! 

Follow along with Kelly online at The Gouda Life, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Guest Post: Spicy Korean Fried Portobello Sandwich by The Yum Yum Factor

We've got a guest in our kitchen today! We're thrilled to have Carole of The Yum Yum Factor back once again with another tasty mushroom recipe. This time around, she's bringing the best Korean flavours to the plate for her own take on traditional fare. 

Over at my blog, The Yum Yum Factor, one of my favourite things to do is to mash up different types of cuisines and ingredients, creating my own style of “fusion” cooking. Living in Toronto, I have access to every type of restaurant and grocery store imaginable and over the years I and have found that almost all of these different cuisines have overlapping ingredients that allow for some tasty experimentation.

Lately, one of my favourite snacks is something called KFC - no, not THAT KFC. I’m talking about this Korean Fried Chicken, or Dakgangjeong, that has become all the rage in North America via Seoul. You get a whack of double fried, shatteringly crisp chicken pieces that have been tossed in an addictive, sticky, sweet and spicy red sauce, topped with chopped scallion and sesame seeds. A dish of pickled turnip is always served alongside so you grab a box of wet wipes and you are good to go.


When Mushrooms Canada asked me to come up with a recipe for their blog,  I set out to transform that dish into something that everyone could enjoy, including my vegetarian loved ones.  One of my most popular recipes of all time has been my Oven Fried Korean Drumsticks so, basically, I wanted the spicy Korean fried chicken experience, but hold the chicken. I was hungry and also wanted to eat a sandwich so the KFP was born.

A nice, plump portobello mushroom cap provides the perfect vehicle for this sandwich. Since it has a nice, meaty texture, it can hold up to the deep frying and still retain it’s shape and it’s the perfect size for a nice, crusty bun. After lots of experimentation, I came right back to the simplest breading technique in the end. The panko crust stays crispy, even after it cools off and has been tossed in the sauce and the addition of sesame seeds gives a great nuttiness to the mushroom. A buttery, crusty bun is the perfect base while we retain the scallion in the form of a mild mayo,  the pickled cucumber replaces the turnip and a touch of kimchi just puts the whole thing over the top.


Spicy Korean Fried Portobello Sandwich - KFP by The Yum Yum Factor
Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients
Mushrooms
4 large portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup panko
2 tbls sesame seeds

scallion mayo
3 scallions
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Gochujang sauce
4 garlic cloves. grated
1” piece of ginger, grated
1/4 cup *gochujang
2 tbls dark soy sauce
1 tbls rice wine vinegar
3 tbls *brown rice syrup (or corn syrup)
2 tbls ketchup
1 tbls sesame oil

cucumber/daikon pickle
1/2 english cucumber, very thinly sliced
about a 3” length of daikon radish, very thinly sliced (you can sub in regular radish, until you have about 1/4 cup)
4 tbls sugar
1 tbls salt
1/2 cup white vinegar

For sandwiches: 4 crusty Portugese or Calabrese buns, *kimchi (optional)

Method
You can make the gochujang sauce, mayo and pickle ahead of time but don’t make the veggie pickle too far in advance or you lose the crunch - 1 hour at most.

To make the pickle, heat the vinegar until warm in a pot or in the microwave and stir in the sugar and salt and keep stirring until dissolved completely and set aside to cool. Put the daikon and cucumber in a shallow dish and cover with the vinegar, and let it sit, stirring from time to time, until you need them for the sandwiches.

To make the mayo, chop the scallions and put them, with the mayo, in a food processor and whiz till smooth. Set aside

Mix all of the ingredients for the gochujang sauce together in a food processor or blender and whiz until well mixed. Set aside.

Make your dredge station: 1 shallow bowl with flour, salt and pepper, 1 shallow bowl with egg and then the third shallow bowl with panko and sesame seeds. 

Roll each mushroom cap in the flour until completely coated, give it a shake and then coat it in the egg. Let the excess drip off before putting it in the bowl of panko, turning it around in the crumbs until it’s completely covered and remove to a rack set over a baking sheet. 
Repeat until all four are breaded.

Meanwhile, you are heating a deep pan or a pot with 3” of vegetable oil over med high heat until it reaches about 350-370F. To test, you can put a couple of panko crumbs in the oil and it should start sizzling right away and turn brown immediately. Carefully lower a mushroom cap into the oil and deep fry for 3-4 minutes, until really golden brown, turning occasionally. How many you cook at once will depend on the size of the pan - don’t crowd them.

When they are done, remove them back to the baking rack to drain.

Now, cut all of your crusty buns in half , butter them and toast them, either under the broiler or on a grill pan.

Heat the gochujang sauce for about 45 seconds in the microwave to soften it up. If you really like spicy food, carefully toss each mushroom cap in some sauce until coated. Otherwise, you will just drizzle some sauce on the mushroom when you construct the sandwich.

Smear some scallion mayo on the bottom bun and put the mushroom cap on top (if you didn't coat in sauce, drizzle the gochujang on top).

Add a layer of pickled cucumber and daikon.

Spread a spoonful of kimchee on the very top.

Top with the cap of the bun and dig in.

*brown rice syrup, gochujang and kimchi can all be found at any Korean or Japanese grocery store or online

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The flavours in the sandwich are incredible! This is such a fun way to bring fusion cooking into your own kitchen. Go ahead, experiment for yourself!!

Follow along with Carole online at The Yum Yum Factor, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Guest Post: Creamy Stroganoff Meatball Skillet by Crumb: A Food Blog

We're excited to have a familiar face back in our kitchen! Isabelle of Crumb: A Food Blog is at it again, sharing mouthwatering mushroom recipes! This time, she's used the Blend & Extend method to make weeknight meals tasty and affordable. 

There are many lessons I learned from my mother: how to do a load of laundry, how to balance a chequebook, how to dig up a dandelion, how to stitch a button back on a shirt, how to bake a cake, but most important of all, she taught me how to eat well on a budget.

So when it came time to come up with a recipe using the Blend and Extend method of combining ground beef with finely chopped mushrooms, it only seemed appropriate that I should use her recipe for Stroganoff Meatballs from my beloved binder of family recipes as a starting point.


Her version of the comfort food classic was already pretty thrifty, since it replaces the more expensive cuts of beef in the traditional stroganoff with relatively cheaper ground beef, but adding finely chopped mushrooms to the meatballs helps to stretch that pound of beef even further. Not to mention that the mushrooms do a great job of keeping the meatballs juicy and tender, while boosting the earthy mushroom flavour in the dish (which, let’s face it, is really the best part of a stroganoff).

While I was at it, I decided to convert it into a one-pan meal by simmering the noodles together with the meatballs and sauce, so that they’re infused all the way through with delicious beef-and-mushroom flavour.

The end result is some serious comfort food goodness - a big bowl of hearty beefy meatballs and tender noodles smothered in a creamy mushroom sauce made all the more comforting by the knowledge that you’ve only got one pan to wash up at the end of the night. Because if there’s one more thing I learned from my mother, it’s that you should never pass up an opportunity to do less dishes.


Creamy Stroganoff Meatball Skillet
by Crumb: A Food Blog

Ingredients
Meatballs:
½ lb sliced cremini mushrooms
1 lb lean ground beef
¼ cup finely diced onion
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Stroganoff Sauce and Noodles:
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 cups uncooked broad egg noodles
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley (plus more for garnish, if desired)

Method
Make the Meatballs:
1. Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the mushrooms until very finely chopped.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped mushrooms with ground beef, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. 
Make the Sauce and Noodles:
3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high, cook the bacon in olive oil until browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
4. Add the meatballs to the hot pan, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until well browned all over. (They are quite fragile at this stage, so be gentle when turning them over!) Transfer the meatballs the same plate as the bacon, and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.
5. Add the onion to the pan and saute for 6 to 8 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms start to soften. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
6. Whisk in the broth, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Stir in the noodles, along with the bacon and meatballs, and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the noodles are soft and the meatballs are cooked all the way through. 
7. Remove from heat, and stir in the sour cream and parsley. Serve immediately.


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This is a creamy and delicious weeknight meal that is easy to prepare and easy on your budget! This Blend & Extend recipe is sure to get two thumbs up from mom and kids alike. 

Follow along with Isabelle online at Crumb: A Food Blog, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!