Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mr. Samuel Kim's Magic Mushrooms

The sad part about buying foods close to nature is that it reminds you how sad the selection and quality of produce is in the city. I had this revelation yet again, after meeting Samuel Kim in Occidental, California. It made me sad for myself, for those moments when I buy mushrooms from the local grocery store: 'Would you like your mushrooms rubbery? or perhaps rubbery…" the saran-wrapped little characters inquire. 

Samuel Kim has been farming mushrooms in Northern, California for 25 years. His stand-offish vibe is explained away quickly by his preoccupation for his product.

We bought four different mushrooms: trumpet, shitake, oyster and some roots, which he insisted were not only edible but delightful.

We brought em home and gave them the following treatment...

- 1 lb mushrooms
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup mustard
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp of your favorite barbecue sauce (optional)

Next up:
Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth but don't slice them. Only remove the stem if you're planning on making portobello burgers.

Place all ingredients, including mushrooms, in a container and stir together. Let them marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Keep in mind that mushrooms contain a lot of water, and they'll shrink considerably while cooking. Grill them directly on the grate. Cook smaller mushrooms on skewers to avoid losses to the grate.

Grill em for 5 minutes, then flip em over and grill for another 5 minutes. Baste with any leftover marinade while grilling to keep the flavor strong. If you don't have a grill, a skillet will work fine too.

Then sit back with a skirt steak and the love of your life and acknowledge what Samuel and many others have too - that mushrooms of all kinds are kind of the best thing you could possibly eat.

PS - if you're looking for other things to do with our woodland friends, check out this episode we did on some innovative folks turning mushrooms into product packaging.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Meat Hunx Vacay: Lamb Rib Chops Sanctuary

This is going to be a trying post. I've been forced to make use of a Fisher-Price®-esque contraption for grilling. The dig is only because this unnamed household grilling company has come out recently saying that they think Kemado-style BBQs are too complicated for the American public. How bout a show of faith in your country Weber. Oh! Let that one slip.

Nevertheless, what's currently lacking in grill resources, is being more than made up for in the beauty and bounty of the surrounding land of the Russian River region in Northern California. We stopped at the Occidental Farmers Market on the way up from San Fran, and picked up supplies. The first tent we went to was being cheerily run by Victorian Farmstead Meat Company. Their slogan: "Life's too short to eat crappy meat." THAT IS WHAT I'M SCREAMING! Amidst the armful of fare we ended up purchasing from these delightful meat champions was a lamb rib chop. So that night we set about putting together grilled lamb rib chops with a rosemary and sage crust, following a recipe from Grilling Magazine, which great btw.

- 1/2 cup loosely packed medium-finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 Tbs. loosely packed medium-finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1.5 Tbs. loosely packed medium-finely chopped fresh sage
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 - 12 bone-in lamb rib chops
- Olive oil for the grill

Marching orders:
First mix the parsley, rosemary, sage, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a shallow baking dish. Next, coat your chops with herbs. While you can grill right away, covering for 4 hours in the fridge will up the ante.

Get the 'grill' up to medium-hot, and then bush oil across your dismount area. Then, cook until the herbs are a deep brown, and the meat is medium rare, 3 - 5 minutes per side. Then let sit for 5 mins.

Now, (and not gonna blame this solely on the device), but I fucked up. The time directions to lamb beastliness resulted in a less than fully-cooked chop. So back from our romantic dinner setting to the grill. I cut the chops individually and seared them for two minutes on either side. The result: outrageous!

We rounded out the meal with a bottle of Argentinian Malbec and a salad consisting of micro greens, cherry tomatoes, serpent cucumber, onion, reen radishes, red leaf lettuce and champagne dressing.

Russian River, I will not soon forget ye.