September is National Mushroom Month. With their unique flavor, versatility and nutritional benefits, there is no reason not to increase your intake of these fabulous fungi. Here are a few awesome shroom-forward recipes from local chefs.
• Fresh mushrooms should feel dry and firm to the touch.
• Avoid mushrooms with a blotchy appearance or wet spots.
• Don’t be afraid of dirt. Give them a rinse under cold running water and then spin them dry in a salad spinner.
• Wait to wash them until just before cooking.
• Store them in the refrigerator with plenty of air circulation.
• Place them in a single layer in a plastic container with the lid cracked. They should stay fresh for about a week.
Local Pie: Mushroom Ratatouille (Easy)
Ingredients (Yields 6-8 portions)
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 eggplants, small and cubed
2 cups button mushrooms, whole
4 large red tomatoes, diced
4 cups Shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch slices
10 leaves fresh basil, thin cut
1 tablespoon oregano, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon herbs d’ province (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
 In a 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
 Add garlic and onions to olive oil and cook, stirring often, until onions are softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Next add button mushrooms, eggplant and tomatoes; stir until coated with olive oil and garlic, cook for five minutes, then add herbs, shiitakes and seasonings; stir to combine.
 Finish over lower heat for 8-10 minutes, remove from heat and let rest before serving for 10 minutes, to allow flavors to incorporate. Use or refrigerate.
Charbar Co: CharSmoked Shiitake Creole Pasta (Easy)
1 pound smoked shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces andouille sausage
1/2 quart heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup scallions
1 bag of linguine
 In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Salt the water and then add the linguine. Cook the pasta until it’s done (about 10 minutes). Remove the pasta from the water and drain.
 In a pot, cook the diced andouille until it is browned. Add the diced garlic and mushrooms. Cook for one minute. Add the heavy cream and seasoning. Reduce the heavy cream by half or until it starts to thicken. Add tomatoes and then toss pasta in the sauce.
 Garnish the top of the pasta with the scallions.
Holy Tequila: Tequila Butter Mushrooms (Easy)
2 16 ounce ribeye steaks
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white tequila
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon onions, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up at room temperature
Salt pepper to taste
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
 Preheat large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle steak with black pepper on both sides. Add steak and cook until desired temperature. Remove steak.
 Combine onions, garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper in the skillet with oil and cook over high heat about 2 minutes.  Deglaze with tequila. Add butter and simmer for 3 minutes.
 Serve steak on a plate with your favorite sides (mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, green beans, rice). Top with the tequila butter mushrooms and cilantro. Enjoy!
Healthy Habit: Roasted Mushroom Toast with Roasted Garlic Vegan Aioli (Intermediate)
Ingredients (Roasted Mushrooms)
1 pound medium to large white button mushrooms
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
 Clean mushrooms with a brush to dust off residual soil. Cut mushrooms into quarter slices. Place mushrooms in a large mixing bowl with thyme, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.
 Toss and mix all ingredients until mushrooms are evenly coated. Place mushrooms on a sheet tray and roast in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
 When done, mushrooms can be served warm or chilled.
Ingredients (Garlic Vegan Aioli)
1 bulb fresh garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound extra firm tofu
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
 Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Set a rack in the middle position. Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
 Trim the top off the head of garlic; about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
 Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a paring knife. Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelized flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety and its age.
 Let the garlic cool slightly, and then serve. Press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper. Roasted garlic can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months. Place roasted garlic into a blender with tofu, oil, salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth. This should resemble a mayonnaise-like consistency.
 Assemble toast: Choose your favorite bread for toasting and toast it. We recommend an artisanal bread from a local baker. We find that multigrain works best for added flavor. Smear aioli on the toast and top with mushrooms. Enjoy!
Palmetto Dunes: Stuffed Portobello, Risotto, Lobster and Filet Mignon (Expert)
Up for a culinary challenge? Matt Little, the chef de cuisine for Palmetto Dunes and Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, offered up this amazing yet complicated recipe featuring a stuffed balsamic glazed portobello mushroom with a slab bacon risotto and filet mignon over poached lobster and garlic smoked paprika cream, finished with black bean and caramelized onion puree and heirloom tomato jam. If you’ve got culinary skills and an above average attention span, give it a shot. The people you share it with will certainly be impressed.
Ingredients (Poached Lobster and Garlic Smoked Paprika Cream)
1 lobster tail (4-6 ounces)
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
8 cloves garlic, peeled
 Rough chop lobster tail. In a sauce pan, add all ingredients. Place on medium heat. Bring to a steady low boil, stirring occasionally.
 Once cream is reduced to nappe (about 15-18 minutes), puree in a Vitamix until all ingredients are liquefied.
Ingredients (Balsamic Glazed Portobello Mushroom)
1 large portobello mushroom
1 cup balsamic vinegar
 Line a half sheet with parchment paper.
 Using a teaspoon, remove gills from portobello. Soak portobello mushroom in balsamic vinegar for approximately 5 minutes.
 Place mushroom on sheet trey with gill side facing up. Pour remaining vinegar into mushroom. Bake in the oven for approximately 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees or until tender.
Ingredients (Slab Bacon Risotto)
1 cup arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
6 ounces slab bacon (lardons), small diced
4 ounces julienne yellow bell pepper
Arugula (about 10 pieces)
 In a sauce pan bring chicken stock to a boil.
 In a small pot over medium heat, render bacon. Once bacon has been rendered, add sweet onion. Sweat onion for 2-3 minutes.
 Then add arborio rice. Once rice is added, stir all ingredients for 3-4 minutes until edges of the rice cornels begin to become translucent. Once translucent, begin to gradually add stock about 3-4 ounces at a time, stirring constantly. The constant stirring is a must in order to agitate the starches in the rice, which is what makes risotto creamy. When the stock dissipates, repeat the process. This process will take approximately 40-45 minutes.
 Once rice is almost finished, add yellow pepper and arugula and season to taste.
Ingredients (Caramelized onion and black bean puree)
2 ounces clarified butter
1 large sweet onion (julienne)
1/4 cup black beans (cooked)
1/2 cup chicken stock
 Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add clarified butter. Once butter is melted, add onion. Stir only once to coat all onion with the butter. Let stand until caramelized only stirring once or twice. The onion should gradually brown. If your onion is turning dark too quickly, your heat is too high.
 Once onion is caramelized, add black beans and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat and puree in a Vitamix until liquefied.
Ingredients (Heirloom Tomato Jam)
1 heirloom tomato, large diced
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
 Place ingredients in a sauté pan. Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat. Reduce by 2/3 (approximately 12 minutes).
 Once reduced, remove from heat and immediately puree in a Vitamix, then cool.