First off: Yes, I am starting to feel *almost* human again. I've still got some lingering sniveling and hacking going on. And I'm still scared to venture OUTSIDE - for fear that The Black Death will come back with a vengeance! Nevertheless, I think - maybe in the next day or two - I should start to feel almost normal again!
And since "Outdoor Activities" are still out of the question, I am back to finding forms of entertainment in the kitchen. Hubbie seems pleased with that - at least!
Yesterday, I made a HUGE vat o' chili. It wasn't particularly noteworthy (mostly came from a pre-packaged dried soup/beans dealy-bob). The only noteworthy quality was that it ended up making well-over a gallon of chili (Holy sh*t!)!
I figured, since the package had Crock Pot Directions, it oughtta fit in my crock pot (I know... "Silly me," right?). Nope, I had to drag out my steam canner and use it as a stock pot b/c I didn't own a pot big enough to contain all that chili! So I am experimenting with "Freezing" chili for future noshing........
Today, I realized that I've got a couple of deliveries' worth of Farm Share Veggies in the fridge (and another delivery coming on Friday!), so I'd best dispense with what I've already got. I *do* hate wasting veggies, after all...
And - because of the Farm-Share - I have discovered a New Love: Leeks (Something I never, ever, would have purchased before)!
Farm-Share Abundance included: Spinach, Onions, Baby Bok Choy, and my beloved Leeks. I also had an 8 oz package of fresh mushrooms that wasn't gonna stay fresh much longer. I figured I'd throw everything together and make some kinda soup. And, to be honest, I am mighty pleased with the results!
QT's Cream of Leeky Spinach Mushroom Soup
Unfortunately, I don't have *exact* measurements (like cups or oz), this is one of those recipes where you just kinda toss in whatever you've got! But if you scroll the the bottom, I have kinda/sorta "condensed" the recipe into something almost-usable!
First, remove the roots and green leaf/stem/whatevers off of 3 good-sized leeks and slice 'em into thin little donuts. You only want to use the white and pale green part of the leeks. Toss (better yet - Compost!) the roots and stems.
Chop up 1/4 of a yellow sweet onion and add that - if you are so inclined.
Then, separate the green-leafy parts from the white stalks of a head of bok-choy. Set the leafy parts aside and chop up the white stalks into small, 1/4" wide strips.
Then mince a couple of cloves of garlic.
Leeks and Bok Choy get sauteed first
Then, slice up the bok-choy leaves into smaller (spinach-sized) pieces. And rinse and remove the stems from the spinach, Combine all the leaves together and set 'em aside for now...
Then slice up your 8 oz of mushrooms and set those aside as well...
Spinach and Mushrooms, waiting patiently
Now heat up some Olive Oil in a medium to large sauce pan (I opted for my large dutch oven - after yesterdays Chili Overload!). Add the Leeks, onions, garlic and bok choy stalks to the olive oil and saute on medium heat 'til everything is starting to get limp and translucent - but not brown.
I ended up adding a tablespoon of sugar and a sprinkling of sea salt, then turned the heat to low and let it sit and "sweat" til everything was pretty limp, but not brown or crispy (maybe 5-10 mins?)...
Then add your leafy stuff and mushrooms and continue to saute on medium heat. Heat, stirring constantly, 'til the leaves get all limp and shrively, and the mushrooms start to brown.
At this point, you might want to add a sprinkle or three of your favorite seasoning salt...
It's all steamy (not blurry!), and it smells divine!
Then add appx 1/4-1/2 cup of white cooking wine to deglaze the pan (burn off the oiliness).
Add a couple of 14.5 oz cans of broth. I opted for chicken broth, but vegetable broth would be just as good...
At this point, I let everything simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes. I wanted everything to get super-soft and gushy.
The next-to-last step was grabbing my immersion blender and pureeing everything until it was a thick and fairly smooth consistency. The leeks and leafy veggies got obliterated, but the mushrooms wouldn't fit under my immersion blender - which was actually kinda cool! I like the mushroom "chunks!"
The final step was adding a cup of crema casera: Smooth, thick table-cream that I found in the refrigerated "Mexican Food" section of the grocery store. It's about the consistency of sour cream - only it's not sour (although you could probably use sour cream. Or even regular "heavy cream").
Return to the stove and heat for a few more minutes, then serve...
QT's Cream of Leeky Spinach Soup (Recipe sans commentary!)
Makes 4-5 generous servings
- 3 large leeks - roots and dark-green stems removed. Chop the white/light green parts into into thin slices
- 1 medium-sized head of baby bok choy
- 1/4 of a sweet yellow onion - finely chopped (optional)
- 2 cloves of fresh, minced garlic
- 2 cups (appx) of fresh spinach - stems removed (it was a generous "bunch" of spinach)
- 8 oz of sliced fresh white mushrooms
- 1 Tbs white sugar
- 1/4-1/2 cup of white cooking wine
- 2 cans (14.5 oz) of Chicken or Vegetable broth
- 1 cup Crema Casera (or heavy cream)
- Seasoning Salt (optional)
- Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste)
- Olive oil
Separate the leaves from the stalks of the bok choy. Reserve the leaves. Chop the bok choy stalks into smallish (1/4") chunks.
Heat olive oil in a large sauce-pan. Over medium heat, saute the leeks, bok choy stalks, onion and garlic 'til translucent. Turn heat down to low, add 1 TBS of sugar and a sprinkling of sea-salt. Let the mixture "sweat" for appx 5-10 minutes 'til limp.
Turn the heat back up to medium and add the leafy greens and mushrooms. Saute 'til the leaves are limp and the mushrooms are starting to brown. Season with salt, pepper, seasoning salt, to taste.
Add 1/4-1/2 cup of white cooking wine to burn-off the excess oil.
Add broth. Bring to a light boil then immediately turn down to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until everything is soft.
Remove from heat and - using an immersion blender (or food processor or blender) puree the mixture 'til fairly smooth and (hopefully!) thick.
Add one cup of cream and stir into the soup. Re-heat, then serve.
This is a very-very tasty and surprisingly filling soup!