Man, it's been a busy kitchen chez Cookiecrumb this month. And I have a feeling it's not going to let up for a while. (Though I did just learn there's a knish shop not far from where I live. I said to Cranky, "Let's eat pick-up food for a while.")
So there I was standing over not one, but two steaming kettles. One held the turkey stock, and the other was a pot of vegetable broth, 100% local, made entirely from odds and ends that otherwise wouldn't have been eaten: celery tops, carrot tops, leek tops, like that. The broth tasted good but it needed the depth of a mushroom or two, and I had a paper bag of local mushrooms in the fridge.
Uh-oh. They were on the brink of stickiness, but still fragrant and plump, and perfectly fine for the stock.
I wasn't about to add the entire sack, but the rest of the mushrooms needed immediate attention.
All right. I turned on the oven as low as it would go (which, in the case of my fancy-fangled electric convection model, is 170°F) and laid the destemmed, cleaned mushrooms on a baking rack in a roasting pan.
It worked! They dried out instead of getting cooked. I started them cap-side up until the skin felt smooth and dry, and then I flipped them gill-side up so they'd really dehydrate. (It's essential to remove the stems, which are dense and watery.)
It took quite a few hours. I turned off the oven at bedtime and left them in there, and then by about midday the next day without any additional heat, they were totally dry (the goal is "brittle").
The smell is utterly deep and meaty.
I can't wait to rehydrate one and taste it!