Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dry It, You'll Like It!

The benefits of dried mushrooms - Shitake, Maitake, Porcini, Oyster and Chanterelles,
just to name a few.

I love a number of cultivated and wild mushrooms. I like them sautéed with vegetables, in soups, in pastas, on sandwiches, and, of course, risotto. In addition to being delicious, mushrooms offer us a wealth of health benefits and are an excellent non-fortified, plant source of Vitamin D.

While mushrooms are yummy when fresh, drying mushrooms lowers their acidity, increases their levels of Vitamin D, and intensifies their taste. Unfortunately, dried mushrooms can be quite costly. Purchasing them from a cheap source is not a good idea
because you do not know the method used in the drying process and often they are treated with chemicals which is not good for anyone. In order to reap the nutritional benefits of this food, the mushrooms need to be sun-dried. My solution for quality control and cost effectiveness is to do it yourself!

Here’s a simple way to create your own sun-dried mushrooms at home. Be sure to use the best
quality mushrooms you can find. Once dried, mushrooms will keep indefinite when stored in a jar in a cool, dry place.

      To Dry Your Own Mushrooms: 
Fresh Oyster mushrooms, check out the gills!
  • Find a nice spot that gets a lot of direct sun. I did this on my back porch. 
  • Use a dish with sides (so the mushrooms do not blow away!) 
  • Line the dish with a bamboo sushi mat. The mat is more natural and it allows more air to help in the drying process and prevent spoilage. 
  • Next, place the mushrooms on the mat with the gills facing up toward the sun. 
  • Cover the mushrooms with a second sushi mat. The mat allows the sun to seep through the cracks and keeps the bugs, birds and debris out. Covering the mushrooms also also helps to prevent them from blowing away.
  •  Leave the mushrooms in the sun for at least 6 hours. 
If the mushrooms are not completely dried at the end of the day, bring them inside and leave on the counter overnight, then return to direct sun the next day. Depending on the thickness of your mushrooms, the drying process will take anywhere from one day to several days.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall Foods For Endurance and Flexibility

Now that labor day has come and gone autumn is upon us. We often think of the abundance of harvest vegetables available at the farmer’s market at this time of year. However, “fall abundance” can also include the many activities that we participate in such as: hiking, football, field hockey, lacrosse, cross country, rugby, soccer. Not to mention, of course, the abundance of dried leaves to be picked up in the yard!

One of my friends is a marathoner and triathlete. Since she is training for the Philadelphia Marathon in November, she asked me about foods that are good for endurance and flexibility. I decided to share my recommendations I gave her on the blog, given the abundance of physical activities and work that we do during this season.

Regardless of whether you are trying to keep up with your yard work, your children's’ activities, or you are training for a marathon yourself, including these foods in your diet will give you the endurance and flexibility you need to enjoy your fall season.

Susan’s dishes for Flexibility and Physical endurance:
Umm, the energy we get from of whole grains and vegetables!
  • Vegetable fried rice 
  • Beans cooked with sautéed vegetable
  • Udon or Soba noodles with fried tofu and vegetables 
  • Quick oil sautéed leafy greens, especially bok choy, collard greens, kale, broccoli and napa cabbage 
  • Sautéed and simmered root vegetables (carrots and burdock or carrot, burdock and lotus root)
  • Long steamed root and round vegetables (such as winter squash and cabbage)
  • Quick steamed un-yeasted sourdough bread with nut or seed butter served with sauerkraut or pickles
PS: These dishes are tried and true as I have used them cooking for two of my male clients to enhance 
       boost their athletic performance.