It’s no secret that I love cooking. And researching recipes, well that’s like foreplay for me. But not every recipe gets my attention. What can I say? This Bite-Sized Blonde is one tough cookie, or something that sounds like it tastes better? Who came up with that saying anyway? Why would anyone want to be a tough cookie? Personally, I’d like to think I would be a soft baked cookie, preferably one that was kind of still gooey on inside. But, I digress. The truth is, there are a couple key characteristics I look for in a recipe, including accessible and appealing ingredients and the prep to table ratio. The prep to table ratio is all about time management. And a wise man once told me it’s all about time management, although I’m pretty sure he was talking about dating. I, being a Foodie, obviously related that to what I know best.
The prep to table ratio is a tool I use to help me decide if the juice is worth the squeeze. A time consuming recipe becomes more appealing if it can last longer. The L word is not one I say often, believe you me, but every now and again I let it slip. Leftover. That’s right. I don’t like leftovers, so my prep to table ratio really only relates to what I can freeze and make again when I’m ready. I think the best example of this is soup. It’s time consuming by nature because the flavors develop as the soup cooks. But, one big pot can make about 10 servings, and with 10 plastic containers, that easily becomes 10 meals.
Have a date coming over for dinner? Heat up a soup. Got home late from work? Heat up some soup. Bad weather blues? You get the point.
Porcini Mushroom Soup (makes about 8 servings*)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms
½ ounce of dried maitake mushrooms
½ white onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
½ teaspoon of mushroom mélange seasoning
½ lb. small new potatoes, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
4 cups water
1 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly grated Parmesan
Soak the porcini and maitake mushrooms in 2 ½ cups of hot water for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside in two separate bowls.
Heat a splash of the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot, sauté the onions for a couple of minutes and then stir in the rosemary and potatoes. Add the remaining olive oil and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, the mushrooms and the soaking liquid, 4 cups of water, 1 cup of vegetable stock, salt and mushroom melange seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes. Here comes the important step: taste it! If the broth doesn’t seem flavorful enough, play around! Add salt, pepper or more of any of the ingredients listed above and let the soup continue to cook over medium to high heat for another 30 minutes. If the broth is too intense, you may want to add more water a bit at a time.
If you are ready to serve, sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with a piece of crunchy, toasty bread.
Make sure to freeze your leftovers. Ladle individual servings into plastic containers. That way, when you come home on a cold, dark night, and want some soup, you can simply grab a frozen soup out of the freezer.
*I usually double this recipe so I have lots of extra to freeze! That way, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze…
Recipe inspired by http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/porcini-mushroom-soup-recipe.html