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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Pains of Pureed Soup

My mother-in-law's birthday was Wednesday, and so we are having her over for lunch this Saturday. Needless to say, I have planned a menu that could be overly ambitious! This occurred to me yesterday when I went to the Farmer's Market to buy ingredients (what a great excuse to go blow money at the Farmer's Market!). And it occurred to me that I might want to plan ahead.

Now, when I created this menu, you must keep several things in mind:
  1. my husband does not eat beef, pork, or shellfish (unless the beef is grass-fed organic)
  2. my son is on a gluten-free diet and has dairy and soy allergies
  3. my mother-in-law does not really eat meat except (wild caught) fish sometimes. Also she does not eat dairy or really any type of sugar or white rice and also tries to avoid gluten.
Have you got all that? So creativity and determinination a must! So here's my menu:

Appetizer: Curry Carrot Soup
Main Entree: Jerk and Lemon-Pepper Salmon
Quinoa in a Mushroom Stock with Mushrooms
Green Salad
Dessert: Assorted Fruits

This doesn't sound that difficult does it? Particularly when my husband is making the salmon. But with two kids, two dogs, and my husband and I being somewhat complacent about putting things where they belong, my house looks like a tornado ran through it (complete with a rag-tag collection of items we are saving for a yard-sale strewn across the hearth.) So I decided prepping ahead was a must.

So yesterday, I went ahead and made the mushroom stock. I always make meat-based broths and stocks and had never done a veggie version, so I perused the internet to get ideas, and then made my own recipe:

Mushroom Stock

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. white mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 c. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 2 shitake mushrooms, caps sliced thinly
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. almond flour
  • 1/2 c. merlot
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. marjoram
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • 9 cups water
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil. Once it is nice and hot, add the mushrooms, onion, carrot, and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes or about as long as it takes you to empty the dishwasher. By this point, the veggies should be starting to get nice and soft. Add the almond flour, the merlot, and the tomato paste. Stir, mixing throughly, reduce the heat to medium, and cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and herbs, mixing it all in so all the veggies get flavor on them. Add 3 cups of the water, crunch up some sea salt and throw in, and add some black pepper to your taste. (I used about 1/2 tsp. sea salt and 1 tsp. of black pepper) Cook for 20 minutes, stirring when you think of it to be sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. At this point, lean over the pot and inhale deeply. The reason I want you to do this is I cannot describe how good it smells at this point... it is truly indescribable! Add 3 more cups of water, and let your stock reduce for about 1 hour or as long as it takes to go pick your kid up from karate. (I did have my hubby at home stirring occasionally. At least, I think he stirred it.) Add 3 more cups of water and cook for about 20 minutes. At this point, taste test it and be sure you are satisfied with the flavor. Give your kid a spoonful as well. Mine proclaimed, "I could eat garbage cans full of that it's SO GOOD!" And, um, I think that was a compliment.

Strain the stock, and then I let it cool and stuck it in the fridge for Saturday. I am a skimpy cook, so I saved the veggies and tossed them in with the potatoes I was roasting later on for dinner. Most people throw them out, but that seemed like a big waste to me.

I had already decided to roast a chicken for our dinner last night, and suddenly decided that since the curry carrot soup was an actual recipe that, oh , say I didn't make up, and I had never made it before I should try it out beforehand to make sure we all liked it.

I totally stole the recipe out of the book, "The Gluten-Free Girl." And let me just say, it has coconut milk in it (my husband hates coconut milk he thinks) and it has curry in it (my daughter hates curry she thinks) and we all loved it. I kept a mug at the dinner table and drank 3 or 4 cups. The Gluten-Free girl's website also has a lot of recipes. I also used her roast chicken recipe last night, and it was also a definite keeper!

Here's my thing. I love to cook. I love to create great food for friends and family. Here's the other thing: I'm lazy. This is why the crock pot is my best friend and I own 3. I recently spied this great set that has three linked together and went nuts.

So definitely, I would recommend you try the Gluten-Free girl's soup. But don't try another complicated recipe at the same time. And know that you will have to puree the soup in the blender ( a step I am mostly too lazy to take, but in this case it was worth it.)

And we'll be having the soup tomorrow. But I am chopping the veggies tonight.


  1. The next time one of those Food NetworkStar type shows hold auditions, you need to get in line my dear! I especially loved your timing increments (the time it takes me to unlooad the dishwasher BEFORE or AFTER procrastination? ) You make restricted diet/whole food recipes look tasty & uncomplicated! Keep Cookin' :)

  2. LOL... thanks! That's about the way I actually keep time, too.