Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Magic Mushrooms...Soup

Got your attention, didn't I!?
I have always wanted to try my hand at cream of mushroom soup. Mushrooms are the food of the gods. The aroma when they are sauteeing in butter and garlic is beyond description. And I could honestly devour a plate of them with some good crusty bread and call it a meal. Thus the path to this recipe. This is my first shot at it and I didn't use a recipe. So if anyone tweaks it and makes it better,
puhleeeese let me know. I am not adverse to helpful suggestions. Just be nice.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

The Ingredients


2 TBS. butter

1-2 onions sliced thin (I'm not a huge onion fan so I pretty much use sweet onions for everything)

2 stalks celery chopped fairly small

2-3 large cloves garlic...minced, grated or pressed

1 lb. of mushrooms (I use a mix of button and crimini) sliced

2 cups chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock also)

1 tsp. dried thyme

Sea salt and pepper to taste

2 cups half and half...or if your really feeling decadent you could use cream.

This first part is the most time intensive part of the recipe. Heat the butter and olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot. Add the onions and cook on medium until caramelized. This takes about 40 or so minutes. Be sure to stir often so they don't burn. They should be a rich golden brown color when done.

Standing at the stove stirring onions is not really my idea of a good I try to find something useful to do between stirs. In this case, chopping celery, mincing garlic and slicing the mushrooms does the trick. This way when the onions are done you are ready to do the next step.

Remove the onions from the pan, add a little more oil or butter if needed and saute the celery and garlic for a few minutes. Now toss in the star of the show...the mushrooms. Saute until tender. The smell is going to send you to heaven...mmmmm.

Once the mushrooms are tender add a little white wine or chicken broth to deglaze the pan and get all those yummy bits off the bottom of the pot. Now you are ready to make the veggies into the soup. Add the chicken stock, thyme, and salt and pepper. Let simmer 20-30 minutes.

Then add the half and half. Heat through. OK, you think you're done, right? Wrong. Take 2 or 3 cups of the soup and puree. If you use a blender be sure to let the soup cool a bit before you turn it on, or you could end up cleaning your ceiling. Put the blended soup back into the pot and stir. Heat through and enjoy with a side salad and some hot garlic bread.

Hubby really liked this. He has a background in food service, so I totally trust his opinion. And since I don't want to be throwing food out, I have to make sure he likes it. My big concern was that maybe it was too "soupy", and did I want to thicken it. Hubby was happy with the way it was. But if any of you feel the need to thicken, I won't be offended. But please let me know what you did to it. I love to try new things and look for improvements. Anyone have any ideas on improving hubbies or kids? Just my gang the way they are! Enjoy the soup.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pasta! Pasta!

Who doesn’t love pasta? And how many of us avoid it like the plague? All those carbs and refined flour. Trying to be healthy I have tried the whole wheat pastas, and frankly, they didn’t do it for me. It was similar to eating soggy cardboard. What to do, what to do. Well, hold on to your hats, you can now have your pasta and eat it, too! There is wonderful new pasta available called Dreamfields. It is a low carb, low glycemic index pasta that actually tastes great. It has twice the fiber of regular pasta and only 5 grams of digestible carbs. I don’t totally understand how it works (science is not my strong suit). The pasta is coated with something called inulin that prevents all but 5 grams of carbohydrates from being digested. I guess digesting carbs is what makes them bad. The pasta also barely raises blood sugar. Diabetics swear by this pasta.

I LOVE this stuff!! I use it exclusively in anything that calls for pasta. One of the best things about the pasta is it doesn’t absorb liquid the way other pastas when you make a pasta salad of some type, and by the time you get to eating it, the pasta has absorbed the dressing. I have not had that issue with the Dreamfields.

One down is tough to find. There are 6 varieties, but the stores that do carry it usually on carry a couple. The pasta can be ordered on line...but I want to be able to get it when I want it.

So, we need to unite forces. Everyone needs to try these wonderful pastas and spread the word. Then inundate your grocery stores with requests for it. Be cooks on a mission. Get that pasta available everywhere! Pasta lovers everywhere, UNITE!!!

And here’s the link so that you can learn all about the pasta, get recipes, and coupons, and even order.

WE can have PASTA and be HEALTHY.

The Picture

I thought an explanation of the picture in my profile might be warranted. I don't let my picture get taken very often. Hiding from cameras is what I do best. But I had to have a picture taken with my family's newest creation (one that isn't food), and that is my first grandchild. Since my hubby and I created the daughter that created this wonderful little creature with her own dear hubby, I felt I could use that picture on this blog. One of my sons is always telling me that when I have a website I need to personalize with a picture. Well, this is as personal as it is going to get. No more family bragging here. If I ever get to that point I will just start another blog. Don't hold your collective breaths.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dreamy Creamy Turkey Soup

You know how after turkey day you have a ton of leftover turkey, and after making a bazillion sandwiches you throw the rest of it into the freezer and then forget about it? Well, I’ve done that more times than I care to count. Several months after the last Thanksgiving I was rummaging around in the freezer when I came across a couple of ziploc bags with leftover turkey. I was trying to figure out what to do with it, because I was afraid it might have that freezer burn disease and wouldn’t be very suitable for casseroles or sandwiches. Then I thought of soup! Soup can hide a multitude of sins. So I took the bags out of the freezer to thaw and searched the fridge for other handy ingredients that might make a palatable concoction. What resulted was truly yummy! My hubby said, "Grab a pencil and write down how you made that puppy. That one is truly a keeper. And, of course, being a dutiful wife (not) I did exactly that. And you lucky people are the first to view and try this dreamy creamy soup. Let me know what you think. And Enjoy!!

Dreamy Creamy Turkey Soup

Here are the ingredients to this lovely soup.
In case you can't figure out all the ingredients from the picture I'll list them for you in the order of their appearance.

3 Tbs. butter

3 Tbs. olive oil

1/2 cup onion chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

3 large cloves garlic grated minced or pressed

8 oz. sliced mushrooms button or crimini

2 qts. chicken broth

4 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken

1 cubed zucchini

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. dried thyme sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

8 oz. small type pasta

1 1/2 cups cream

4 cups chopped or baby spinach

Don't let the long list intimidate you. It is totally worth the effort.

The first thing you need is a big soup pot or kettle. I like to use an eight quart pot because I get less spatter that way. Melt the butter and the olive oil (I always use EVOO) in the bottom of the pot. Add the onions, celery and garlic and saute until tender. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute. I like to slice the mushrooms directly into the pot so I can stand there and take in the aroma as it cooks. But I have to be careful not to take to long or else I will drool into the pot.

Can't you just smell it!!

After the veggies are tender add the broth, chicken, zucchini, spices, and wine. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add the pasta and continue to simmer until just a smidge past al dente. Then add the cream, heat through and then the spinach and cook until just wilted

My goodness, talk about your comfort food. The cream really is the secret ingredient. A couple of tips. Use sea salt for the health benefits. When I get more of this blog thing worked out I will put on links to the sites that discuss that. I like to use baby spinach in to save on the chopping and washing. And finally, I use Dreamfields Pasta exclusively. Again, I will tell you all about that in another post. That stuff is fantastic and I will sing their praises to the roofs.

When you finish cooking this serve it up in big bowls with a crusty bread. And there are so many veggies it in that it is a one dish meal. What could be better!!!

As a side note...I am still figuring out the whole camera thing and how to post. Hopefully with time they will improve. Any suggestions to that end will be helpful.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In The Beginning

OK, so this is how I came to start a blog. My family has been going through some situations lately, some with specific dietary requirements (mostly pureed food) and some that just required food brought in. This all sent me running to the kitchen to nuture my loved ones in the way I do best. And the food I found I love to cook most is....soup! Big surprise there since I decided to name my blog soup kitchen.

Well, this whole soup thing began to grow until one of my daughters and I began discussing the possibility of opening a small soup cafe. But as I ponder the amount of work that would go into that type of endeavor, I'm not sure if, at my age, I am up to it. But I so want to share my love of soup that this seems a natural outlet.

So, through the coming days, weeks, months, years, eternity...I am going to share soup recipes. Some old, some new, some borrowed, some blue (ok, maybe not blue, but you get the idea). And what I hope to get from readers is input. I would love for you to make these soups and let me know what you think...honestly. If it needs something let me know. If you love it let me know. If you absolutely hate it don't tell me....not really...let me know. Who knows, someday I may open a soup cafe, or publish a cookbook, or maybe just keep making soup. Whatever it is I end up doing, you can say you helped. And learn the joy of soup along the way.