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April 19, 2012 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-04-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

>> sponsored by

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The Magnificent Morel

FRESH
EMPIRE

Local writer pens mushroom cookbook.

Suzanne Chessier

Contributing Writer

M

ild weather is bringing an
early season for morel mush-
rooms, but Ruth Mossok
Johnston is ready.
Her book, The Art of Cooking Morels
(University of Michigan Press), is out,
and book signings are introducing some
80 recipes she developed.
There are a limited number of adapta-
tions of Jewish favorites, such as morel
and potato kugel as well as chicken soup
with lemon, morel and thyme matzah
balls, but all recipes are not kosher.
"Any recipe that
doesn't contain meat
and cheese together
can have substitutes to
make them kosher',' says
Johnston of Franklin,
director of prepared
foods for Hiller's
Markets. "I would sub-
stitute any firm fish for
shrimp."
Many general recipes do not need
adaptations, such as puree of asparagus
soup with morels, baked halibut with a
pocket of morels and vegetable-morel
stuffed brisket.
The book is enhanced by the artwork
of David McCall Johnston, the author's
husband for almost 33 years. -
"The taste of morels is phenomenal,"
says Johnston, a longtime food writer-
editor whose articles have appeared in
the Detroit Jewish News. "Morels have a
woodsy flavor with a wonderful texture.
Sauces seep into the crevices. In addi-
tion, morels are really low in calories
and loaded with a lot of nutrients.

FRESH
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CHICKEN BREAST

GROUND
CHUCK

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"I always think of
morels as part of a trio
coming out during the
same season, generally
May-June. There also are
the ramps (wild leeks)
and fiddlehead ferns.
Together, they make for
Ruth Mossok
spectacular entrees and
Johnston
side dishes"
Johnston always
reminds people about the dangers of
picking mushrooms without expertise.
She advises attendance at programs Up
North, where an experienced adviser is
present.
Closer to home, most
markets sell dried morels;
upscale stores offer the
fresh ones. When morels
are not available, other
mushrooms can be used in
Johnston's recipes.
"I have been involved
with morel weekends," she
says. "People go Up North
and meet with a mushroom
expert, who leads them in the picking of
mushrooms, talking about mushrooms
and tasting them cooked in foods.
"Morels are kind of mysterious," says
Johnston, who has tested recipes on her
children, Jordan and Kim, working in the
Chicago food and spirits industry. "You
just never know where they're going to
surface, but they do love ash trees:'

Ruth Mossok Johnston will sign
cookbooks noon-4 p.m. Saturday,
April 28, at Hiller's, Maple
and Orchard Lake Road, West
Bloomfield.

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Bouquet of Cupcakes!

MOREL & POTATO KUGEL
1 3/4 oz. dried morels, brushed and

reconstituted (liquid reserved)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
(loosely packed)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon thyme leaves
(or use regular fresh thyme and 1/2
tsp. lemon juice)
12 red potatoes (about 21/2 inches
each), skins intact, scrubbed well
1 large red onion, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled and rinsed
3 eggs (or 6 egg whites), lightly
beaten
1 tsp. baking powder
11/2 tps. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set
oven rack to the middle position.
In a large nonstick saute pan, add
morels and about 1/4 cup of reserved
liquid; cook over medium heat for 6

minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set
aside. When cool, place in a food pro-
cessor. Add parsley leaves and lemon
thyme. Process morels and herbs on
pulse to rough chop (or rough chop
with a knife). Set aside.
Using a hand grater, grate potatoes,
onion and carrot; place in a large bowl.
To the mixture, add eggs, baking
powder and salt; mix. Add morels and
herbs; mix thoroughly.
Add 3 Tbsp. olive oil to an 8-by-
10-inch rectangular pan, and place in
oven for 5-7 minutes to heat pan and
oil. With pastry brush, coat the entire
pan well with the hot oil. Reduce oven
heat to 350 degrees. Place all of the
potato ingredients into the pan, and
place in oven. Bake for 60-70 minutes
or until kugel is browned and crisp on
top.
Yield: 8-10 servings.

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April 19 • 2012

47

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