Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Comfort Food and Taking Care of Friends

I have a group of friends from my former work place that I always hope to stay in touch with.  Our common thread, among a few other things, is that we're all foodies in various and unique ways.  I guess you could say we're like the Foodie Wolf Pack of Eureka.  The Foodie Gang.  We roam the internet in search of restaurants and recipe's that are new and different.  We invent crazy recipes, cook them along with old favorites that come from our various family backgrounds.  We share them with each other and insist that others taste them as well.  We search the streets as we walk or drive around Eureka and Humboldt County for new restaurants to try.  We have our old favorites and new finds that we insist on sharing with each other and anyone else who is wiling to be pressured into joining us.  If we manage to catch on to something new and/or different, the pack is called out for the kill, or, actually just to go meet each other for a good meal to commiserate about our jobs and life and to make each other laugh a bit.

Unfortunately, recently one of the foodie crew was badly injured and had to have his jaw wired shut.  This is not a good thing for a foodie type person, especially the one of us who is an athlete and probably puts away 5000 calories a day and is still skinny as a rail.  Half of those calories are probably in Twinkies and Cheese Whiz on crackers, but I do know he also eats his fair share of good, delicious and healthy food as well.  So the foodie pack arose to action.  The artiste in the group came up with what sounds like a wonderful cheese and broccoli soup pureed for someone who can't open their mouth.  I never got a taste, but I trust from other dishes of his that I've had the honor of trying, that it was divinely delicious.  (I'll have to get him to share the recipe here on my blog.) Next was my turn.   I got the chance to jump on board with one of my favorite soups.  Mushroom soup.  I've been craving it, so what better excuse then to make a double batch of it to; one)  to feed our injured friend, and two) to treat my husband and I to this earthy, velvety heaven. (This is not the creepy canned gelatinous condensed stuff coming from the red and white can - this is simple homemade goodness)

If you'd like to give it a shot, along with my Mac and Cheese meat balls - read on.......

This recipe is adapted from Anthony Bourdain's recipe from his Le Halles Cookbook.
(Also available at Amazon)
This is my "doubled" version

12 tbsp butter (1 and a half sticks)
1 medium onion
1 large leek
24 ounces of mushrooms - I combined button, crimini and oyster
8 cups of chicken stock (homemade if possible)
several sprigs of flat leaf parsely
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces good quality sherry (don't use the cooking sherry crap - yuck!)
This is what I used:
In a large sauce pan I melted 4 tablespoons of butter and added the onion and leek.  I cooked them until they were soft and then added the mushrooms and remaining butter (the nice thing is you don't have to chop the mushrooms, although I did chop the oyster mushrooms because they're a bit tough on the bottoms. )  You let the mixture cook for about 8 minutes (to sweat) on medium high, making sure the onions stay translucent and don't brown.  Stir in the 8 cups of chicken stock and add the sprigs of parsley and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

After an hour allow the soup to cool, then puree in a blender in batches.  Do this carefully so you don't spray molten hot soup all over your kitchen and yourself.  Once blended return to the pot, season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the soup back to a simmer and add the sherry.  You can serve immediately, but this soup is even tastier the next day.  Our injured friend liked it so much he was drinking it cold, straight out of the jar I brought to him.  I hope he took the time to try it warmed up a bit. It's even better warm.  

As I had said earlier, I doubled this so that I could share some with my husband for dinner, and also with a couple of the other foodie pack the next day.  (I like to feed people by the way)

My other half and I wanted something a little more than just soup for dinner.  I looked in the fridge.  Hmmm leftover blue box mac and cheese from dinner with my girls a couple of nights ago.  Cheddar cheese that had been sliced for sandwiches for our lunches.  Eggs.  A partial onion, and best of all hamburger from Pixie's Loleta Meat Market.  Local and delicious!  (Best burger meat EVER! If you live in Humboldt go see her for some hamburger and sausages.  They're the best!)
We took that fine hamburger (2 1b's.) and mixed in onion( about one small one finely chopped),  an egg, salt and pepper to taste.  We stuffed it with the blue box mac and cheese, topped the mac with bits of cheddar cheese and sprinkled it with a touch of allspice.  We formed this into balls and baked them in a 325 degree (convect bake) oven for 25 minutes.  (You should probably go with 350 on a non convect oven.)

Molten cheesy balls of love!  These things turned out to be some awesome comfort food!

 A most delicious dinner, and a great way to use up left over mac and cheese.  We served up Mushroom Soup, Mac and Cheese Meat Balls and a green salad topped with Russian Dressing.  We ended the night in a happy little food coma.
Happy Eating!

No comments: