December 2010


This New Year’s Eve, my Sweetie and I are going to The Grape.  Which is a Dallas institution.  And the Institution-within-an-Institution for The Grape is their mushroom soup.  It’s really famous.  I mean, really, REALLY famous.

I have the recipe for their soup, but I have tweaked it, and I daresay that mine is even BETTER.  For reals.  (Be sure and eat the soup with a sourdough baguette!  The bread really makes this dish pop!)

So, here is my redone recipe for The Grape’s Mushroom Soup.

Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbs butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3,  8-oz packages of various mushrooms, chopped.  I like to use button, shiitake, and crimini.  (And throw in some oyster mushrooms if I can find them!)
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • pinch of white pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan.
  2. Add shallots and cook over moderate heat until they become translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in flour and coat vegetables well.
  5. Add white wine and cook for a minute or so, scraping the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add stock slowly, stirring constantly.
  7. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  8. Add white pepper & nutmeg.
  9. Remove from heat, stir in cream, and serve.

Serves 6.

If you serve this with a baguette of sourdough bread and a glass of red wine, you will be adored forever.  Ladies, this soup is a MAN TRAP.  I kid you not.  How else do you think I snagged my husband???  It’s THAT good!

Enjoy!

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It’s Christmas time again!

For this post, I thought I’d give you a few of my favorite recipes.  These are great for giving as Christmas gifts, and they’re super easy to make, too!

Today we’ll be making Peppermint Bark, Chocolate-covered Apricots, and Rum/Bourbon balls!

Peppermint Bark

This stuff is so easy that I’d trust any of my sister’s kids to make it.  At my house, even.  Seriously.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided (Optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided (Optional)
  • 8 ounces high-quality white chocolate chips
  • crushed peppermint candy

Directions:

  1. Roll out parchment paper or aluminum foil and place into a sheet pan.
  2. Place the semisweet chocolate (and 1 teaspoon of the canola oil) into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted.  (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler.)
  3. OPTIONAL:  When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, until chocolate hardens.
  5. Place the white chocolate (and the remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil) into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted.  (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler.)
  6. OPTIONAL:  When the chocolate is melted, stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract.
  7. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer, and spread evenly. Sprinkle the crushed candy over the top and gently press in. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan. and break into small pieces to serve.
  8. Store, tightly sealed,  in the refrigerator.  (Sorry, Chocolate Sacrilege, I know…  but the chocolate isn’t tempered, so it needs to stay refrigerated.)

Chocolate Covered Apricots

These are super fun to make.  And you can be all artsy with the dipping!  Express  yourself through apricots!

Ingredients:

  • Dried apricots
  • white chocolate chips
  • semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Melt each kind of chocolate, separately, in a double boiler or microwave.  (If microwaving, cook in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval.)
  • Dip half of the apricots in white chocolate and place onto waxed paper or parchment paper to cool
  • Dip the other half of the apricots in the semisweet chocolate and place onto waxed/parchment paper to cool.
  • Dip a fork or spoon into the leftover white chocolate, and use it to drizzle streaks onto the dark-chocolate-covered apricots.
  • Dip a fork or spoon into the leftover dark chocolate, and use it to drizzle streaks onto the white-chocolate-covered apricots.
  • When chocolate hardens, store the apricots in a tightly sealed container in a cool place.

Rum/Bourbon Balls

These are seriously everyone’s favorite thing at Christmas.  Make a batch for your Granny and watch her get tipsy!  (That’s when the really interesting stories come out!)  Yay!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, or 1/2 cup rum
  • additional confectioner’s sugar (or nuts, or shredded coconut or cocoa powder)

Directions:

  • Pulverize the vanilla wafers in your food processor.  Or use a rolling pin.
  • Mix crushed wafers, confectioner’s sugar, nuts, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and liquor together until well-blended
  • Mixture should be moist, not soggy.
  • Roll dough by approximate teaspoonfuls into small balls
  • Roll in additional confectioner’s sugar (or nuts or coconut or cocoa powder)
  • Store in tightly covered container in a cool place.

I hope you enjoy these recipes, and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

I’ve got a really good one for you today!

I was at World Market and picked up a mini version of Spanish chorizo.  And I had some scrimps sitting in my freezer at home.  So I decided to make this little concoction…

Penne with Shrimp, Chorizo, and Asiago cheese!

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 shrimp (Mine were in a bag in my freezer.  Feel free to use fresh ones.)
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Asiago Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped Spanish chorizo  (You can use Mexican chorizo if you want, but it will just fall apart and get runny and gross.  So whatever floats yer boat…)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 1 box Penne pasta
  • 3/4 cup white wine

Directions:

  • While you are making the sauce, cook the penne according to directions on package.
  • Save yourself some time and dishwashing by throwing the peas into the water with the penne.
  • When penne is done, set aside.
  • In a nonstick frying pan, fry the shrimp until they are done.  Or just follow the cooking directions on the bag of frozen shrimp.
  • Remove shrimp and set aside.  (And remove the extraneous sauce matter from the pan, if your shrimp came in a bag.

    • In the same pan, add the chopped chorizo and garlic (and a little oil, if you think it will stick.  It probably won’t, but still…)
    • Cook until crunchy and brown.

    • Add the white wine and reduce until it looks something like this:

    • Add the heavy cream and reduce until the sauce is thick.
    • Then add cheese.

    • Then add drained pasta and peas….

    • Mix it all together…

    • Plate it up, and add some Parmesan or something if you want….

    YUM!

    Oh, by the way, how do you like my snazzy new apron that I got in N’Awlins?

    It’s so Me, don’t you think?  =-D