Recipe – Wild Mushroom Soup

Wild Mushroom Soup

Submitted by ~ Ann McKean

This simple and healthy soup can be made from any combination of mushrooms available, but I like to use nutritious, affordable and easily available cremini mushrooms boosted by the big flavor of dried porcinis. Serves 3-4

4 cups chicken, vegetable or mushroom broth
1 cup hot water
.5-2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 lb. fresh cremini mushrooms, stems on, sliced
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, minced (or 1 small sweet onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup Madeira (or Marsala or Sherry if you prefer)
1 tablespoon flour
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons mascarpone or heavy cream, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse then soak the porcini mushrooms in the hot water for 30 minutes. Strain off all the liquid except the last little bit which will be gritty. Add the strained mushroom liquid to the chicken broth and bring mixture to a simmer. Finely chop the soaked porcinis and reserve.
Melt the butter in a soup pot; add the fresh mushrooms in batches and sauté on medium high heat, turning occasionally until the mushrooms are beginning to brown. If you hear a squeaking sound when you stir, that is a good thing; it means they are browning and not boiling in their juice. Remove final batch and reserve. Add 1 tablespoon butter if necessary and cook the shallots or onions till soft and just beginning to caramelize on the edges. Add the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds, then add Madeira to deglaze the fond and cook till reduced. Stir flour into mixture and add the reserved creminis, porcinis, 2 thyme sprigs and hot stock, stirring to smooth. Add the salt and pepper and bring soup to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Pour into soup bowls, swirl in the mascarpone or cream and garnish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme or other herbs. Makes a lovely meal when served with a simple salad and a good baguette.
To adapt as a rich pasta sauce, remove a good spoonful of mushrooms and reserve, raise heat to reduce liquid by third to half and stir in ½ cup of heavy cream. Remove half of mixture, puree and mix back in. Adjust thickness by adding cream or slightly reducing. Serve over pasta topped with reserved mushrooms and sprinkle of herbs and shaved parmesan cheese.
Note: Mushrooms should not be eaten raw. Their tough cell walls are made of chitin (same as shrimp shells) and are largely indigestible. Cooking breaks down those cell walls making their nutrition more available. Some raw mushrooms (including morels) can even make you sick.

Enjoy Squash From Your Garden All Winter Long

RECIPE by Elizabeth Waddington

Winter squashes should be allowed to mature fully on the vine. If the rind cannot be dented with your thumbnail, it is ready for harvest. Complete the harvest before the first hard frost. Stems and vines will be hard and dry at harvest time. Cut squash from the vine leaving 2 to 3 inches of stem above the fruit; this will allow the squash to store longer.

Cooking Basics

To roast most winter squash, carefully cut the squash in half through the stem, and scrape out the seeds inside. Then rub a small amount of oil or butter along the inner flesh of the squash and top with some salt and pepper.020 Place the squash face down on a baking sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven for between 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your squash. You’ll know it’s done when the skin has become brown and slightly blistered and the flesh has softened and can be pierced with a fork with no resistance. You also have the option of cutting the squash into pieces before roasting, which will take longer in prep time but will allow the squash to roast at a faster rate.

To boil your squash, you’ll want to first carefully cut off the skin and slice the squash into smaller chunks. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. While the timing will vary depending on the toughness of the squash you choose, check periodically if your squash is tender enough to easily pierce through with a fork. To steam your squash, place your chunks in a steamer basket above the boiling water and cook until tender.

For those in a time pinch, or working with limited appliances, you can also microwave many types of squash – depending on its size – by slicing it in half down the center, removing the seeds, and microwaving on high for seven minutes per pound.

Once you’ve cooked your squash via one of these simple methods, then you can easily incorporate it into recipes ranging from showstopping savory mains to festive desserts.

Here’s an easy side dish to prepare:

CHEESY BUTTERCUP SQUASH

1 buttercup squash, sliced and cooked (see above)
2 tbsp butter
½ cup shredded triple cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan
2–4 tbsp lowfat milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Scoop the squash out of the shell and into a bowl. Add the butter, cheeses, and enough milk to smoothly mash the squash (add even more milk if your squash is dry). Serve immediately.

GARDEN FRESH SALSA

2-3 cups fresh fleshy tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion (use a few green onion tops if desired)
1/2 cup sweet bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup hot peppers (habanero or jalapeno) seeded and fnely chopped
2 tsp lime juice
salt and/or pepper to taste

Cut small tomatoes in half and gently squeeze to remove seeds and excess juice until you have 2 to 3 cups of fresh tomato flesh (between a dozen and twenty tomatoes). Place in processor and pulse six times, or coarsely chop by hand . Add onion, peppers, cilantro, and lime and pulse six more times (or coarsely chop by hand and combine in a large bowl). Add salt and pepper to taste. Eat fresh and store leftovers for 3-4 days. Adjust amounts of each ingredient to suit your taste and availability of vegetables. Best
used fresh.

Submitted by Corinna Sinclair

Sausage Soup

For all that cabbage from your bumper crop!

1 ring Kielbasa smoked sausage
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans small red beans
16 oz. canned tomatoes
1 large onion, sliced or chopped
2 cups shredded cabbage

Slice sausage into medallions. For a unique flavor sauté them with the onions briefly before adding to the crock or stock pot. Combine remaining ingredients in a crock pot to slow cook all day or a stock pot and set to simmer for 2-3 hours. Serve with bread.

Submitted by Corinna Sinclair

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

1 Head Cauliflower
4 Tablespoons Olive/Canola Oil
1 Lemon, Zested and Juiced
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a small baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Remove any green leaves from the cauliflower and trim off the hard part of the core. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil with lemon zest and juice, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, salt and pepper.(You can add or change seasonings to your taste.) Use a brush or your hand to spread the marinade evenly over the head of cauliflower. (Any leftover marinade can be stored in the fridge for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.) Place the cauliflower in the prepared pan and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30-40
minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing into wedges, serve warm with Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Submitted By: Sheri Kisch

Controlling the Weeds

Once in a while you find something useful on Facebook. This is a common recipe for weed killer that works quite well and doesn’t leave a dangerous residue for children and pets.

One gallon vinegar

2 cups Epsom Salt

1/4 cup dish soap (Dawn for the cuticle dissolving properties)

Mix these ingredients together in proportion in a metal or plastic container for spraying. Brown or white vinegar may be used successfully. Table salt may be substituted, but make sure you let it all dissolve to avoid plugging the spray nozzle. Spray generously on leaves of unwanted plants in the morning hours, covering all leaves until dripping. Leaves will brown and dry up within hours in the sunshine. Spray all mixed solution – do not store in the sprayer as the salt will corrode it all.