Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A yummy day

Yesterday just before going to the store, I noticed about a pound of mushrooms sitting in the vegetable bin and I knew we had to get them eaten quickly before they went bad. Whenever I have veggies on the verge of going bad, it's a soup day. So I concocted a really yummy soup off the top of my head that you might like with all the stuff laying around in your fridge and pantry.
Incidently, I never knew the fine merits of sea salt. Chefs and foodies say it makes a big difference in taste and I always thought salt is salt is salt, but I bought some a few weeks ago and I must say it does make the food taste better. Anyway, here's the recipe for my Emergency Mushroom Soup -- vegans and vegetarians can easily adjust the ingredients.

1 lb white or crimini mushrooms
5 dried shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup dry barley
1 peeled carrot
3 leeks
1 can cream of celery soup
2 tbsp butter
chicken broth
fresh parsley chopped

About an hour before preparing, place the shitake mushrooms in a cup of hot water to reconstitute. Then prepare the barley: rinse well and add to 3 cups of boiling salted water.

Cut the green tops off the leeks and rinse well. Slice thinly and drop them in a large pot on medium high heat with the butter. Let them get soft.

In the meantime, run the peeled carrot and mushrooms through the slicer of a food processor. Keep about six mushrooms to quarter for added chunkiness if you prefer. Slice shitakes and keep the water they were soaking in. Add the mushrooms and carrot to the leeks. Salt and pepper to taste (again the sea salt and fresh ground pepper is best.) Cook til the mushrooms get good and juicy.

Add the can of cream of celery soup and enough broth and water to the consistency you want (thin or thick soup). Taste to ensure it doesn't become weak. Add cooked barley. Cook for about 10 more minutes and add as much fresh parsely as you want.


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