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Wednesday, September 23 2009

I just learned that I can get the flavor of mushrooms without using actual mushrooms. I'm not talking about artificial flavors. I'm talking about powders that are made from fresh mushrooms and are just as fresh as the mushrooms themselves. If you like cooking with dried mushrooms, you'll be very pleased with mushroom powders.

Chefs use mushroom powder instead of flour for dredging poultry, fish, and meat. Mushroom powder makes a light and tasty crust, great for veal scaloppini. It also gives body to stews, soups, sauces, and gravies.

To make mushroom-coated haddock (or other white fish fillet) for four, brush 4 one-quarter pound fillets with one tablespoon of olive oil and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Combine one-half ounce of mushroom powder with one tablespoon of cornstarch in a plastic bag. Add fish fillets to the bag and shake gently to coat. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a pan. Saute fish until golden on all sides.

Dried and ground oyster mushrooms lend a mushroom flavor to eggs, pasta, and vegetables. Without salt or additives, oyster mushroom powder is as healthy as the mushrooms themselves. Oyster mushrooms have a faint, pleasant licorice smell and a mild peppery or oyster-like flavor.

You can jazz things up a bit with oyster/herb seasoning. It's great for dips. Just mix the mushroom seasoning with cream cheese and parsley. Or sprinkle it on a salad and you will taste the mushroom flavor. A tablespoon of seasoning added to a softened stick of butter turns a plain baked potato into a gourmet treat.

Porcini mushroom powder has an intense and robust nutty flavor, just like the mushrooms. For a simple, versatile sauce, mix one tablespoon each of porcini mushroom powder and chopped fresh rosemary with four tablespoon toasted pine nuts. Great with chicken.

Chanterelles have a light, fruit flavor, and so does chanterelle powder. Shiitake mushroom powder is made from high quality cultivated mushrooms, using only the caps. The warm, earthy flavor is perfect for fish, garlic bread, soups, gravies, and stir-fries.

Mushroom powders also have medicinal uses. Research indicates that a blend of mushrooms can stimulate the immune system more than any one mushroom. A blend of mushroom powders will be rich in glycoprotein and antioxidants. As a dietary supplement it can be mixed with water, juice, or food.

Certain mushrooms have been used for centuries to treat asthma and tuberculosis and as laxatives and purgatives. Traditional Chinese medicine uses oyster mushrooms powder for joint and muscle relaxation. Oyster mushrooms are also thought to be a good source of niacin, riboflavin, protein, and iron. Of course, anyone wishing to take mushroom powders for medicinal purposes should check with his or her medical provider first.

You can purchase mushroom powders from local sources that grown their own, from national companies that make powder from imported mushrooms, or directly from the orient. Mushroom powders can last up to two years, but this varies according to mushroom type and how the powders are stored.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 08:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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