Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Millennium Mushroom Cooking Class 2011

A host of golden mushrooms was the theme for last weekend's cooking class at Millennium, San Francisco's awesome vegan restaurant. If you have to pick one class to attend there, I'd recommend the mushroom class, because Executive Chef Eric Tucker has a real passion for mushrooms. At the center of the photo above are fresh porcini mushrooms.

So, let's see how many of the mushrooms we used in the class you can identify.

These little mushrooms are sweethearts (yes, that's a clue):

Answer: Candy cap mushrooms.

Alien creature from the lagoon or....:

Answer: Cauliflower mushroom.

OK, this is easy, check out the pine needles:

Answer: Chanterelle

Surely you won't bristle at these!

They do look like chanterelles, but note the spines on the bottom.
Answer: Hedgehog mushroom

The king of mushrooms?

Answer: King Trumpet mushroom

Hey, that's not a mushroom!

This is a wonderful citrus that you can find at Whole Foods, Farmers Markets, or other high-end market. It's called a Buddha's Hand. They have the most amazing citrus fragrance. I have one on our dining room table because I love the smell, but, of course, you can eat it! We shaved it onto one of our lunch salads.

If you've read this blog, you'll know that I like to make recipes that pack a lot of flavor, a lot of love, but not a huge amount of cooking time and effort. I love efficiency in all things! Although Millennium recipes tend to be a lot more complex than those I typically prepare, these Mirin-Glazed Matsutake & Brown Rice "Tacos" were pretty easy to prepare and really pack a "wow" factor:

Chef Eric tells us that Matsutakes do best with a simple treatment and hate garlic. For this recipe, they are glazed with a reduction of mirin, tamari, ginger and toasted sesame oil. The taco is made from toasted nori squares and filled with precooked brown rice and scallions, shiso and sesame seeds. These would be awesome for a party as you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time and people can make their own. I'm not a fan of toasted nori "snacks", but I loved these. We tucked into these in the kitchen, a first, I believe.

"Tis the season for root vegetables, but in a salad? Hey, you know raw = good for you! We made two versions of King Trumpet Mushroom and Shredded Root Vegetable Salad. The mushrooms were braised with lemongrass, ginger, grapeseed oil and chile paste until soft (10-15 minutes). We then added citrus (Buddha's Hand or another citrus), and a mixed shred of root vegetables - kolrabi, parsnip, carrots. One group did a quick radish pickle. The dressing included lime, sugar, salt, mint thai basil, cilantro, and chile.

Topped with a peanut sambal - peanuts, shallots, chili flake, paprika, tamari, unrefined sugar (bake at 350 for 10 mins until dry). But the Number 1 instruction - "Make it look pretty."

So lunch was a "light affair" but the second course was full of heavy holiday richness.

We made araepas with masa and an incredible Tierra Vegetables Ground Heirloom Cornmeal called Supai Red Parching. I worked on the araepas and I have to tell you, the smell of this cornmeal alone is worth the price! We topped these with hedgehog and chanterelle mushrooms with sunchokes, and served with a almond ancho cream:

One team made this monster gratin of cauliflower and chanterelle mushrooms with cashew cream, topped with breadcrumbs and pine nuts:

To send it over the top, Eric shaved Oregon White Truffle over the gratin:

Another holiday-themed main were these potato and kale cake served over the absolutely most incredible mushroom masala:

Eric says the ground lentils are critical to the masala dish.

And just in case we were still hungry, Eric demonstrated quick pizza flatbread technique:

The pizza dough was grilled:

Then topped with sauteed fresh porcini mushrooms, almond sauce, and grilled balsamic radichio:

Man, it's hard to beat fresh, grilled flatbread!

But how do you make a mushroom dessert? Try Candy Cap mushroom blondies with White Truffle-Coconut Sorbet for style with Bourbon anglaise:

As always, many thanks to Eric, Ann, Alison, Thomas and, this time, intern Ivan.

Here's links to the previous 20 Millennium cooking classes I've had the pleasure of attending:
  • Chile Class 2011

  • July 2011 Class

  • Mushroom Cooking Class January 2011

  • Sept.2010 Cooking Class

  • July 2010 Cooking Class

  • June 2010 Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class 2010

  • Chiles Cooking Class 2009

  • July Cooking Class 2009

  • June Cooking Class 2009

  • Spring Cooking Class 2009

  • Mushroom Cooking Class

  • Holiday Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest 2008

  • Indian Summer

  • Southern Comfort Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest Cooking Class

  • Chiles Class

  • Tomato Class