29 December 2011

Ahhhhh ..... !

That's just how I feel ..... ahhhh! The Christmas holiday has passed and our family had a fun few days of exchanging gifts, taking walks, playing games, doing a bit of poking around the backroads of Vermont, cooking together, and sitting by the evening fire chatting or reading quietly. We watched some classic movies, had martinis and laughed over the kitchen countertop, played with Christmas ribbons with the family cat and tried (in vain) to keep the Corgis quiet and calm. It's a wonder the Christmas tree is still standing, considering all the running and barking that Mimi (frisky Corgi) and Penny (equally frisky kitty) have done! Pete (gentleman Corgi) and Opey (resident Queen Cat) just sit and quietly watch their antics.

Now, though, the kids have returned to their workaday worlds and Silent Bob and I have settled back to the quiet of the grey cottage. There's a mountain of laundry to catch up on, the Christmas ribbons to roll up and stow for another year, the leftover Christmas cookies to dip in our tea, and a pile of new Christmas books to choose from. The time is right for a pot of soup and a loaf of bread, a tray by the fire, and a good book.

I received The Food 52 Cookbook for Christmas, so have been looking and bookmarking ... the inaugural recipe to be made is a soup ... Creamy Mushroom Soup .... a fitting fate for a pile of Crimini and white buttons that I have in the fridge and a small packet of dried porcini that is on the pantry shelf. We had a roasted chicken the other evening, so the broth will be homemade. It's shaping up to be a rich lunch!

Creamy Mushroom Soup
courtesy of Food 52 Cookbook


1 lb. mixed mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed and reserved
1 lb. Cremini mushrooms, ditto
4 c. rich homemade chicken stock
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ c. shallots, minced
6 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ c. Cognac
¼ c. whipping cream
¼ c. chives, chopped

Making the Soup:

1. Heat the chicken broth in a stock pot with the cleaned and reserved mushroom stems for one hour - keep the pot at a low simmer.

2. While the stock simmers, cut the mushroom caps into pretty uniform cubes about ½ inch square and set aside.

3. Place theolive oil and shallots in a shallow fry pan and sauté until shiny and transparent. Add the herbs and salt and pepper generously.

4. Add the mushroom cubes to the shallots and herbs and continue to sauté until the mushrooms begin to release their juices. Lower the heat and let the mushrooms cook gently until the juices are reabsorbed (about 20 minutes.

5. Remove the herb sprigs and bring the heat up under the pan. Add the Cognac and cook briskly until the mushrooms take on a golden color around the edges.

6. Strain the mushroom stems from the chicken broth and add the beautiful mushrooms caps and shallot mixture to the broth, scraping the frypan to get every bit of flavour.

7. Heat gently for a bit and then add the whipping cream, swirling it to make a creamy reserving some to sprinkle atop each bowl of soup.

8. Serve the soup immediately with a sprinkling of chives and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream atop.

What fun foodie gifts did you receive this Christmas? 


  1. I would love to get my hands on a copy of this cookbook. I have followed them for sometime. This soup sounds so comforting!!

  2. I can almost smell the earthiness of this soup. Soup is something that I love to eat at other peoples homes. Everyone seems to have their specialty. Again Susan, this looks delicious.

  3. I adore mushroom soup, it reminds me of the 1st time my then boyfriend, now husband went out to dinner at a swanky restaurant and that was one of the courses! Yum!

    Sounds like you had a lovely weekend with your family and friends. Too bad the kids had to go back to work!

    I'm not familiar with that cookbook, but I'll be looking it up! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Ooooh I know the feeling. It's like soaking in a hot bath!! That soup looks wonderful and I love your rustic bowls. Very pretty. Best food gift this year was a Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter. Genius!

  5. Your description of the Christmas Weekend makes me want to come join you next year! It sounded lovely. We had just as lovely a time, but watching two year old twins (our grandchildren)run around instead of corgis. LOL

    I am enjoying the book (The Night Strangers) very much. Hope to finish it today.

  6. We got some great foodie gifts, but this cookbook was missing from under our tree. Perhaps that is what the Barnes and Noble gift card is destined for??? Happy Holidays!!!

  7. Sounds delicious!!
    Happy New Year

  8. That is my kind of soup; looks wonderful; will keep an eye out for this book.
    Wishing you all the best for 2012.

  9. This soup looks just splendid! Love that bowl too!


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