Saturday, 12 January 2013

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Saturday night was date night with girlfriend. This night was the night we had designated to discussing and planning our potential plans to take a trip to New York, and it was quite successful- we booked the tickets! In the midst of all this excitement was a dinner I very much enjoyed preparing. Saturdays, as my only days off, are my days. I do what I want. This usually means I'm baking something new. As you know, last weekend, it was les macarons. This weekend, I'm sick of all the sugar I've been consuming lately. I need to back off on this baking crap for a week or two and pull my nutritious-self together again. I have vowed (very casually) to designate my Mondays-Tuesdays-Wednesdays to be my vegan days. Ever heard of meat-free Mondays? This is meat-dairy-eggs-free M-T-W. Aside from my addiction to cheese, I don't think it will be very hard, as long as I can keep my baked-goods fixation to the weekend.

So what did I make tonight? I tried two new things. I have never cooked beets before. I have also never been a huge fan of mushrooms, but I'm warming up to them, and trying new recipes with them. This one was a good one. I made a cream of mushroom soup with sage and tarragon, as well as a mixed greens salad with roasted beets and warm herbed goats cheese. Want the recipes? Check it.

Mushroom Soup

2 tbsp butter (easily replaceable with oil)
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 package of pre-sliced mushrooms
3 cups vegetable broth
~2tbsp chopped tarragon (fresh)
~2tbsp chopped sage (fresh)
1/3 cup heavy cream (easily replaced with an alternative non-dairy milk)

1. Heat butter in saucepan until completely melted. Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes.
2. Add in all the mushrooms and stir well to ensure they are also coated in the butter/oil. Cook for about five minutes, until the mushrooms soften and brown a bit
3. Add the vegetable stock and herbs. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4. Add cream, and any additional spices you'd like (salt & pepper for me)
5. Using a blender or food processor, puree the mixture and serve :)

Roasted Beet Salad

2 beets
1 tsp olive oil
Salad mix of your choice- arugula/spinach/baby romaine/etc.
1/3 cup diced red onion
Nuts of your choice- I chose walnuts, but almonds, pecans, or pine nuts would all be good.
Firm goats cheese, cut into 4 medallions

To roast beets, gently wash them, rub them in olive oil and wrap tightly in tin foil. Place them in a baking sheet and into the oven preheated to 400*F. Take them out after 45-60 min. You should be able to pierce them easily with a fork.

To remove skins, you can peel them off (they come off easily when beets are soft enough) or slice them off with a paring knife. Note: they will stain your hands. Use gloves or be careful.

For the goats cheese, place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes until it starts to melt a bit. Remove from oven, and cut up the medallions (or leave them whole if preferred)

Mix all together and your salad has been assembled. We ate it with a pear-cinnamon flavoured balsamic that I received as a secret santa gift this year. It was a great match.

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