May 27, 2010

wrap it up.

Mushrooms kind of weird me out, even though I love eating them - I keep asking myself, what exactly is a mushroom? I mean, I know it’s a fungus…but that doesn’t really mean much to me (high school biology was a while ago…) and I usually just think of the mushroom as a vegetable. They’re supposed to be very good for you health-wise…but there’s still something off-putting about ingesting stuff (and large quantities of that stuff in my case) from the same kingdom as mold - ick :P

Well, for now, mushrooms remain a mystery to me, but hopefully my understanding of my little fungal frenemies will increase with further worldly experience…maybe one day I’ll finally be able to enjoy eating them without involuntarily conjuring up a mental image of mold every time…

Despite this ongoing conflict, I’m still a big fan of mushrooms in many shapes and forms. They are so easy to cook in tons of different ways and can take on lots of different flavors, depending on what variety you use and how you prepare them. I love Asian mushrooms best, but even the humble plain white mushroom can be made extremely tasty and elegant without too much effort. Exhibit A:

Savory Mushroom-Lettuce Wraps
4 servings

2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. Chinese vinegar (the black stuff)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
8 crisp romaine lettuce leaves

Wash lettuce and trim off ends. For extra crisp leaves, submerge in a bowl of ice water while preparing mushrooms.

Heat oil in a pan on high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Add vinegar, soy sauce, and salt. Mix to incorporate and cook for several more minutes until mushrooms are tender but not too soft.

Add cilantro and mix thoroughly. Cook for another 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Remove lettuce leaves from ice bath and dry off with paper towels.

Spoon mushroom mixture onto the leaves and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve as a light, fresh, and flavorful (vegetarian) appetizer or side dish. Wrap up lettuce around filling to eat!

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