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Spice Descriptions and Uses

Mushrooms

Black Trumpet (Craterllus Cornucopioides), otherwise known as Horn of Plenty, is considered a great delicacy. This fragile, trumpet shaped Mushroom has a waxy, charcoal-gray outer surface, while the inside is a velvety blackish-brown. This is an incredibly rich and buttery Mushroom. This Mushroom can be found growing in large groups in damp deciduous woods, especially under oak or beech, during summer and fall.
Suggested Use:
Black Trumpets work well as a flavoring ingredient in soups and casseroles. Black Trumpets are great in vegetarian cooking because they add a richness and depth that is often the role of meat in a recipe. These Mushrooms are delicious sauted and added to rice dishes, particularly wild rice.


 

Boletes (Boletus Luteus) are Mushrooms that have tubes, a spongy layer containing tiny pores instead of gills. This Mushroom is the King of the edible Mushrooms. This Mushroom typically grows in the summer or fall and are found growing under conifers and hardwoods in temperate climates. The Mushrooms are used fresh or dried for consistent availability. The French name for a Bolete is Cepe. In Britain, this Mushroom is known as the Penny Bun. The Chilean Boletes are sliced then dried for use. The Boletes have a rich, deep, earthy flavor which is famous throughout the world in numerous cuisines.
Suggested Use:
Boletes are great in pasta sauces, soups and any recipe calling for wild mushrooms. Boletes are wonderful in wild rice pilaf or add them to your next stuffing or casserole dish.


 

The White Button (Agaricus Brunnescens) is the most frequently used of all Mushrooms. Also, called Champignon, they've been cultivated by the French since the 1700's. Today, the United States is the largest grower of cultivated White Button Mushrooms. The Champignon retains it's shape well when cooked, although they do shrink a little in size. The Champignon has a mild flavor and firm texture and comes in sliced form. The Champignon absorbs flavors well in any dish.
Suggested Use:
When reconstituted, Dried Champignon look, cook and taste just like their fresh form. Delicious in gravy, sauces, cream soups, stews, stir fry recipes, pasta, casseroles - just about anything youd want to use mushrooms in Buttons are good to take along on camping trips to add extra flavor to camp fire meals.


 

Chanterelles (Cantharellus Cibarius) are Funnel Shaped Mushrooms that are relatively uncommon. They bear a slight resemblance to Horn of Plenty, but are smaller, brownish-gray in color rather than black, and have a compressed stem. Very sought after for their tender texture and flavor, they are an uncultivated mushroom. They grow in clusters under broad-leaved trees and are difficult to find among the leaf litter. Chanterelles are found in coniferous and hardwood forests of Northern climates.
Suggested Use:
Chanterelles have a delicious flavor. They are great sauted in butter with onions or shallots. This is a wonderful Mushroom for sauces. Chanterelles go well in cream sauces. The flavor of this Mushroom is so delightful that it is best cooked with light seasonings so that the Mushroom taste can be highlighted.


 

Cloud Ears (Auricularia Polytricha) are ruffle-edged, thin, Black Mushrooms. Cloud Ears are similar in appearance to Wood Ear except Wood Ear are black with a brownish - tan inner color, whereas Cloud Ear Mushrooms are black with a slightly lighter shade of black as their inner color. Cloud Ears have a more delicate, mild flavor and are much smaller in size than Wood Ear. Cloud Ear Mushrooms reconstitute to a puffy like, soft, firm, smooth texture and delicate flavor.
Suggested Use:
Cloud Ears have a firm, soft texture that makes them great in dishes where a textural contrast is desired. Cloud Ears are wonderful in stir fry or as an ingredient in stuffing. Like all mushrooms, Cloud Ears are delicious in soups and sauces.


 

Cuitlacoche (wheet-lah-KOH-chay) also called Corn Fungus, Maize Mushroom, this gourmet rage is actually a Bulbous Fungus (technically known as Ustilago Maydis) that attacks ears of corn and makes the kernels swell to 10 times their normal size. The Corn's color turns an ugly medium-to dark-gray verging on black. Although most U.S. farmers consider it a plague and destroy infected ears, the Aztecs are said to have prized Cuitlacoche (in Nahuatl Cuitlatl means excrement, Cochi means Black). Enthusiasts say that Cuitlacoche has a smoky-sweet flavor that is a cross between that of Corn and Mushroom. Cuitlacoche is currently being cultivated in limited quantities in California, Florida, Georgia and Virginia.
Suggested Use:
Cuitlacoche is sold canned and frozen in some gourmet markets. It can occasionally be found in specialty produce and farmer's markets (during corn season) and can also be purchased by mail order. Cuitlacoche is used in a variety of dishes including sauts, soups, casseroles - in general, any preparation where cooked mushrooms would be appropriate.


 

The Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces Lactifluorum) is a Parasitic Mushroom which uses another Mushroom as its host; and dramatically increases the flavor of that host. The Lobster Mushroom derives its name from the reddish color of the Mushroom. This Mushroom is a great addition to Mushroom dishes because of its beautiful color which is rather unique in the edible Mushroom world. Lobster Mushrooms have a firm, soft texture, delicate flavor and the slices range from 1 - 3 inches wide. The Lobster absorbs flavors of a dish well while adding eye appeal.
Suggested Use:
Lobster Mushrooms add a beautiful touch of color to dishes. They are great in baked dishes or sauted and served with meat or tofu. Use in place of any Mushroom, Lobster are very versatile.


 

Morel Mushrooms (Morchella Elata) are Honeycomb-Capped Mushrooms that are the delight of the Northern Woods. Morel Mushrooms have a wonderful buttery, woodsy flavor that's delicious with beef, game and wild rice. Typically, Morels range from 3/4 of an inch to 4 inches in height. Morels have a cream colored base and A Black Cap. There is also a White Morel (Morchella Elata) that has a white cap and cream colored base. ; The B Grade Morels are typically smaller in size and have a slightly delicate flavor. Typically found in Michigan and Oregon, Morels inspire an early Spring Pilgrimage in quest of this rare and delicious treat. Although there are many beliefs, it is commonly believed that Morels arrive within 10 days after the first Spring frost. Hunters of the Morel Mushroom rarely reveal their harvesting locations.
Suggested Use:
Morel mushrooms are highly prized by mushroom hunters for their deep, woodsy flavor. Competitive hunters wont even tell their friends where they find these gems of the woods. Because of their earthy flavor, morels are often paired with cream or white wine sauces and milder flavored meats, such as veal or chicken. They are also wonderful when partnered with grilled and roasted foods.


 

Mousseron Mushrooms are delicious small Mushrooms from France. Mousseron are a deep golden hue with lacy, deep gills and very thin stems. Mousseron Mushrooms have a wonderful flavor with a soft and chewy texture. The smell and flavor of a Mousseron is reminiscent of Porcini Mushrooms.
Suggested Use:
Mousseron has a great flavor and texture. Include them in, stuffings, soups and stews. Mousseron sauted with onions and garlic are a wonderful addition to pasta, bean or rice dishes.


 

Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotues Ostreatus) so-named for their similarity in color and shape to the Mollusk. Oyster Mushrooms are cultivated, though they can be found in the wild. Oysters have a mild mushroom flavor, wonderful, firm texture, and are a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes. Oysters have a sea shell type shape with a pale yellow creamy color. Oyster Mushrooms are similar to the Chanterelle with a more delicate flavor and coloring.
Suggested Use:
Oyster Mushrooms are delicious marinated in garlic and olive oil. Then grilled or broiled. Use to flavor light cream for chicken and fish. Add to fish chowders and light soups. Oysters are tasty in casseroles and Au Gratin dishes.


 

Paddy Straw Mushrooms (Volvariella Volvacea) are cultivated on Rice Straw in South Asia. Straw Mushrooms are an indispensable ingredient in many Asian dishes. Though not available fresh outside of Asia, Dried Straws are delicious, and their bite-size shape make them easy to prepare.
Suggested Use:
Paddy Straw Mushrooms are often found in recipes from Southern China. They're delicious in Chicken Stir Fry, Pork Chop Suey, Shrimp Chow Mein Oriental soups and sauces. Use Paddy Straws in Meat Loaf or Vegetarian Tofu Recipes.


 

Porcini Mushrooms (Boletus Edulis) are a very popular Mushroom throughout Europe and the United States. During the fall months in Italy, the Porcini grows in abundance. Porcini has a strong flavor with subtle undertones. The flavor can be almost addicting. Dried Porcini are very economical as the flavor is very concentrated. In Italian, Porcini means Piglets. Porcini is graded by size, color, aroma, and variety.
Suggested Use:
Porcini are delicious in soups, sauces, stuffings and stews. Dried Porcini can be substituted for any Mushroom in any recipe; typically a smaller amount of Dried Porcini can be used in recipes than other Mushrooms because of the intense flavor of the Porcini.


 

Portobella Mushrooms (Agaricus Bitorquis) are an extremely large, round, firm, dark brown Mushroom. This Mushroom is the fully mature form of the White Button Mushroom. This Mushroom measures between 5 and 8 inches in diameter with an open, flat cap. Because this Mushroom is the elder of the species it's gills are fully exposed which means that some of the Mushroom's moisture has evaporated. The reduced moisture creates a dense, meaty texture and enriched flavor. This Mushroom has a delicious mild, woodsy flavor. Poratobella are like White Button or Champignon Mushrooms only larger and have a deeper flavor. Use the Portobella wherever you would a White Button if you want to enhance the flavor. This Mushroom comes as a large sliced about 3--4 inches long and 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch wide.
Suggested Use:
Portobella Mushrooms are delicious and versatile. With a rich, firm texture, they're an excellent choice for grilling or broiling. Their savory flavor compliments steaks, chops, poultry, seafood and grilled vegetables. Use them in stews, soups, couscous and casseroles. Marinate Portobella in red wine, garlic and herbs.


 

Shiitake (Lentinus Edoles) is often called a Wild Mushroom, however, it is only found cultivated. The origin of this Mushroom is debated; either the Chinese or the Japanese were the first to cultivate Shiitake over 1200 years ago. Available fresh in nearly all U.S. markets there is also a very large demand for the dry form. Dried Shiitakes Caps are dark brown on top, with tan gills underneath. The rim of the Dried Shiitakes curls down toward the stem. The Cap ranges from 1 to 1-3/4 wide. Shiitakes have a meaty flesh and a full bodied, bosky flavor. Shiitakes may also be referred to as Chinese Black Mushrooms or Forest Mushrooms.
Suggested Use:
Delicious breaded and fried, added to vegetable and Oriental soups. Chop and mix with bread crumbs for a savory stuffing for grilled vegetables. Add Shiitakes to soups, stir fry dishes, rice dishes, casseroles and even grill with meats.


 

Black Truffles (Tuber Melanosporium) are the most famous Truffles in the world. The flavor of a Truffle is pervasive in a subtle way; this enigma of taste is one of the reasons that Truffles have such a loyal following amongst food lovers. Much folklore has arisen around Truffles; the tale of pigs and dogs which can find them, or flies that hover above Truffles. In any event, Truffles have created a following and a folklore because they are a delicious, interesting fungi.


 

Suggested Use:
The flavor of Truffles should be given center stage in recipes. Use Truffle slices sparingly - they are potent Delicious in soups and sauces, particularly those made with White Wine or Champagne and are served with pasta.


 

Wood Ear Mushrooms (Auricularia Polytricha) are cultivated all over the world but grown for the commercial dry market almost exclusively in China. This Mushroom has other names such as Tree Ear and Black Fungus. It is often confused with the Cloud Ear. Cloud Ears are similar in appearance to Wood Ear except Wood Ear area black with a brownish - tan inner color. ; Believed by many to be good for the heart. Wood Ear look like ears growing out of trees, hence the name. When reconstituted, the brownish tan inner color blends with the black exterior color to create a singled colored brownish black mushroom. The Wood Ear have a firm, thick skin with a slightly crunchy texture and earthy flavor. Shredded Wood Ear Mushrooms are thin, long slices of the whole Wood Ear Mushroom.
Suggested Use:
Wood Ear Mushroom's texture is crunchy and its flavor is mild. This Mushroom is very popular and served often in Oriental soups. Wood Ear are often called for in pork recipes, though they can be used with most meats.

Info Source woodland foods