Archive for November, 2011

Keeping you in the dark, and feeding you shit.

So much going on; so little I feel like posting a word about.

Today I present a cheat post. I made soup for somebody, and they asked me for the recipe. I hate being asked for the recipe. I don’t hate it because my stuff is secret. I don’t hate it because it takes time to write something up. I hate it because it always makes me feel like a disappointment, because I don’t really have useful recipe information.

I have one friend who likes to watch me cook and try to write down a recipe for herself while I do it. She’s always asking me “how much” of something I used, or she gets distracted and misses a few steps and comes back and wants a recap. I just want to throw things at her (but I rarely do), because what I want to scream is “I DON’T KNOW!” which sounds pretty Alzheimer-y, since I just did it 5 minutes ago.

But I am usually working to feel, look, taste, or smell in the kitchen, so I am not paying attention to what I am putting into the pot, and the amount of it, I am busy focusing on what is already in the pot, and how it is changing based on what I do.

I rarely bake, because I don’t like recipes, and with baking, they are a lot more important.

Anyhow, I typed up something about the soup I made, that they requested a recipe for, so I might as well post it here too.

Mushroom Soup

I don’t like cream of mushroom soup, and never have, so this soup was not designed to be a cream-less cream of mushroom soup. I just wanted a mushroom-y soup.

I don’t cook with recipes and pretty much every thing I make is different each time I make it, because I try to use fresh ingredients. I design my menu around what I find at the grocery store, rather than planning my shopping list based on my menu.

So, I might know I’d like to make mushroom soup, go to the store and not find any mushrooms I think are fit to use, but usually I find mushrooms, it is just that the varieties that look best (or the price points) change which ones I want to buy. The qualities of the ones I end up coming home with, change what seasonings I use in the soup, since I am trying to enhance certain flavors.

So, the mushroom soup I made the other night, has the same basic idea as all my mushroom soups (mushroom + liquid blended together = soup), but the flavor nuances are totally different.

The other night was about a pound of crimini mushrooms (basically the common white mushroom, but slightly more flavorful), and one large grown up version, the portobello.

I sauteed a small amount of diced onions and 4 minced large garlic cloves in olive oil. I cleaned, sliced, and salted the crimini mushrooms, then tossed them in with the onions and garlic and drizzled more olive oil over it all.  Stir it up a bit then put a lid on it and turn it to low to sweat the mushrooms down.

Then I added some fresh rosemary. I don’t know how much, I do it until the pot smells like mushrooms and rosemary, but not so much that it just smells like rosemary. I can’t smell the onions at all, because I really do use a small amount, to enhance flavors but not make it at all onion-y. I could still smell the garlic, but it isn’t overwhelming the scent of mushrooms. Mostly it smells a lot like mushrooms.

Then I took it off the heat and begin adding chicken broth, which I often do from a box, but I happened to have made chicken broth from scratch recently and still had enough left.  I use an immersion blender to pulverize the mushrooms, and blend it all together into a thickened soup. I add the broth a little at a time, until I get the soup consistency that I want. I cook it in a much large pot than the amount of soup I want, so that I can do the blending without as much mess. It could be done in a blender too, but I have an immersion blender, so I don’t need to pour stuff into a blender and then back into the pot. I totally ❤ immersion blenders. I take it off the heat before I do this so that I am less likely to seriously injure myself when I splatter soup all over me. I always splatter soup all over me while using the immersion blender. Once it was the consistency I wanted, I sprinkled in a little paprika and covered the soup and put it back on low heat.

I chopped up the portobello into little cubes and in a pan and sauteed those with olive oil, salt, and a little bit of garlic powder. I often do this with a bit of bacon too, but didn’t for this particular meal, because it wasn’t a *”fat” Tuesday.

Then I stir that into the soup, so that there is more variation in texture than the blended up soup mixture had on it’s own.

That’s about it.  I do a bazillion other variations on it.

* The friend I was cooking for does WW and has a weekly weigh in on Tuesday morning. There is traditionally much extra “healthy” eating on Monday to prepare for weigh in, and then Tuesday is celebratory gluttony. When cooking for this person, I try to make point friendly meals most days of the week, and make meals on Tuesday night that would leave the meeting leader rocking back and forth in a corner muttering gibberish.

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