During the week, I spend most of the day at my parents’ house, mom-sitting. Although she is home from the hospital, she still can’t really stay home alone, at least not for extended periods of time, so I’ve been spending a lot of time there. It’s also been a great time to catch up on my magazine backlog – I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. Earlier in the week, I was reading an issue of Fresh magazine (an import), and a soup recipe caught my eye. Generally mid-November would be perfect soup weather, but, of course, the last couple of days, it’s been in the 70s. Go figure.
Anyways, back to the story. I spied a recipe for Camembert and Champagne Soup. How can you not gravitate to something like that? Very simple to make, it’s smooth and creamy, but not overly rich. It was just right. Rachael Ray made a recipe recently that looked divine … Really French, French Bread Pizza, oozing with dark, golden sauteed mushrooms and melty cheese. This one is from her new cookbook, 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds. Even though I’m the only one in the house that will eat mushrooms, I made it anyway, sending the kids over to The Newlywed Neighbors with half of it. And lastly, Nicholas has been on a major salad kick this week, and who am I to ignore that? I wanted to make a Greek salad for him, since it’s one of his favorites, and found the perfect recipe … Chopped Greek Salad with Feta and Olives. He gobbled it up.
Tomorrow … baking.
Before I go, remember those Lean Cuisine insulated lunch tote bags that I mentioned back here? I wasn’t paying attention to how many I ordered and ended up with 2 extra. If anyone is interested, drop me a line. They’re $10/each, including shipping (and half the money went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation). They’re very cute and no longer available. If you look on the Lean Cuisine site, the ones I have are pictured on the far left.
Chopped Greek Salad with Feta and Olives
Recipe courtesy of Sun Times
MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Kirby cucumbers (also called pickling cucumbers), scrubbed, halved length- wise, seeds removed, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (or use 1/2 English cucumber — no need to scrub or discard seeds)
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pulse vinegar, oregano and garlic in a blender to combine. With the machine running, gradually add oil through the top vent.
Combine bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, feta and olives in a medium bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Serve chilled.
Really French, French Bread Pizza
Recipe Courtesy of Rachael Ray
Yields 6 servings
2 pounds large white mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon, 4 sprigs, fresh thyme leaves, stripped and chopped
1 24-inch loaf of crusty French bread
3 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Preheat the broiler. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp towel and slice. Heat a deep skillet with EVOO and butter over medium heat. When the butter melts into oil, add the bay leaf, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are dark and tender, 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add in the Dijon, Worcestershire and thyme, let reduce and thicken. Turn off the heat and reserve.
Split bread lengthwise. Hollow out some of the insides. Toast the bread lightly under the broiler. Fill evenly with mushrooms then top with cheese. Put loaves back under the broiler until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Remove from oven, cut each half into thirds and serve.
Camembert and Champagne Soup
Recipe courtesy of Fresh magazine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly diced
1 sprig thyme
1 potato, peeled and roughly diced (I didn’t peel, extra vitamins are good!)
1/2 bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine
4 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken stock instead for extra richness)
8 oz Camembert, cut into small cubes
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a pan and sweat the onion and thyme until soft, but not colored. Add the potato and continue to cook for another five minutes. Add the Champagne and allow to reduce by a third in volume. Add the vegetable (or chicken) stock and cook until the potato is thoroughly cooked (about 20 minutes). Add the Camembert and heat until it has completely melted. Blend the soup until completely smooth (I just used a potato masher) and pass through a sieve. Add the cream and heat again slowly, but do not boil. Season to taste.