Double market Wednesday was time and inspiration for a number of rainy-day spring dishes! I spent the morning at Portland Farmers Market in downtown’s Shemanski Park. As hundreds of school children on a market outing milled between the vendor’s booths, I chopped shiitake and maitake mushrooms for a cold-weather-curative Miso Mushroom Soup. There was a memorable moment when out of the blue, PFM executive director, Ann Forsthoefel, strode up and burst into rain-themed song. Thanks, Ann, for the smile that was my momentary umbrella!
Post-PFM, I headed over the bridge and across town to Moreland. Springwater Farm decided to give the market a go, and I went along for the ride. The Moreland Farmers Market is quaint, with enthusiastic shoppers and a good number of vendors – some that I know from other markets, and exciting new products and farmers I had the pleasure of acquainting myself with on Wednesday. Ted Lee, the market manager, was very welcoming, and the vendors were generous to lend products to see them in action, paired with Springwater Farm mushrooms.Roger even gathered a “mystery basket” for me to come up with mushroom-based mystery basked-guided dishes. He brought mustard greens, parsley, and sugar snap peas. I think I fared well, pairing butter-sautéed morel mushrooms, peppery mustard greens from Deep Roots Farm, and fresh, unsalted ricotta from Black Sheep Creamery. This combination would be really good over penne pasta.
Lastly, I threw together an “end of the day saute” of shiitake mushrooms and sugar snap peas seasoned with garlic and sesame oil, and garnished with hard cooked pastured farm egg.
There were bursts of sun and drizzly passes of rain, but at the end of the day, the sky broke free, a delicate rainbow arched overhead and the moon rose strikingly large and full, the color of white cheddar cheese. “That’s good luck,” Roger said as I ducked into my truck. A satisfying, long day. I headed for home.
makes about 3 quarts
1/4 cup mild olive oil
1/2 pound fresh maitake mushrooms, “petals removed”, or sliced
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. salt (preferably Springwater Farm truffle salt)
2 qt. mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth
1 cup sliced green onion (the tops of spring onions work splendidly, or you can use scallions or even chives)
1/2 pound silken or soft tofu, diced
a large pinch of dried nori (dried seaweed), optional
miso paste, to taste (I prefer mellow red miso)
Heat the oil in a soup pot over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, add the maitake mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have attained a golden brown color. Add the Shiitake mushrooms and continue to cook for another few minutes. Season with salt.
The amount of miso paste you add to the soup will depend on your taste for miso. You can always adjust with more miso. Place an amount of miso in a bowl. Whisk in soup broth until the miso is dissolved, then add the miso back to the pot. Do not boil. Adjust with salt, if needed, and serve hot.
Orzo Pasta with Mushrooms*
Sauté some mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, or wild mushrooms, or a combination that you like) in olive oil. You can add some butter if you wish. When the mushrooms have browned, and are cooked through, add orzo pasta and sauté in the pan for a couple of minutes. Add a pinch of chopped garlic. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add broth to cover by an inch or so and put a lid on the pan. Let cook, covered, until the pasta is cooked and the mixture is creamy (not dry or soupy). This recipe is very forgiving – if you add too little broth, just add some more before the pan is entirely dry, if it is too liquidy, remove the lid and let the broth cook away. Finish the orzo with some fresh grated cheese, such as Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or Asiago.
*Thank you, Doug Lantz, winner of the PFM “what would you do with a half a pound of Springwater Farm mushrooms?” contest for this delicious and accessible mushroom recipe idea.
Sauté the shiitake mushrooms in peanut oil (or olive oil). When they are nearly cooked, and nicely browned, toss in some salt and the sugar snap peas (whole or cut in half). When the peas are tender (this will happen very quickly), add a bit of garlic. Turn off the heat and stir in a drizzle of sesame oil. Plate the sauté and top with pieces of hard-cooked egg.