Monday, September 7, 2009

Mushroom-Leek Soup

This recipe had been conceptualized while discussing soup with my vegetarian sister. There are many vegetable-oriented soups that are NOT vegetarian due to the use of beef broth. This hardly seems fair. In messing around with the idea of making a French onion soup my sister could eat, I came up with this warm offering. Not only did my sister absolutely love it, but it is also offspring-approved (my offspring, not The Offspring).

I like to add a pinch of cayenne or habanero flakes to my individual bowl for a little touch of heat. A simple tomato salad, slice of French bread, and glass of pinot grigio would make this the perfect light supper for an autumn night.

Mushroom-Leek Soup

4 c vegetable broth
1 leek, sliced into thin rings
1/4 yellow onion - very finely chopped
3 oz brown cap mushrooms
3 oz white cap mushrooms
4 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs lite olive oil
1 ripe tomato - peeled and very finely chopped
2 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 c bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic - peeled
3 almonds - toasted and unpeeled
1/4 tsp salt

shredded parmesan (optional)
fresh chives, finely chopped (optional)

Wipe mushrooms clean with a dry cloth. Remove and discard the mushroom ends. Slice the mushrooms into fourths or halves, depending on the size of the mushroom.

Heat butter in a deep pot over medium-low heat. Add olive oil to melted butter.

Add the chopped mushrooms and sautee for a moment. Add the onion and stir. When the onion has turned golden, add the tomato and leek and stir-fry for 8 minutes.

Add the broth, reserving 2 tablespoons for later.

When the mushroom soup begins to boil, add the bread crumbs and thyme. Season to taste.
Simmer for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.

In the meantime, prepare a thickener by combining the garlic, almonds, and 1/4 tsp salt in a food processor. Once these form into a thick paste, thin with reserved broth.

Drop the garlic paste in the cooking pot. Let it boil for an additional 3 or 4 minutes, adjust the salt if necessary, remove from heat.

Garnish with parmesan and chives, if desired, and serve hot.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Edamame Salad with Roasted Cabbage, Red Pepper, and Noodles

This salad started as an "oh shit" moment when I realized I forgot to (1) buy green beans and (2) make the rice one night while cooking for myself and the offspring. I didn't catch on to this until the pork loin I was roasting was about 15 minutes from its egress from the oven. A mad flurry ensued as I combed the fridge and cabinets for something acceptable to fill the role of "vegetable" in our dinner. The red cabbage was something I needed to use, and I had a container full of edamame leftover from my last venture out to a sushi restaurant. Honestly, this salad came together because I thought the contrast of the light green and the dark purple was pretty. Sometimes I'm shallow like that.

Recipe Notes:
I like to vary the types of oil and vinegar I use. It adds an extra depth to the flavor, I think. If you don't happen to have multiple options, however, this dressing will taste quite good with one or the other type oil and/or vinegar.

The edamame can be prepared from fresh or frozen. Pick whichever tastes the best from your favorite grocer. The same goes for the roasted red pepper. You can roast your own from fresh if they are in season, or you can cheat (which I am a big fan of doing!) and use jarred peppers.

Soba noodles are also a good choice for this salad.

Edamame Salad with Roasted Cabbage and Red Pepper

1 red cabbage, cored and chiopped into 1-2 inch pieces
1 tsp light olive oil
salt and pepper

16oz shelled edamame
1 roasted red bell pepper
4oz lo mein noodles

2 tbs olive oil (light or extra virgin)
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs stone ground mustard
2 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs rice vinegar
juice of 1/4 lemon
pinch cayenne (more if you like it hot!)
salt and pepper

about a tbs each worth of fresh chopped thyme, parsley, and chives
2 tbs coarsely chopped toasted almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread cabbage on baking sheet in a thin layer. Very lightly drizzle with 1 tsp light olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stirring often, roast cabbage in oven about 15 minutes until dehydrated, but not brown.

Boil or steam edamame to desired doneness. Slice red pepper into thin strips.

Wisk together dressing ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare lo mein noodles according to package directions; leave noodles in the water until it is time to toss them with the rest of the ingrediants.

Toss cabbage, edamame, and red pepper with dressing, herbs, and almonds. Drain the noodles and immediately toss with the salad.

Serve warm or chilled.