Soup of the Day

Real Simple always has some good recipes to check out.  The most recent one I put to the test was their Squash, Mushroom, and Kale Soup With Dill.  All ingredients sound pretty darn good!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as button and shiitake), stemmed and halved (or quartered if large) (grabbed some good ones from Trader Joe’s)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks (about 12 ounces)
1/3 cup orzo (could even use quinoa, etc if gluten intolerant)
4 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves (about 2½ ounces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnishing (just used dry stuff)

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Directions

-Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ½ 
teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. 
Add the mushrooms and lower heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and have released their juices, 6 to 8 
minutes. Stir in the broth, squash, and orzo and bring to a boil. Reduce heat 
to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender and the orzo is cooked, about 15 minutes.
-Stir in the kale until just wilted. 
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the dill. Serve topped with more dill.

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When I sampled this mid-way through I was a bit disappointed.  But then, when you add the dill…totally amazing flavor punch!  Very happy with the end result and nice one to add to the list.

Mushroom-Mania

Was in the Asian market recently and I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Among many pieces of produce and amazing seafood at great prices, I found awesome mushrooms.  I just had to pick them up!  Shiitake, oyster and beech is what I stocked my cart with.  I had not seen the beech ones before.  I sauteed them with lemongrass, green onions and sesame oil.  Ahhh…so good!

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Marinated Mushroom, Manchego and Vodka Tomato Skewers

Was going tailgating recently and was asked to bring fingerfoods.  Went through various recipes and put a few together to come up with something that ended up way too good.  I made mini skewers (used toothpicks) of marinated mushrooms, squares of manchego, and vodka-spiked tomatoes.  Delicious!  Then, with the leftovers that I didn’t skewer, combined everything and it made a delicious salad(tossed it with mixed greens, too).

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Marinated Mushrooms

1 lb mushrooms
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
(some) garlic — you can never have too much (I was in another kitchen and had to use dry stuff)
S&P
paprika
2-3 bay leaves

Slice mushroom.  Mix all other ingredients together.  Mix in mushrooms.  Let sit 30 minutes-overnight in fridge.

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Vodka Spiked Tomatoes

Ingredients

3 pints firm small red and yellow cherry tomatoes – I use(d) grape ones
1/2 cup vodka
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

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Preparation

-Cut a small X in skin of blossom end of each tomato. ** I just sliced a bit into each one — I don’t have the patience to make an X into a cherry tomato, make a bigger slice.

-Blanch tomatoes, 5 at a time, in a saucepan of boiling water 3 seconds and immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. **I did them all at once in a huge pan, much easier.

-Drain and peel, transferring to a large shallow dish. **Did not peel, don’t have the patience because I tried it once and it takes forever.  Make a bigger cut in step one.  And, no you don’t get as much vodka taste, but it still works.

-Stir together vodka, vinegar, sugar, and zest until sugar is dissolved, then pour over tomatoes, gently tossing to coat. Marinate, covered and chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

When the mushroom and tomatoes were ready, I ‘skewered’ them with cubed Manchego onto toothpicks.  It made for the perfect size for tailgaiting.  Will definitely make them again!

Mushroom & White Bean Crostini

A cold afternoon can only get better with the amazing aroma of mushrooms and fresh herbs!  I was having some friends over the other day and we always enjoy hummus as one of our snacks so had to do something different.  I came across a new recipe that has one of their favorite foods in it — mushrooms — and then it has the beans of hummus, too.  Perfect!  So I whipped up a Mushroom & White Bean Crostini.  I made a few changes to the original recipe based on what I had on hand and lactose intolerance.

Ingredients

1 (French) baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup garlic infused olive oil — just used the regular stuff and sprinkled the bread with garlic powder
1 Tablespoon butter — didn’t use any
1 Tablespoon olive oil — ‘some’ — accounting for no butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms, cleaned and patted dry — picked up a pack at Trader Joe’s
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch Kosher salt
1 15.9 ounce can Bush’s Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed — used Cannellini Beans
2 Tablespoons Italian Herbs — went with flat leaf parsley and fresh rosemary — totally more than 2 tbsp
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese — nixed that for my own reasons — let me know how it tastes

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Time to cook!

I put the slices of baguette under the broiler — translation nice and quick vs. extended toasting.

Next, per the recipe, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, <butter> and mushrooms. Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until mushrooms release their moisture and begin to shrink. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.  The kitchen started smelling so good!

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Then, get those herbs ready!  Now, aroma overload.  This is one of the reasons we cook!!!!Mushrooms&stew 003

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Next, add minced garlic, salt, herbs and beans. Stir and cook over medium heat until mixture is heated through.

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Finally —

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I served this in a bowl and let guests dish it onto bread on their own or just put it on their plate and eat it with a fork.  Otherwise the recipe mentions…To assemble each piece of Crostini, place a spoonful of mushroom bean mixture on top of a slice of toasted bread. Top with shredded baby swiss cheese.
This was so, so good.  Would be great to serve at upcoming parties and can be easily transported if not served on bread if you want to take it somewhere.  You can easily make it ahead of time and heat it up when you arrived at required location.

Japan #3: Korean BBQ

As we progressed through Japan we had to expand our cuisine beyond just local fare.  One night we opted to go for Korean BBQ.  My uncle asked his colleagues for recommendations and they gave him ‘the best place to go.’  So, off we went.  It was of course one of those hard-to-find, hole-in-wall restaurants – perfect!

So at the Korean BBQ, you have a grill in front of you, order raw food and grill to your liking.  So much fun.  We ordered basic food that we were used to — chicken, shrimp, pork, veggies, versus some options on the menu that we were either unfamiliar with or had heard of but didn’t want to take the risk of eating, especially on vacation.

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The marinade and seasoning on the meat were delicious and the mushrooms were just – WOW!  It was a meal that you take slowly and you can just kick back and relax.

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