Guest Post: Mushroom "Chorizo" and Potato Tacos by The Yum Yum Factor

We have a guest in our kitchen! The fabulous Carole of The Yum Yum Factor is back with a spicy, vegetarian taco recipe that will bring an authentic flair to your table without all of the calories. 

I was a late bloomer in the kitchen but I have always been kind of a professional eater. Even as a kid, I was choosing my friends based on what I thought their mothers could offer me in way of snacks. The last thing I needed was another manga cake friend named Andrea who had a mom serving up Kraft Dinner for lunch when I could befriend young Rui who’s mom was slinging bacalhau fritters . After years spent travelling, eating and exploring, I gained some kitchen chops and by 2010 I started my blog, The Yum Yum Factor, originally as a way to catalogue the dishes that I cooked for friends and family so they would stop pestering me for recipes. I consider myself a solid home cook with an adventurous palette, a high tolerance for burns and cuts and a desire to eat the world.

I had my first chorizo and potato taco almost 30 years ago in Merida, the capital of the Yucatan. On Sundays, they close the streets to traffic in the city centre and let street vendors peddle their wares, people dance in the middle of the road and everywhere you look, there is food. I picked up a couple little tacos de chorizo con papas and a handful of napkins and found a table. They were really spicy and the red tinged grease dripped all over my dress but it was so delicious that I didn't care - it was love at first bite. Nobody would ever try to claim that it was, in any way, a healthy dish so, over the years, I have tried to cut down on the fat by adding ground mushrooms to my chorizo, a la blend and extend. This always works really well so that got me wondering whether I could just skip the sausage altogether?

After much experimentation, I realized that the mushrooms worked best when I roasted them before grinding them and once I got that worked out, the rest all fell into place. To try to replicate the pork sausage feel, I was going to use pork lard but if I realized that if I could skip that, I could make this a vegetarian/vegan dish so, instead, I used vegetable shortening, adding a bit of miso for some "umami" and then threw in all of the spices that I would use if I were making homemade chorizo. Because this dish is not dripping with pork fat, the tacos needed a little bit of sauce and a drizzled of Salsa Verde is fabulous. If you use the cheese, it's a great vegetarian dish and if you skip it you've got yourself a vegan "chorizo" taco.

Mushroom "Chorizo" and Potato Tacos
This recipe makes approx 6 cups of filling. All of the elements can be made ahead of time, just reheat the "chorizo" potato and the corn tortillas right before it's time to eat.

1 kg white button mushrooms (you will end up with about 230g after roasting)
1 tsp kosher salt
few grinds of black pepper
1/3 cup of olive oil

!/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 onion, minced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced with a tables of sauce
1 tbls mexican oregano
1 tbls ancho chili powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbls smoked paprika
pinch ground cloves
! tbls fresh thyme
1 tbls achiote paste (if you can't find it, leave it out)
1 tbls red miso
1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 yukon gold potatoes, 1/2" dice
pinch kosher salt

Corn tortillas, feta or queso fresco, **pickled red onion and *Salsa Verde

Preheat oven to 450F
Wipe any dirt off of the mushrooms with a damp cloth and slice them in approx 1/4" slices. Prepare two baking pans by dipping the corner of a sheet of paper towel in the olive oil and coat each pan lightly - it doesn't take much oil to do this.

Toss the sliced mushrooms with the rest of the olive oil, add the salt and pepper and mix well. Divide the mushrooms between the two sheets and roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pans after 15 minutes if they don't fit side by side. Remove, set aside and let cool to room temperature. 

Once the mushrooms have cooled, scrape them into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is coarsely ground. 

Heat a large, heavy skillet over med to med high heat and melt the vegetable shortening. Sauté the onion for a few minutes until it just starts to colour, add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

Now add in the chipotle chili, oregano, ancho chili, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cloves and thyme and stir for a couple of minutes until it's really fragrant. Then stir in the miso and the the achiote paste,( if you are using that) with the vinegar, mix well before finally adding in the ground mushrooms. Turn the heat down to med low and stir frequently as you continue to fry all of this mixture together.

Meanwhile, put the diced potatoes in a pot, cover them with water, add a pinch of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, turn it down a bit and simmer them until they are very tender. Drain the cooked potatoes and add them to the pan of mushrooms and turn the heat back up to medium high.

With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture almost constantly, mashing the potatoes down a bit while you go for another 5 minutes or so. At this point, turn the heat back down to med low and let the potato and mushroom keep warm, stirring from time to time as you get the rest of the stuff ready.

Heat a dry, heavy skillet over med high heat, get a clean tea towel ready and heat up your corn tortillas. Cook each one for a minute per side and remove to the clean towel, making sure they stay wrapped up as you go. When you are all done, keep them wrapped in the tea towel, only removing them as you need them.

To make a taco, lay a tortilla on a plate, spoon on a generous amount of the mushroom "chorizo" and potato, drizzle on the salsa verde, scatter a few pickled red onions over that and then sprinkle some crumbled feta or queso fresco on top of the whole thing.

*Salsa Verde 
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbls minced red onion
2 tbls white balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp kosher salt
100 ml extra virgin olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor and whiz until you pureed and set aside. You can store in the fridge for a week or two.

**Pickled Red Onions
1 red onion, thinly sliced
boiling water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp black peppercorns
juice from 1 mandarin orange or 1/2 small orange
pinch hot chili flake optional.

Put your sliced onions in a strainer and pour boiling water over them to blanch them. Stuff them into a glass jar. Mix together the salt, sugar, vinegar, garlic, orange juice and peppercorns and a pinch of hot chilis if you want some heat. Set aside and they are ready to use in half an hour but they are great, left in the fridge for a couple of weeks.


Wow, I can not wait to add these tacos to my Meatless Monday meal rotation! Carole never ceases to amaze with her creative variations of her own favourites found abroad. Big thanks are in order for joining us as our guest!!

You'll be seeing more of Carole in the coming weeks, as we've got some fun developments coming to you soon! Stay tuned. In the meantime, follow along with Carole online at The Yum Yum Factor, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Guest Post: Steak and Himalayan Sea Salt by Chef’s Plate

We have guests in our kitchen! The team at Chef's Plate have partnered with Unionville Mushrooms to showcase fresh Canadian mushroom varieties in mouthwatering meals!! Cremini and Shiitake mushrooms are on today's menu...

Hello from the Culinary Team at Chef’s Plate! Chef’s Plate is a meal subscription service that delivers perfectly portioned ingredients with a dinner recipe card. We do all the meal prep and grocery shopping so you can get straight to the yummiest part: cooking and eating! We’re a strong believer that you don’t need fancy kitchen equipment or gourmet ingredients to create restaurant-quality meals. Each week we release 6 new and unique recipes for our customers that include 3 land protein dishes, 2 vegetarian dishes and 1 seafood dish. Right now, we’re only based in Ontario but hope to be offering our services outside of Ontario in the near future!

We have cooked with mushrooms in past recipes but it wasn’t until November that we really wanted to emphasize and let them be the star in our recipes. Fresh mushrooms are not only a versatile and simple ingredient to cook with but they are also jam packed with nutrients and TONS of flavour. For the whole month of November, one of our dishes each week will be showcasing a unique mushroom from our partner: Unionville Mushrooms.

Unionville Mushrooms is a family owned and run business since its inception in 1972. With their humble mushroom farm in Stouffville, Ontario, Pasquale Calitri and his son-in-law Ralph Auciello have since worked diligently to build the name of Unionville Mushrooms to the success it is today

We are strong advocates of supporting local businesses and this goes for our produce as well. Whenever possible, we always try to buy produce in Ontario. Why? Well, first of all, produce is fresher and gets to the end customer much quicker because it’s basically grown in your own backyard! Secondly, supporting present day farms will ensure that there will be local farms for future generations.

For delivery on November 23, we’ll be featuring a Steak and Himalayan Sea Salt with cremini and shiitake mushrooms as one of the side dishes. We thought we’d showcase those two mushrooms here!

Shiitake mushrooms have one of the strongest umami flavour kicks out of all the mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms have a high dose of potassium – the chemical needed to lower blood pressure. Creminis are similar to white mushrooms but brown with a meaty and earthy flavour that is more intense than champignon mushrooms. Consuming cremini mushrooms produce niacin, an essential acid that reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease! Try out Shiitake and Creminis in our Steak and Himalayan Sea Salt Dish, available for delivery on November 23!

Steak and Himalayan Sea Salt

1 Striploin Steak (10oz)
1 TSP Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
10 oz. Rainbow Swiss Chard
5.5 oz of Cremini Mushrooms
2 oz Shiitake Mushrooms
2 cloves peeled garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme

1. Prepare the ingredients
• Wash and dry all produce.
• Remove the rainbow chard stems. Cut the stems into 1 inch pieces. Roughly chop the leaves. 
• Remove and discard the shiitake mushroom stems. 
• Cut the crimini mushrooms into ½ inch slices.
• Mince the garlic or use a garlic press.
• Pick the thyme leaves from stems. Discard the stems.
2. Cook the steak
• In a medium frying pan over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp cooking oil. 
• Season the striploin steak with 2/3 of the pink Himalayan sea salt. 
• When the oil starts to shimmer, add the steak. Cook 4 min per side for medium rare or continue cooking to your desired doneness.
• Remove steak from pan and set aside to rest. Reserve pan juices. Cut the steak in half before serving.
3. Cook the rainbow chard
• In a large frying pan, over medium heat, add the half the garlic and rainbow chard stems. Cook 4 min, stirring occasionally, until stems begin to soften.
• Add the rainbow chard leaves and 2 tbsp water. Season with remaining pink Himalayan sea salt and pepper. Cook 3 min, stirring frequently, until leaves are wilted and the water has been absorbed. 
• Set pan aside.
4. Cook the mushrooms
• In the pan used for the steak, add 1 tbsp cooking oil over medium high heat.
• When the oil starts to shimmer, add the crimini mushrooms. Cook 4 min, tossing frequently, until softened and golden brown. 
• Add the shiitake mushrooms, thyme and remaining garlic. Cook 2 min, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
5. Plate and serve
• Plate the steak with the mushrooms and rainbow chard alongside.
• Enjoy!


Want Chef's Plate to help you do the grocery shopping and meal prep? They are offering an exclusive deal for all the Ontario mushroom-lovers out there! Enter MUSHROOMS22 to receive 2 free plates off your first order. Simply enter MUSHROOMS22 at check out for $22 off your order or head to

Guest Post: Mushroom and Chèvre Hand Pies by The Messy Baker

We've got a guest in our kitchen! The lovely Charmian of The Messy Baker is back with a family favourite recipe that shows the power of the white button mushroom. Pull out a till of these long-time favourite mushrooms and prepare yourself for a mouthwatering treat.

I used to pity plain old white button mushrooms. They're always shelved at the bottom of the display, while the larger, fancier mushrooms enjoy the perks of eye-level. Unlike their once-a-year, foraging-prize counterparts, they’re taken for granted. They’ll be there, waiting for us. Always.

Without exotic furls or eye-catching, bouquet-like clusters, it’s hard to believe anyone notices them. While other varieties have more enticing names and intriguing shapes, it turns out the simple, understated white button is the best selling variety in Canada.

Why do they land in our shopping cart more than all other varieties combined? If you think about it, they’re the botanical equivalent of the ideal employee. They’re never absent, get the job done, and in the process, work well with others. You won’t find a white button hanging around the water cooler grumbling about management or daydreaming.

These hand pies demonstrate the hardworking charm of the white button. While there’s no doubt who’s in charge, they give the chèvre equal time and let the lemon get in the odd word or two. Thanks to the rich, puff pastry crust, they’re also easy to accommodate. No need for added dips, sauces or toppings. Just pass them around with a napkin. Or two.

Mushroom and Chèvre Hand Pies 
Whether you serve them as an appetizer or to round out a soup-and-salad meal, hand pies always hit the spot. The only trick is to serve them hot. Should they need reheating, don’t microwave them. That will heat the filling but make the pastry soggy. Instead, pop them in a 350°F oven for a few minutes, They’ll emerge hot, fragrant, and fully revived.

Prep Time: 45 minutes plus chilling
Cook Time: 15 minutes per sheet
Makes about 40 hand pies.

1 pound white button mushrooms
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 300-gram package chèvre, room temperature
1 large egg
2 teaspoons milk
2 450-gram packages frozen puff pastry, thawed

Quarter the mushrooms. In a food processor fitted with a blade or a blender, chop the mushrooms in batches until they resemble couscous.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, salt and a good grinding of fresh black pepper. Cook until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and lemon zest, and cook until the mushrooms are soft. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the chèvre with the lemon juice until  smooth. Add the mushroom mixture and combine until well blended.  Cover and chill for an hour until set. This can be done the day before.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking pans with parchment.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together until smooth to make the egg wash. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to 1/8-inch thick. Using a tart cutter or empty 28-ounce (796 mL) can, cut 4-inch circles. You should get 10 per sheet.

Brush the edge of each circle with egg wash. Place 1 tablespoon of mushroom mixture in the centre, fold in half to form a half-moon, and pinch the edges shut. With the tines of a fork, crimp the edges, then poke vents in the top.  Place the hand pie on the parchment lined pan and brush top with more egg wash.  Repeat with remaining pastry sheets and filling.

Bake one sheet at a time for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Note: This recipe can be halved. However, if you want to have lots on hand for guests, you can make them ahead of time. Just prepare the recipe to the point of the final egg wash. Freeze the unbaked pies on a baking sheet until firm (about 30 to 60 minutes), then transfer to a plastic freezer bag. When ready to bake, let the hand pies warm at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Frozen unbaked hand pies will  keep for up to 3 months.


With the holiday season approaching quickly, it's great to have appetizers on hand for when company arrives! Thanks Charmian for being our guest and for sharing yet another way for white button mushrooms to shine!!

Be sure to follow along with Charmian at The Messy Baker, and on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest!