Sunday, April 29, 2007

Chocolate and mushrooms

For those of us with food allergies, it's nice to remind ourselves that even with restricted diets we can still eat VERY well. This weekend, I was at a dinner party where I brought the flourless chocolate cake recipe from a previous post. Everyone LOVED its intense,deep chocolate flavor (it was served with a muscat dessert wine, which I skipped). Luckily the hosts love to entertain and had lovely plates and forks that made my cake look extra special. It was so pretty that I took a picture with my camera phone! It's a little dark because of the low light, but you get the idea of how elegant it was. (My piece was served with Cool Whip to keep it almost dairy free.)

Then tonight, I recreated a mushroom soup from one of my favorite local restaurants. Dairy-free, mushroomy, satisfying, and most of all, yummy! It's easy to make and great for food allergic people since there isn't any dairy or wheat, and is additionally completely vegan. Be sure to saute the mushrooms until they're completely carmelized, or the flavor will be really flat. This soup is thickened with the mushrooms themselves,using an immersion (stick) blender. But if you don't have one, you can use a regular blender or food processor, just be careful and use the lid since the soup is very hot. Mmmmm.

Mushroomy Mushroom Soup
Makes 6 cups

1 onion, roughly diced
2 TBS olive oil
4 cups white mushrooms, sliced (about 4 oz.)
4 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced (about 4 oz.)
2 TBS marsala wine
6 c. water
1 tsp. salt
black pepper

1. Saute onion in olive oil for 1-2 minutes on low-medium heat, until it starts to brown.
2. Add in all mushrooms and continue to saute, stirring frequently, until mushrooms lose their water and completely carmelize, approx. 15 minutes. Reserve a few sauteed mushrooms to garnish.
3. Add in wine and water, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend.
4. Take soup off heat, then use immersion (stick) blender to puree the mushroom/onion mixture until desired smoothness. If you don't have an immersion blender, puree in a regular blender or food processor. Use a lid, and be careful with the hot soup, it can fly everwhere!
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with reserved mushroom pieces.

Optional: if you can have dairy or soy milk, you can add either of them warmed, about 1/2c - 1 cup, near the end and make a lovely cream of mushroom soup. Adjust salt and pepper accordingly.

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