Review by Jess Starwood
Mushrooms take the center stage in this brief, yet beautifully designed cookbook produced by Smallhold mushroom farms. The ten recipes are inspiring yet approachable for folks who may be new to cooking with fungi. As the growing mushroom farm aims to increase their product availability to consumers across the country, this cookbook serves as an approachable start to entice home cooks to experiment with fungi as the focal point in a dish.
Some of the standout and enticing recipes in this collection of recipes are the “Caramelized Mushroom Steaks” by Amanda Ahmad, the “Royal Trumpet Chorizo Hash” from Chef Tara Thomas or the “Forager’s Pie” contributed by Giulianna Furci, founder of the Fungi Foundation. Or, if you fancy something sweet, the “Salted Caramel-Shiitake Mousse” may be a curious culinary adventure.
The book prominently features mushrooms as the main ingredient and the focus of every dish with recipes highlighting the types of fungi that Smallhold grows—king oyster, shiitake, oyster, and maitake. While you won’t find a recipe for cooking with your foraged chanterelles, it does give you a few ideas on how to work with the mushrooms that the farm produces and offers. The book, along with the company’s hopeful message of changing the world through fungi, promotes swapping out animal proteins for mushrooms. Many dishes presented are vegan— meatless with no diary or eggs—and the rest are vegetarian, ensuring that the mushrooms take the center stage in each dish. Additionally, the mushroom flavored drink recipes were a pleasant surprise such as the “Shiitake Bloody Mary” and “Umami Grog.”
The charming retro design brings a refreshing, yet stylized look to bring this unique collection of delicious mushroom forward recipes in order to earn a place on the cookbook shelf. The price may be a little steep for a spiral bound collection of ten recipes, but the proceeds go directly to the Fungi Foundation to support their dedication to fungi conservation and education. See smallhold.com for purchasing.