Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Milk and Mushrooms

Oatmeal left, Almond right
So food is off topic if it doesn't involve my harvested produce, but I thought I'd talk about a couple of things anyway. The first is milk. I'm lactose intolerant so I don't use cow's milk in my cooking usually. I used soy for a while. I tried making my own soy milk, but I hated the taste. I finally got fed up with it and switched off of it. But before I did that I had to find a new "milk".

I tried oat milk. Both my husband and I weren't fond of that. So I moved to almond milk. It was delicious and much easier to make than my attempt at soy milk as it doesn't need to be cooked. It is pretty simple. I use a cup of almonds that I soak for a day or two, changing the water when I think of it. Then I grind them up with fresh water in my blender for a minute or two. I strain it with cheese cloth and put it in a quart jar. Then I add water to the top since it usually isn't quite there. So simple. But you do have to think ahead. And sadly my husband hates almonds. So now we have two jars of milk in the fridge. I use his cow juice for baking things he will eat and I eat them too. Usually there isn't enough milk to cause problems for me in baked goods.

You might notice I don't add sugar, salt, or vanilla to my milk. I have always hated those flavored overly sweet milks which is weird since I have a sweet tooth, but not in my milks I guess. It is better for me anyway.

So I'm off of soy milk for now. Most people do it for the cost and like my issues with flavored milks, the ability to control what goes in them. The impetus for me to do this was winter. I don't have a car. So shopping for liquid items means I have to carry them. In the summer I use my bike and it isn't a problem. But in the winter it is just too dang heavy. A few package of almonds is so much lighter.

My other totally off topic food is mushrooms. Specifically wood ear mushrooms, which are one of my favorite of the mushrooms. This is also often called black fungus. Though wood ear mushrooms sounds more appetizing doesn't it? I get them occasionally from our local hot pot restaurant. Yum. But there isn't any place here to get them easily on foot. I could go into Chinatown. I'm sure I could get anything there, but it would probably take about an hour to get in on the subway. I'm spoiled. I like things close that I can walk to. That way I get my exercise and my food.

But I really wanted to make some mooshi. The recipe I had called for dried wood ear mushrooms and dried lily buds. So I found them on Amazon* and ordered them. The lily buds were an epic fail. They tasted like nothing. But the above dried mushrooms* owned (note to self: never play computer games right before writing a blog post).

After experimentation I found that putting just half of one of those tiny blocks into a pint jar of water was more than enough for mooshi. They really are the amazing expanding mushrooms.

This is what they are like after 24 hours. They totally fill the jar and the mushrooms go back to their original shape. And the taste is awesome. I even save the water they soak in. I've been using to replace some of the broth in my dishes that have mushrooms.

*Disclaimer: I've received no compensation from anyone discussed in this blog page.


  1. Interesting. Not sure what mooshi is. I will have to check into it. :)

  2. Interesting mushrooms. I never seem to have enough mushrooms on hand when I need them. And our local market only has the normal white button ones. It would be convenient to pull some out of the cabinet and rehydrate a day ahead when needed.

  3. I love dried mushrooms! I always buy a massive bag of dried shitake whenever I'm at a Chinese grocer. Have you tried any of those lactose enzyme pills? I use lacteeze, it's allowed me to eat dairy again!

    1. Oh yes I do. I buy large containers of them so I can go to parties and eat. Or eat ice cream in the summer. Except for cheese and small portions of Greek yogurt I usually avoid dairy at home though.

  4. I love the wood ear mushrooms. I have to have them in hot and sour soup. And I like them in stir-frys too. But you got me on mooshi - I have never heard of that!

    I need to try making almond milk. Both my wife and I have problems with dairy, so we use almond milk instead.

  5. You are enduring sustained cold weather, and as a result we here in the UK are enduring sustained wet weather - with really serious flooding - so we are blaming you! Someone re-located the Jetstream without our permission!
    P.S. Those mushrooms sound awful to me - not my sort of thing at all. Each to their own though, so I hope you enjoy them.

  6. I love wood ear mushrooms. I used them in a lot of my Vietnamese cooking.

  7. It is possible to forage for wood ear mushrooms. I find them in the early Spring and in Autumn - cooler seasons. When I find them I dry them and keep them in a jar - we sell them at farmers markets. I have photos of the wood ears I have found at our website here, they are the first mushroom in "Autumn Season".


  8. Mooshi. It's going on the list of things to try.