It's been weeks of cooking in this corner of the universe, the house smelling alternately of savory herbs and melting chocolate. First there was my birthday party shenanigans (which will be its own post later), then my husband's birthday, then Thanksgiving tomorrow. All of which have been/will be/is being baked by me. It's an undertaking but something I *love* doing! Cooking, like raspberry picking, is my zen and one of the places other than the written page where I get to play.
Of course, like writing, cooking sometimes has its own challenges. I like elaborate sweets and so making "steampunk-style" desserts proves that I am my own worst frenemy, fretting over details and going back and forth over the same idea in the hopes of getting it right. (Sound familiar? Ever feel this way about being our own internal editors? Very often I'd like to smack myself with a wooden spoon...or one of Miss Snark's cluebats!) And, like writing, the results can be rewarding, but it can take an awful long time to get there!
"Top Hat" rum cupcakes with Ghirardelli frosting and pearl candy goggles. Yep, I'm insane.
My husband's dinner was in some ways easier, and in other ways harder because it was inspired by foods that he's loved from his favorite restaurants; let's call this a "fanfiction" dinner. Horseradish crusted cod came out excellent, but the sauce didn't, and while the creamy garlic mashed potatoes were too runny, topping them with extra Parmesan and sticking them in the oven made a "twice-baked" potato that hit the spot! His favorite homemade bread, broccoli with white pepper, and Mom's sherried mushroom soup* were all wonderful! The triple ginger-cardamom ice cream was "thumbs up" on flavor but "thumbs down" on texture -- Herrell's original hot fudge sauce to the rescue! (Much like fanfiction, ending it sweet makes everything better!)
So now I am left planning for Thanksgiving, cooking for 1 vegetarian, 2 diabetics, 1 low-carb, 1 gluten-free/dairy-free, and four kids in a kosher home. It's like being a freelancer hired for a package deal! Wish me luck! (Or better yet, recipes!)
Happy Thanksgiving-Prep Day!
P.S. Speaking of recipes, I'd feel negligent if I didn't share Mom's Sherried Mushroom Soup. [Disclaimer: actually the recipe was from Mom's best friend, Davida, who is Talented In All Things...like jewelry!] And like a good writing tip or breaking trade news, it's always best to share!
SHERRIED MUSHROOM SOUP
2 lbs fresh mushrooms
4 green onions
1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1.5 t. salt
1/4 t. each pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg
4 c. milk or half-and-half (guess which one I prefer?)
2 c. chicken broth (in our house, we use veggie broth)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 c. dry sherry
2-3 t. dry thyme
Slice mushrooms and chop stems. Thinly slice onions, reserve green tops for garnish. Saute mushrooms and whites of onions in butter. Remove vegetables. Stir in flour and seasonings into the remaining butter in pan. Gradually stir in scalded milk and broth. Cook, stirring until slightly thickened. Mix egg yolks and sherry. Gradually add to soup, stirring. Take half mushrooms and some soup and puree in blender or use hand blender and add back into the soup to thicken. Serve immediately topped with green onions.
To prepare in advance, stop just before adding the egg yolks. Refrigerate. Just before serving, reheat, stir in yolks and sherry, and serve. Serves 8...or 4 if you're greedy!