PInterest Recipe of the Month- Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice

This weekend I decided I wanted to find recipe to re-boot my ‘Recipe of the Month’ idea.  With the short, cold days we’re experiencing in Minneapolis, I thought soup would be perfect.  After doing some browsing, I found this onion soup recipe and traced it back to one of my favorite blogs, ‘Smitten Kitchen’. I’ve made a few things from the blog before, so I knew it would I could trust it.  I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe including; substituting the Blue Cheese for Gruyere and using a mix of fresh parsley, chives and dried basil.  You can find the recipe right HERE.

ONION SOUP

It’s a bit of a time consuming process to cook both the rice and the onions, but the smell in the house was worth it.  It also gave me a chance to master my old nemesis, the mandolin. I used it to get nice even slices of onion and it went much faster than trying to slice them all by hand.  The soup itself was mild and pretty filling.  The recipe called out 4 servings but we could have easily done 6.  I have to say my favorite part was the pieces of baguette and cheese on the top.  After a few minutes of it soaking up the broth, it was the perfect blend of mild and sharp flavors. I could have eaten a full baguette myself if I had enough soup to soak it in.

I hope this gives you something to make the next time a Polar Vortex comes rolling through.  It seems to be once a week now around here.  Check out the rest of the recipes on ‘Smitten Kitchen’ as well, including an all time favorite; ‘Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake‘.  Follow the link for that, just do it.

Blog of the Month- WVFarm2U, West Virginia’s Farm to Consumer Connection

I like to think I’ve done a really good job of adding more local food to my grocery list and become more conscious of where we go out to eat and their offerings.  However, I don’t really talk about why it’s important to me or why I think it’s important.  Mainly, I don’t feel like I’m enough of an expert to talk about and debate the different reasons why you may or may not choose to focus on eating locally.  That’s why I enjoy reading blog posts from West Virginia’s Farm to Consumer Connection: WVFarm2U.  They have posts on everything from preserving berries, what people in their community are doing to eat local and new USDA reports on organic foods.

Fresh Blueberries from wvfarm2u

Reading their posts keep me excited about keeping the ‘ Eat Local’ mind set and also inspire me to try new ways of preserving and preparing foods.  However you feel, check them out and read a few posts.  Hopefully you’ll find something inspiring too!

Springtime Frittata

Hi There.
So it’s safe to say I’m more than a day late on this post.  Sorry about that, work got away from me a little this week.  But as promised, here’s the frittata I was telling you about.  I used a recipe from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.  I was given her latest cookbook for Christmas this year and I’ve enjoyed every recipe I’ve tried so far.

Making a frittata was fairly easy and it’s a flexible recipe that allows you to use whatever veggies are in season. I used new potatoes, shallots, peas and my farmer’s market eggs.  One of the biggest things I liked about this recipe was that it allowed me to use up 10 of the 12 eggs!  I always run into having about half a dozen left over after baking something or just making an omelet.  They’ll sit there until i’m not sure when I bought them and then it’s just a waste of food.  No longer!

 

Making this did get me thinking about some of my kitchen supplies.  My skillet was a bit small and the straight sides made it difficult to run my spatula around the side to keep the edges from getting too brown.  My spatula is also permanently curled on the end from forcing it…. maybe I just created the perfect frittata spatula

Morel Mushrooms 2 ways

I wanted to get as much milage as I could out of the morel mushrooms I picked up at the farmers market.  I’ve never cooked with them before so I wanted to try a a couple of dishes one simple and one a bit more complicated.

Tuesday was fast and simple, just sautéing them in butter:)  Topping off a steak right of the grill with buttery mushrooms was a perfect way to elevate a regular Tuesday dinner a bit with minimal effort.

Wednesday took a little more time and effort.  I made Wild Mushroom and Farro Risotto using the recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon.  It also gave me a chance to try cooking with farro, a whole grain that is similar to rice in preparation but just a touch on the healthier side.  I followed their recipe pretty much to the T.  We used dried porcini mushrooms in place of chanterelle just based on what was available at the Co-ops.

While the mushrooms were re-hydrating, I started the chicken broth simmering on the stove.

Then jumped into the onions and garlic.

When the onions were translucent, I added in the farro to start toasting.

After about 5 minutes I added the wine, super steamy goodness

When it was almost all evaporated, I started adding in the chicken broth a ladle full at a time as it absorbed and cooked.  Like cooking any other risotto it took a bit of time for each addition to absorb and cook off .  I’ll spare you the pictures of each addition of broth.

After the last of the broth had been added and cooked for a bit, I started tasting for doneness.  When still had a little bite too it, per the recipe, I added in the mascarpone and Parmesan cheese and stirred until it had melted and been mixed in completely.

With the farro done, I turned back to the mushrooms.  I drained them and then sauteed them in olive oil before adding them into the cheesey farro.

We topped our bowls off with a bit more Parmesan and dug in.  It was so creamy and delicious!  The recipe said it would make 3-5 servings and we just about polished it all off before we got too full.  I was pretty pleased with how the two dishes turned out and really glad I got to try cooking with a couple of new things this week.  It makes me look forward to heading back out this weekend to see if there’s anything else new for me to try.

Orzo Salad

Remember that photo I posted back on Sunday of every pot and pan I own, dirty, on the counter?  Well besides the cookies and icing, the rest of the mess came from making myself lunches for the week.

Since I started doing this blog, I’ve been making a concentrated effort to bring my  lunches to work.  It helps save money but it also makes it possible for me to know what’s going into my food.  I’d gotten stuck in a little bit of a rut, cycling in between sandwiches (deli meat and bread from MN, cheese from WI) or pasta casseroles (meat, pasta and cheese from MN).  Not horrible, but definitely getting old and a little on the heavy side.

So this week, to change it up, I took out a cook book I haven’t tapped into to find something new.  I found an Orzo Salad recipe in Super Natural Every Day.  The cookbook is written by Heidi Swanson.  She also writes the blog for 101 Cookbooks.  It’s a great blog full of vegetarian recipes and her pictures make everything look like a million bucks.

Back to the salad.  First up, I got my Orzo into some boiling water to cook.While that was going, I cooked up some frozen broccoli in place of fresh, fresh isn’t very available in MN the second week of February.

With the broccoli done (frozen cooked up pretty fast in hot water) I made my pesto with 2 Cups of the broccoli, 2 cloves of garlic, 2/3 pine nuts and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and lemon juice in the food processor.  The recipe called out only using a portion of the pine nuts but I tossed them all in:)

When that was pretty well blended I added in the creme fraiche and olive oil and blended until smooth.

By the time the pesto was finished the orzo had finished cooking.  I drained it, rinsed it with cold water and drained again.

Then I added about 2/3’s of the pesto in with the pasta until it was pretty evenly coated.  The rest I’ll use for another quick pasta dinner this weekend.

I bought an avocado per the recipe (obviously not a local product) and chopped it up and blended with a little more lemon juice to help prevent browning.  It didn’t last past the second day, it just got too brown and gross.  I would only use it if you had access to really fresh avocados and were going to be serving it that day.

Besides the salad, I cooked up 3 chicken breast with just a little bit of salt and pepper, shredded them and then used them to top the salad.  It was a really good change of pace and made me feel a little healthier come Friday.

Minnesota Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Hi Everyone, I hope you all had a good weekend.  We finally had winter hit over this weekend and it made soup sound that much better, especially something hearty like creamy wild rice and mushroom soup!  I found the recipe on The Kitchn, it’s a great site to find recipes along with other kitchen ideas like organization or new cookbooks.

I started up the wild rice in a pot of boiling water.  Grown right here in Minnesota.

While that was cooking away I started chopping up my veggies.  First up, 4 stalks of celery.  I cut each one in half to keep the pieces smaller.

Then 1 large onion (from Minnesota).

Then 1 pound of mushrooms.  I used button mushrooms (from Wisconsin)

I started cooking up the onion and celery in my dutch oven and let them cook until the onions were translucent.

Then I added in the mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms were nice and brown I added in garlic and oregano and stirred until fragrant.  Then added in flour to thicken it up, constantly stirring until the veggies were thick and gooey and the flour was thoroughly mixed in.

Then I added in some white wine to de-glaze the pan, let the wine reduce and added in my chicken stock and bay leaf.  I skipped the cheese rinds suggested in the recipe since we didn’t have any on hand and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, I drained my now cooked wild rice and set aside.

When my 20 minutes were up, I added in my cream, wild rice and rosemary to finish up the soup.  I let it simmer again for about 15 minutes until it was nice and thick before finally adding the cider vinegar.

The soup was soooo good!  It was perfect for a cold night and was really great with a little french bread.  It made more than enough for leftovers with the two of us.  I will for sure be making this again.  I think it’d make a good soup to bring for lunch or for a long week when you just need some good leftovers from the fridge.  However, it’s very time consuming so it’s not last minute dinner friendly.  Highly recommend this one.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
From The Kitchn

Makes about 6 servings

1 cup wild rice
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 pound mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1-2 cheese rinds (optional)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 cup whole milk or cream
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt, divided

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the wild rice and one teaspoon of salt, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40-50 minutes, until the rice has burst open and tastes tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid to use as stock if desired.

While the rice cooks, prepare the rest of the soup. Warm a teaspoon of oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery with a half teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onions have softened and turned translucent, 3-5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the mushrooms and another half teaspoon of salt. Cook until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and turned dark brown, 15-20 minutes. Don’t skimp on this step! This is where the soup gets its deep, rich flavor.

Add the garlic and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until the vegetables become sticky and there is no more visible dry flour. Increase the heat again to medium-high and pour in the wine. Stir and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue simmering until the wine has reduced and thickened a bit.

Add the bay leaf, cheese rinds, and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Add the rosemary, milk, and wild rice. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has thickened to your liking. Stir in the cider vinegar. Taste and add more salt or vinegar to taste.

Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Late Summer Drink

It’s Tuesday October 4th and we reached 80 degrees today!  Last week I was contemplating getting out tights and sweaters and today I was wanting a tank top and thought about turning the air conditioning back on (I was good and opened windows instead)  The unexpected heat had me wanting a nice cold drink to finish off the day and the ladies over at Spoon Fork Bacon have the most beautiful looking Pink Lemonade Cocktail.

Pink Lemonade from the Ladies at Spoon Fork Bacon

I’m a big fan of Jenny and Teri’s blog.   The food stylist and photographer duo are really fun to read and the food always looks so stinkin’ good!  Check them out if you haven’t already.  Stay cool!