January 13, 2010

Classic Minestrone, sorta.

As part of the new year I'm trying to get back at this blogging thing. I have a million recipes to try, more time to spend cooking and baking, and tons of motivation to boot. Yet one missing piece still remains and that is a functional camera. So for the last time I ask you to please excuse my horrible iPhone pictures because I'm setting forth on a camera buying mission this weekend.

As an homage to my last poorly pixelated pictures we have minestrone soup. I came across this recipe on Food & Wine's website and since I had a bunch of kale to use up (isn't that always the case?) and we haven't done one of the most classic soups of all time I decided it was meant to be. I modified the recipe quite a bit and used cannellini beans in place of potatoes, added a can of fire roasted tomatoes and substituted the kale for the chard/spinach but I guess I'll still give credit where credit is due. I also added more spices than just the s&p that the original recipe called for, I can't help myself when it comes to throwing those around.

The final result was really good. One trick that you can use for any soup, but works perfectly in this Italian soup, is saving parmesan rinds to throw in while the soup is simmering. I keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer. It adds a rich creaminess that isn't too salty and can't be replicated with just stock alone. Plus it falls under my neurotic need to not waste food!

Minestrone Soup
adapted from Food & Wine

3 tblsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
2 cups water
1 can cannellini beans
1 can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup orecchiette pasta
1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
1/3 grated parmesan or parmesan rind (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, fennel, celery, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and other spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, water, the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and the pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes (this is where I throw in the parmesan rinds). Stir in the pasta and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Add the kale and bring the soup back to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted and the pasta is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the Parmesan, if using.


Almost ready

Set up and my shriveled parm rinds

January 4, 2010

The long awaited Hungarian Mushroom Soup post!

I love mushrooms. I love mushrooms so much that I use them in almost everything I cook.

I found this simple and amazing Hungarian Mushroom Soup recipe at Closet Cooking and have made it three times in the past year. I am no expert in Hungarian Mushroom Soup, but this one is delicious and seemingly impossible to mess up. I am about 90% sure that this was the first soup I tried to make from a recipe and was amazed how easy it was and how delicious it was! The flavors are amazing! I made this for a little Christmas party and got more than a few compliments!

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion (chopped)
1 8 ounce package mushrooms (quartered)
2 teaspoons dill
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

(I've used both chicken broth and veggie broth, not much difference there. I've left the parsley out all three times I made this soup, didn't miss it. I used dry dill the most recent time I used it, and fresh the previous two, both options work perfectly. I made double the recipe twice and it worked great! See what I mean, hard to mess up!)

1. Melt butter in a pot.
2. Add onions and saute until tender.
3. Add mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are cooked.
4. Add dill, paprika, soy sauce and chicken broth.
5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Mix the milk and flour in a bowl.
7. Add the milk mixture to the pot, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
8. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
9. Remove from heat.
10. Add the sour cream and parsley and stir.

Xmas party 011

Voila! Amazing party pleasing mushroom soup! This might be my favorite soup ever, just saying.