Mushroom Toasts

For someone on vacation, I’m keeping myself pretty well occupied. This weekend, after my venture to the Green City Market, my days were filled with cooking up all of the beautiful produce I snagged. One of my prized treasures from the market was a 2lb bag of mushrooms from River Valley Ranch. The mixed bag included tiny baby portobello mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and shitake. They were honestly the most beautiful mushrooms I have ever seen. The oyster mushrooms had large, velvety white petals, and the shitake were smooth, brown and perfect.

Almost instantly, I knew exactly what I was going to make mushroom toasts. This is the quickest, most delicious meal you can make with a sack of fresh mushrooms. I promise.

Buttery Mushroom Toasts
2 lb of mushrooms (or really, however many you have)
1 small shallot minced
2-3 tbsp unsalted butter
about 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
4tbsp dry white wine
1-2 tsp cornstarch mixed with water or wine.
parsley to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Thoroughly wash the mushrooms of any grit. Pat dry with a towel. Cut stems on mushrooms and slice. The smaller button-shaped mushrooms I cut in half or in quarters if they were larger. I sliced the shitake and oyster mushrooms lengthwise. In a pan on medium-high heat, melt butter and saute shallots for 2-3 mins. Add in mushrooms and parsley. Cook mushrooms until slightly tender (5-10mins.), there will be considerable juice in the pan.

For this recipe you want the mushrooms juicy so you can make a gravy. Add in the wine and stir until liquid reduces slightly (1-2mins). Add in the cornstarch to thicken the gravy.

Top your favorite bread with the mushrooms. I picked up a crusty loaf of Italian bread.

The mushroom toasts were indescribably savory and they made a surprisingly hearty meal. It almost goes without saying, but there were no leftovers.


Chicago’s Green City Market

This past Saturday I made my first venture to Chicago’s Green City Market, held twice a week in Lincoln Park during the summer. My work schedule usually keeps me from visiting the city’s largest farmer’s market, but you’re in luck because this week, I’m on vacation.

This farmer’s market is massive and I had to do a once around first before I did any buying. Rather than describe my experience, I’ll let my photos do the talking.

These mushrooms from River Valley Ranch were strikingly beautiful. The oyster mushrooms had wide, white petals that were velvety soft. I snagged a 1lb bag for $10 and went home to make some succulent mushroom toasts, which I will include in a future post.

A sampling of my haul from the market. Including: a giant bag of opal basil for $3, pint of blueberries, Wisconsin peaches, purple shallots, purple kale, swiss chard, purple carrots, heirloom peppers, heirloom tomatoes, mushrooms and burgundy okra.
What’s that you say? Never seen burgundy okra?
Have a closer look:

These okra are so pretty I want to wear them on a necklace. Instead, I think I’ll make some refrigerator pickles with them.

And the peppers. How am I going to eat these peppers? They are so gorgeous I want to lacquer and display them.

I really wish I could make it out to the market every week. Unfortunately I live a good forty five minutes away. If you are ever visiting Chicago in the summer, you really should visit the Green City Market, and support Midwest farmers.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the delicious foodstuffs I plan to cook up with all this fresh, beautiful produce.