Before I decided to lose weight, I thought all vegetables tasted like blue cheese dressing. That’s because the second I saw anything green coming at me, I doused it in some kind of fat-based sauce. So the thought of tasting any vegetable unadorned or–god forbid– raw, just didn’t appeal to me.
It wasn’t long after I began exercising portion control, however, that I realized I could get way more volume out of any eating opportunity if I could manage to sneak in a few vegetables. I started off with the old stand-bys (lettuce, white mushrooms, carrots) and with fear and trepidation started forgoing salad dressings and cream sauces.
Soon I realized how boring that was and I began to branch out. Since my partner is Taiwanese, I knew there was a whole world of what I previously considered ‘exotic’ vegetables out there I’d never tried. To my delight, almost everything I eventually ventured to purchase from the Chinese market turned out to offer something, either in great taste, great texture, or both. The only downside was that the name signs were in Chinese and the checkout clerks couldn’t tell me the English words for some of the items.
Which brings me to Trumpet Royale Mushrooms. I found these tasty little things one day a few years ago and bought them on a lark not knowing what they were. I had no idea how to prepare them, and an internet search (based solely on the fact that it seemed to be a mushroom) didn’t turn up any easy way to identify the thing. I had previously figured out such oddities as wood-ear, enoki, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, but these were a little different.
So, I just went with my instincts, and tried out what seemed to be the most likely use for them. Long and thick stems, with a very solid quality throughout, they turned out to be amazingly versatile. I could dice one up in salad, I could throw it into a stir-fry, I could use it to make a veggie omelette. Not only do I find them to have a great aroma, they also have a more substantial mouth feel to them than the softer mushrooms and to me they’re quite satisfying.
Only much later did I accidentally learn the name: Trumpet Royale. And although I evangelized about them whenever I could, their relative rarity meant that most people I know never tried them. Its definitely not something I’ve ever seen in either the standard or the gourmet supermarket.
So, lo and behold, I was shocked to find a package of trumpet royales in the cold-storage room at Costco a few weeks ago. Costco is always a bit maddening because they are forever discontinuing things you like and introducing new, completely different foods. But in this case, I was delighted to find that– at least for now– I could buy my Trumpet Royales without making a special trip to Chinatown.
I don’t know how long they’ll carry them, but I did notice they’ve also started carrying shiitakes and portabellas, so there’s hope yet.
Mushrooms, who knew they would be one of the crucial factors in my losing 50 pounds and keeping it off for four years?! Sound the trumpet!