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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kathy Gunst Cooks Up Mushrooms And A New Book

In “Notes From a Maine Kitchen: Seasonally Inspired Recipes,” Here and Now resident chef Kathy Gunst goes month by month, and presents essays and recipes using produce that’s in season for all times of the year.

October is mushrooms and apples, so Kathy shares with us her mushroom foraging adventures, a new technique for mushroom soup and an easy way to make apple cider jelly.

See her recipes for Sautéed Matsutake “Pasta” with Parmesan Cheese, Roasted Wild-Mushroom Soup, Apple Cider Jelly and Grilled Gruyere with Maple-Caramelized Apples below.

Sautéed Matsutake “Pasta” with Parmesan Cheese (pdf/printer friendly)

(Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

(Jesse Costa/Here & Now)


8 matsutake or porcini, or fresh wild mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, optional
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt and debris. Cut off about ½-inch from the bottom of the stem, and then thinly slice the mushrooms and the remaining stems.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds. Add the mushrooms, rosemary (if you like), salt, and pepper, and cook about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and beginning to soften.
Remove from the skillet and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Roasted Wild-Mushroom Soup

Kathy Gunst's mushroom soup. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

Kathy Gunst’s mushroom soup. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)


1 pound fresh portabella mushrooms
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons dry sherry or red wine
5 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
a touch of heavy cream, crème fraîche or yogurt, optional
Parsley (optional for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Gently clean the mushrooms using a moist paper towel. Cut the bottom ½-inch off the stems and then cut the mushrooms into chunks.

Grease the bottom of a medium to large roasting pan or ovenproof skillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and remaining oil and stir well.

Roast on the middle oven shelf for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and pour the sherry into the pan, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.

Transfer the mixture to a medium-large pot and season to taste. Add the stock. Let cool a minute or two.

Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and, working in batches, puree the mushroom mixture and all the juices, blending until smooth, but taking care when blending hot liquids.

Reheat and add a touch of cream, crème fraîche, or plain yogurt, if desired. The soup really doesn’t need much! Serve hot with crusty bread.

Serves 4 to 6.

Grilled Gruyere with Maple-Caramelized Apples (pdf/printer friendly)

For the apples:
1 teaspoon salted butter
1 teaspoon olive or safflower oil
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the sandwich:
Two (4-inch) pieces of baguette or crusty bread, cut in half lengthwise or 4 slices of your favorite bread
2 1/2 ounces very thinly sliced Gruyere cheese

In a medium skillet heat the butter and oil over low heat. When sizzling, add the apple slices and cook, gently stirring once or twice, for 3 minutes. Drizzle on the maple syrup and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until the apples are caramelized and just tender, but not mushy. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the broiler.

Place the bread on a small broiler pan. Divide the apples and the syrup in the bottom of the skillet between the four pieces of bread. Place the cheese on top of the apples and place the bread under the broiler. Broil for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and melted.

Serves 2 to 4.

Apple Cider Jelly (pdf/printer friendly)

Ingredients: One gallon unpasteurized apple cider, with no additives
Instructions:Place the cider in a large, heavy pot and bring to a gentle boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 2 hours. After about 2 hours the cider will begin to thicken and coat the back of a spoon. This is the time to pay attention. Do not answer the phone—stay focused on the jelly. Keep cooking over a gentle simmer, on very low heat, for another forty-five minutes or until the jam begins to thicken and the syrupy mixture comes to about 190 degrees on a candy thermometer. My jelly took almost three hours to thicken. Let cool and place in a glass jelly jar. Refrigerate. The jelly will keep for several weeks.

Makes about 1 cup.

• For a spicy jelly: place a chile pepper cut in half down the middle into a piece of cheesecloth and tie it up. Place the chile into the cider for the first hour of cooking, and then remove.
• Make a mulled cider jelly: place a cinnamon stick, allspice berries, and three cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it up tightly. Place in the jelly during the first hour of cooking, and then remove.
• For an herbal apple cider jelly: place several leaves of fresh sage, rosemary, and oregano (or any fresh herb) in a piece of cheesecloth and tie up tightly. Place in the cider for the first 1 1/2 hours of cooking time, and then remove.

Recipes from Kathy Gunst’s new book, “Notes from a Maine Kitchen.” (Down East Books 2011)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Speakwell

    Does anyone remember her recipe for applesauce?  I think she said to roast the apples and pears, and then mash them.  I’m thinking I’d peel them first.  Has anyone ever tried this?

    Great show – thanks!

    • Kathy

      This is Kathy. The recipe is in my new book, Notes from a Maine Kitchen (Down East Books) but here you go: 
      Roasted Apple Sauce

      Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.


      Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1-inch slices. Place them in
      a large roasting pan and mix with maple syrup (about ¼ cup for every three
      pounds of apples). Sprinkle on a heavy dash of any or all of the following
      spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, and ground ginger. Mix well,
      sprinkle on about 1/8 cup sugar for every three pounds (depending on how sweet
      you like your applesauce you can add more or less, or none at all).


      Place the roasting pan on the middle shelf in the preheated oven and
      cover with foil. Let roast for 30 minutes. Gently stir after 30 minutes.
      Uncover and add ½ to 1 cup apple cider (for every three pounds of apples) and
      roast another 30 to 45 minutes or until the apples are very tender and just
      starting to fall apart and burst.

      Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before using a potato
      masher to gently mash the apples to the consistency you like your applesauce:
      thick and chunky, or smooth. Taste for seasoning, and add more sugar or spice
      if needed. Place in a bowl or covered jar and refrigerate for up to 5 to 7
      days, or place in freezer bags, seal tightly, and freeze for 6 months.


      • Dstdance

        Thanks — that was my question, too!  Just heard your interview on WBEZ in Chicago — on my way home from the market with ~ 2 dzn apples to turn into applesauce!!  I ran right to my computer to find the recipe.  I’ll be buying your cookbook, too, and I NEVER buy cookbooks.  I already want to try the gruyere sandwiches with the mushroom soup for my next “casual company” supper.

      • Speakwell

        Thanks, Kathy.  I plan to buy your book, too, but I have lots of apples here waiting to be turned into sauce!  I’m going to make this today.

      • Speakwell

        One more question:  is it possible to can this? 

        • Kathygunst

          I have canned it and frozen it–freezing works really well!

      • GaiaGirl2000

        Kathy, Can we use pasturized apple cider for your AC jelly? I’m having a hard time finding unpasturized, even at the local organic farmers market.

    • Volunteer

      No need to peel the apples or pears; just quarter and core – roasting “tempers” the peels to a pleasing texture and you retain nutrients.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Unpasteurized cider isn’t so easy to find any more.

    • Birgitta Dickerson

      It’s a little bit of a haul, but if you ever are in Harvard Mass (note this is not the university, but the actual town called Harvard, between Boston and Worcester), Phil’s Apples is a small organic orchard located at 24 Prospect Hill Road, his web site is  www.philsapples.com  Some of the best apples and fantastic unpasteurized cider.  Good luck to all you unpasteurized apple cider fans!  

  • M_vediner

    Hello Kathy from Southern Oregon – we are having a cookbook author for dinner on Tues.  I was at a loss for a menu – thank you!  I will order your book and start with your mushroom soup – perfect Fall faire – I will be a better host because of you, Merry

  • SnDvlnVt

    Robin / Kathy –

    Great segment, but I want to dispell one myth about mushrooms.  They are not like sponges and dispite this longstanding wive’s tale it is perfectly fine to wash them with water.  Alton Brown tried to put this canard to rest several years in ago in an episode of his show Good Eats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW9npAc2Sgw  but like  a lot of cooking  myths this one just never seems to go away.  As Alton showed mushrooms if soaked in water for a length of time they will absorb a small amount of moisture but it’s really insignificant and won’t really affect your dish.  So Robin go ahead and rinse you’re mushrooms if you want.

  • MsMCD

    Loved the segment, loved the recipes even though I live in Illinois and am a rank amateur cook.  Can’t wait for the book to arrive from Amazon.  The only bummer is the easiest recipe – apple jelly – can’t be made in Illinois.  I checked with a local vendor and it’s illegal in Illinois to sell unpasteurized cider.  The other recipes make up for it though!

    • ConfusedinIllinois

      You can buy unpasteurized cider in Illinois.

  • ConfusedinIllinois

    How does the apple cider jelly work?  The cider should boil at 212 but it should be done at 190??

  • Jvaldez83

    I loved this segment, I’m very excited to try these recipes! :) thank you for sharing!

  • L. Wolaver

    I’m very anxious to try the cider jelly.  My concern is that people will try it on a day like we’re having today–close to 100% humidity.  Like candy and maple syrup, you can’t cook off liquid on a humid day.  Great recipe!  Thanks Kathy

  • Lae10

    wondering how the soup would be with veal stock?

  • JB

    I make parmesan or romano gourgieres to go with mushroom soups…good for a little protein http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/alain-ducasses-gougeres

  • Kmpg

    I just finished a batch of the apple cider jelly, but found that it took almost 5 hours to finish. Regardless, I’m happy with the results and thankful for such a simple kitchen trick.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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