Tag Archives: mushroom

Healthy Mushroom Soup

When you’re craving the rich indulgence of mushroom soup, but trying to watch your fat intake, give this version of mushroom soup a try. It’s hearty and full of flavor, while having only a little half and half to give it that velvety feel. I like to use a combination of oyster, button and cremini mushrooms, but porcinis and morels would be delicious too!

Healthy Mushroom Soup
1.5 – 2 cups fresh mushrooms, diced
3 tbsp butter
1.5 cups finely chopped Vidalia onion
3 cups vegetable broth (beef is good too)
.5 cup brandy
.5 cup half and half
kosher salt and pepper to taste

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Side Dish Heaven

Making all of the sides for Thanksgiving is my favorite part of the cooking for the holiday.  Everyone expects the turkey, which I make the same every year – herb roasted with cider gravy… BORING, but delicious!  The sides are the only part of the meal where I can be creative and try different recipes.  Here are some of the new recipes I’ll be putting to the test this week.

Here are the links:
Pudding
Cranberries
Potatoes
Sprouts

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Grilling Up a Storm… of Vegetables

There’s often so much focus on MEAT when we talk about grilling and I thought a little primer on grilling vegetables was in order.  Here’s my general rules for prepping and cooking the good stuff over a hot fire.

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Red, Yellow and Green Bell Peppers – Grill the peppers over high heat until charred all over, about 12-15 minutes. Then place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rest for ten minutes, then rub off the charred skin with a paper towel.  Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds.

Mushrooms – Begin by trimming off just the bottom of the stem and brushing them free of any loose dirt.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill over high heat until tender and slight wrinkly on the outside, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash – Cut into 1/4″ wide slices.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium-high heat until tender and grill marks appear, about 6-8 minutes.

Scallions – Begin by trimming off the root ends.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium-high until tender, about 4 minutes.

Eggplant – Halve lengthwise and and cut into 1″ to 1 1/2″ chunks.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium heat, covered until soft, 5-8 minutes.

Potatoes – Cut into 1/2″ wedges and precook by steaming for 10-15 minutes or just until tender.  Let cool.  Then brush with olive oil and and season with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium heat until grill marks appear, about 8-10 minutes.

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Filed under Food, holiday, How To, Vegetarian

All About: Truffles! (of the fungus variety)

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Food enthusiasts either gush over the highly-prized musty fungus or complain about its overuse in restaurants today. We are here to tell you we love them (especially shaved on old-fashioned stove top popcorn with a little Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter) and the real story behind these expensive little guys.

1. Truffles are a group of valuable and highly sought-after edible species of underground ascomycetes belonging to the fungal genus Tuber. Because they are a member of the ectomycorrhizal group, they are always found in close proximity to trees. (Black truffles by oak trees; white truffles by oak, hazel, poplar and beech; black summer truffles by oak, hazel and beech)

2. The white truffle is nicknamed the “the diamond of Italy” and is the most flavorful, most aromatic and hardest to find, therefore making it the most expensive!

3. The most expensive truffle ever sold was in Hong Kong in 2006. A property tycoon paid $160,000 for a 3.3 pound truffle!

4. Truffle “researchers” or hunters often search for the prized fungus during the wee hours of the morning when it is more difficult for other hunters to see where their grounds are since once a truffle has spored, new truffles will always grow in that same spot.

5. Not all truffles are created equal. To be sure what you are eating is authentic, stay away from jarred truffles and truffle-infused oils. If you can’t see the shavings on your pasta, chances are it’s not real and that wonderful smell is coming from a synthetic aroma made from a petroleum derivative.

To learn more about truffles and where you can get them in the United States, check out the Appennino Funghi e Tartufi, one of the world’s largest truffle firms.

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Tip of the Day: Cleaning Mushrooms

Never soak mushrooms in water to clean them, as they are very porous and will soak up water like a sponge. Most commercially sold mushrooms are grown in a sterile environment, making them relatively dirt free, but if there are a few specks of dirt, simply use a soft-bristled brush to remove any grunge. If you must, you can use a damp paper towel also.

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