RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: mushrooms

Mushroom Potato Soup with Chicken Liver Pâté

 

It has been an amazing week here in the Northwest, lots of sunshine and of course there has been some rain, but what would the Northwest be without the drizzle?  I have lost count of all the new hummingbirds, the new-comer Rufus’s and add lots more Anna’s arriving for the new season.  It will be at least another month before we see any Calliope’s.  The Allen’s usually live on the outskirts and visit regularly.  They are in the process of working out all of the logistics… all the planning of who will live where and who has control of what feeder and then when the wildflowers bloom in the fields and my hummingbird plants start to bloom they will have to start again!   Not to say that we do not hear bickering going on out there.  What is life without a little internal strife and squabbling among friends?

T has his manly meal the other day and I was trying to think of something different to make for dinner… something we had not had in a long time.  I am one of those souls who dearly loves Liver Pâté… I usually have it once a year either during the Christmas Holidays or like a year ago for Valentine’s Dinner.  With my Mother being sick since right before Christmas and then her passing just before Valentine’s Day we did not do much special this year… no Liver Pâté.

Liver Pâté came to my thoughts and I could not get rid of the wanting of… no the craving of it would be more like it.  I love to spread some on lightly toasted baguette… I could just taste it.  Then I wondered what would we have with it… another thing I dearly love is Mushroom soup.  Homemade Mushroom soup that is thick and creamy now I had a meal that I was going to make no matter what.  I wonder what T would think… was he in a mood for Liver Pâté and thick, creamy Mushroom Soup.  When I told him I was making a list of things I needed from the market for dinner he asked what I was fixing… I let him know and he said it sounded good to him.  He was even willing to go to market and get the few things I needed to make the meal… what a relief because I did not feel for the trip to town today.

I found this recipe several years ago from Food and Wine and started using it and it has been my favorite since.  Very easy to make and it is silky-smooth… it melts in your mouth.

 

  

Chicken Liver Pâté

Ingredients:

  •         1/2 pound chicken livers, well-trimmed (I only use organic chicken livers)
  •         1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  •         1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  •         1 bay leaf
  •         1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
  •         Kosher salt
  •         1/2 cup water
  •         1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  •         2 teaspoons Cognac or Scotch whisky
  •         Freshly ground pepper
  •         Toasted baguette slices, for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken livers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover; reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are barely pink inside, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.    

Discard the bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers, onion and garlic to a food processor; process until coarsely pureed. With the machine on, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Add the Cognac, season with salt and pepper and process until completely smooth. Scrape the pâté into 2 or 3 large ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled.

Make Ahead: The pâté can be covered with a thin layer of melted butter, then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

 

 

Potato and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  •         1 cup oyster mushrooms (1/2 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
  •         1 cup shiitake mushrooms (1 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
  •         3/4 cup crimini mushrooms (3/4 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
  •         2 cloves of minced garlic
  •         1 finely chopped onion
  •        1 stalk of celery chopped up finely
  •         1 ½ cups water
  •         1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •         2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced very thin
  •         5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  •         2 large baking potatoes finely diced
  •         1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  •         2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •         Salt and freshly ground pepper
  •         1 cup of cream (I used fat-free half n half instead)
  •         Crusty bread, for serving

 

Finely chop the mushrooms, onions and celery (I used my food processor.)  Mince the garlic.   Place all in pan with water and bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer until mushrooms and onions are tender.  I let this boil down a little to make a headier broth, do not overcook the mix.

Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, reserved sliced mushrooms, potatoes, and the mix you have already cooked, along with the thyme (I did not have any thyme so used parsley) to the pot.  Cook over moderate heat until the potatoes are done, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and butter and season the soup with salt and pepper.  Serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread.

This soup is amazing; if anything I would add more mushrooms.  It is a nice thick, creamy soup that you can taste each level of the ingredients.  The leeks make a wonderful addition.  You can make this without any cream or half n half and it is still very good.

T and I enjoyed the toasted baguette with the Liver Pâté immensely and the Mushroom and Potato Soup was a real treat that had so many layers of textures and full flavors each in its own right….

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Stuffed Pork Chops

T loves pork; I think most men love pork, maybe everyone loves pork… I am not a big pork eater.  As a child I would not even touch the stuff… I thought it was pure fat!

Anyway…  I decided to make stuff pork chops for a belated Valentine’s Day dinner.  They went over well, I even enjoyed mine.  They were very easy to make I always keep a pint of homemade seasoned croutons in the pantry alongside a pint of toasted seasoned breadcrumbs, and one pint of crushed cracker crumbs.  When I need to make any one of the three I always make a few extra so I have them the next time a recipe could call for them.  It makes it (life) so much easier.

I had some pork broth in the freezer that I thawed and added:

  • Around 3∕4 cup of pork broth, you could use chicken broth
  • 1∕8 cup of diced onion
  • 1∕8 cup of diced celery
  • One clove of diced garlic
  • Some fresh Parsley that I chopped up
  • 1 Cremini Mushroom diced up
  • About 1∕8 cup of dried tart cherries, save until the last-minute to add to the simmering pot

I put everything into a little sauce pan except the parsley and cherries.  I simmered this until the onions and celery were just soft. This too will reduce some giving the broth more flavor.  I added the dried tart cherries and parsley just a few minutes before I needed to put this broth mix in with the bread mix.

While that was simmering I put some of the seasoned baked croutons in a Ziploc bag and rolled a roller pin over a few times (when I make my seasoned croutons I make them about an inch in size.)  I wanted them broken up in smaller pieces.  Add about half that amount in seasoned toasted bread crumbs and add in 1 Tablespoon of cornmeal.   Then add about ½ teaspoon of sage, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  If you have a favorite bread stuffing than by all means use it!

Then spoon all the onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms, parsley, and cherries out of the broth and stir them into the bread mixture.  Add just a bit of broth at a time into the mix, you do not want to get the stuffing too moist or soggy!  Let it cool down before adding one egg and mix it in.  Once it is thoroughly mixed leave it to dry out a bit.  Now it is time to stuff the pork chops.

 I had the butcher cut a pocket in each of the pork chops for me.  It makes it that much easier.  Once you have the stuffing ready, rested, patted, and loved stuff each pork chop as full as you can get it, using your hands.  (This is where I normally loosely stitch close the hole with some regular dental floss… as you can see by the photos I forgot until they had been in the oven about 30 minutes, too late!)  When finished wash your hands and then seasoned both sides of the chop with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to keep hands clean I use tongs to flip the pork chop over to get all sides seasoned.  Then wrap them up individually in aluminum foil and close it tight, place each in a baking pan and bake for about an hour at 350˚.   The timing could be different depending on the size and thickness of the chops.

I had a little stuffing left over so I used one of my small baking dishes and added a couple of tablespoon of broth on top of the stuffing put a cover on it and baked in  the oven while baking the stuffed pork chops.  When I was checking on them I could really smell the tart cherries cooking in the mix.  It all smelled so succulent and luscious.

While they were baking I made a cream sauce:

  • 1 Cup of pork broth or you can use chicken broth
  • 1 Cremini Mushroom sliced in half and then sliced into thin slices
  • About the same in diced onions that you have in the sliced mushrooms
  • One clove garlic diced up small
  • Some chopped Parsley

Put all in a saucepan and simmer until it has reduced by half.  When it is done while it is still at a low boil I whisked in 1 teaspoon of butter and then a couple of quick splashes of heavy cream.  I added just a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper and let it simmer to thicken stirring every once in a while.  Sometimes when I want a nice cream soup I make this sauce as a soup… it is delicious!

I forgot we had roasted brussel sprouts on the side; they were a perfect side dish to the stuffed pork chops.

When you have baked the chops there will be some wonderful juice in each packet, I add it to my cream mushroom sauce!  Once I had the chops out of the foil I put them back in the baking dish and put them under the boiler for just a few minutes to lightly brown them.

The stuffed pork chops came out pleasing to the eye.  The dried tart cherries were a very nice complement to the dish.  The chops were moist and delicious and the broth cream sauce put it over the top, T loved them, which was all I needed to know….

Look what we found today on our walk… out front… spring is giving us a peek!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Julienne Veggies

 

We noticed in the advertisements this week that pork tenderloin was on sale.  We have not had port tenderloin in years.  It sounded so good.  It was decided we would get one and roast part of it and use part to make some pork tenderloin gliders the next evening.

I was surprised at how nice the pork tenderloin looked.  As I took the butcher’s paper off I wonder why I did not use this cut of meat more often?  It was a very nice cut of meat, it reminds me of when I buy art supplies and such I get so excited and want to jump right in and get started.  You know beforehand that this project is going to be a good one.  One you will enjoy each step of the way.

I noticed at one of the kitchen shops they have a new julienne cutter, one that looked like a normal potato peeler.  They were using veggies and they looked so delicious.  I did not have this new fangled gadget and I am trying really hard to stop buying everything that comes onto the market, I am running out of room to store things.  I do use all my gadgets, but just do not want to add to the lot that I already have.  I do have a nice mandolin that makes the perfect julienne cuts; it’s the original julienne cutter, so it can do what this new product can do, better.  I thought about buying a new disk for my food processor that julienned but decided against it because for the same reasons listed above.

The dinner would be roasted pork tenderloin, julienned zucchini and yellow squash, with a Tossed Hearts of Romaine salad on the side.   Added to the romaine were sliced radishes, thin wedged apple slices, quartered and thin slices of red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, with a pomegranate, balsamic vinegar, olive oil dressing and then sprinkled with the thin sliced garlic chips I made while making fresh garlic oil to sear the pork tenderloin in before roasting.

Ingredient:

  • Olive Oil ~ enough to sear tenderloin in
  • 2 garlic cloves that are sliced thin ~ to make garlic chips
  • 1 to 1 ½ pound pork tenderloin
  • ½ to 3 ∕4 teaspoon of Rubbed Dalmatian Sage
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • Black Pepper Bacon, enough to wrap tenderloin in
  • Red Onion thin slices
  • Mushroom cut into small wedges (I used one nice size Portabella Mushroom)
  • ½ cup of Whole Petite  Onions (you can buy them in with the frozen veggies)
  • 1 t o 1 ½ cups of Chicken Broth

 

Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in heavy bottom frying pan and add the sliced garlic put the lid on and let this marinate for about 1-2 hours (do not cook, just marinating.)   When you take the lid off the aroma of garlic is pretty strong, but smells so good.  Over medium heat cook the garlic until it is just turning golden brown, continue swirling the oil in the pan to move the garlic around and turn it several times while cooking it.  Remove from oil and put on paper towel you will be using later on the salad.

I put the Sea Salt (remember you will be using bacon which has salt,) ground Black Pepper and Rubbed Dalmatian Sage in the bottom of the roasting pan I will be using to roast the tenderloin in.  Use the smallest roasting pan you have mine is around 7” x 9”.  I put the uncooked tenderloin in roasting pan and rolled around until all sides  had some of the seasoning.

Heat the garlic infused oil in the frying pan on medium-high heat until hot and add the tenderloin, be careful it will be hissing and spitting some and you do not want to burn yourself or make a big mess.  I put a lid on it and when ready to turn the tenderloin I take off heat and let it settle down a bit and then turn it with my tongs and put back on the heat. I do this until all sides of the tenderloin are nicely brown.

Once you have the tenderloin browned on all sides put the tenderloin back in the roasting pan, the same one you have used to season the tenderloin.  Let it cool down just a bit and when you can handle it without burning your little fingers take the pepper bacon and wrap the tenderloin from one end to the other, covering it well.  (This helps to keep it juicy!)  I use tooth picks on the ends of the bacon to keep them in place.  It won’t take as much bacon as you think; the tenderloin is still pretty warm when you wrap it and the bacon when slightly heated stretches out longer in length than you think it will.  I used a total of two slices of peppered bacon to wrap my tenderloin roast.  Preheat oven to 375˚.

Roast the tenderloin in preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until it has an internal temperature of 145 degrees.  The length of time is determined by the size of the tenderloin.   Remove from oven and transfer to cutting board, cover loosely with foil (tent) let it rest for about 10 minutes.  The tenderloin will continue to cook for a few minutes.  Slice into about ½ inch slices.

Meanwhile while tenderloin is roasting in the frying pan that you browned the garlic and tenderloin in add about ½ cup of thin sliced red onion and cook for a few minutes, add wedged mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, place the red onions and mushrooms on plate save for later.  Now add about 1 – 1 ½ cups of chicken broth, stir and get all the browned bits and such combined with broth.  Cook this on medium to a little higher heat, you want it to boil, not a rushing boil, until it is reduced by about at least a third and add the whole petite onions, the cooked red onions and mushrooms and simmer for about five minutes or so, when the bulb onions are just tender it is done.

Plate the sliced tenderloin and pour the onion sauce over the tenderloin.  Save some of the sauce to put over julienne veggies (once you have them platted.)

Julienne Veggies:

  • two small Zucchini, with mandarin cut into thin long julienne strips the length of each zucchini ~ similar to the size of thin fettuccine
  • two small Yellow Squash,  using mandarin cut into long thin julienne strips length of each yellow squash, just like you did with the zucchini

Once you have your veggies julienned put in steam basket (I laid them in a circular manner in the steam basket placing some zucchini then yellow squash and back again until you have all the julienned veggies in steam basket) and steam until just turning tender, you do not want to overcook, or they will be soggy and fall apart.  You want them to keep their shape.

As soon as they were done I took the basket out and placed in a bowl so they would not cook anymore, I did not use ice water or anything, I wanted them to retain some of their heat.  I used clean tongs to carefully plate the julienned veggies.   Once I made a nice nest of the veggies I placed 3 slices of tenderloin and some sauce over veggies and added a few of the whole petite onions.

I had roasted a couple of very small Yukon Yellow potatoes (click if you want directions) that needed to be used.  With the nice side salad they were not necessary, but I just loathe wasting food.

The meal was very delicious, lots of flavor to waken up  the taste-buds and had lots of color.  It was a nice change to have tenderloin, it had been a long time since having this tender cut of meat, and I do not think I will wait as long to recap this meal….

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