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Soups and Fall seem simultaneous. It is cold outside with a few snow flurries and I am looking out of the kitchen kneading bread and stirring soup.  This just makes my heart sing.  I some days wish I had a group of friends I could just call and say “Soup’s On”, please come on over.

I started making a lot of soup when I had a restaurant on Bainbridge Island in the 90’s.  Every day I would make a new soup, so there was always something different to try. I honestly wish there was a local restaurant that would do the same.  Most local restaurants have the same menu (and soup) day after day, month after month, and unfortunately year after year.

A little behind in my posting, but not in my cooking, so today I will add the recipes of the last week or so starting with yesterday.  IMG_6679

As a child on the weekends we often had Campbell’s tomato soup and a burnt grilled cheese sandwich (on Wonder bread). As an adult, the idea is appealing, but not the ingredients, so several years ago I started making my own tomato soup.  I don’t always use the same recipe (and now really don’t use one at all), but the ingredients must be fresh and wonderful for it to be tasty.  I love how it looks in the pot after it has been pureed.  Doesn’t that just look inviting!

This is what I did yesterday and scroll down for the Paul Hollywood Savory Brioche Couronne (bread with ham & cheese)

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Ingredients

10 Roma tomatoes

1 onion

A couple cups of home-made Chicken stock

1 tbsp of EVOO

3 – 5 garlic sliced thin ( I like garlic, so always throw in a little extra)

Hand-full of fresh oregano from my herb garden

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup or so of chopped basil

1 stick of butter ( oh yeah, that adds to the flavor)

1 cup or so of half & half or whipped cream

Fresh reggiano parmigiano for the top

Sour cream for the top  and I added chives for color (but just a little)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine quartered tomatoes, onions, whole garlic cloves, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in large roasting pan. Roast, stirring once or twice, until tomatoes are brown in spots, about 11/2 hours. Let cool 5 minutes. Working in two batches, process roasted tomato mixture in food processor until smooth. (Pureed mixture can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

2. Put the mixture back in the pot, add the chicken stock, basil, oregano, butter and cream and simmer a few minutes.  Taste it and add salt & pepper to your taste.

3. Put in a pretty bowl and top with sour cream and a little shredded parmesan.

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Ingredients

 

 

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Sunday Night Dinner at Kingsley Manor

Since it was an ugly rainy day and could not finish my outdoor painting (back door and step risers) I spent time in my happy place – my kitchen.  My husband tells me I come home from Costco with more books than anything else.  OMG he is right!  This last trip brought Cooks Baking Book and What Good Cooks Know home with me.  As I was meandering through The Baking Book, I saw a recipe for Rum Raisin Bread Pudding and could not remember the last time I made it.  Off to the store to pick up a few supplies.

My brioche bread was going to waste in the refrigerator, so I thought it would be the perfect base for the bread.

Passing the vegetable isle, they had the most perfectly red heirloom tomatoes, so memories of Caprese we had on Lido Island in Venice came to mind.  It is a lovely rendition as the layers are stacked.  Basil was gorgeous and on sale, so pesto was easy to make.  I make mine quickly in the mini – Cuisinart, kind of Jamie Oliver style.  Throw in a bunch of basil, a few garlic cloves ( more is better than less), a good amount of California Olive Oil and the best parmesan I have.  Add a little salt and a tad of lemon juice and you have wonderful fresh pesto.

On my last visit to Costco, other than the books, I bought a nice piece of wild salmon.  Looking online I found what turned out to be a perfectly delicious and easy way to cook salmon.

Almond Crusted Salmon

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

“If you are, like I am, a fan of salmon, you’ll especially like this one. Crunchy almonds make this fish delicious!”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces skinless salmon fillet
  • 2 eggs, separate egg whites, and discard yoke. Beat egg whites in small bowl
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix almonds, parsley, lemon peel, about 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper on plate. Place flour on another plate. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Dredge salmon in flour, shaking off excess. Lightly brush 1 side of salmon with beaten egg. Press brushed side of salmon into almond mixture, pressing lightly so that almond and seasoning mixture stick.
  2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add salmon to skillet, almond-coated side down, and cook until crust is brown, about 5 minutes. Turn salmon over. Sauté until salmon is cooked through and opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Transfer salmon to plates. Serve with lemon slices.

This was quick easy and the salmon was incredibly moist.  I picked up squash the other day, so sautéed it in little butter with fresh thyme from my garden while the salmon cooked.

Even though I  have to admit I was too full after dinner, I stole a tiny bit of the Rum Raisin Bread Pudding and I think you will like the recipe.  This is from Cook’s Baking Book  which is now, as you know available at your local Costco.

Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Cinnamon

  • cup golden raisins
  • 5 teaspoons dark rum
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 (14-ounce) loaf challah, bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10 cups) (see note)
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

SERVES 8 TO 10

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Challah is an egg-enriched bread that can be found in most bakeries and supermarkets. If you cannot find challah, a firm high-quality sandwich bread such as Arnold Country Classics White or Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White may be substituted. If desired, serve this pudding with softly whipped cream or with Bourbon-Brown Sugar Sauce (see related recipe, substituting rum for bourbon). Store leftovers tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. To retain a crisp top crust when reheating leftovers, cut the bread pudding into squares and heat, uncovered, in a 450-degree oven until warmed through, 6 to 8 minutes.

  1. Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Combine golden raisins and dark rum in small bowl. Heat in microwave on high power until hot, about 20 seconds; set aside to cool, about 15 minutes.
  3. Spread bread cubes in single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until just dry, about 15 minutes, switching trays from top to bottom racks halfway through. Cool bread cubes about 15 minutes; set aside 2 cups.
  4. Whisk yolks, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk in cream and milk until combined. Stir in cooled raisin mixture. Add remaining 8 cups cooled bread cubes and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and let stand, occasionally pressing bread cubes into custard, until cubes are thoroughly saturated, about 30 minutes.
  5. Spread reserved bread cubes evenly over top of soaked bread mixture and gently press into custard. Using pastry brush, dab melted butter over top of unsoaked bread pieces. Sprinkle brown-sugar mixture evenly over top. Place bread pudding on rimmed baking sheet and bake on middle rack until custard has just set, and pressing center of pudding with finger reveals no runny liquid, 45 to 50 minutes. (Instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pudding should read 170 degrees.) Transfer to wire rack and cool until pudding is set and just warm, about 45 minutes. Serve.

There you have it another day having fun in my kitchen.

Sunday Night Dinner at Kingsley Manor

Brioche Bread & Mushroom Bisque

America’s Test Kitchen is my favorite cookbook for the moment.  The mushroom bisque is simple and yummy.  It freezes well, as this was pulled from the freezer in the morning.  I added Enoki Mushrooms and little sour cream, to jazz it up at the last minute.  The Extra Rich Brioche Bread recipe is from Iliana Regan in the latest edition for Food & Wine Magazine, featuring the Best Chefs.

Extra Rich Brioche

INGREDIENTS

  • One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm buttermilk (100°–105°)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Canola oil, for greasing

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the yeast with the buttermilk until it dissolves. Let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the bread flour with the sugar and salt. With the machine at medium speed, add the yeast mixture, then add 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Drizzle in the butter and beat for 10 minutes; the dough will look slightly greasy. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding.
  3. Lightly oil a 10-by-5-inch loaf pan. On a work surface, roll out the dough to a 10-by-8-inch rectangle. With a long side facing you, fold the dough in thirds and fit seam side down in the prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425° and set a rack in the center. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Brush the top of the brioche with some of the egg wash and make a 1/4-inch-deep slit down the center of the loaf. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush the top again with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes longer, until the top is deep golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the 
loaf registers 182°. Transfer the brioche to a rack to cool for 
30 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely.

MAKE AHEAD

The brioche can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil and kept at room temperature for 2 days.

Mushroom Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth
  • cup heavy cream, plus extra for serving
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh chives

Instructions

SERVES 6 TO 10

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Tying the thyme sprig with twine makes it easier to remove from the pot. For the smoothest result, use a conventional blender rather than an immersion blender. Our Fried Shallots (see related content) can replace the garnish of cream and chopped chives.

  1. Toss white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and 1 tablespoon salt together in large bowl. Cover with large plate and microwave, stirring every 4 minutes, until mushrooms have released their liquid and reduced to about one-third their original volume, about 12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to colander set in second large bowl and drain well. Reserve liquid.
  2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and fond has formed on bottom of pot, about 8 minutes. Add onion, thyme sprig, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is just softened, about 2 minutes. Add sherry and cook until evaporated. Stir in reserved mushroom liquid and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in water and broth and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Discard thyme sprig. Working in batches, process soup in blender until very smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per batch. Return soup to now-empty pot. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Warm to 150 degrees before proceeding with recipe.)
  4. Whisk cream and egg yolks together in medium bowl. Stirring slowly and constantly, add 2 cups soup to cream mixture. Stirring constantly, slowly pour cream mixture into simmering soup. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until soup registers 165 degrees (do not overheat). Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, garnishing each serving with 1 teaspoon extra cream and sprinkle of chives.

TECHNIQUES

Lots of Mushrooms, Little Work

Our bisque contains a full 2 pounds of mushrooms, but we found that there’s no need to slice or chop them. Because mushrooms lack a thick outer layer, they give up moisture readily even when left whole. We simply toss them with salt and microwave them until most of their liquid is released. Then we brown the shriveled mushrooms to deepen their flavor and use the reserved mushroom liquid to help form the base of the soup.

MEGA MUSHROOMS: A mix of white button, cremini, and shiitake mushrooms gives our soup woodsy depth.

Yoking Together Yolks for Silky—and Flavorful—Bisque

The abundance of cream in bisques gives them their lush consistency, but it also makes most versions taste flat. While the fat droplets in cream thicken a liquid by getting in the way of water molecules, slowing their movement, they also mute flavor by coating the tongue and preventing flavor molecules from reaching taste receptors.

For a bisque with both pleasing body and a more pronounced mushroom flavor, we turned instead to an old-school French thickener—a so-called liaison, which replaces a large portion of the cream with egg yolks. As the bisque heats, proteins in the yolks unfold and bond together into long, tangled strands that, like the fat in cream, interfere with the movement of water molecules. Egg yolks also contain the powerful emulsifier lecithin, which has a twofold effect: It breaks up the fat droplets into smaller particles that disperse more completely throughout the liquid, obstructing more water molecules, for an even thicker consistency. It also keeps the bisque smooth by holding the fat droplets suspended in the liquid so they don’t separate out.

If yolks can do all this, why even use cream? Because the fat it contains provides an appealing mouthfeel that yolks alone can’t match.

 

Brioche Bread & Mushroom Bisque