Monday, March 11, 2013

Balsamic Leeks and Shiitaki Mushrooms


The in between season

We're over winter squash and apples and still waiting for asparagus and strawberries.  It's the in between season in the Northwest, and not as many people shop the market now.  It's a slower pace, with more time for talk, but there are still lots of great things to get at the market.

Before I left for the market, I watched a recipe segment on the morning news. A chef cooked mushrooms and glazed them with balsamic vinegar. The chef pointed out how healthy mushrooms are--"filled with protein and nutrients", she'd said.  But she was using crimini mushrooms, which are related to white button mushrooms, and I'd never heard that regular grocery store mushrooms were healthy, so I did a search and here's Dr. Weil's take on mushrooms.   The take-away is to do your research when you hear something is healthy and find out for yourself if it's true.

Mushrooms, cider and leeks 

I just wanted the recipe idea anyway, because I had shiitake mushrooms already on my list, along with leeks, apple cider and bread.  I like to get mushrooms at Cascadia Mushrooms because the flavor and texture is so amazing. I like them better than Lion's Mane mushrooms. The flavor and texture of shiitake that you can buy at the local co-op, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods can't compare.  (And FYI--In case you didn't realize, Trader Joe's only appears to have lower prices.  They downsize items so it looks like they cost less when in fact they add up to the same prices at co-ops and Whole Foods. Trader Joe's regular shiitake mushrooms are about the same price as organic shiitake mushrooms at the local co-op.) 

And as for pricey balsamic vinegar--you could just as easily go local with this too and get a nice berry apple cider vinegar or a Rocksalmic (an aged apple balsamic) vinegar produced by  this local farmer.  Who doesn't love Rockridge Orchards in Seattle?

Berry wine and apple cider vinegar from Rockridge Orchards

Shiitake mushrooms from Cascadia Mushrooms

Lots of options at the market during the in between season

The ingredients are nothing that my Cooking Assistant and his sister like.  This has got to be a first and believe me, I have apologized.  (Dogs are not supposed to eat onions and since leeks are a relative, I assume they're also toxic to canines)   And the hounds are definitely not thrilled with mushrooms.

The recipe

Always get all the ingredients out first.  Cut the leek and wash it well because sand can stick between the layers.

See how white the ends of the stems are?  That means they are very fresh.
I confess I've fallen in love with this olive oil my nephew sent me.  It's from Spain and I'm not quite sure if it has a translated page to read.   I love the white container called Oro De Canava, the best.   But use your own favorite olive oil for this dish.

Balsamic Leeks and Shiitaki Mushrooms
(Serves 4)

1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, sliced (using green part if it's tender enough) and thoroughly washed
1 dry pint, shiitaki mushrooms (about 2 cups), sliced (remove stems only if large and woody)
2 tablespoons balsamic, berry or Rocksalmic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Coarsely ground seas salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, leek and mushrooms.  Stir and cook until leeks and mushrooms soften.   Add vinegar and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Stir, cover and cook for a few minutes.  Remove cover

Add sea salt and pepper to taste.   Serve over rice.  For a main dish conversion, add spiced tofu and toasted nuts.

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
What a beautiful combination of veggies for the fabulous dish. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Woof To Finn,
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen