Monday, September 22, 2008

BB: Cream of Wild Mushroom soup

Mmmmmmmmm...if it were actually a little bit cooler I think I would have enjoyed it more, but it was warm today. It was delicious, don't get me wrong...creamy and mushroom-y and leaky...mmmm!

This recipe was decided on by Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker. And it was a great decision. This is one of my favortie kinds of soup. I was excited to see that I wouldn't have to do any modifications to make it low carb, either! I got some flack (from my family) for the last recipe not even being close to the origianl recipe. Hey, I have to pick and choose which recipes I want to splurge on. I figure there are going to be some baked good coming up and I know I won't be able to alter them enough to be low carb.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved
Show: Barefoot Contessa
Episode: Mystery Guest

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I omitted this)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

I cheated and didn't make the stock. I used 1 quart of chicken stock instead. It was still good! I will be making this again during the fall and winter.

Happy birthday to you...happy birthday to you...

...happy birthday dear hubbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuu

So last week was Michael's b-day. It was a milestone one. I think we had about 5 different parties or dinners or weekend trips. On his actual birthday we took the day off work and hung around the house. We went to his favorite pizza place for dinner and then we came home and had cheesecake. It is one of his favorite desserts (he is not a huge sweets fan). I made a plain cheesecake with chopped up peanut butter cups on top.

I went off my diet for this dessert. It was soooooooo worth it!


Adapted From Cooking by James Peterson

Makes one 10-inch cake

Room temperature butter, for preparing the pan
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
8-10 mini peanut butter cups, chopped

Not in the original recipe
1 pkg graham crackers, crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the graham crackers, cinnamon and butter in a bowl until combined.
Pack into the spring form pan
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown
Once browned, take out and cool on the counter
Once cool, wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil (to prevent leaks from the water bath)

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium spped with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon until smooth. This should take about 5 minutes by mixer and 10 minutes by hand. With the mixer on low to medium speed, or with the spoon, beat in the lemon juice and the eggs and egg yolk one at a time beating well after each addition. Then beat in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt until incorporated. Transfer the batter to he prepared pan and mooth the top with an offset spatula

Place the springform pan in a baking pan or roasting oan that is at least as deep as the cake pan. Pour the hottest tap water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until only a 1 inch-wide bull's-eye at the center of the cake moves when you jiggle the pan. Remove the cake from the water bath and let cool on a cooling rack for 1 hour. Remove the foil, cover the cake, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before serving. To serve, release clamp, lift off the sides, and place on a serving plate.

We both loved it. We each had 2 pieces on Tursday. I brought it into the office the next day. They all loved it to. It was rich and creamy and not too sweet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

BB: "Mac" and Cheese

This installment of the Barefoot Bloggers was brought you by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl. She chose Grown up Mac and Cheese. I love me some mac and cheese, but low carb diet does not. So, I swapped out the pasta for cauliflower! That is why the title is "Mac" and cheese. I also made a few other changes to make it even more low carb. Plus I pared the recipe down to serve only 1.

Grown Up Mac and Cheese
from Ina Garten courtesy of Food

4 ounces thick-sliced bacon (I used 2)
Vegetable oil (I omitted this)
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi (I used 1 cup of steamed cauliflower)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used about 3/4 cup of half and half)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I subbed 2 tbsp. cream cheese tthicken the sauce)
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated ( I used mozzarella)
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled (I subbed parmesan cheese)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg ( forgot to add this)
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed (I omitted this)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves (I omittd this)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

The result was delicious. I am not sure if I can still call it Mac and Cheese, but it was sooooo good.