Sunday, May 8, 2016

Marsala Mushroom and Quinoa Soup

I have been eating out so often over the past year. I'm actually quite tired of paying the prices, adding the calories and feeling sluggish. I'm recommitting to my love of cooking and hopefully blogging more often.

While I've been on this eating out tear, I have still been shopping in hopes that I would get by butt back in the kitchen. Fresh foods were rotting in my veggie bins and it was really bugging me that I was being so wasteful.

This particular week I had some beautiful cremini mushrooms teetering on the brink of going bad and I had some leftover cooked quinoa. It's almost the end of cool weather here, so I thought soup should be on the menu. I've always been a fan of Marsala sauces and I happened to have some in my pantry. I looked around to see what else I had in the kitchen so I didn't have to run to the store. I think you'll like the results.

Masala Mushroom and Quinoa Soup

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or other neutral flavored oil), separated
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, small dice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons marsala wine
3 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat add 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, onions and brown sugar. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until onions are caramelized and soft. Add remaining tablespoon of oil and mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms release their liquid. Add thyme, black pepper and salt. Increase heat to medium. Saute until liquid is just about gone, approximate 7 minutes. Deglaze with marsala wine. Saute until liquid is about gone again, about 5 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, Braggs and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and heat through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Friends in the Kitchen NYE Appetizer - Root Vegetable Cakes with Dirty Rice Rolls and Spicy Sweet Aoili

Every year we do our New Year's Eve dinner, I get super excited to see what will come out of the creative minds and kitchens of my friends.

A little backstory...and certainly my intuition and interpretation. I believe that there are very few coincidences and that we have a lot more history than we are aware of. It seemed an odd coincidence that my friend Jerry and I were introduced by an old high school buddy of mine. After we became friends it became crystal clear that this was no coincidence. When Jerry and I get a chance to talk food and collaborate on an amazing meal I know that we have known each other for a very long time. He get as obsessed as I do with bringing something exciting to the table and I feel I could talk to him for days about gardening, food, cooking and life. 

So every year when we start planning our NYE party, I am like a little kid waiting to see what he is going to create. This year was extra awesome, because I got to help him plate.

Keeping with the cajun/creole theme and his incredible creativity, the appetizer was a festival for the taste buds. I wish I had a recipe, because it was that good. He is iron chef-like and just goes to town creating...which does not include stopping to write things down lest the creative process be hindered.

I do know that the earthy root vegetable cake was created with beets, parsnips, carrots and damn I'm not sure of what finally made it bind. It was truly on the fly. The collards were stuffed with an incredible spicy dirty rice. I could have eaten bowls full of the rice alone. The piquant pepper hit all of the regions of taste buds. It was drizzled with a spicy sweet aioli. The pictures barely do it any justice. His wine pairing of a fruit forward but dry syrah was amazing. 

Tell me this isn't a great way to start the night! 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Year's Eve Fabulousness, Festivities and Food!!!

For me, 2015 was the year of work. I spent the year learning, learning and learning more about my new position at work. I love my job, but I let it take over most of my time and energy. The blog, my waistline and my kitchen creativity took the biggest hits. I am happy to say that 2015 was also the year of the kitchen remodel (I will post about that later). Most of the remodel is complete and it is re-igniting my passion for cooking and entertaining (and hopefully blogging).

Last year was the first time in many years we didn't host our 4 course wine tasting dinner and it was sorely missed. I have vowed to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen again! It is always the best way to ring in the New Year: great conversation, great friends and of course amazing food.

This year I originally told everyone to go vegan rogue without a theme. I did mention that I was going to make something cajun/creole, but really had no idea what I was going to make. We lost the Cajun master Paul Prudhomme, so I felt my choice was a very fitting tribute. The table-scape had a Mardi Gras vibe.

I'm going to give you a teaser today and post the menu. My next posts will feature the actual food. Commence drooling!