Chef Moss muses about spring’s awakenings, the onset of mushroom foraging — and some inspiration for making healthy choices
With the change of seasons, in this push-pull tango of warm and cold weather, it is important to keep our bodies and minds strong. When using food as medicine — the approach, the intention to heal and maintain health — is just as important as the foods you choose, where they are sourced from, and whether or not they are organic.
The decision to heal through daily life practice is no small task. Once you commit, you are confronted with a multitude of new decisions and a dizzying amount of information and opinions.
It’s important to take your time and read information from reputable sources.
Here is one more opinion. I am stubborn and change is hard. What has worked for me is to start small and choose something that is easy to be consistent with. Consistency is the key word. For example, I like to play a little game with myself. I add something nutritious (like mushrooms) to my grocery list in order to replace something I am trying to reduce and remove.
Instead of chips or ice cream, I add in a bouquet of flowers (my favorite visual and soul health food). I ask myself, do I want to spend $10 on flowers or on snack foods and treats? I head for the flowers first (many markets have fresh bouquets near their produce departments), because then I get to shop with beautiful flowers in my face. And, it deters the urge for snack foods; I don’t even walk down that aisle. Then once I am home and searching for a snack, I have to choose from the healthy foods I purchased. I have to cook some ‘real food’ because instead of a bag of chips, I have some delightful daisies. Win / win.
Another thing springtime brings is the beginning of foraging season and Morel mushroom madness. A tasty ephemeral yes, but I want to offer up another spring mushroom choice, Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms. Eating these two mushrooms regularly helps to support our immune systems and provides amino acids not found in other plant-based foods. They have even become more readily available in recent years at markets and there are endless ways to prepare them.
Indian Spiced Oysters and Shiitakes Roasted in Coconut Milk
- 1 pint oyster mushrooms (2 cups)
- 1 pint shiitake mushrooms (2 cups)
- 1 ½ cups full fat coconut milk
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp powdered garlic
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Trim the ends of the oyster mushrooms and the tips of the shiitake mushroom stems. Slice thinly and place in a baking pan.
- Sprinkle the garam masala, cumin, powdered garlic, coriander and salt over the mushrooms.
- Add the olive oil and coconut milk to the pan. With freshly washed hands, massage the spices and coconut milk into the mushrooms evenly.
- Bake the mushrooms for 25-30 minutes until tender and fragrant.
- Let it cool down for a few minutes and then stir in the cilantro.
- Serve on their own, over rice, pasta or potatoes with the coconut milk gravy.
- Substitute other favorite mushrooms like buttons or criminis.
- Simmer stovetop on low for 20-25 minutes instead of roasting.
- Slice the stems thinner than the caps and cook them as well, they are also edible.
- Before eating, set your mushrooms outside gill side up in direct sunlight for a few hours and they will absorb and create vitamin D.
You may also enjoy reading Recipe: Lentil Loaf with Mashed Potatoes, Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Gravy, by Christine Moss