Monday, May 17, 2010

CHOP - Grilled Mushrooms!

Capital Harvest on the Plaza (CHOP) has come back to the Ronald Reagan & International Trade Center along with the warm weather and sunshine that we have all been aching for.  I swear that when the spring/summer farmer markets re-open it is a sign to retire closed toe shoes and get ready for the heat.  If you work around Metro Center/ Federal Triangle then you should definitely stop by on Fridays from 12-5pm and check out the amazing variety of vendors.  The smell of kettle korn alone will draw you in. 

The market also offers chef demos at 12:30 pm showing how you can use the products that are at the market to make a delicious meal.  With the variety of products at CHOP there are so many possibilities, which is very exciting for anyone who sees certain produce and has no idea how to cook it or what to make with it.  (I’m looking at you rhubarb!)  

At Last week's demo Chef Gray put together a Grilled Wold Mushroom Salad with Frisee, Toasted Hazelnut and Mustard Seed Vinaigrette.  He used a combination of oyster and shitake mushrooms that he lightly coated with olive oil salt and pepper and put right on the grill.  I know it seems silly but I honestly never think of grilling mushrooms unless it is in kabob form.  And really this is mistake as the grill gives a whole different taste to mushrooms.  The smoke brings out its earthy taste and they stay a bit firmer, in a good way, when cooked in this way.  I have often looked at clusters of oyster mushrooms but am always a bit fearful of these fungi and how to tackle cooking them.  With the grill you put the whole cluster on and that is that.  Once cooked you cut the caps from the stem and can make stock out of the stems if you choose to.  

Another great trick that we learned was that you can take your roasted nuts, put them in foil or plastic wrap, and use a heavy bottomed pan to crush them.  No fuss no muss.  And who doesn’t love to learn a quick tip that saves you from dirtying your food processor.   You can see a picture of this technique below.

At the end of the demo the crowd was very happy with the results.  We actually ran out of samples (sorry!).  It was delicious so I can understand how that happened.  Demos will continue to take place and everyone should come out and check them out.  You can go to CHOP’s website to see who will be doing future demos:  

Some of DCs best chefs will be coming out and you can support a great event.  And like I said before, the kettle korn alone is worth the trip.


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