Along the Grapevine


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Mushroom Puffs

I came across this recipe from About Food for something resembling popovers made with mushrooms. It looked like the perfect base for a recipe using some of my dehydrated mushrooms and dried puffball mushroom flour. You can use any dehydrated mushrooms, and if you don’t have mushroom flour, simply omit that and increase the use of flour to 3/4 cup, as in the original recipe.DSC02888

Using the puffball flour meant I had to change the method a bit, but nothing too complicated, and the use of the flour, mushrooms and the stock made by soaking the dried mushrooms intensified the flavour.

Mushroom Puffs

1/2 cup finely chopped dried mushrooms (I used maitake)

1 3/4 cups boiling water

1/2 cup puffball mushroom flour

4 oz butter

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for ten minutes in a saucepan. Add the mushroom flour and simmer, stirring it with a whisk to incorporate the flour. Remove from the heat and add the butter, which will help cool the mixture. When it is cool enough not to cook the eggs, add the rest of the ingredients. The mixture will be the consistency of a crepe batter, and you will have about 4 cups.

Grease your pan/s liberally with oil. Place them in a preheated 400 degree F. oven until the oil starts to smoke. Pour in the batter leaving about 1/2 inch at the top.

I used a muffin tin for 6 muffins and 1 loaf pan. The ones in the muffin pan took 15 minutes to cook, the loaf 25 minutes. The batter will puff up and brown when it’s done.

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They don’t stay puffed for long, but unlike popovers or Yorkshire pudding, there are no big air pockets. They can be eaten hot or cold, on their own, buttered or to accompany a main dish, omelette or salad.

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They keep well, and are delicious with just a little butter and sumac powder – for example.

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Linked to Angie at Fiesta Friday, Steffi at Ginger and Bread and Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower who are making this week’s Fiesta Friday possible.

 

 


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Puffballs – what to do with them

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There are few, or maybe even no mushrooms which are easier to identify than puffball mushrooms. It is the perfect species for the non-expert like myself. However, foraging for mushrooms always requires caution, and this is no exception. So here are a few tips on how to identify puffballs with impunity.

There are several types of puffballs, but I am describing here the calvatea gigantea so as not to create confusion and because that’s what I find around here and have experience with.

Where they grow: In meadows, fields and deciduous forests.

What they look like: Completely spherical and white when immature. They have no stems or gills, but are connected to the ground by narrow string-like roots. They are soft and like a spongy bread in texture.

When to pick them: Once mature, they are no longer edible. When too small, you could confuse them with other mushrooms. They should be grapefruit size or larger, but still be completely white inside and out.

What to watch for: Any yellowing, development of spores or a mushroom cap developing. Do not eat any of these.

Look-alikes: poisonous earthballs which are hard and have a blackish interior.

If you are lucky enough to have any of these fine specimens accessible to you, there are several ways you can prepare them. Sauteed, cooked in stews, soups or casseroles, and even added to breads or grain dishes. They have a delicious but mild earthy flavour. Be forewarned however that, if frying, they will absorb a lot of oil and become soggy, so it is best to fry quickly with just a little oil brushed on them.

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I decided to fry some lightly. I sliced them, brushed them on both sides with a mixture of olive oil, salt, garlic and sumac, then browned them in a pan quickly on a high heat.

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These are delicious on their own, as a side dish or added to a sandwich. However, I used them for a brunch dish as a crepe filling. I added them to fried onions, herbs and seasonings and enough plain yogurt (or sour cream) to make a sauce. If needed, add a little thickener such as cornstarch.

Fill the prepared crepes (any kind), fold, cover with grated cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

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Puffballs - what to do with them on Punk Domestics

Linked to Fiesta Friday #84