Mushrooms are in Fashion

Lately, seems like mushrooms have been “a thing” – they have even turned them into crispy snack. Whether you are a vegetarian looking for a “meat replacement” or a carnivore looking for bold flavor, mushrooms have the potential of satisfying all kinds of dietary proclivities.

“Mushrooms are one of the most interesting foods that we consume. Delicious, deadly, mysterious, intoxicating, enigmatic.” – John Ash, Santa Rosa chef John Ash explores the magic of mushrooms, Press Democrat

Chef John Ash’s article on the magic of mushrooms is a great read and will undoubtedly make you crave a meal made with these delicious organisms. So, here is a nice starter, his Wild Mushroom Pate Recipe:

Wild Mushroom Pate

Simple and delicious.  Serve with crisp little croutes, toasts or crackers of your choice and, as the French do, with some little cornichons and grainy mustard on the side.

*Makes enough to fill a 3-cup mold or dish


  • 1 ounce dried wild mushroom such as porcini
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped shallots or green onions (white part only)
  • 1- ¼ pounds thickly sliced fresh wild or exotic cultivated mushrooms*
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or to your taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup toasted, preferably unsalted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons toasted nut oil such as walnut or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, chives and/or basil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the dried mushrooms quickly and let soak in warm water to cover for 15 minutes.  Drain, squeeze, dry, and chop.
  2. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over moderately high heat.  Add the shallots, all mushrooms, garlic, curry and cumin and sauté and stir until mixture is just beginning to brown and all liquid has evaporated.
  3. While mushrooms are cooking add the cashews to a food processor and process till finely chopped.
  4. Add oil and continue to process to make a paste or butter.
  5. Add the mushroom mixture and process till almost smooth.
  6. Stir in the herbs and zest and season with salt and pepper to your taste and place in a 3-cup pate mold or other ceramic dish.
  7. Can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Allow to return to room temperature to serve.

*A caution here – – only use wild mushrooms that you are certain are edible.  If you are not a hunter you can certainly substitute wild or cultivated mushrooms found in the market such as chanterelle, shiitake, cremini, portabella, oyster, etc.

Did that pate wet your appetite? Then try another John Ash mushroom recipe.

Wild Mushroom Hunter’s Soup

The original recipe was actually tossed together on a canoe trip using foraged ingredients, but unless you are feeling jaunty and are a wild mushroom expert, this version works equally well with store-bought exotic mushrooms.


The earthiness of the mushrooms and zest of ingredients like lemon, garlic and onion make the fruity yet clean flavors of a California Sauvignon Blanc a sure bet; recommended producers include Selene, Gainey and Rochioli.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 tablespoons slivered garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh Trumpet Royale and Alba Clamshell mushrooms, wiped clean and thickly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (or canned diced tomatoes in juice)
  • 6 cups rich chicken or mushroom stock
  • 1/3 cup Amontillado sherry
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan or Asiago cheese, freshly grated, for serving
  • Parsley, chives, basil and/or chervil, chopped


Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large deep saucepan and cook the onions and garlic over moderate heat until they are lightly golden.

While onion mixture is cooking, sauté the mushrooms in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate sauté pan over high heat until they are cooked through and lightly browned. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and stock to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the sherry and zest and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup in warm bowls or mugs, garnished with a good sprinkling of cheese and chopped fresh herbs.

Still looking for a some mushroom happiness?

Try this recipe from our very own Director of Nutrition and Culinary, Patty James:

Mushroom Gravy

Serve over chicken or tempeh or…? Almost anything!

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced


Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the mixture with the salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the sherry and thyme. Slowly add the broth and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and serve.


You may delete the sherry and add Tamari, if you like. You may use any type of mushrooms for this gravy. We have also left out the flour and added pureed oatmeal as the thickener with good results. If you are gluten intolerant, try using garbanzo flour.

Health Tip

Shitake mushrooms are high in iron, B vitamins and are good for your immune system.




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