here and there

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bruschetta Soup you say!

Last night we went to Stations of the Cross and as we entered the church, we were invited to have a cup of soup before the service.  Now I wish I had accepted the invite as the divine smells of garlic, tomato, parmesan cheese and basil filled the church.   The soup was referred to as Bruschetta and in googling the recipe, I found that this recipe was developed to use left over tomatoes mixed up for Bruschetta.  Broiled cheese on toasted baguette was the most appealing

Here is my recipe for this soup based on the ingredients for Bruschetta.   I will be looking to find the recipe that they used in church.

Bruschette Soup

1  can of dice tomatoes, Italian or plain  
plus 2 tins of water
1 onion and garlic cloves, caramelize in Olive oil
Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.   

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes to develop flavor
Ladle into soup bowl
Top with toasted baguette or croutons

Cover with shredded Mozzarella cheese
Bake, Broil in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly!
Garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil

I can hardly wait to see what soup they will be dishing out next Friday! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wild Mushroom Cobbler

While watching Diners, Drive ins and Dives, I realized that the chef from Brick and Fire was demonstrating is a recipe that is used for Ukrainian Christmas Eve, creamed mushroom sauce.

Wild Mushroom sauce is a favorite of my Aunt's and always served on Christmas Eve.  The sauce varies depending on the mushrooms used or available.  Like this recipe, my Aunt likes to mix wild mushroom with button mushroom. The mushroom of choose is Pedipanky or honey mushroom which are picked in her area and dried in the fall. 

My aunt starts the recipe by browning flour, then adding oil or butter to make a roux. The liquid used would be milk.  My grandmother's dishes were dairy-less and meatless for this meal, so she would have used crisco oil and water.  My grandmother always used Pedipanky  as button mushrooms were not readily available.  Onions are sautéed until soft or caramelized.   

In the show, the chef used a variety of dried and fresh mushroom for the dish.  He also added some dried wild mushroom powder that he had made by throwing some dried mushroom into a coffee grinder.  My cousin made some for me, which I use to enhance the mushroom flavour in a sauce.  The sauce in this recipe is flavoured with Madiera, spices like thyme and cayenne pepper and enriched with cream or evaporated milk.

The Mushroom sauce was added to a greased pan or to small greased gratin dishes for individual or appetizer servings.    The chef add a biscuit topping before baking the dish at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

I have included the recipe found on a blogger's site as was unable to find this recipe on the Triple D site

Wild Mushroom Cobbler  

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, or any dried mushroom of choice
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2-3 medium shallots
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 pound fresh crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 pound fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 pound white mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup San Antonio madeira or red wine
  • 1 package Sprouts mushroom sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup cream or evaporated milk

Biscuit topping
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk


Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over the porcini mushrooms to cover them. 
Let soak for at least 30 minutes.
Slice the red onions and shallots thinly. 
In a large, non-stick skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. 
Add the onions and shallots and cook over low to medium heat for about a half an 
hour to an hour, until the onions are carmelized.

Clean, trim, and slice the fresh mushrooms into smallish bite size pieces. 
Mushrooms shrink when cooked! 
When the dried porcinis are soft chop them into pieces that are small bite size. 
Reserve the soaking liquid, add water to equal 1 cup.

In another non-stick skillet(or wait til onion/shallot mixture has carmelized, 
remove them/set aside and use the same skillet), heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil 
and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the chopped garlic, stir for 30 seconds til fragrant 
then add the fresh mushrooms. 

Saute the mushrooms, stirring often, until they start to release their liquid. 
Add the chopped porcinis, a pinch of thyme, a pinch of cayenne, 
and keep cooking over medium heat until the excess liquid has cooked away 
and the mushrooms have changed color. 
Sprinkle the flour over mushrooms and stir for 1-2 minutes (the mixture will thicken)

Add the madeira and the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms. 
Combine the mushrooms with the carmelized onions 
and simmer them all together for a few minutes until thickened, 
Add cream, stir, taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the mushroom mixture, spreading evenly, 
into a large gratin dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl or use a food processor. 
Add the chilled butter, cut into chunks and cut in with pastry blender or do several pulses 
in food processor until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal. 
Add the parmesan cheese and process a few seconds.
Stir in the buttermilk, just until the dough forms. 
The dough will be thick and sticky. Do not over mix it.

Spoon the biscuit dough onto the mushrooms, distributing it more or less evenly over the top. 
Add salt pepper and more parmesan if desired. 
Bake the cobbler in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes 
or until the biscuit topping is golden brown. 
(Warning: will boil over and make your house smoky if baking dish is too small)

Can be baked in individual ramekins for appetizers or gratin dish as side dish.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I love going to the Chinese Market this time of the year and plan to do it one more time before New Year's.

It is brightly decorated and buzzing with activity and excitement for the upcoming new year

On our way home from Banff armed with shopping list to make Sukiyaki using Just one Cookbook's recipe, I was surprised to find all the ingredients except for Shungiku with the help of staff.  Generally speaking they are not very helpful and as my son says "Mom you were white carded!"
Someone helping me in the vegetable department find Tokyo negri, which looks a lot like a leek and then ran to find the manager who spoke English well but was not aware of a leafy green vegetable called Shungiku.

In the noodles and tofu section, the stocker was helpful in find Shirataki noodles but was surprised himself that there were yam noodles made by this brand!
In trying to find dashi, a customer located this for me and gave me suggestions on how she uses it in her cooking.

I left happy with all the ingredients to make Sukiyaki although did had to settle for dried Shiitake mushrooms and without Shungiku.

Udon noodles, fresh and made locally, Tokyo Negri, Shiitake Mushrooms, package of tofu, Shirataki noodles (yam noodles), thinly sliced beef and dashi were my finds for the recipe.

In making the Sukiyaki sauce  bring to boil one cup of saki, soya sauce and soya sauce along with 1/4 cup of sugar.

The udon noodles are cooked and cooled.

Chop Napa cabbage, shungiku (or any leafy green vegetable) and Tokyo negri (green onion, leek).
 Crave decorative shapes into the shiitake mushroom, rehydrate first if dried.
Slice tofu into cubes, add a slice of carrot to decorate the tofu
Add sliced thinly beef which is available in Asian markets and even Superstore.
Arrange all the ingredients on a platter.

Using a table top burner along with a cast iron pan, heat the pan, add tablespoon of oil and sear some of the beef.  Since Beef is very costly in Japan, some of the beef is sautéed for tasters.  Brown sugar is sprinkled on it, flavoured with some of the Sukiyaki sauce.

Pour 1 cup of the Sukiyaki sauce and 1/3 cup of dashi or water into the pan, arrange some of the Sukiyaki ingredients except for the udon noodles into the pan. Cover the pan and bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer until cooked.  Keep adding vegetables and liquid as the meal progresses.  End the meal by add the udon noodles to the pan to heat.

In thinking about this recipe, one needs a tabletop burner with a cast iron pan, green leafy vegetable, tofu, thinly sliced beef, udon and thin rice noodles.  The vegetables are simmered in a Sukiyaki sauce made with soya sauce, saki and mirin along with some sugar.  A electric frying pan could be used.