Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oyster Mushroom Risotto and a Really Cool Giveaway Especially for Mushroom Lovers


It seems as if every food blogger and his or her cousin has a variation on a classic mushroom risotto recipe. Well, here's mine: I grew the mushrooms myself. And not in some damp forgotten corner of my basement or due to some shocking transgression in personal or domestic hygiene. I grew them in my own kitchen, on purpose! 

My little foray into urban farming is thanks to an innovative and earth-friendly company called Back to the Roots. (No, I am not being paid to say that.) Their grow-your-own mushroom kit, made out of recycled cardboard and coffee grounds, lets you grow up to 1 1/2 pounds of gourmet oyster mushrooms in your very own house. You don't usually find this type of mushroom fresh in stores because they are so perishable. Intrigued? So was I; that's why I told them I'd stop by their booth at the D.C. Fancy Foods show, only I over-scheduled myself and never made it.

I felt so bad I contacted the company to see if they'd like me to review their product on my blog, and they did me one better: They sent me one kit to review and one to giveaway. Lucky you! I'll choose one reader at random to win, and I'll tell you the rules at the end of this post.

How cute is that?
I don't have kids (What can I say? Poppa Trix and I have ... childlike brains and enough pets to keep us constantly occupied) but I'm thinking  this would be a really fun project to do with yours, if you have them. But it's fun for foodie grown ups too! Plus, if you post a picture of yourself with your kit on the Back to the Roots Facebook page, they'll donate a kit to the classroom of your choice. Everybody wins.

It works like this: You soak the "soil" overnight, put it back in its box, and then mist it twice a day. In 10 days or less you'll have a crop of scrumptious, ready-to-cook oyster mushrooms. For the first few days I didn't think anything was going to happen, and then, all of a sudden they just exploded. My crop was ready in about a week. Check it out:
The timing between the first and second photo? Overnight!
I knew I wanted to make something that really showcased these beauties, and that's why I settled on a risotto. If you're the lucky winner, here's what to do (and if you don't win, you can make this with any mushroom you like!):

Take 2 cups of oyster mushrooms (or any other flavorful mushroom of your choice) and saute in butter until they release their liquid and it evaporates. Season lightly with salt and pepper; set aside. In a saucepan, warm 4 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version). Keep this warm. In a sauteuse, saute 1 minced shallot in a tablespoon of butter until translucent. Add 1 1/2 cups of arborio or other short grain rice, stir. Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Now comes the part where you need to be patient. Add the warm stock, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir constantly until completely absorbed. Continue until the rice is soft but still has a bit of tooth to it - it should take about a half hour. Stir in the mushrooms, 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped chives.

Mmm, I bet you want to win that kit right about now, huh?
Okay, here's what to do:
1. Leave a comment telling me what you'd make with the oyster mushrooms if you win
2. Tweet the giveaway, and come back and tell me you did
3. Become a Tasty Trix follower, and let me know you did. (If you already follow me let me know!!)

You get one chance for each of the above, for a total of three chances to win. I'll pick the winner using Random.org next Thursday, September 8, which just so happens to be my birthday.

Good luck!





36 comments:

  1. How fun! I would make a risotto, no question. What else would showcase these mushrooms?

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  2. Your risotto looks so delightful! And what a fun giveaway! How about cheese and mushroom stuffed crepes with a silky smooth sauce...now I need lunch :)

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  3. Wow! That may be the most awesome thing I have ever seen. I love the grow your own mushrooms thing.
    And nothing like making some fresh mushroom risotto straight from your own mushroom garden, huh? Very nice.

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  4. That is so cool I would love to grow my own mushrooms. (we don't have basements here in Florida) hehe!
    I love your risotto it looks perfect! I have a cookbook with just mushroom recipes so I have many to choose from!

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  5. I am already a follower of Tasty Trix!

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  6. My dear, 1) I already follow you. 2) I will def tweet your giveaway if I can figure out the tweetophere well enough to do it and 3) if I win and get my hands on this somewhat frightening home project I will use the mushrooms to punch up a September FFwD recipe. Of course, my hope would be to get them in time for Sept. 9 and the "Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice and Spinach". Why not through something else in that one, right?

    If I can't win them that fast then I will add them to the Madeleines.

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  7. Oh, what fun!!! My hubby would think I've gone completely bonkers if he saw me growing mushrooms in my kitchen...wait, he already thinks I'm nuts, so no worries! I'd love to make a cream sauce with my shrooms to serve with a nice steak...or your beautiful risotto!

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  8. The oyster mushrooms that ate Chicago right in your own home- yes, it is a little scary! But your risotto isn't(yum!)! I think Trevor should win because I want to see these mushrooms in his madeleines;-)

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  9. Great giveaway! If I won, I'd make a mushroom barley soup!

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  10. I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/danacooks/status/109007091590635520

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  11. Get. OUT! I am soooo jealous! And I thought I had the gardening know-how down pat. You totally trumped me on this one. I'd kinda looked into the art of shrooming at home, but never 'went there' with it. I am SO impressed! And whoa. That overnight shot. . . seriously?! Okay, no need to put me in the mix for the randomness drawing--Not tweeting. (If I did, I'd tweet for ya!) Note to me: Must check out shroom site!

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  12. Oh how COOL. I would live in a house made of these mushrooms and have a million lovely modern balconies, just like your box, but bigger. And when it rained I would just nibble on them and wait till they grow back.

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  13. Beautifully cooked risotto. Nice and creamy. Good luck with your giveaway. Twitter is terminal.

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  14. Not here for the giveaway, lovely risotto for sure just fabulous as everything always is and amazing blogger you are! good luck to the winner here!

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  15. I would make risotto, because yum...or maybe soup...or pasta.

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  16. Oh yes, I adore a good comforting combo like this!

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  17. Hey, is this open to international readers as well because I'm dying to grow these gorgeous mushrooms ever since I laid eyes on them on The Ardent Epicure? That overnight growth spurt is a bit scary but thrilling at the same time. I would use these mushrooms in my famous spicy mushroom soup with almond brittle..yumms! Or make a mushroom tart, or savory scones... Oh, there's a million different ideas. Just let me win, please!!!

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  18. PS. Your risotto is the bomb! Just looking at the color makes me drool.

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  19. Trix, sorry to be so annoying, but I came here to do something then promptly forgot all about it! I'm officially tagging you here for the 7-links game, so go ahead and show us what you've got!

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  20. The risotto looks so tasty! I had something similar last week, with chantalle mushrooms though.

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  21. I loved seeing the progress pictures of the mushrooms growing, very neat! And your risotto looks just perfect!

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  22. Holy Moly!!! That's so cool, Trix! Wow, it looks really cool. I'm not a big fan of risotto but every time when I see mushroom risotto it makes me itchy to try.

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  23. Oh boy oh boy oh boy! That's a pretty amazing giveaway :) With a lovely recipe as well. I love mushrooms, especially on pizza!

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  24. that is so cool, yet, at the same time, raising our own cattle, I always had a hard time sending them off to market... I cannot imagine what it would be like to harvest off this beautiful crop, if only it would last... okay, so since you know I am warped,let me say I think this is probably the best risotto out there, it just looks perfect and sounds it too... hope you have a great weekend... tomorrow is Friday...

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  25. Very cool kit. I remember doing one of those like 20 years ago in my parent's basement but they were plain grocery store mushrooms. What could I make...other then this risotto? I am thing pizza again)) like puff pastry and a light cream sauce as a base to the pizza.

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  26. Ok, it totally looks like magic... how cool is that? Just watching it sprout would be worth the price. Risotto with just picked shrooms would be awesome. Made it once with just picked chanterelles in California and thought I would die... what a difference! I think half the mushrooms I buy are just ghosts of their true, just picked selves. Sign me up... just once since I don't TWEET!

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  27. Great giveaway! The risotto looks creamy and so delicious.

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  28. Gosh! That is a super cute mushroom kit. Much cuter that the ones we have here.

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  29. This risotto looks wonderful! I just made mushroom risotto this week! What would I make with oyster mushrooms - probably just saute them in butter and garlic and top off a nice steak!

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  30. Just tweeted, just followed, and now am here to say I would definitely make that delicious-looking risotto (though have no sauteuse, would improvise)!

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  31. I bought a box of these at Whole Foods. Can't wait to give it a try.
    Great photos.
    LL

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  32. I love mushrooms, and I have been seeing this kit for a long time. I'm curious how it works. spore syringe

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