Mushroom Soup

It's officially Fall.
P.S.  I know that I'm behind the times by a few days.
It feels like it's officially fall.  It's gotten cool.  It's become rainy and cloudy.  Now it starts to get dark at 7:30 p.m. and that's just going to keep getting earlier and earlier.  It's almost Thanksgiving here in CAN. And I can feel myself falling into a bit of a slump.  Yup,  it is Fall.

Fall is soup.
As you all know I am constantly trying to find healthy, tasty lunch things to send with Kid #1 to school.  She's not a huge soup fan but A)  I'm getting a little tired of making the same lunch recipe every week and B)  She really like the chicken noodle soup that I made last week.  So, I decided that soup needs to be on the lunch menu again this week.

I like Moosewood Cookbook.  One of the most meaningful (for me it was meaningful) gifts that I've ever given was my Moosewood Cookbook that I'd all marked up and folded page tops and commented in... I think that giving or receiving gifts like that are beyond awesome.  It was hard to give it away and I missed it a lot but I never regretted doing it.  Moosewood is one of those cookbooks that I go back to over and over.  Every section is good.  Soup, sauces, main course, salads, desserts... all of it I've used.  This soup is one that I've made before and although I've never held to it exactly (who does that? Really?), it is truly inspired.
Serve this with a dollop of sour cream on the top and it's a dream.  Creamy and satisfying.  I'm going to try making some kind of corn muffin thing to serve this with.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup adapted from Moosewood Cookbook
serves 6 small portions

2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 - 2 lbs mushrooms sliced (I used button and shitake)
1 tsp salt
2 - 3 tsp dried dill or 3 tbsp fresh dill minced
1 tbsp mild paprika
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp flour
3 cups broth (can be vegetable - that's what I used)
1 cup milk
fresh parsley for the top.

Melt the butter in a kettle or Dutch oven.
Add in the onion and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add in the mushrooms, salt, dill and paprika.
Stir well and cover for about 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
Stir in the lemon juice.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly for about 5 minutes while everything firms up.  Add in the broth, mix and cover for another 10 minutes or so.  Stir often.
Stir in the milk.  Add pepper and salt to taste.  Check tastes.

Optional: Whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream and heat VERY gently.  Don't boil!!!
Serve with freshly minced parsley.

Tofu Stir-Fry and B'day Presents

Well, it's behind me.  Another birthday has passed.  I celebrated it in style at the new restaurant called 'Earth' here in T.O.  Beautiful meal.  I love that the food is sourced locally, is organic and that waste is kept at a minimum.  They try to use all parts of the animal.  We splashed out with an '04 Barolo - hello!  I have to tell you that it was a whole birthday present in and of itself.  The most beautiful red wine I have ever had BAR NONE.

My friend KT treated me to some goodies from Williams Sonoma that I can't wait to dig into.  We actually dug into the vanilla beans already.  We had to open the container and smell that vanilla bean goodness.  Beautiful.

Then D treated me to these bad boys...

Oh Yeah - now that is Birthday Divadom.  Heavenly.  These earrings are da'Bomb, yes.  As soon as you see something in that light blue bag it just gets your heart racing.  To open it and find these earrings inside... well.  Awesome.  They are like liquid silver.  Yum, I could eat them.  I always know that I love something enough to buy it if I want to eat it.  D treated me like an absolute queen.

Now birthday is over.  I'm only a Diva for a day after all.  It doesn't last for long with me.

I got some tofu in the food box this week and I just had to throw together this stir fry.  Sometimes nothing satisfies me like some firm tofu in some kind of soy sauce thing does.  It's got something to do with how firm tofu feels in my teeth.  I don't know exactly but I needed it this week.  I'm going to be putting this stuff in my lunch kit this week and eating it cold.  Tastes good hot or cold AND it's pretty easy.  Hardest part?  Slicing up the veggies... 10 minutes maybe.

Wanda's tofu stir-fry
serves 6

3 tbsp sesame oil
1 block (about 1 lb) firm tofu, chopped into 1 inch squares
2 small eggplant, sliced into 1 inch rectangles
1 onion, sliced thin
1 green or red pepper, sliced thin
1 small zucchini, julienned
2 large garlic cloves, crushed/minced
4 - 5 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp black bean sauce
splash of teriyaki sauce, cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
crushed red chilli peppers to taste

Seriously, heat a wok over medium heat.  Make sure that it's quite hot.  Throw in the sesame oil.  Add in the veggies and toss well.  Throw in the garlic and toss well.  Add in the tofu and let it cook down a bit with the veggies.

Once the veggies cook down and soften a bit, add in the soy sauce, black bean sauce, teriyaki sauce, cider vinegar and brown sugar.  Mix well.  Throw in some dried chilli peppers to taste.
Eat alone or with rice or noodles or whatever you feel.

Whoopie... pies.

Here's the thing.  It's my birthday.  Yeah... it is really.  September 27th, make sure you write it down.  I get kinda funny around my birthday.  You see, even though I'm a singer, a classical singer,  a soprano in fact,  I'm not a Diva.

Most of the time.

When it comes to my birthday though.  That's a different story.  It's a Diva explosion and I don't know what else to call it.  I want it all.

Here's my logic.  Christmas?  Meh, not my birthday so I don't really care about getting presents and besides we're all buying presents for everybody so when it gets spread thin like that I just think why bother.  Go big or go home.  Diva, right?  Mother's Day... again, not a big deal.  I've got to share this day with every other mother out there AND who are we kidding, do I really need a big present that day?  NO.  Anniversary... duh, sharing that with my husband and again presents?  Really???
I think that as a group we're addicted to presents and buying crap.  I don't need it... until it's my birthday.

I need something extraordinary on my birthday.  I'll let you know what the pressie is at the end of the day.  However, my Diva explosion also extends to the birthday dinner (it had better be good) and the birthday cake.  IE.  If I ever got one of those sheet cake things from the grocery store.  Yeah, You know what talking about.  The ones with the too-sugary, fluorescent icing, crappy flowers and tasteless cake.  Yeah that stuff.  If I ever got that for my birthday I wouldn't even eat it.  Life is too short and calories are too precious people.  So, not wanting to make my own cake (Diva), I decided to make these instead.

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies from Martha Stewart Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

3 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups sugar
2 lg eggs
2 cups buttermilk at room temp.
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp.
1 1/2 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silicon baking sheets
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients until well combined.

Drop by 1 1/2 tbsp measurements onto the cookie sheets (does anybody really measure that?) until the batter is all used up.  Bake for about 8 minutes or until set (ie. when you touch the top of the cookie it's soft but not wet) - it says to rotate these puppies half way through baking - so I did.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Beat together the peanut butter and butter until well combined and smooth.  Add in the icing sugar and mix well.  Keep on beating and mixing the stuff just to make sure that you get your workout for the day - unless of course you have an electric mixer or stand mixer in which case you won't feel a thing.  Beat till smooth and fluffy.

Spread 1 heaping tbsp of filling onto the flat side of one cookie and sandwich it with the flat side of another cookie.  Keep on going until they are all connected with a partner.  Pray that you baked an even number of cookies OR just ice the left over one and pop it in your mouth.... that's not what I did or anything.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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