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Amazing and Memorable Mushrooms

By Mark Mulcahy

I have taught hundreds of classes for consumers and retailers over the past 25 years and I’m always looking for new fun ways to engage with people on how to learn more about the produce they buy. I was teaching a class for retailers and distributors in Oregon at the Provender Conference a couple of months ago and used a produce Jeopardy game to teach them about organic mushrooms.

Shiitake Mushrooms

We started by eating homemade marinated mushrooms and mushroom pate’ to get everyone in the mushroom mood. While eating, I had them write down as many mushroom varieties as they could think of in two minutes. Portabella, Enoki, Shiitake, Button and so on. Then we started the Jeopardy game and the teams had a ball choosing categories and answering questions.

Team 1 began with:
We’ll take Mushroom Basics for 800.

Ok here you go:
“Research shows that ’this’ is the best way to cook mushrooms while still preserving their nutritional properties.

They thought for a moment and answered:
“What is to sauté?”

“Incorrect”, I announced.

Team 2 rang their bell and answered:
“What is to grill or microwave?”

“Correct, you get to choose the next category”.

“We’ll do So Good For You for 400”.

“Mushrooms are the only item in the produce aisle with this essential vitamin.”

“What is Vitamin D?”


You get the idea. We did four rounds to lots of laughter and learning and then moved on to a round of “come up with as many mushroom puns as you can in 5 minutes”.

“Fungus amongus”
“Cute as a button”
“Boost morel”
“Get spore for your money”

…were just a few.

With a buzz in the room, each team wrote down all the ways they could collaborate to educate customers and sell more mushrooms. In the end we had several pages of great ideas including two competing stores in the same town creating mushroom passport cards that could be used in either store for rewards, prizes and discounts. It was a win/win for all.

When I arrived home, I was inspired to make roasted mushroom soup which was so amazing I decided I’m going to invite friends over for our own game of Mushroom Jeopardy and share my new favorite recipes. If you’d like to have a fun evening with friend’s I’d be happy to provide you with the questions for your game. You can contact me at Organic Options Consulting.

If you just want to try some amazing new ways to prepare Melissa’s mushrooms here are the recipes that were such a big hit. These are perfect for the upcoming holiday celebrations. I guarantee you won’t need mushrooms in your refrigerator for leftovers, as these will be gone in a flash.

Mushroom Pate’

1 cup Sunflower Seeds, raw or roasted
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/8 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Vegetable Stock, more as needed
8 oz Melissa’s Organic Mushrooms, quartered and sautéed
¼ cup Roasted Tomatoes
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
2 cloves Melissa’s Organic Garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper, to taste


Sauté mushrooms with vegetable stock over medium heat until tender. Adding in half of the poultry seasoning and stirring occasionally. Add in minced garlic about 2-3 minutes before removing from heat.

Measure and mix everything together and pulse in a food processor until combined. Making it as smooth or chunky as you desire.

Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 6 days.

Serve spread on crackers, bread or veggies of your choosing.

Marinated Mushrooms


12 oz. Melissa’s Organic Mushrooms
¼ cup Olive or Vegetable Oil
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cloves Melissa’s Organic Garlic, minced 1 tsp Honey (or sugar) ½ tsp Oregano, dried
¼ tsp Thyme, dried or fresh
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley


Wash mushrooms and dry with paper towel.

Sauté mushrooms in 1 Tbsp of the oil and pinch of salt for 5-7 minutes, until they release liquid and almost half of it has evaporated. Let them cool for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade.

Place mushrooms in a bowl and pour marinade on top. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

Creamy Roasted Mushroom Soup


10 oz Melissa’s Cremini and/or Porcini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
8 fresh thyme sprigs, divided
4 cloves of Melissa’s organic garlic, minced, divided
3 Tbsp butter
1 Melissa’s organic yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the sliced mushrooms with the olive oil then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.

Place the mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Add four sprigs of fresh thyme to the top then place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until golden brown and tender.

Add half of the minced garlic and stir to coat evenly, continue roasting for another five minutes. Remove from the oven and discard the thyme sprigs; set aside.

Heat the butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, about 12-15 minutes.

Add the minced garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add the wine and whisk for 1 minute making sure to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and remaining thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Add the mushrooms and their juices back to the soup along with the cream.

Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Serve immediately. Enjoy.
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