|Holy Shiitake! It's mushrooms - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I was getting my fresh mushroom fix from the summer farmers markets, namely the small producer that's right near Duvall. They farm versus forage, but you can get a nice variety like shiitake, oyster, and unusual ones like lion's mane. And they sell mushroom growing kits, which can be a fun project or a frustrating one, depending on how you are with directions and the conditions for growing. I had mixed luck with a mushroom log kit, which apparently was more fussy than the sawdust block kits. It was from Williams Sonoma. Of course it was fussy and impossible. I was able to get a few harvests of shiitake mushrooms from the log, but not before getting so disgusted by its lack of fungal growth and chucking it out into the yard. I let Mother Nature take over, aka Forgot About It, and lo and behold, we got mushrooms. Apparently my gardening style is success by willful neglect.
I've shrugged off dreams of mycological farming and just buy the fresh mushrooms when they're available and the price is right. Getting them from the farmers market, straight from the grower has its advantages. Along with a nice basket of fresh mushrooms, I always ask if they have any "seconds" to sell -- the less photogenic, but perfectly edible shrooms that don't display as nicely. They're typically half off and taste just as good.
|Spicy yet refreshing - meet ja jian mein/zha jiang mian - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
If you go to a real Chinese restaurant -- no not the ones that sell the chicken drowning in hazard cone-orange colored sauce -- you'll likely see ja jian mein or zha jiang mian, a popular noodle dish that's a wonderful mix of spicy heat and raw vegetables. It's oddly refreshing, mostly because it usually has fresh cucumber as one of the veggies. A hot, spicy meat sauce, typically pork, gets mixed with the thinly sliced raw vegetables and a tangle of fresh noodles, and you get a simple, satisfying meal.
|Mushrooms made better with lemon cucumbers - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Pesto with oyster mushrooms and rigatoni - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|Eat your greens with your shrooms - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I love the ability to cook such diverse meals with mushrooms, you can have something from one end of the earth to the other, and your dinner table will never get boring.