February 19, 2006

Mushroom Soup

From Bourdain's Les Halles book. You must try this recipe. It is incredibly simple to make yet it is extremely flavorful.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12-14 ounces button mushrooms (I used 10 oz baby portabella and 4 oz shiitake 'cause that's what I happen to have at hand), whole (stems removed if using shiitake)
4 cups light chicken stock (I used Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock; light sodium chicken broth will probably work but don't tell Bourdain or he'll chase you down!)
1 sprig parsley
salt and pepper
2 ounces of Sherry (the real deal not the crappy salted junk from the market) (I used tawny port because that's what I had, seemed to work well enough for me)

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until translucent (a few minutes).

Add the 4 tablespoons of butter and mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes or so, until the mushrooms are sweating. Make sure that the onions do not brown.

Stir in chicken stock and parsley. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Simmer for 1 hour or so. The recipe didn't state whether to cover or not, I left it slightly covered. Just make sure it is simmering slowly.

After an hour, remove parsley and blend on high speed IN BATCHES. Make sure that you hold down the cover of the blender VERY FIRMLY or you will be splashed and burned by the mushroom soup. Believe me, it almost happened to me.

Return blended soup to the pot, season w/ salt and peper and bring to a simmer again. Add the sherry and mix well.

Serve immediately or reheat for the next day.


February 15, 2006

Lemon Mousse - The Real Deal

This is another recipe from Alice Medrich from her Cocolat book:

1 3/4-2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (use higher amount when using a mold)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup of sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle gelatin over 3 teasponns of cold water in small container. Set aside for 5 minutes without stirring.

Bring lemon juice, zest and 1/2 cup sugar to a simmer over a nonreactive pan.

PLace egg yolks in small bowl and pour hot lemon mixture over them, whisking constantly to prevent scoarching. Return mixture to pan and cook over low heat stirring constantly to prevent sticking and scoarching. Cook until it begins to simmer and remove from heat. Pour through a strainer into a clean bowl. Whisk in softened gelatin and vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.

In a clean dry mixing bowl whisk egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar while mixing. Beat at high speed until stiff but not dry.

Fold 1/4 beaten egg white into lemon mixture to lighten.

Immediately beat cream in same bowl as egg whites until soft peaks form. DO NOT OVERBEAT or mousse will be grainy. Fold beaten cream and the rest of egg whites into lightened lemon mixture.

Turn mousse immediately into a mold or serving glasses. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Copyright (c) 1990 Alice Medrich

Lemon Mousse - "Low Fat"

The Lemon Mousse portion of the Lemon Mousse Cake recipe from Chocolate and the Art of Low-fat Desserts by Alice Medrich, 1994

  • 1 1/2 tsp gelatin
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, strained
  • 3/4 cup sugar(divided)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle the gelatin over 3 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl or cup. Set aside to soften, without stirring, for at least 5 minutes. Set a strainer over a large bowl.

Combine the lemon zest, juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Beat the whole egg and egg yolk in a small bowl until light. Beat some of the hot lemon mixture into the eggs. Scrape back into the saucepan. Cook and stir constantly, reaching all over the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent burning, until barely starting to simmer around the edges. Pour the mixture through the strainer set over a bowl. Stir in the softened gelatin and vanilla. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Stir and scrape the sides from time to time until the mixture is cool and beginning to thicken. If it begins to set before needed, remove from the ice bath, whisk, and set aside. If it actually sets, place in a bowl of hot water and stir until softened again.

Make a safe meringue: (If you have safe egg whites, you can avoid all the to-do of heating them to 160 degrees.) Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large skillet. Combine the cream of tartar and 4 teaspoons of water in a 6- to 8-cup stainless steel bowl. Whisk in the egg whites and the remaining sugar(1/2 cup). Place a thermometer near the stove in a mug of very hot water. Set the stainless bowl in the skillet. Stir briskly and constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and bottom often to avoid scrambling the whites. After 1 1/2 minutes, remove bowl from the skillet. Quickly insert thermometer, tilting bowl to cover the stem by at least 2 inches. If less than 160 degrees, rinse thermometer in skillet water and return it to the mug. Replace bowl in skillet. Stir as before until temperature reaches 160 degrees when bowl is removed. Beat on high speed until cool and stiff. Set aside.

Beat cream until it holds its shape but is not too stiff. Set aside.

Fold 1/2 of lemon mixture it the beaten egg whites. Scrape back on top of the remaining lemon mixture. Scrape whipped cream on top. Fold all together. (Can be refrigerated for up to one day).