Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Really Good Mushroom Soup

2-3 T. butter
1/2 c. chopped shallot or onion
2 T. chopped parsley
1 lb. mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 slice firm-textured bread or 1 c. bread crumbs
1 qt. mushroom or vegetable stock
1/2-3/4 c. cream

Melt 2 T. butter in a wide soup pot over medium-high heat. When it foams, add shallot and parsley, cook for several minutes, then add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the butter. Season with 1/2 t. salt. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms' liquid is released, after several minutes, then add the garlic, bread, and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Puree soup in a blender, leaving it a bit textured with flecks of mushroom, and then return soup to the pan. Taste for salt. Swirl the cream into the soup with a spoon and season with pepper.

Serves 4-6.

Adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen, p. 103.  

Romaine Salad with Grapefruit, Avocado & Goat Cheese

1/2 c. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 c. Dijon mustard
2 minced shallots
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
10 c. romaine lettuce (or baby spinach or arugula)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled and sections (or oranges or tangerines)
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese (or feta cheese)

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, shallots, and salt and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in olive oil.

Divide romaine lettuce between 4 salad plates. Top evenly with avocado, grapefruit, and goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing (you may not need it all).

Serves 4.

Adapted from Parade magazine, Feb. 26, 2017, p. 12. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Red Lentil & Colorful Vegetable Soup

2-4 T. butter or sunflower seed oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 long celery rib, peeled and diced
4 skinny long carrots, cut into rounds (about 1 cup)
1 c. finely diced peeled winter squash or zucchini
3 T. minced cilantro stems
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 c. diced fresh or canned tomatoes with their juice
1 c. red lentils, rinsed well
Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
4 scallions, including an inch of the greens, sliced

Melt the butter in a wide soup pot. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, while you dice the celery, carrots, and squash, and mince the cilantro stems. Add them to the onion, sprinkle on 1-1/2 t. salt, the turmeric, and the cumin, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato, lentils, and 5-1/2 c. water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils have softened, 20-30 minutes. Taste for salt and add several grindings of pepper. Season with lime juice.

Melt the remaining butter in a small skillet, add the scallions, and toss over high heat to wilt them, about 2 minutes. Serve the soup with some of the scallions in each bowl.

Makes a scant 2 quarts.

Adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen, p. 85.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sweet Potato Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 c. roughly chopped carrots
1 T. chopped garlic
3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1-1/2 t. kosher salt
1 t. black pepper
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
7 c. vegetable stock
2 T. salted butter
1 c. finely chopped pecans
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pecans and cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Use a blender or immersion blender to process soup until smooth. Serve immediately, topped with 2 T. pecans, 1 T. yogurt, and 1/2 T. parsley.

Serves 8.

Adapted from Southern Living magazine, Feb. 2017, p. 124.  

Creamy Chicken Alfredo Casserole

1 6-oz. package fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/3 c. refrigerated pesto sauce
1 15-oz. jar Alfredo sauce
1/4 c. chicken broth
12 oz. penne pasta, cooked per package directions
2-1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 T. thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 t. paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss together spinach and pesto in a medium bowl.

Stir together Alfredo sauce and chicken broth in another bowl. Spread one-third of Alfredo mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7" baking dish. Top with half of spinach mixture.

Stir together the cooked pasta, chicken, and remaining Alfredo mixture; spoon half the chicken mixture over the spinach mixture in the baking dish. Repeat layers once with remaining spinach mixture and chicken mixture.

Bake 30 minutes. Remove from own and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake until hot and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Top with basil and paprika.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Southern Living magazine, Feb. 2017, p. 120.