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Oct 12, 2012

Mushrooms: Not The Ones That Grow In The Yard

This blog is about food, right? And here I am ~ at least two or three cooking classes behind in posting about THE FOOD. I'll blame Bush.
      Anyway I do have some good grub to talk about and a really good recipe to share, so here's the scoop on the Mushroom Class.

The Beef Wellington. 
So.....I featured mushrooms (duh) and the menu read like something from a Michelin Five-Star Restaurant:
                              Wild Mushroom and Fontina Tart
                              Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce
                              Beef Wellington with Madeira Sauce
                              Bacon and Truffle Mashed Potatoes
Tell me I didn't just make you hungry.

I have this bad habit of planning my menu and then going in search of the  ingredients. Any sane person who pretends to be a chef would tell you that this is a bad idea. You gotta work with what you got....and Sugar, I barely got a baby bella here in Podunk which means that there is not a mushroom that isn't the white button variety within a hundred miles.

The Chefs, Karen and Becky serving up the Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce

A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, so I called up the guy who delivers our truck parts and who lives in a big city, one with a population greater than 15,000 and asked him if he knew what a "shiitake mushroom was." Turns out he did.
     "I need about a pound of them ~ by tomorrow," I told him. This guy is golden....he made six phone calls and hit up at least four grocery stores before he was able to score sixteen ounces of shiitakes.  I love Wayne! He delivered them in a plain brown paper bag, along with a couple of oil filters, some wheel seals, and marker lights. Then I got some damn good tuna from the guy at Sheridan Meat Market and the tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce recipe was now covered!

Kevin and Jeannie about to sample the tuna.

Now for the tart.  OK, so I did have a flame out when I couldn't find anything in Podunk that resembled "Wild Mushrooms," and I wasn't about to go with the dried variety. No matter what you do to them they just aren't the same as fresh. So I ordered these crazy varieties off the internet and paid about $100 for shipping some $50 worth of shooms, none of which were hallucinogenic by the way. I got Trumpets, Chanterelles, Hon-shemeji, Hen-of-the-woods, White Beech, and Velvet Pioppini; most of which I had never even heard of, much less cooked with. (P.S. while I was at it I ordered a veal demi glace for the sauce and some of their amazing sausages too. Check out their online store, D' Artagan, the have a lot of great food, from game to Foie Gras to cavier. They did NOT pay me to say that.) The funky mushrooms arrived the day before the class in perfect, fresh condition and I used every variety in the two tarts I made. We noshed on them while prepping the Wellingtons and the tuna.

Wild Mushroom and Fontina Tart
So no matter what you may have heard, I'm not stupid. I'm not about to pay $240 per ounce (that's $3600 per pound! and that's just crazy, people!) for real truffles to put in with my $2 worth of mashed potatoes, so I sucked it up and ordered two different kinds of truffle cheeses from igourmet, for a fraction of the price.  They have the best cheeses and they didn't pay me to say that either.  I didn't get a picture of the Bacon & Truffle Mashed Potatoes but they were a great side to the steak and Madeira Sauce.

Anywhoo, my budget was shot and since I don't charge squat for my cooking class I had bought the cheap white button mushrooms for the Beef Wellington. Luckily I still had about 27 pounds of the crazy variety left over so I dressed up the buttons with some of the cool shrooms. The Big Guy didn't get to eat with us because he went trucking so I could afford to spring for thee best tenderloins one could find within a 25 mile radius. Everyone then made their own Wellingtons, which was a first for most of the SdJ chefs.
     Our next class was Seafood, so later I'll put up my recipe for "Shrimp Scampi in Crazy Water." Stay tuned. And keep on truckin' honey, shrimp and Ahi tuna are exxx-pensive.

Click on the "Beef-Pork-Chicken" tab above to get my recipe for Beef Wellington with Madeira Sauce. 

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