Page 1

issue no.1 winter 2011 $12 USD

WHAT'S in a


SUPER EASY knife techniques

for the the unwieldy and inexperienced!

Dining Out





W 3

e fi

h ot



i rst


f eo




g id


TECHNIQUE Super Easy Knife Techniques for the Unwieldy and Inexperienced...


FAST Bacon Quesadilla


FYI Dining Out: Why Eating In is Better for You


EASY Seriously, the Easiest Italian Sub You've Ever Made...


COMPARE What's in a Grain


TOOLS The Most Essential Cooking Tool




MEAT COURSE Know Your Beef


MUSHROOMS 30 Fungi Facts 31 The Classic, The Versatile, the Easy: Mushroom Sauce 32 Shiitake: You Don't Know Shiitake 38 Crimini: When I Grow Up I Want to be a Portobello 42 Portobello: The Giant


MADE FROM SCRATCH The Hand-painted Restaurant Signs


COLLECTIVE Submissions from Readers and Eaters




SUPER EASY knife techniques

for the the unwieldy and inexperienced! THE


Knife skills and techniques are about much more than simply getting the food small enough to fit in the pot. Having the proper knife techniques creates consistency within a dish providing aesthetic charm, but more importantly allowing a uniform cooking time for ingredients. With poorly chopped ingredients the dish will look sloppy and pieces of food may be overcooked while others are undercooked. The size and consistency of the cut can even affect flavor and texture. While a fine chop will cook very quickly and the textures will generally fade, a fine chop more quickly pulls out the flavors of the ingredient such as a fruit or vegetable. On the other hand, a more coarse chop is better suited to maintain the integrity of the textural elements on an ingredi ent but the flavor components become harder to extract. In any case, no single slicing or chopping size is perfect for all occasions, so it is very important to have a good knowledge base of how to achieve both fine and coarse cuts and anywhere in between with proper knife handling technique.

to cut with a long pulling stroke


Remember: a sharp knife is a safe knife. dull knives require more strain and thus, more accidents.





forward cutting motion in which the entire length of the blade comes in contact with the board

to trim or reduce in size


TECHNIQUES To get started, holding a knife is the most basic of basics.

the same time to get uniform slices or smallish cubes of

The hand gripping the knife should be high on the handle

celery that will quickly soften and release flavor. A similar

with your thumb resting parallel to the blade, your index

technique can be used for a variety of long, thin ingredients,

finger curled on the opposite side of the blade and your

especially if they would otherwise be awkward to breakdown

remaining fingers wrapped around the handle. A picture

while whole. Varying the size of the lengthwise and cross-

explains this better than a paragraph of text, but what is

wise cuts can provide a range of useful but unique attributes

important about using this grip is the following: Good

to control cooking evenness and flavor profile.

chef knives are balanced around the typical knife grip.

Slicing and chopping are really two sides of the same

Therefore, gripping the knife in this way gives you more

coin. The major difference is that slicing usually refers to

control over the blade and a higher degree of precision

thin pieces with a relatively larger surface area whereas a

even if it takes a little getting used to at first. The knife

chop is in the form of small cubes or bits.

should become an extension of your arm and hand so the better the grip is balanced, the more naturally you

"Slicing and chopping are really two sides of the same coin."

will be able to control it.

One of the items that is fun to slice up is bell pepper which has a tricky but fun method to break it down. Start by cutting off the ends of the pepper. Next, make a lengthwise cut just to get the knife inside and begin carefully working the knife around the inside cavity of the pepper to separate the seed pod from the ripe flesh of the bell pepper. Then, simply remove the seed pod, flattened out the bell pepper and

( the proper way to hold a chef's knife )

begin making thin, uniform slices ensuring that you cut

So now that we have the grip down let's move on to the

all the way through the skin if the pepper.

fun stuff. Different ingredients require different chopping

The classic ingredient to chop or slice is an onion.

techniques. However, some general principles apply to

There are multiple ways of tackling a chopped onion but a

nearly any food item you chose to work with. Generally, use

generally accept method is to cut in half leaving half of

the first third of the blade nearest to the tip for small work

the root on each piece, cut off the end opposite the root and

while using the thick section of the knife for more forceful

remove the outer skin. Next make a few straight up and

cutting. Another important thing to remember this that

down cuts on the onion half with the end of the knife while

knives cut best when moving in two dimensions; meaning

holding the root end, make a couple horizontal cuts going

the knife should move forward or backward as it is moving

through most of the onion, and finally turn the onion side-

downward. Doing so will result in easier and smoother

wise and begin chopping to form small chunks of approxi-

cutting. Move the knife in a see-saw rather motion than

mately even size.

going straight up and down as you cut through ingredients.

Other ingredients require much less effort to slice or

Keep your off-hand fingers curled under your knuckles

chop and may be sliced or chopped without much altering

and out of the way and keep the food held in place firmly.

of the natural state of the ingredient. The important thing

With some of these basics mastered, we can work on

is to remove any inedible parts of the item and get it into a

some various methods of breaking down specific ingredients.

state that is easy to stabilize and achieve uniform sized pieces

For example, in the case of celery, if attempting to achieve

in length and thickness. With just a little patience and practice

a fine chop for use as a soup or stock base, first remove the

you can master every kind of cut imaginable bringing better

inedible sections, then split down the stalk to form smaller

flavor and more elegance to all of your dishes.

ribs of equal size and finally chop all of the thinner ribs at







3 strips of bacon 1 Tbsp butter 1 flour tortilla 1/2 cup of shredded mexican cheese 1 small onion (opional)

� Fry up some bacon in a pan � If you like onions, dice up the onion very finely and cook the onion in the bacon fat on medium heat for just a couple minutes. The should turn transluscent. If you don't like onions, simply discard the bacon grease. Snack

� In a non stick pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Place the


tortilla in the pan. While it is warming, sprinkle the cheese over the tortilla and let it melt. Be sure to scrape off any pesky pieces

D Dinner

of cheese that may have wandered directly onto the pan. We don't want that to burn. � Gingerly place the bacon on one side of the torilla. If you prefer, you can dice the bacon into little bits to make eating a bit easier.

L Lunch

(But it's bacon so, no matter how you eat it, it's gonna' be good). � Fold the tortilla in half and then flip the whole thing over. � Let it cook for just about a minute longer and you're done!

B Breakfast

� Slice it up and serve with sour cream and/or guacamole.


Dining Out Why Eating In is Better For You



After a long day spent juggling the tasks of a busy lifestyle, it’s tempting to go out to eat. But what if going out to eat isn’t the best option for you and yours? Whether you are on a budget, on a diet, or on a quest to slow down your life, eating at home doesn’t have to mean hunkering down to joyless, boring or time intensive meals. Here are the top benefits I’ve discovered to dining in rather than eating out:


Be creative


When I eat at home I can expose my

I’m not afraid to try new things. Because

When I make a recipe, I have a much

friends and family to foods beyond the

we’re on a budget I can’t always follow

better sense of what I am eating than I

chicken nuggets and hamburgers.

recipes (especially for ethnic foods) exactly,

do when I eat out. At restaurants and

While we prepare and enjoy a new type

but over time, I’ve found creative ways

drive-thrus, it can be hard to gauge the

of food, we learn about how people

to substitute cheap ingredients for rare

nutritional value of a food, or even

from other cultures and parts of the

or expensive ones. Extemporaneous and

figure out what’s in it. In my kitchen, I

world live and eat.

flexible cooking is a great creative outlet.

can make just about any meal healthier.

Save money

Save time

Get Some Satisfaction

Over time I’ve learned to approximate

It may seem counter-intuitive, but I’ve

It’s satisfying to learn to make a fun

our favorite restaurant foods, so when I

found that if I keep a few ingredients on

new dish, expand my horizons, keep me

am craving Indian food, Olive Garden

hand I can whip up a great homemade

healthy, and help steward my resources

breadsticks or something else, I can make

meal in a fraction of the time it takes to

by having a great dinner experience even

it myself for a fraction of the cost. As an

dressed in the morning. I can even make

if it’s “just” at home.

added bonus, I’ve also found that many

a homemade pizza faster than Papa

other cultures base their food on seas-

John’s delivers. Keeping meal-sized port-

onal produce, so I’m often able to make

ions of cooked and frozen meat on hand,

us a great international meal for much

cuts down dramatically on the time I have

less than an order of fast food.

to invest on busy nights, while still giving me the flexibility to make whatever I'm craving.





The Italian sandwich. It’s a staple in any and every sandwich shop from your local mom and pop to giants like Subway and Quizno’s. Why then, is it so unreasonable to think that we can’t enjoy the same sorts of flavors at home? All it needs is the proper ingredients and making this sandwich will take no longer than assembling a classic PB & J. Step 1: Find a good baguette. A sandwich is only as good as its bread - no matter how good the ingredients. Step 2: Slice the bread in half, lengthwise and drizzle both sides with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Step 3: Pile on the cheese and Snack

meat. For this sandwich, I used the mild Provolone cheese


and topped it with Chorizo and Prosciutto. Step 4: Devour. (If you crave some green, feel free to add some fresh arugala

B Breakfast

L Lunch

D Dinner

for a fresh peppery bite!)


compareFast Type



Southern Long Grain used in absolutely anything.

This is the most common type of rice consumed in the U.S., and the world, as table rice. It is a long slender kernel, four to five times longer than its width. This rice is a firmer and not as sticky as medium grain varieties.

California Medium Grain in Mediterranean dishes, Spanish rice dishes (such as paella) and various Asian dishes.

This rice needs a special temperate climate and is only grown in a few places in the world, mostly in Asia. In terms of a bland, clean taste, this rice is probably the best in the world. Medium grain rice is shorter and wider than long grain rice. The kernels are two to three times longer than its width. This rice tends to be a little on the softer side and is sticky.

California Mochi for sticky rice dumplings, sushi, and sweet dishes

This type of rice is also known as sweet rice, glutinous rice, or waxy rice. Mochi rice is slightly sweeter than conventional rice, but the rice is not sweet and most palates would not detect any sweetness. This rice is incredibly sticky.

Thai Jasmine is best used in Persian and Middle Eastern dishes

Jasmine Rice from Thailand is an aromatic rice with a strong aroma and taste that is unique. The rice looks much like southern long grain rice before and after cooking, but the texture is sticky, much like California medium grain rice. The rice is best consumed after new crop is harvested. None matches the unique texture, aroma, and texture of Thai Jasmine.

Indian Basmati rice is also an aromatic rice, but has a very different aroma and taste from Thai Jasmine. Some people describe its aroma as popcorn like. This rice is grown in the northern Punjab region of India and Pakistan, and commands the highest price of any variety of rice grown in the world. The raw kernel is long and slender like southern long grain, but slightly smaller. The kernels increase in length by more than three times when cooked to produce a very long slender cooked grain.

Arborio is almost exclusively used for risotto, a creamy, Italian rice dish

in a

GRAIN Ever find yourself cooking an delicious meal only to find that your dish is completely ruined by none other than the rice? Chances are, you might be cooking it incorrectly... but if you're cooking it correctly and it still comes out wrong, what's the deal? Maybe you're using the wrong type of rice for your specific meal. Some rices are incredibly sticky and would go horribly with some dishes where the rice is required to be a bit looser and firmer. So, just to give you an idea, here's a brief chart for you to take a look at, spend some time with, and eventually, make no more bad rice decisions! (List does not include instant rice, that's for cheaters)

Indian Basmati for any and all Indian dishes savory and sweet alike


Arborio Rice is an Italian variety of rice that is commonly used in risotto dishes. It is close to California medium grain in appearance and texture. It is a bigger kernel with a distinct chalky center. When properly cooked, arborio rice develops a unique texture with a starchy creamy surface and a firm bite in the center. 13


Advantages of a Wooden Spoon Have you ever read a recipe that calls for "stirring with a wooden spoon" and wondered why? Why not stir with a metal spoon? Or a silicone spoon or spatula? Is it important what kind of wood the spoon be made from? Even if you haven't wondered about wooden spoons before, I have done the wondering for you, and I think I have come up with some answers.

First of all, let's talk about the feel of a wooden spoon. There's nothing like stirring a sauce or sautĂŠing veggies with a wooden spoon in your hand. Especially one that you've owned for a long time. The handles are generally gently rounded and just feel good to hold. A spoon with hard edges can damage delicate ingredients. Wooden spoons, with their smooth, gentle curves are much less likely to bruise, crush or tear your ingredients as you stir. Another reason that wooden spoons are superior to metal spoons is that wooden spoons aren't conductive. That means that, if you leave your


spoon in a hot sauce for a long time, the

surfaces. Even while stirring in a

have a friend who is a professional

wooden handle will still stay cool. (Be

regular pot, metal spoons can also leave

chef, and he uses the same spoon every

care though, I have a bunch of wooden

scratches, and they make a scraping

time he makes his tomato sauce. He

spoons that have funny curves in them

noise that can become a bit bothersome

tells me the flavors become part of the

from leaving them in a hot pot.)

over time. Again, wooden spoons to

spoon and add to the taste of his sauce!

Try that with a metal spoon, and

the rescue. They won't scratch your

I'm not sure I buy the "flavors

you'll end up with a burned hand. Yes,

copper, aluminum or stainless steel

become part of the spoon" but it sou-

you could get around this problem by

pots and are nice and quiet to use.

nds good and I do believe the history

using a metal spoon with a non-con-

When stirring acidic ingredients,

ductive handle, but you'll still have to

like lemon curd or tomato sauce, some

to a dish. As far as I'm concerned,

contend with those hard angles smash-

metal spoons can react with the acids

wooden spoons win. Hands down.

ing into your food.

in foods and leave a metallic taste or

Wooden spoons are especially

even change the color of the food you

useful when stirring on a non-stick

are cooking. Wood is non-reactive.

surface. Metal spoons can scratch

Another score for the wooden spoon.

nonstick coatings, while smooth wooden spoons will not harm non-stick

Last, here's a somewhat subjective reason for using wooden spoons: I


in a spoon adds something magical



Walking along the large boulevards and numerous, small, winding streets of Madrid can certainly work up one's appetite. Whether it's 10 0'clock at night, the middle of the afternoon, or the wee hours of the morning, there's bound to

17 17

a restaurant open serving up tapas. As Spain's very own snack culture, it's something we definitely lack here in America. Think of tapas like luxury fast food — they're usually fast, cheap, they're mostly healthy, and, oh yeah, they're delicious.

Tapas are essentially a wide variety of appetizers in Spanish cuisine. They may be served cold, such as a few olives

it's no fabrication that tapas simple and

century, brought almonds, citrus fruits

delicious little morsels.

and fragrant spices. The influence of

The word "tapas" is derived from

their 700-year presence remains today,

and cheese, or warm, such as chopitos,

the Spanish verb tapar, "to cover".

especially in Andalusia. The discovery

which are battered, fried baby squid.

According to The Joy of Cooking, the

of the New World brought the introduc-

In select bars in Spain, as well as some

original tapas were the slices of bread

tion of tomatoes, sweet peppers and

parts of North America and the UK,

or meat which sherry drinkers in Anda-

chili peppers, maize, beans and types

tapas have evolved into an entire, and

lusian taverns used to cover their gla-

of potatoes. And evetually, after these

sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In

sses between sips. This was a practical

were cultivated, the found their way

Spain, patrons of tapas can order many

measure meant to prevent fruit flies

into Spain's most classic dishes.

different tapas and combine them to

from hovering over the sweet sherry.

make a full meal.

The meat used to cover the sherry

between 9 and 11 p.m., sometimes as

was normally ham or chorizo, which

late as midnight. So naturally, Span-

conversation because people are not so

are both very salty and activate thirst.

iards typically go "bar hopping", ir de

focused upon eating an entire meal

Because of this, bartenders and rest-

tapas, and eat tapas in the window

that is set before them. Also, in some

aurant owners began creating quite a

of time between finishing work and

countries it is customary for diners to

variety of snacks to serve with sherry,

dinner time. Since lunch is usually

stand and move about and eat tapas.

thus increasing their alcohol sales.

served between 1 and 3 p.m., another

The tapas eventually became as impor-

common time for tapas is weekend

tant as the sherry.

days around noon as a means of social-

Tapas are designed to encourage

According to legend, the tapas tradition began when King Alfonso X of Castille recovered from an illness by

Tapas have evolved through Span-

In Spain, dinner is usually served

izing before lunch proper at home.

drinking wine with small dishes bet-

ish history by incorporating ingredients

But honestly, there's no set time frame

ween meals. After regaining his health,

and influences from different cultures

for tapas. Most restaurants are open

the King ordered that taverns would

and countries. For starters, most of the

for long hours and serve tapas nearly

not be allowed to serve wine to custom-

Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the

all day long.

ers unless it was accompanied by a

Romans, who introduced the olive and

small snack, and thus, "tapa". I don't

irrigation methods. The invasion of

small local restaurant to have eight to

know about myths and legends, but

the North African Moors, in the 8th

12 different kinds of tapas in warming

It is very common for a bar or a

A stunning presentation of a classic tapa: pan de jamon y tomate - bread topped with tomato and ham. Shreds of ham are delicately set atop a smothering of tomato, all on a fresh baguette.

A menu from Una Tapeta? The tapas listed at the top of the menu are smaller portions whereas the platillos (plates) at the bottom are larger portions more fit for multiple people or an entree.



trays with glass partitions covering

a tapa will be served with it for free.

range from one to two euros. Another

the food. They are often very strongly

As a drink, it is usual to ask for a ca帽a

name for them is banderillas, dimin-

flavored with garlic, chilies or paprika,

(small beer), a chato (glass of wine)

utive of bandera, meaning "flag", in

cumin, salt, pepper, saffron and some-

r a mosto (grape juice). In several cities,

part because some of them resemble

times in plentiful amounts of olive oil.

entire zones are dedicated specifically

the colored spears used in bullfighting.

Often times, one or more of the choices

to tapas bars, each one serving its own

is seafood, mariscos, often including

unique dish.

anchovies, sardines or mackerel in olive

Tapas can be "upgraded" to a bigger portion, equivalent to half a

In northern Spain, they are also

dish, media raci贸n, or a whole one

oil, squid or others in a tomato-based

called pinchos (pintxos in Basque) in

raci贸n. This is generally more econo-

sauce, sometimes with the addition of

Asturias, in Navarre, Basque Country,

mical when a tapas are being ordered

red or green peppers or other season-

Cantabria and in some provinces,

by more than one person. Big or small,

ings. It is rare to see a tapas selection

such as Salamanca, because many of

the best way to enjoy tapas is with

not include various types of olives,

them have a little pincho or toothpick

other people: friends and family all

such as manzanilla or arbequina olives.

through them. The toothpick is used to

gathered round, tapas covering the

One or more types of bread are usually

keep whatever the snack is made of

table and a good bottle of wine.

available to eat with any of the sauce-

from falling off the slice of bread but

based tapas.

also mainly to keep track of the num-

In Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha,

ber of tapas that the customer has eaten.

Castilla y Le贸n, Asturias, Extremadura,

Differently priced tapas have different

and in parts of Andalucia, when one

shapes or have toothpicks of different

goes to a bar and orders a drink, often

sizes. The price of a single tapa can


Spanish culture epitomized: a man casually sits outside the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca. Spaniards eat at all hours of the day and becuase the weather there is so generally lovely, you'll find them all eating outside, enjoying the food and the weather.

(opposite) Meatballs. Every culture has their own version. The Spanish have Albondigas. These meatballs are traditionally served in a tomato-based sauce. They're too good for pasta.

(below) This is what a tapas table generally looks like. Tons of tiny plates covering the table while people choose which tiny delicacies catch their eye. Spaniards are not afraid of having a quiet tapa alone, but truly, tapas are best enjoyed family style.



For those of you who prefer the carni-

helps strengthen and sustain your body.

You should know that there are 29

vorous lifestyle, knowing where your

Evidence shows that protein plays an

cuts of beef that meet government

meat comes from can be the difference

important role in maintaining healthy

guidelines for lean. Each one contains

between a good meal and a bad meal.

weight, building muscle and fueling

less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5

But even moreso than that, knowing the

physical activity.

grams or less of saturated fat, and less

right types of beef can contribute to a

And when you’ve got all that going

healthier meat-eating lifestyle. Beef is

for you, you and your loved ones are one

3.5 oz. serving. Each cut of beef is very

easy to love because of its taste and var-

big step closer to a healthier lifestyle

unique and used for different times,

iety of preparations. But it’s also a

and at lower risk for disease. Too much

temperatures, and meals. On the follow-

naturally nutrient-rich source of ten ess-

beef can lead to health problems, so

ing pages you will find a few of the

ential nutrients. The protein in beef

enjoy, but do so in moderation.

most important cuts.


than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per

YOU HAVE A CHOICE So what the heck is "choice" beef? The

in the meat) adds flavor, and younger

equals flavor. And, no, no one will judge

word "choice" is a quality grade given

beef produces the most tender meat.

you for slicing off bits of fat while eat-

by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Therefore, the "choice" grade will be

ing your giant T-bone steak. Always

to describe very high quality beef and

given to meat that comes from very you-

keep in mind that with beef, modera-

other meats (veal and lamb) in terms

ng beef with moderate marbling, but

tion is key.

of tenderness, juiciness and flavor.

not as much marbling as meat that has

Choice is the second-highest meat qual-

been graded prime.

ity grade, with prime being the highest. This meat quality grade is given bas-

If you prefer prime, or have the cash

Use the following page as a impetus to experiment with different flavors and techniques. Once you have a basic

to front for it, by all means, buy it.

knowledge of cuts and know how to

ed on a combination of marbling and

Choice is the best quality you'll get for

use them, you will be on your way to

maturity. Marbling (or flecks of fat with-

the price, but keep in mind that fat

making delicious and healthy meals.


CHUCK Since the chuck comes from the forequarters of the animal that is exercised regularly, it contains a fair amount of connective tissue and can be tough. However, it has a higher fat content than some other cuts such as round. Therefore, chuck works well for braising, such as a pot roast, as stew meat or as ground beef.

RIB The rib is one of the premium cuts of beef. It can be used in an oven roast to make prime rib, as steak in the form of a rib eye, or other forms of dry-heat cooking. The rib offers a very tender and flavorful piece of meat.





Like chuck, beef brisket comes from the forequarters and is used in a similar manner for pot roast or stewing, however, the brisket is also used to make corned beef by brining the meat and then moist cooking it. The brisket can be divided into the point half, which is leaner, and the flat half which is fattier and therefore more moist after cooking.


PLATE PLATE Beef plate is located beneath the rib section of the animal and contains a lot of cartilage making it good for braising. However, the plate is also used for short ribs, skirt steak, and ground beef.


SIRLOIN SHORT SIRLOIN Beef short loin is the site for the most premium cuts of beef. The short loin is almost exclusively used for steak in the form of Tbone and Porterhouse, but also as strip steak also known as strip loin. Due to its tenderness, dry-heat cooking is typically used for cuts from this section



SIRLOIN Top sirloin is typically used as premium steak or kabobs, while bottom sirloin makes for a healthconscious oven roast since it is leaner than many other cuts. In all cases, however, the sirloin sections are tender and make an excellent choice for barbecuing.

ROUND TENDERLOIN As the name implies, this section is very tender and is the source of filet mignon as well as chateaubriand. In addition, tenderloin can also be used for oven roasts, kabobs, or other dry-heat cooking methods though it is usually more expensive than other cuts.



Round is from the hindquarters of the animal and therefore is tough, however, unlike chuck, round is also fair lean. Round is the traditional source of cube steak but also works well as a pot roast or stew meat. If using the round tip, bottom round or eye round the section is often used as an inexpensive oven roast.

From the belly of the animal, flank is typically tough. Though it is often grilled, marinating the cut is required for a tender end product. To avoid marinating, flank is also suited for ground beef or braising as with a pot roast.



Mushrooms delicious You are the fungi supreme Forget truffles, k?


PG 30 Fun facts about


MUSHROOM SAUCE our most favorite

pg 32 roasted potatoes and shiitake mushrooms

FUNGI of them all


and cabbage soup pg 36

MUSHROOM RISOTTO PORTOBELLO FRIES PG 40 with criminis and shiitakes

PG 44 with spicy chipotle mayo




Mushrooms are unique. They are

cate things, they do not last, some have

magazine and not one about which

neither animal or plant. Some people

a life span of less than a day others

mushroom variety releases the most

consider them to be plants for var-

may survive one week, and a group of

toxin into your system.

ious reasons, but they differ from plants

tougher mushrooms may last months

in that they lack the green chlorophyll

but they have a tough woody texture.

one thing we do know is that mush-

that plants use to manufacture their

Most fleshy mushrooms do not last;

rooms will give you nutritional powers

own food and energy. For this reason

making research difficult.

and they are delicious when cooked

they are placed in a Kingdom of their own," The Kingdom of Fungi".

Mushrooms even have a cult

Aside from their supposed powers,

properly. The pages that follow discuss

following. There are those who forage,

everything from how mushrooms are

collect and cultivate mushrooms.

cultivated to how they end up on your

room is but the fruit of the fungal org-

Brave souls will wander out into the

table. The stars of our show include:

anism that produces them, much like

forest, or perhaps just into their own

Shiitakes, Criminis, Portobellos, and

an apple tree produces apples to bear

backyard, to find fruitful fungi in all

Oyster. These four were chosen bec-

seeds to ensure the continuation of it's

their natural glory. Of course, we all

ause of their availability. Although exotic

species, so the fungal organism pro-

know of the "magic mushrooms" ­—

muchrooms are very fascinating, it

duces mushrooms that carry spores to

ones that supposedly grant you magic-

seems a bit impractical to have recipes

ensure the prosperity of its own species.

al powers if you're high enough. As

for mushrooms that are exclusive or

much as I would like to shoot lasers

not readily available at your very own

from my eyeballs, this is a cooking

local grocery store.

So, what are mushrooms? A mush-

Unfortunately, like most fruits and vegetables, mushrooms are very deli-



THE death cap

Considered one of the most beautiful

The world's deadliest mushroom is

mushrooms in the world is the Bridal

the death cap. The five different poisons

Veil mushroom. It gets its name for

contained in the mushroom cause

an obvious reason: it has a large flow-

diarrhea and vomiting within 6 to 12

ing "skirt" that drapes from the cap.

hours of ingestion. This is followed

The "skirt" is used mainly to attract ins-

by damage to the liver, kidneys, and

ects that will spread its spores. To top

central nervous system and, in the

it all off, this mushroom is edible. It is

majority of cases, coma and death.

mainly sold in Chinese markets and used for Haute Cuisine.

HUMONGOUS FUNGUS People have known about the "honey

fungus of the same species (Armillaria

mushroom" for some time, but were

ostoyae) that covered 1,500 acres (600

not aware of how large and invasive

hectares) found living in the state of

this species of fungus could be. The

Washington. But then mycology experts

fungus was investigated more closely

surmised that if an Armillaria that large

by researchers when they realized that

could be found in Washington State,

it was responsible for killing large

then perhaps one just as large could be

groves of evergreen trees. Researchers

responsible for the trees dying in the

collected samples of the fungus from

Malheur National Forest in the Blue

a widespread area and analyzed the

Mountains of eastern Oregon. Research-

DNA. A large sample of the speci-

ers were astonished at the sheer mag-

mens they collected turned out to be

nitude of the find. This most recent find

from a single organism.

was estimated to cover over 2,200 acres

Until August of 2000 it was thought that the largest living organism was a

THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS MUSHROOM The Mario Mushroom of course. This little guy made his

debut in 1981 with the first installment of Nintendo's Mario videogame franchise. In addition to the 1-up mushroom, there is the classic Mario enemy: the Goomba. A mushroom in his own right, Mario fans have been jumping over or on top of goombas for over 20 years.

mushroom crazed

People love mushrooms. Whether they're edible or not. For example, if you visit, artists and crafty-folk have created over 10,000 mushroom themed products. From Wonderland to your own backyard, from pop culture to secluded forests, let's face it: they're aboslutely everywhere. 30

(890 hectares) and be at least 2,400 years old, possibly older.




2 Tbsp of butter

The best thing about this recipe is that you can use absolutely any type of mushroom. I used oyster mushrooms (see below) but you can use anything from portobello to crimini. Depending on how meaty the mushroom is, the cooking times may vary. But honestly, it's so easy, you're a fool if you don't make this.

2 garlic cloves (minced, really tiny) 1 tsp of sage (ground) 6 oz of mushrooms 1 cup of heavy cream salt and pepper to taste

� Over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When melted, add garlic, sage, and sautee for about 5 minutes. � Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until they're nice and soft. � Salt and pepper. Add the heavy cream and warm until the texture is velvety smooth.

B Breakfast

L Lunch

D Dinner



� Pour over pasta, chicken or just about anything! Enjoy!





Shiitake are native to Korea, China and Japan and have been grown in all three countries since prehistoric times. They have been cultivated for over 1,000 years. In fact, the oldest record regarding the shiitake mushroom dates back to AD 199.



Originally, the Japanese cultivated the mushroom by cutting

Fresh and dried shiitake have many uses in the cuisines of

shii trees with axes and placing the logs by trees that were

East Asia. In Chinese cuisine, they are often sauteed in

already growing shiitake or contained shiitake spores. Before

vegetarian dishes such as Buddha’s delight. In Japan, they

1982, the Japanese variety of these mushrooms could only

are served in miso soup, used as the basis for a kind of

be grown in traditional locations using ancient methods. In

vegetarian dashi, and also as an ingredient in many steamed

1982, Gary F. Leatham published an academic paper based

and simmered dishes. In Thailand, they may be served

on his research on the budding and growth of the Japan

either fried or steamed.

Islands variety; the work helped make commercial cultiva-

Shiitake are often dried and sold as preserved food in

tion possible in United States. Dr. Leatham is known in the

packages. These must be rehydrated by soaking in water

industry as the “father of shiitake farming in the USA.”

before using. Many people prefer dried shiitake to fresh,

In the United States, shiitake cultivation got off to a slow

considering that the sun-drying process draws out the flavor

start, due to the USDA confusing the mushroom with an

from the dried mushrooms by breaking down proteins into

invasive species known as Lentinus lepideus. The USDA

amino acids and transforms ergosterol to vitamin D. The

realized their mistake in 1972 and allowed importation

stems of shiitake are rarely used in Japanese and other

and cultivation.

cuisines, primarily because the stems are harder and take

For centuries, the shiitake was used as a medicinal

longer to cook than the soft fleshy caps. The highest grade

mushroom, taken as a remedy for upper respiratory

of shiitake are called "donko" in Japanese.

diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion

Today, shiitake mushrooms have become popular in

and weakness, and to boost qi, or life energy. It was also

many other countries as well. Russia produces and also con-

believed to prevent premature aging.

sumes large amounts of them, mostly sold pickled; and the shiitake is slowly making its way into western cuisine as well. There is a global industry in shiitake production, with local farms in most western countries in addition to large scale importation from China, Japan, Korea and elsewhere. Because they can now be grown world wide, their availability is widespread and their price has decreased.





6 small to medium white potatoes, washed 2 cloves of garlic sliced 2 stalks of green onion, washed and cut to form ribbons 4 oz shittake mushrooms, washed, stems removed 1 sprig fresh rosemary coarsely chopped 1 tsp dried thyme Extra Virgin Olive Oil S/P

� Preheat oven to 375 F with empty baking dish (9x13). I chose to use white potatoes but you could use red potatoes or yukon golds depending on your preference. Not peeling the potatoes because the skin can add nice flavor and texture as well as nutrients but peeling is an option. If you don’t peel the potatoes just wash the outside with a clean brush and cool water. � Slice the potatoes into small 1/2 inch cubes. (See figure below)


� Remove preheated dish from oven and add 2 Tbs olive oil or


enough to coat all of the potatoes. Toss potatoes in the olive oil to evenly coat; beware of sizzling. S/P and add rosemary and thyme

D Dinner

and toss again.

Cutting the Potato

� Bake for 30 minutes, tossing potatoes once halfway through. Note: Baking time may vary depending on the type of potato used.

3 simple cuts to get the same size everytime. Uniform size means uniform cooking.

B Breakfast

L Lunch

Once you have cut the potato lengthwise, make


SHIITAKE � Add shittakes and sliced garlic with 1 tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt and toss to coat mushrooms. Olive oil will help the mushrooms


stay moist. Continue baking for 10 minutes. Garlic is reserved for this stage to prevent burning if it is added too soon.

Let’s face it. Not all of us have the luxury of keeping fresh herbs in our refridgerators. They are tasty and pure when

� To prepare the green onions, once they have been washed, hold

fresh and pungent and delicious when dried — ­ but when

the bulb end and cut once lengthwise then cut the stalk in half and

should you use one over the other? Truth is, you can sub-

remove the bulb. Then, using your hands, separate the inner layers.

titute dry for fresh herbs anytime, as long as you use the

This style of slice adds a contrast in shape to the other components

right ratio.

of the dish and creates additional elegance, however, if desired, a


standard chop can be used as well. � Set your oven to broil a couple minutes to brown some of the

Keep in mind that fresh herbs are generally better for foods

potatoes. This makes them nice and crispy.

with shorter cooking times and for garnishes. Dry herbs are better for longer cooking times, as they hold up their

� The potatoes are done when fork tender.

flavor and aroma.

� Remove and serve garnished with the green onion ribbons.




1 small onion sliced and layers separated 2 tbs oil 2 tsp fresh grated (or finely chopped) ginger 1 tbs green onion 2 cloves Garlic finely minced 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes 1 tbs soy sauce 6 leaves of white or napa cabbage roughly chopped 1/2 carrot sliced on a bias (optional) 4 shiitake mushrooms sliced 1 1/2 cups chicken stock

� Over medium-low heat bring oil up to temperature and sweat onions until soft. Add ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant. � Add cabbage until wilted. Add red pepper flakes, shiitake mushrooms and carrot. and saute a minute. � Add chicken stock then bring soup to boil and reduce to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes then add green onion. Simmer for a couple minutes more and serve hot with sriracha (optional).

ditional substance depending on preference.

B Breakfast

L Lunch

D Dinner



This dish can be served with udon or vermicelli noodles to add ad-





CULTIVATION In 1926, a Pennsylvanian mushroom

The white button mushrooms, those

farmer found a clump of common

very familiar kitchen staples, are

mushrooms with white caps in his

simply the youngest variety. They have

mushroom bed. Like white bread, it

been cultivated, too, for that white

was seen as a more attractive food

color and soft texture. In the wild these

item and was very popular. As was

mushrooms are usually browner.

done with the navel orange and Red

Criminis can be used for anything that

Delicious apple, cultures were grown

calls for a basic mushroom. They are

from the mutant individuals, and most

extremely versatile and have a decent

of the cream-colored store mushrooms

shelf life. If you find a recipe that

we see today (like the ones over there)

blankly calls for "mushrooms," these

are products of this chance natural

are the ones you'll want to use.


Commonly, these are best used for

Agaricus bisporus is now cultivated

sauces, soups, and stuffing. Crimini

in at least 70 countries around the

hold up there shape for the long cook-

world. Global production in the early

ing times of sauces and soups. Cur-

1990s was reported to be more than

rently trending is the classic stuffed

1.5 billion kg, worth more than US$

mushroom. In the grocery store you'll

2 billion. Needless to say, these little

find especially large criminis selected

beauties are a hot commodity.

just for stuffing. Everything from sau-


sage to cheese to squash can be stuffed into the caps of these little wonders,

Criminis are the most basic of mush-

making them the perfect hour dourves

rooms. They also have many names:

for your next get together.

whole mushroom, white mushroom,

In short, when you're unsure about

brown mushroom, and yes, portobello.

finding the right fungi, look no further

The difference between these popular

than crimini.

varieties of mushrooms is just age.




1/2 pound fresh porcini or crimini mushrooms 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter 2 ounces pancetta, diced 1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 shallots) 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not at all dry. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot in bowls with extra cheese.

B Breakfast

L Lunch

D Dinner



Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every


crimini If you're curious about arborio rice, check out page 13 for a little bit of information on what makes this creamy rice different than other grains of rice.


The giant, and well-loved portobello is native to the grasslands of Europe and North America. Agaricus bisporus is cultivated in more than seventy countries and is one of the most commonly and widely consumed mushrooms in the world. No surprise there. The portobello is the meat of the mushroom world and, more often than not, is the perfect portion size.


CULINARY USE If you read the crimini section, the you already know that the portobello is the crimini's older brother. Essentially, they are the same thing. What makes the portobello extremely unique is its size. Thus, there are many recipes and culinary technique that are specific to this giant fungi. The portobello is perfect for single portioned meals. You can grill them and eat them as a healthy alternative to a hamburger, you can fry them, bake them, and of course, use them in any soup of sauce. These wonderful, rich, fruitful, mushrooms will hold up to longer cooking times and hold its shape.

On a side note, another wonderful thing portobellos are used for is making lovely mushroom prints. To make one: cut off the cap of the mushroom, and lay it gill-side down, on paper. Cover with a bowl or glass to keep spores from blowing away and to allow humidity to increase. Let sit for at least an hour. You'll end up with a beautiful print of feathered mushroom gills.





3 portobello mushrooms Vegetable oil for frying 1 cup of flour 2 eggs 1 cup of panko bread crumbs

FOR MAYO: 1/2 cup of mayonnaise 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper S/P

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese 1 tsp of red chili flakes 1/4 cup of chopped parsley S/P

ON BREADING ďż˝ Pour vegetable oil in a pan at least an inch-high. Heat vegetable oil

Ever heard the old adage, "You can fry anything"? Well, it's

to about 360 degrees.

absolutely true. As long as you know how to do it properly.

Oil temperature can be tricky. If you don't have a thermometer, take

The essentials are: to have your ingredients be patted dry, to

a small piece of the breaded portobello and drop it into the oil. It

have a consistent oil temperature, and to have an efficient

should sizzle enthusiastically, but not pop. If popping is excessive,

breading station. (illustrated below) First you have your

turn down the heat slightly and try again. Once oil gets hot, it can

flour. The flour ensures that your food is dry enough to

hold its heat for a while, so initially you may have to turn the heat up

be coated with eggs. Next, the eggs provide a glue for the

higher and then as the frying process continues, lower the heat to

chunkier bread crumbs to adhere to. Then, out of the bread

maintain a steady temperature.

crumbs and into the fryer!

ďż˝ In one large plate or baking dish add the flour. To another at the

one hand for your wet ingredients and the other for your

beaten eggs. To another add in the breadcrumbs, cheese, pepper

dry ingredients. Otherwise you'll end up with chunky "glove

flakes, parsley, salt and pepper.

hand". Nobody wants that.

B Breakfast

L Lunch

D Dinner



One last thing to keep in mind is that you should use


This chipotle mayo is quite possibly the most magical dipping sauce your ever likely to encounter. It is the perfect compliment to the crunchy mushrooms. in fact, feel free to make this spicy mayo for anything from avocados to french fries.


made from


Restaurants and

HAND Signs PAINTED Food critics everywhere claim that we eat with our eyes.

pay them for their hard work. It's no wonder then that

They say that, not only do we respond to the way food tastes,

hand-painted signs have ruled the restaurant industry

but also to the way the food looks. The same is true for the

for decades.

atmosphere of a restaurant. The way a restaurant looks, the

Signs are a vital part of how restaurants distinguish

way its menu looks, the environment, all play a huge role in

themselves: appearing one after the other, mismatched

the dining experience. So much of what we consume is visual.

awnings and stucco facades create a unique visual land-

Once our minds are satisfied with the way things look, we

scape — each neighborhood displays their own partiuclar

begin to enjoy the food that is sitting in front of us. It is for

style. Painted signs, of which no two are exactly alike,

this reason that restaurants go to such trouble to tickle our

express the history of a place through a unique and often

visual fancies. They want us to enjoy their food, and thus,

idiosyncratic language of images, symbols, and text.


The language of sign painting has a long history, spanning centuries and countries all over the world. From 14th-century English inn signs to the perfectly painted reproductions of corporate logos on 21st-century storefronts, hand-lettered signs have announced countless messages to millions of people. Hand -ettering, which is related to but also distinct from typography, frequently calls upon the artist to replicate the appearance of printed type either with the aid of stencils or through painstaking freehand drawing. It is this ability to create distinctive lettering by hand that separates the work of the sign painter from that of the digital designer. Though both occupations require command of composition and layout, the technical skills involved in sign painting have their own heritage. Historically, sign painters have learned their trade through trial and error, by finding employment as a sign painter's apprentice — or, more recently, by attending school.

You can express just as much originality and personality in lettering as you can in pictorial work. Going back as far as the 1800s, students hoping to learn the trade had a number of manuals and guides at their disposal. While some sign painting books included historical information and technical advice, others featured a wide variety of typefaces and ornaments for painters to include in their own work. Instead of using samples of text to demonstrate the appearance of a font for a printer to purchase, the pages of these books featured every letter of the alphabet, both upper and lower case, for the sign painter to copy. Some authors of the more technically-minded manuals warned painters against making their work look too mechanical, in order to preserve what they viewed as the individual spirit of the art. A 1920 book, "How To Paint Signs and Sho' Cards", promises that technical mastery leads to individual expression: "You can express just as much originality and personality in lettering as you can in pictorial work." Letterforms themselves become image. Even during the sign painting heyday, hand letterers were well aware of the stiff competition posed by printers when it came to advertising signage. As a result, they found ways to balance speed and quality with the distinctive, homespun effects of handwork.


Despite their history of competition, typography and hand lettering have powerful ties that reach back to the invention of the printing press. The blackletter typefaces used in the first mechanically printed books imitated handwritten scripts used in medieval Western Europe. Even italics, once a discrete typeface rather than a supplementary component of roman fonts, were initially designed to imitate the calligraphy used by Italian state officials and scholars. Later, the proliferation of printed matter and advertising over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries added a unique twist to the relationship between the human hand and the printing press, as the use of type to imitate writing commingled with skillful hand lettering techniques that imitated type. More than merely imitating printed text, skilled sign painters could push the limits of letterforms. Their ability to alter the sizes, shapes, color, and arrangement of words and images with the stroke of a brush made it possible to quickly produce an extensive, eloquent variety of compositions for their clients. Sign painters continue to blur the boundary between letters and pictures, often transforming even the simplest text into a sophisticated array of symbols that speak to different viewers. Even something as simple as a color scheme can alter the meaning of a sign: national flags, religious iconography, and personal taste might all find their way into a single group of letters on a neighborhood storefront. Although the wide availability of digital vinyl lettering in the 1980s sharply reduced the demand for hand painted signs, the skill of hand lettering is by no means on the decline. As an increasingly rare specialty, the ability to translate written messages into richly textured images is not simply an act of communication with the public, but also of historical preservation.

Selected writings taken from Arden Stern's article entitled " The Street Museum: Sign Painting as Art and History "



"I heard you were doing the mushroom issue and I couldn't resist! I found this fancy little product while wandering through the grocery store. These boxes are packed with compost, soil, and mushroom spores. You spray a bit of water on it every now and then and out will grow your very own mushrooms! I must try this!"


"It was a cold Friday evening and Lauren and I were on our way to dinner and Christmas shopping. We decided to stop somewhere cheap to grab dinner. So, we snuck into this little noodle bar and ordered up some Pho. The waiters brought us these huge, beautiful bowls of soup — perfect for a chilly evening. The price of this meal? $5.75. We couldn't believe it. Good thing it was so cheap! Because we spent the rest of our money on Christmas gifts for friends."


"Do Not Peep"


"The Publican is one of our absolute favorite restaurants. Located in Chicago's, Fulton Market district, we go everytime we head up to Chicago. This most recent time, we brought our good friends, the Longs, with us and they absolutely loved it — even if we did have to walk a mile to get there. If ever you make it to Chicago, go here and prepare to be stuffed!"


"I will never forget this breakfast. It was a cold, bright, sunny Spring day in Seattle and my friends and I needed a place to stop for a quick breakfast. We huddled into this small cafe and I ordered these divine cinnamon raisin pastries. With a small cup of coffee, these morsels were the perfect was to start a long day of sightseeing and shopping."



"One day while walking through a local bookstore, I found this great little zine. The author has taken old cooking illustrations and added new captions. Some of the imagery is transformed into funny and sometimes vulgar ways. It's an incredibly creative little piece that any foodie would have a good laugh at."


Generated by CamScanner "Okay, so I know I'm cheating. This is an excerpt from one of this past year's Food and Wine Magazines. I couldn't resist. It's this recipe for a Spanish Stew that is absolutely to die for and it's so easy to make! The halibut will cost you a bit of money, but I've made it with cod in the past and it has turned out wonderfully. this is a recipe I would share with anyone. Try it."

Generated by CamScanner


My grandmother's peanut brittle recipe. Short and sweet.



Smidgen Magazine  
Smidgen Magazine  

Issue #1 - Mushrooms