It’s been a rough week. Sickness, weather, and for us, a redistribution of space and goals. But we are starting to feel a renewed vigor and dedication to ourselves, our community, and this crazy life we’ve chosen (crazy things I never thought I would do before we embarked on this hill: vaseline chicken combs for their safety and care, spread our hair around orchard gardens to keep out deer, pee on apple trees to increase the properties of uric acid, let alone make our own medicines/alcohols/cottage food business). We’re pretty into it; knee deep in maple-sugaring, cider-pressing, jam-making, seed-starting, and learning/caring about the natural world around us.
We weren’t ‘urban’ kids, though neither of us really grew up in households that dedicated themselves to homesteading, either. Pretty rural the both of us, and in homes that certainly did some of the things we do (canning, a bit of growing, some textiles) but as more of lifestyle leftovers from previous generations. We don’t have the kind of families that congregated and shared skills. And as young adults we gravitated toward new spaces – either city spaces or open spaces, not so much ‘home’ spaces. It took us time and experience to consider what that might look like.
We’re still discovering that – but are generally enjoying the ride. In designing our menu this week we realized that ‘soft foods’ were in order for my poor struggling body so it was a lot of things like Colcannon again (so good and full of potassium and B’s, and calcium from the greens and a little dairy), oatmeal (Josh’s is so good with diced apples, flax molasses and maple, and a little salted butter), and soup! The child has been telling us she desired Mushroom Cream Soup which confused us – she’s never been much of a soup eater (besides some Creamy Tomato with a Grilled Cheese) nor has she ever liked mushrooms – but she insisted, so they made it. It was scrumptious. And she liked it!
All Summer long we were able to try out all the lovely mushrooms from the Maine Mushroom Co. from our farmer’s market and now we are able to get some of their mixed packs from our local CSA. Gourmet mixes or more ‘wilder’ flavor mushrooms really do make the difference here (we make a pretty much weekly white pizza with fresh ricotta and mushrooms that is heavenly) with lots of nutritional punch and taste. See if you can find a grower near you – it’s so worth it. Enjoy.
Mushroom Cream Soup
4 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Sweet or Yellow Onions diced
4 cloves Garlic minced
16 oz (we used 2 fancy boxes) fresh Mushrooms chopped (any-which-way-you-want)
2 tsp dried Thyme (or 2 tsp fresh Thyme leaves – or Sage, or Rosemary)
1/2 cup any dry red or white Wine (optional)
4 cups Broth or stock (Chicken/Beef/or Vegetable – even just a rich Onion would work)
Sea Salt & Black Cracked Pepper to taste
1 cup Heavy Cream or Half/Half (or light cream with a flour or cornstarch slurry, or even coconut milk for a dairy-free but creamy version)
* Heat Butter and Oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until melted. Sauté onion for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Cook garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
* Add half of the Mushrooms and herbs, cook for 5 minutes. Pour in Wine and allow to cook for 3 minutes.
* Add stock, mix again and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium heat, season with salt, pepper and with a hand immersion blender (or in a regular blender, but be very very careful, it’s hot!) – blend until mostly smooth and thick – it is here you can thicken with a slurry if you feel you need to but keep in mind the cream will also thicken a bit (1:2 ratio of Cornstarch or Arrowroot or Cassava/Tapioca or even Flour to water, add to soup one ratio at a time, bring to a soft boil for 2 minutes, continue until desired thickness).
* Add other half of Mushrooms – cover and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, while occasionally stirring, until thickened.
* Reduce heat to low, stir in Cream or Coconut Milk. Allow to gently simmer (do not boil). Adjust salt and pepper to your taste. (Swirl a little Truffle Oil or Salt onto the top if you need the fancy-fancy, which I do like!).
* Serve warm with crusty bread (or in my soft food state – I put some small crustless chunks of bread in the bottom of the bowl).