Wednesday, October 31, 2007

quick mushroom soup

Something about fresh mushroom soup that transcends its canned counterpart. Maybe its the thinner, more approachable broth, or the freshly sautéed onions and garlic, but the love is unmistakable. Add some barley and some finely diced tofu and there's full meal.

::1 cup diced mushrooms
::medium onion, diced
::1-2 cloves garlic
::1.5 c chicken broth
::.5 c milk/cream (your fat choice)
::olive oil
::2 T butter
::2 T flour (I use white whole wheat flour, yeah)
::soy sauce (or just salt) to taste
::feta cheese

-Sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil until nicely browned.
-Mix in garlic, wait a minute, then melt in butter.
-Add flour and mix, stirring frequently for a minute or two.
-Pour in chicken broth. (this would also be an appropriate time to add some tofu).
-Simmer/Boil for a few minutes then add milk, soy sauce.
-Sprinkle with feta and black pepper (and also add cooked barley or brown rice now if you'd like)

Only a lazy 15 minutes from start to finish and an amazingly deep flavor. I'm not sure the soy sauce adds to the flavor...but it didn't detract, so I'll keep it. The feta matches the flavors well, and would maybe piggyback the addition of some balsamic or wine (maybe a cheap red?). Another route to take would be oriental. Omit the milk, add some ginger and chile, substitute sesame oil for olive, and top with lime, cilantro, sesame seeds? That'd be nice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I've been eating lots of white mushrooms recently. They're fresh, tasty, quick, and versatile (I guess so, if you force yourself, but I don't, though there is an undeniably fluid transition between Mediterranean and oriental that I adore...mmm).

-Sauté mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
-Add chopped garlic and take off heat a minute later.
-Toss in some feta cheese
-Serve with/in: balsamic vinegar, eggs, tortilla.

What I love about eating these mushrooms are the possibilities. I could be doing so much more with their flavor...and I love it. CREATE ANTICIPATION IN A BITE. There's nothing like not tasting the white wine, fresh tomatoes, grilled steak, sautéed chicken, baked onions, buttered baguette, pasta, crepe, you-name-it. If an ingredient can lead you back to your favorite dish or to those yet enjoyed, it has done its job.
Touché, mushroom.

peanut butter cookies and peanut butter cookie dough ice cream

Which came first: George Washington Carver or Cookie Dough tubes? In an effort to forget that question, I stumbled on this idea. Why not make cookie dough ice cream out of cookies other than chocolate chip? So, here's peanut butter dough. Maybe there will be cranberry white chocolate oatmeal dough at some point? Who knows? I do.

But anyways, nothing like pulling a batch of peanut butter cookies out of the oven late at night. Though I omitted those lovable fork marks, I'm confident enough in their taste and my ability to crumble any discernable marks while mixing into peanut butter ice cream base. Oh, and there will be 72% chocolate chunks. Nice touch, I thought.

I used Jiff peanut butter for the recipe. I know, I should have used my already open jar of natural nuttiness, but I was a afraid of the effects of a mass oil spill in my ice cream. Maybe I could emulsified (using an egg as a tool for combining the oil and water-based milk) the peanut butter into the base at the custard stage, but I'm still skeptical. There's nothing like a gooey, spreadable ice cream to remind you of failure.

I'm waking up 20 minutes early tomorrow to finish the ice cream. Too much demand for such a small machine (the ice cream machine). Too little time for such a small machine (the ice cream maker).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

a tofu recipe

I've been letting reality come between food and the blogosphere. So just because I don't blog frequently doesn't mean I'm not cooking. Also, due to lack of feeling great, I'm reinstating my "wellness" life stlye. Here was a quick tofu dish to get things started.

MY Wellness: diet of whole grains (nothing too refined/processed), fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, and more tofu than usual to supplement fatty meats. No high fructose corn syrup (this has been surprisingly easy for me...thanks Trader Joe's). More yogurt and less bacon for breakfast. Menus created, not ordered from.

::extra firm tofu
::sliced mushrooms
::olive oil
::chili oil (can be skipped for less heat)
::1 clove garlic
::1/2 chopped habeñero pepper (really spicy=can be skipped)
::white wine
*proportions of these ingredients don't matter too much. Just mix and match to hunger.
- Sauté tofu and mushrooms in oils over medium-high heat until starting to brown.
- Add habeñero and garlic (maybe some shallots or onions would be nice too)
- Splash of white wine and cook for a minute.
- Add a little cream and stir before serving.
- Season with salt/pepper (and consider topping with fresh basil and tomato)

This was awesome. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut with tofu. Soy, ginger, basil, and sesame are good after all, but this Italian spin carried a much deeper flavor. It's a really quick dish, and can be expanded so easily for friends. And remember: WHITE WINE is one of the best ingredients to have in your pantry to effortlessly boost meal appeal. It's fragrant, it's delicious; just great. And maybe you don't have cream on hand, so consider a little butter and some milk to supplement. And don't go crazy with spices. Just because Italian is on your mind, don't go adding dried basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, and onion powder. Cook with a few, fresh ingredient. Be able to taste the dish, as well as individual ingredients, and you will appreciate both more.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


It's been awhile since my last post. Lots of school and work. Luckily there's always a weekend of cooking and relaxing to look forward to. I'd never done a berry flavored base before, so I took this opportunity and a bag of unclaimed mixed berries and created what would become a reliable crowd pleaser.

:: 2 c ice cream base
:: 16 oz whole frozen mixed berries
:: 3/4 c brown sugar
:: 1/4-1/2 c water
:: 2 oz chopped white chocolate
:: 2 oz shaved dark chocolate

- bring, water, berries, and brown sugar to simmer.
- mash while in saucepan and reduce to thick syrup.
- push berries through sieve to remove seeds.
- chill berry syrup and add to ice cream base before mixing.
- mix in chocolate toward end of freezing.

A bright purple/pink vibe and creamy texture well versed by chocolate. Really smooth and fresh tasting and without too much chocolate. I'll be making more of this (or a variation) soon.