JANUARY: Cream of Mushroom Soup

This delicious Cream of Mushroom soup recipe is just what you need in the winter months.

Ingredients:

2 cups of dried assorted mushrooms
3 large cloves of garlic, diced
2 lbs of tomatoes, chopped
5 leeks
2 lb assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced
10 cups of either vegetable stock or chicken ( Use large Knorr cubes )
.5 cup oil
1 stick of butter
5 leeks
Salt and pepper
1 cup of light cream
2 cup of sherry wine ( cooking or cream, depending on your taste )
2 cups of heavy cream
1/4 cup of chopped parsley for garnish
Creme Fraiche for garnish

Soak the dried mushroom in boiling water for an hour. Drain and strain liquid through a cheese cloth. Discard the dirt in the cheesecloth. Puree the mushrooms in a cuisinart.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Sauté the leeks and then the garlic, add the sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes. Add the dried mushroom and the 10 cups of water with the vegetable cubes. Cook until well softened, 30 – 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Puree in batches in a food processor or use an immersion blender.

Return to pot, add the light and heavy creams plus the sherry. Reheat.

Serve garnished with creme fraiche and parsley.

Makes approximately 25 servings.

 

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FEBRUARY: Asian Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups homemade chicken broth or canned
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
Finely grated ginger, the size of a large walnut
1 Tsp Sambal or more to taste ( Sambal = hot sauce)
1.5 leeks sliced, white part only
1/4 chinese cabbage ( Napa ) sliced
1 T. Soy Sauce
.5 tsp toasted Sesame Oil
.5 T, Mirin
1 dried Thai Red Pepper Chili, seeds removed and chopped. Wear gloves!

2 serving of Soba Buckwheat Noodles or other Asian noodle of your choice.
Cilantro if you happen to have it on hand

I must confess that I threw everthing in to the pot except the noodles. I let all of the vegetables cook.

Cook the noodles separately, drain and place into 2 bowls. Add the broth and serve garnished with cilantro.

Adjust seasoning to your degree of spiciness. And stay warm.

 

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MARCH: Lentil Walnut Pate

Ingredients:

2T butter
1 cup chopped onion
8 hard boiled eggs
4 cup toasted walnuts
1 cup of red lentils cooked in water
I cook these in water with an onion stuck with a few cloves and a carrot
Don’t ask me why? Must have read something somewhere.
1/3 cup of ketchup
1/2 to 2/3 cup of mayonnaise as needed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a saute pan and cook the onions until soft and clear.
Transfer to a cuisinart and add the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth.

NON VEGETARIAN VERSION. The original recipe had one cup of sardines in tomato sauce instead of the ketchup and used brown lentils. I came up with this vegetarian option because it was prettier and so many of my clients wanted something hearty for their vegetarian guests.

I now serve this with rice crackers to keep my GF clients happy as well.

 

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APRIL: Tomato & Pepper Soup

Ingredients:

1/4 or more cups of vegetable oil
1 Spanish onion diced
2 large cloves of garlic
5 lbs of tomatoes, chopped in the cuisinart
1 each red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, diced
2 T. vegetable or chicken base
6 – 8 cups of water
10 sprigs of thyme
1 T. pink peppercorns
Leaves from 2 stems of basil
1 T. sugar
S&P to taste

Heat the oil in a deep pot.   Add the onions and saute until soft. Add the garlic and stir for a minute just to brown it. Add everything but the salt pepper and sugar.

Simmer until soft and blended. Season with salt and pepper plus 1 T. of sugar or two.

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MAY: Antipasti

I had to put out an hors d’oeuvre table the other night and here are the antipasti dishes I came up with.

Sliced fresh mozzarella marinated in olive oil and chopped fresh basil. Done at the last minute.

Fresh basil chopped with olive oil, s&p. ( if you have pesto use that but I like just the basil myself and you need to do it at the last minute or it will turn black.)

Roasted red peppers: you can either roast them yourself or buy them in jars to make life easy. I always have a few jars in the house.

To roast peppers: rub with olive oil and either do them on the grill outside or in the oven at 400. Turn until all sides are charred. Place in a brown paper bag until cooled. Peel and slice. Save the liquid to drizzle over the peppers or the mozzarella.

Assorted Olives

Tapenade. You can buy this in jars to have on hand. I made some myself the other day and it was very simple.  Pitted black olives in oil, a T. of capers, chopped garlic and more oil to puree. All to taste.

Cherry tomatoes

Chunks of parmesan

Grilled Bread. I had Semolina and Sourdough, both sliced, in the house. I brushed them with olive oil and grilled each slice outside until there were char marks. We then sliced them into rectangles.

Lots of wine, of course.

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JUNE: Lemon Basil Pasta With Shrimp

Last week I had friends in from England.  I had planned an Italian dinner with a fresh tomato basil sauce.  During the course of the day I discovered that one of  my guests did not eat tomatoes. What to do. I came up with this while touring them around Southern Vermont.

Ingredients:

1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
1-1.5 cups of fresh basil chiffonade
1/3 – 1/2 cup of olive oil

juice of 1.5 fresh lemons
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1.25 – 1.5 cup heavy cream

2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb pasta, spaghetti or linguini etc.

freshly grated parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, add the basil and cook until wilted.  Add the lemon juice and heat through. Hold.

Cook the pasta.

Add the shrimp to the basil lemon mix and saute until cooked through.
Just before serving add the salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and drizzle in the cream to the consistency that you like. 

Drain the pasta and add to the shrimp mix. Toss. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Serves 6

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JULY: Beet Salad

This beet salad is easy to make as long as you can cook the beets ahead of time. Quantities vary depending on the number of guests.

Ingredients:

Roasted beets, peeled and thinly sliced
Goat or Feta cheese
Orange juice
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Arugula

Roast Beets, cool, peel and slice.

Place a bed of arugula on a platter and arrange sliced beets on the arugula.

Drizzle with orange juice and olive oil, add salt and pepper, and crumble cheese on top.

 

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AUGUST: Multigrain Salad

This multigrain salad is a great dish for a salad buffet.  You may need more vinaigrette for this recipe as you adjust quantities to suit your tastes.

Ingredients:

1 cup farro, cooked according to directions
1.5 cup of Israeli Cous cous cooked according to directions. When cooked drizzle with olive oil, spread on a sheet pan separating the kernels and roast in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until semi dried.
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup of dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/4 cup minced parsley
Grated rind of one lemon
Vinaigrette
2 T lemon juice
2 T sherry vinegar
1 small minced shallot
1 T. honey
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup of olive oil

Cook farro and couscous. Let cool.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Make the vinaigrette, add and toss.

Serves 10 with other salads

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SEPTEMBER: Cherry Ricotta Coffee/Dessert Cake

This recipe was in Bon Appetit this summer. Being cherry season I had to try it with cherries instead of the suggested raspberries. I always buy a bag and then cannot eat them all fast enough. This was a great solution.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup of ricotta cheese
.5 cup of sour cream or any combination of the two to make 1.5 cups
.5 tsp vanilla
1 stick, 4 oz, unsalted butter, melted
1.5 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
dusting of sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and line a 9 inch pan with waxed paper or parchment paper. Butter the paper or use a nonstick baking spray.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk ricotta, sour cream and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
Fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Fold in melted butter. Fold 1 cup of cherries into the batter gently. Pour in to the pan. Scatter the last .5 cup over the batter.

Dust with regular sugar.

Bake until golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean. This should be 45 – 55 minutes depending on our oven. Wait 20 minutes before unmolding.

You can do this 2 days ahead wrapped in saran at room temp. I have also frozen this successfully.

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OCTOBER: Seared Scallops With Green Pea And Roasted Chickpea Puree

I found this recipe for seared scallops a few months ago in one of my magazines and had to try it. Here is my version with a few adjustments.

Ingredients:

6 perfectly shaped sea scallops, round and deep
2 Tablespoons of butter

1 cup of fresh frozen peas
1/4 cup of canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and roasted in 1 T. olive oil
1 Tablespoon of white wine
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
.5 cup of heavy cream or more to smoothness and taste
3 large fresh basil leaves
4 each fresh mint leaves ( I used apple mint )
1/3 cup of creme fraiche or to taste
Salt and Pepper

Blanch the peas and roast the chickpeas at 350 until a bit of a crust.

Sear the scallops in the butter until browned and golden on each side.  Remove and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine and lemon juice.

Add the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of water and reduce by half.

Place the peas and chickpeas either in a blender or cuisinart.  Add the rest of the sauce ingredients from the frying pan. Add the creme fraiche and herbs, adding more creme fraiche as needed to make it perfectly smooth.  Puree and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lay a bed of sauce on each plate.  Top with 2 scallops. Sprinkle with a coarse sea salt or other decorative coarse salt. Garnish with extra basil or mint leaves.

Serves 3 or 6 as a first course

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NOVEMBER: French Lentil Salad

This French lentil salad is updated with the fresh taste of citrus.

Ingredients:

2 cups of French lentils
2 whole allspice
1 bay leaf
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
6 scallions, cut on the diagonal
4 thin carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stems of celery, diced
1.5 cups of toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Citrus Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
3/4 of a cup of evo
fresh parsley and lemon thyme, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Cook the lentils, allspice and bay leaf in 4 – 5 cups of water until soft and still holding their shape.  Cool.

Place the lentils in a large bowl. Remove the allspice and bay leaf. Add the peppers, scallions carrots and celery. Add half of the walnuts.

Mix the vinaigrette and add to the salad. Toss. Serve with the rest of the walnuts on the top as a garnish.

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DECEMBER: Celeriac Vichysoisse

For holiday entertaining with elegance and style, nothing beats a Vichyssoise soup.  You will love this exotic twist on the old classic.

Ingredients:

4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
1 lb celriac root (approximately) with skin
4 leeks, 2 lbs ( approximately)
1  1/2  c celery
4 T butter
1/4 cup olive oil
boiling water to cover
2 Knorr ( brand name) vegetable cubes
4 c whole milk
1 c heavy cream
2 t salt plus to taste
1 t black pepper
4 pinches nutmeg

Procedure:

Melt butter and oil together, and saute leeks until soft.

Add veggies, cover pot with waxed paper, and put the lid on (this is called sweating the vegetables and enhances the flavor).   Let them sweat about 5 minutes, stirring periodically so the veggies don’t stick.

Add boiling water to cover, stir, and cook until soft.

Add cream and milk, then puree (in blender, food processor, or with submersion blender).

Salt to taste

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Makes one gallon.

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