November 6, 2003 at 9:10 a.m.

It’s ‘huba’ time (‘huba’ is Slovak for mushroom)

It’s ‘huba’ time (‘huba’ is Slovak for mushroom)
It’s ‘huba’ time (‘huba’ is Slovak for mushroom)

I have something fun to share with you today. About three weeks ago Bud and I came upon a “gold mine,” so to speak. I had been running errands all morning and when I got home, Bud was waiting for me at the door with “put on some old jeans, we’re going over to Mark’s (Mark is our youngest son). I thought I had to help with some outdoor project, which there seems to be many of these days. So, we hopped in the truck and headed to Mark’s. I asked what the hurry was and Bud said he had something to show me but wouldn’t say what it was. When we got there he reached in the back seat, taking out a couple of boxes and motioned for me to get out. As I stepped onto the grass he shouted “watch out or you’ll step on them.” Looking down I saw what to me was a “gold mine” of wild mushrooms––everywhere! (Mother taught us which were the “good” mushrooms to pick when we were kids and went mushroom picking with her in the woods near White Bear Lake years ago.)

Since it had been so dry, and mushrooms need a lot of moisture to grow, I didn’t think there would be any to pick this year. But, Mark has three oak stumps in his yard where this particular variety of mushroom likes to grow and he watered the lawn religiously this summer and grow they did. I believe Bud and I picked almost a bushel of the bronze capped delicacies, which I canned and dried to be used in all kinds of dishes calling for mushrooms. It took a whole day to clean the grass cuttings and soil from the stems and caps but it was well worth it. I feel very rich when I go to the pantry and see shelves of canned veggies, fruit and mushrooms.

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So, let’s do mushroom recipes. If someone in the family doesn’t like ‘shrooms, just disguise them by chopping them small, as the flavor is there but the texture becomes camouflaged.

CAMOUFLAGED MUSHROOM SPAGHETTI SAUCE

2 lbs. lean ground beef, venison or bison (buffalo)

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 large green pepper, finely chopped

1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

2-12 oz. cans tomato paste

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, minced

3 c. water

2 bay leaves

2 t. dried parsley flakes

2 t. basil

2 t. oregano

2 t. garlic powder

2 t. sugar

2 t. salt

1 t. chili powder

1/2-1 t. pepper

In Dutch oven or deep kettle, brown beef until no longer pink; drain off any grease and return to kettle. Add rest of ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring to combine all ingredients well. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Makes 15 cups.

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It’s soup weather and this is a delicious, easy to make mushroom soup.

MUSHROOM-BARLEY SOUP

1/2 lb. small, fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 c. chopped onions

1/4 c. butter

1/4 c. pearl barley

salt and pepper to taste

6 c. water

1/3 c. flour

1 c. milk

In large saucepan, saute mushrooms and onions in butter for 5 minutes. Add barley and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; lower heat and cook 40-50 minutes.

Combine flour and milk in a jar and shake until smooth; stir into soup. Heat just to boiling, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Serves 6.

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If you are looking for a easy stir-fry recipe using mushrooms, here it is.

CHICKEN-MUSHROOM

STIR-FRY

1/4 c. dry sherry

1/4 c. soy sauce

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast (1/2 lb.) cut into thin strips

1 T. olive or canola oil (vegetable oil may be used)

1-1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 c. red peppers, cut into strips

1/2 c. green peppers, cut into strips

4 t. cornstarch

1-7 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained

hot cooked rice for 4

In medium bowl, combine sherry, soy sauce and garlic; add chicken, tossing to coat. Cover, refrigerate 30 minutes. Drain chicken, saving marinade.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, in hot oil, cook chicken, mushrooms, and peppers until chicken is cooked and veggies are tender-crisp, stirring constantly.

In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and marinade; stir into chicken mixture. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring. Add water chestnuts.

Serve over hot rice; garnish with coarsely chopped cashews and sliced green onions if you wish. Serves 4.

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I think we need a treat for the kids when they’re looking for a snack. This bar is easy and quick to make.

O’HENRY BARS

2 c. quick oats

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted

3/4 c. peanut butter

1 c. chocolate chips, melted

Combine first three ingredients in large bowl; add butter, mixing in well.

Press into 9x9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Combine peanut butter and melted chips; spread over oatmeal mixture.

Cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Thought for the day: Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.

Editor’s note: In the monster cookie recipe (Oct. 16) the amount of peanut butter should be 1-1/4 cups, not 1-1/2 cups.


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