The Virtual Potluck gang has been invited to a Thanksgiving celebration hosted by Marx Foods. The nice folks at Marx sent us samples of their exotic mushrooms, chile peppers, vanilla beans and rice and we were asked to bring an appetizer or side dish using any or all of these ingredients to their virtual party. If you want to join the party on Twitter, we’ll be using the #virtualpotluck hashtag.
As you probably know, I am most definitely NOT a mushroom fan. I was prepared to offer the black trumpet and matsutake mushrooms I received from Marx as a giveaway. When I saw The Grillmaster’s pout, I knew I was going to have to suck it up and make a mushroom dish. Stumped for a while because I never cook with mushrooms, I finally decided on an appetizer with puff pastry and some of the puya chile peppers. I knew I would have to do a taste test and I figured the pastry and the heat might mask the “mushroominess.”
Dried mushrooms and chile peppers need to be reconstituted before using. This involves pouring boiling water over them and letting them soak for about half an hour. Chile peppers tend to float, so make sure you weight them down with a heavy spoon or something similar to keep them submerged. Throw out the chile water after soaking, but save the mushroom water. Strain and use to make any dish requiring stock. I used mine to make risotto with the Italian Vialone Nano Rice that Marx sent me. The Grillmaster got two mushroom dishes in one week – that’s more than he’s gotten in the previous seven years of our marriage. He has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
I had never cooked with puya peppers before and wasn’t sure what level of heat to expect. I used one whole pepper, but wished I had used at least one more. Puyas are similar to guajillo chiles, but are smaller and a bit more potent.
Yes, I tasted one of these Spicy Mushroom Swirls and I actually ate a second one voluntarily. I’m usually repelled by mushrooms; maybe I’ve just never had good ones before! These swirls are the perfect cocktail party nibble. They would also be a great pacifier for someone who wanders into your Thanksgiving kitchen sniffing all of the pots and asking “When’s dinner going to be ready?”
Keep in mind puff pastry has a lot of calories. Two of these swirls have more than 200 calories; four would have more calories than I eat at most meals. Have one or two, but don’t consume the whole plate!
Tip: When slicing the roll, use a serrated knife and pull it towards you, then lift and pull it towards you again. This works better than a back and forth “sawing” motion.
I’ll be giving away samples of japones chile peppers and some of Marx Foods’ amazingly fragrant Madagascar vanilla beans. If you do any of the following, you will be entered to win. If you do all of them, your chances of winning will increase. (You get one entry in the contest for each thing you do.)
- Make a comment on this post and tell me what you would do with the chiles and/or vanilla beans if you won.
- Visit the Virtual Potluck roundup post and comment there. Let me know you’ve done so by posting a comment here.
- Visit one of the other blogs listed in the Virtual Potluck roundup post and comment there. Come back here and tell me which blog you commented on.
The contest ends at midnight Eastern on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. The winner will be announced on Mon., Nov. 28. You must have a U.S. mailing address to win. Good luck!
Marx Foods is offering a discount for folks reading the Virtual Potluck blogs this week. Go to marxfoods.com and enter “POTLUCK” into the “Coupon Code” field at checkout for 10% off everything in the store. The code will be valid Nov. 21-27, 2011.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (½ package)
1 oz dried mushrooms (I used black trumpets and matsutakes from Marx Foods)
1 medium dried chile pepper (I used a puya from Marx Foods)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp egg substitute
½ Tbsp water
½ cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded, divided
Thaw pastry at room temperature for about 45 minutes or until it is soft and easy to handle.
Place mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Place chile pepper in small bowl and cover with boiling water; place something heavy (like a metal spoon) on top of the chile to keep it submerged. Set the mushrooms and the chile aside for 30 minutes so they can rehydrate.
Drain water from mushrooms and reserve for another use. Drain water from chile and discard. Place the mushrooms on a double thickness of paper towels and roll up to extract as much water as possible. Split chile lengthwise; remove stem and seeds. Finely chop chile and mushrooms.
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and chile and cook until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place pastry on lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to smooth out the pastry and get rid of the folds. In a small bowl, combine the egg substitute and water. Brush a thin layer of the egg mixture on top of pastry. Spread mushroom mixture to within ½-inch of sides. Reserve about 2 Tbsp of cheese and sprinkle the rest on top of the mushrooms.
Roll up the pastry, jelly roll style. Brush the seam with the egg mixture. Using a serrated knife, slice the roll into about 16 pieces (each about ½-inch wide). Place slices, cut side down, on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving (2 pieces): 226 calories, 15g fat (4g sat), 4mg cholesterol, 183mg sodium, 18g carb, 1g fiber, 0g sugar, 5g protein