Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

From the Essential James Beard Cookbook by James Beard.....

As the first course for a company dinner, or as a cold-weather lunch, cream of mushroom soup is very versatile.  Crimini (baby portabello) mushrooms are more flavorful than white mushrooms, and can be used, but they make a darker soup.

1 pound white mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp sherry or Cognac (optional)
1/4 tspn Tabasco
Kosher salt

  1. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth and break off the stems.  In a large pot, simmer the stems in the stock for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the mushroom flavor has thoroughly permeated the stock.
  2. Strain the stock through a sieve into a bowl;  discard the stems.  Return the stock to the pot.
  3. Mix the flour and butter into a paste, beurre manié, and roll into tiny balls.  Bring the stock to a boil; drop in the balls of beurre manié and beat in with a whisk until the beurre manié is absorbed and the stock is slightly thickened.
  4. Slice the mushroom caps thinly and add them to the thickened broth.  Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the cream in another pan, stirring, until just at the simmering point.  Add the sherry, if using, and stir in the cream.  Stir in the Tabasco and season with salt.
  6. Reheat the soup until hot, but not boiling, and serve in heated soup plates or cups.
Makes 6 servings

Recipe courtesy of The Essential James Beard Cookbook by James Beard.

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Book Review: Kitchenability 101 - The College Student's Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food

You have spent the last decade or more trying to save money and prepare your child for college.  You have taken them shopping for the basic things that they will need to survive during their first year away from home.  But if you think that you have all of the bases covered, you need to check out Kitchenability 101:  The College Student's Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food by Nisa Burns.

This book includes 65 easy, affordable, and healthy recipes designed with high school and college students in mind.  The book offers personal and practical advice to improve your student's abilities in the kitchen.  It helps students discover the satisfaction of cooking on a budget for themselves and for their friends.

Author Nisa Burns is a culinary graduate of the Art Institute of Virginia Beach and CEO of Kitchenability, Inc.  Her company was founded with the goal of giving students the confidence and skills to make easy, healthy, and delicious foods suited to their lifestyles.  Burns contends that if colleges had a mandatory introduction to cooking class, more students would become lifelong healthy eaters.

The book begins with a wealth of information devoted to setting up a basic, working kitchen designed for the students specific living accommodations.  Author Burns includes sections on dorm room essentials, must-have utensils, and basic pantry staples.  She also provides QR codes that point the reader to her instructional videos where she provides information from basic cooking techniques to shopping advice.  Here is one example of these videos:  how to cut an onion and stretching your budget by shopping at a farmer's market.  Kitchenability is divided into several chapters with a multitude of fundamental recipes that help students gain confidence as they develop their culinary skills.  

As part of our review, we prepared two dishes:  Creamy Hummus Dip and Bananas Foster.  The hummus was very easy to make.  Within 5 minutes we had fresh homemade hummus that tasted better than the brand that we usually buy at the store.  The author's suggestion of adding sun dried tomatoes to the mix would make this recipe even better.  This was a simple, fundamental recipe that can serve as a quick and easy snack or a building block for a more complex dish.  Next, we tried Bananas Foster another classic recipe that was easy and affordable to prepare. This dish has a long history and was first prepared back in the early 1950s at Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans.  This was a great tasting, simple dessert that we put together in a matter of minutes.  Overall, Kitchenability 101 provides the essentials for college students to explore and develop their culinary skills.  In her debut effort, Author Nisa Burns has provided an outstanding collection of healthy, easy, economic, and fun recipes for students to explore.  We give Kitchenability 4 out of 5 stars.

Asian Mignonette Recipe

This recipe for Asian Mignonette is a new twist on the classic Breton recipe. We used to make this and serve it up with a few dozen Quilcene Oysters which were easy to get in Oregon and Washington. It goes great with most types of oysters, however. If you need more heat, feel free to add more Sriracha Sauce.

1 tbsp Sriracha Sauce
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1/2 cup Rice vinegar
1/4 cup Sake
8 peppercorns, ground
1 pinch sea salt
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients and refrigerate for a half hour before serving.
  2. Shuck oysters.
  3. Serve mignonette and oysters on ice with lemon slices.

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Bananas Foster with Ice Cream Recipe

My take on Bananas Foster is perfect for a grown-up celebration.  Enjoy!

1 cup bourbon
juice from 2 limes
3 bananas
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 scoops vanilla-bean ice cream

  1. Pour the bourbon and fresh lime juice in a bowl.
  2. Slice the bananas into 1/2 inch rounds and place them in the bowl of bourbon and lime juice.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in fridge for about 30 minutes.
  4. While the bananas are marinating, mix the cinnamon, sugar, flour, and water in a separate bowl.  You want the consistency of the batter to be like pancake batter.  If it is lumpy, add a little more water and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour the vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat over medium to high heat.  When the oil starts to form bubbles, it's ready for cooking.  If the oil pops from the pan, it means it's too hot.  Be careful - don't burn yourself.
  6. Using tongs, remove the bananas from the bourbon and lime juice, dip them into the batter and then put them in the oil until fully cooked.  Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Place the cooked bananas on a paper towel on a plate. Optional: Lightly sprinkle bananas with sugar to give them some crunch on the outside.
  8. Serve the hot bananas over vanilla-bean ice cream.
Recipe courtesy of Kitchenability 101:  The College Student's Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food by Nisa Burns

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Creamy Hummus Dip حُمُّص Recipe

This is a really great dish that you can pack for snacks over a few days.  It's also a hit at parties.

Hummus is a good base for a mix.  You can add other ingredients such as chopped sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, or olives to enhance the flavor.

1  16oz. can cooked chick peas (garbanzo beans)
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
pita bread or vegetables for dipping

  1. Put everything except the pita bread or veggies in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve with pita bread or assorted veggies, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, or green or red bell peppers.

Recipe courtesy of Kitchenability 101:  The College Student's Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food by Nisa Burns

  Egypt  [ print this recipe for Creamy Hummus Dip حُمُّص  ]

Sopa de Jerimum (Pumpkin Soup) Recipe

Sopa de Jerimum (Pumpkin Soup)
Pumpkin soup is a hearty soup that was first made popular in Portugal. Here in the States, it is a great choice if you are looking for an easy, inexpensive meal during the autumn months. This recipe for Sopa de Jerimum only uses half of the average pumpkin so I usually use the other half to make pumpkin pie.

1/2 to 1/4 pumpkin, seeded, skinned and chopped into 1 to 1/2 inch peaces
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tspn kosher salt
2 tbsp butter
2 cups diced yellow onion
1 leek, sliced into rounds
1 bay leaf
1 tspn pepper
2 tspn brown sugar
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 tspn dry sage
2-3 sprigs parsley
1/2 tspn dry thyme
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 - 3/4 pound Italian sausage or chorizo
parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
baked pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter.
  2. Add the pumpkin, onions, leek, bay leaf, brown sugar, sage parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until onions are clear and translucent in color and the pieces of pumpkin are soft.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pot to a food processor or blender and puree. You may have to do this in two batches depending on the size of your food processor.
  5. Pour the puree back into the pot and add the chicken broth.
  6. Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat and add sausage to the pot of soup.
  7. Cook for at least 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Serve hot and garnish with Parmesan cheese and/or baked pumpkin seeds.
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Book Review: Handwritten Recipes

There is an old bookstore here in Cincinnati that has been in business since the 1940s.  The Ohio Book Store is like a museum with five floors of used books that could take you an entire weekend to explore!  The last time we visited this establishment, we picked up a couple of interesting old cookbooks from their huge collection: Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide (1947) and Ida Bailey Allen's Pressure Cooking (1947).

There is alot to be said for looking into the past for new recipe ideas. One author that shares this philosophy is Michael Popek whose new book, Handwritten Recipes was  just released.  Popek studied literature at Bennington College before rejoining his family's used-book business.  His bookstore has over 70,000 books - 3,000 of which are cookbooks.  Over the years, he has collected over 500 recipes that were tucked inside the pages of books that have passed through his book shop.  He often shares these recipes and other artifacts that he finds on his blogs:  Forgotten Bookmarks and Handwritten Recipes.

The author admits that he is a book seller not a cook.  He does not guarantee that the recipes will taste good or be easy to make.  But he does assert that the recipes have been tested by himself and other bloggers.  Popek selected a variety of interesting recipes that may have sounded delicious to him or they may have just been legible.  He said that some of the recipes are incomplete or they may contain unknown shorthand.  Despite these drawbacks, he tried to keep the recipes intact as much as possible and let the reader explore and unlock their secrets.

In our review,  we were naturally drawn to some of the many ethnic recipes that the author recovered.  Since it is autumn, we decided to try the Jewish Apple Cake.  The original recipe was typed on a 3X5 index card!  (Each recipe in the book includes an image of the original recipe along with the legible, translated recipe provided by the author).  We followed the directions of the original recipe explicitly and the cake turned out perfect!  It was easy to make - only a few steps with simple, easy to find ingredients.  This recipe came from a by-gone era so we took the author's advice and experimented with it to make it even better.  We decided to add a butterscotch sauce to the original recipe which takes this fall classic to a new level.  This book contains many delicious recipes.  But it is also interesting to just look at all of the old, handwritten recipes in this collection and imagine the kitchens from which they came.  IRS gives Handwritten Recipes 4 out of 5 stars.

Banchan Recipe

Banchan is a Korean word that means a small dish served with rice. This version of banchan features the fresh taste of cucumber combined with the heat of red chilies. Banchan is a healthy, low calorie, vegetarian treat that can be served for either lunch or dinner.

3 large cucumbers

1/4 tbsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 tbsp red pepper paste
1/2 tbsp sugar

  1. Peel the skin from the cucumbers.
  2. Julienne the cucumber except for the inner core that contains the seeds.
    julienne cucumbers
  3. Place the cucumber pieces in a large bowl. Mix in the salt and vinegar and mix well so that the pieces of cucumber are coated with the salt and vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the cucumber in cold water. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer to remove the excess water. Pat the pieces of cucumber down with a paper towel to remove any excess water.
  5. Transfer the cucumber to a dry mixing bowl. Add the garlic, red pepper paste, and sugar to the bowl.
    cucumber with red pepper paste
  6. Mix together the ingredients and serve.
LinkRelated Posts:
Health benefits of chili peppers

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Jewish Apple Cake Recipe

From Handwritten Recipes - A bookseller's collection of curious and wonderful recipes forgotten between the pages by Michael Popek.

4 large apples
5 tspn sugar
3 tspn cinnamon
3 cups flour
3 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tspn vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peal and slice apples.  Add sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Make batter, add dry sifted ingredients.  Mix well with wooden spoon.  
  4. Grease tube pan.  Arrange batter and apples in layers, ending with batter.
  5. Bake for 1 1/4 hours until knife comes out clean.
Note:  Cakes tastes better after 2 days.

Butterscotch Glaze

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar.  
  2. After the butter has melted, slowly mix in the heavy whipping cream.  
  3. Drizzle over slices of the cake.  
  4. Keep refrigerated.
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Caldo Verde Recipe

Caldo Verde is one of the best known dishes in Portugal. It's a great choice on a cold day or if you're feeling a little "under the weather." Caldo Verde is an extremely therapeutic mixture containing garlic, onions, chicken broth, and a lot of vitamin-packed and anti-oxidant rich kale.

Recommended Equipment:

Dutch Oven or large soup pot

1/2 pound chorizo or linguica sausage, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 tspn + 1 pinchsea salt
1 1/2 tspn pepper
2 tspn vinegar
4 cloves garlic
5 1/2 cups chicken broth (1 32oz. box)
1 bunch of kale or collard greens
5 medium red-skin potatoes, quatered

  1. Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the sausage and stir until it is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  3. Remove sausage from pot and set it aside in a paper-towel lined bowl.
  4. Pour all but about a table spoon of the remaining oil from the sausage into another bowl and save for later.
  5. Add the onions to the pot over medium heat along with a pinch of sea salt and stir frequently until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add garlic and cook for about a minute.
  7. Add chicken broth and potatoes and increase heat to medium high.
  8. Put cover on pot and cook for about 7 minutes so that potatoes are soft.
  9. Mash about half of the potatoes against the bottom or sides of the pot and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Cut out and discard the tough center stems of the kale or collard greens. Dice up the leaves and add them to the pot along with the sausage.
  11. Stir and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  12. Add 1 teaspoons of sea salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, and 2 teaspoons of vinegar to the pot and stir.
  13. Pour Caldo Verde into bowls and drizzle a little of the reserved oil from the sausage into the bowl before serving.
Related Articles / Posts:
Benefits of eating soup

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