I thought I may be skipping this weekend, but when opportunity falls in your lap, you take it, right?

If you've been following my blog, you already know that I love mushrooms. We were lucky today, because Keith hit the jackpot - and we ended up with quite a pile of morel mushrooms. I know what you're thinking - where did you find them in the city? I'm not telling. Honestly, I don't know. I wasn't there. But you know what they say... don't look a gift horse blah blah blah.

Anyway, Mom would always make them fried with a bit of coating - eggs, crackers, flour -- something like that. (Again, if you've been following this, you also know I need to call her on a regular basis to ask how she does things.)

Tonight, though, we made soup - and it turned out pretty good. I'm going to preface this one by saying that measurements are approximate, because I was making some of it up as I was going. The nice thing about this type of thing, though, is that you can do that - and make it to taste.

Creamy Morel Soup
1/2 c. butter
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 c. leeks, chopped
1 c. yellow onion, shopped
2 c. asparagus, in bite-sized pieces
3-4 c. morel mushrooms
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. heavy cream
1 can wild rice (pre-cooked)
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp. thyme
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

In large saucepan, melt butter. Add leeks, onion, and garlic - saute until onions become soft. Add mushrooms and asparagus, stirring into the mixture with thyme, and about 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Add about 1 c. of chicken broth and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add rice, and simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce heat. Add cream and parsley and heat, but do not boil. Taste test, and add salt/pepper to taste.

A few notes from my experience - you can add quite a bit of pepper, given how much is in the pan. I added quite a bit more at the end, because I'd been very conservative in the beginning. I also tend to add a couple of other random spices that are sitting on the counter -- this time I used a generous dash of Montreal Steak Grillin' spices. This is definitely one of those things that you taste as you make to get it just right. But in the end, we really liked it -- and serving it with garlic bread made it even better -- and if you wanted, you could use garlic croutons as an alternative.

Now we need to figure out what to do with all the leftover morels we have... like I said - jackpot! We're talking about dehydrating some to keep to use later in the year. I'll eat them anytime, anywhere, and any way.

So, my question to you is: How do you like your morels?


p.s. a special thank you to Jenny for sending me the tuscan chicken recipe ... I'll be making that SOON! :)



Although I like to think that I'm not a picky eater, I am when it comes to leftovers. A couple of things you'll never see me eat leftover are sandwiches, salads, and anything else with lettuce in it. Today, though, I was pretty happy with leftover use, so thought I'd share with you.

Remember the vodka sauce I made a while back? Well, I froze the extra because it made a lot -- and it turns out it actually does freeze very well. It may sound weird, but we had a little bit of rotini and a little bit of gnocchi but not enough of one for a meal alone -- so made what we had of each and put them together. There was also a little bit of spaghetti sauce in the fridge, so we mixed that in with some of the vodka sauce from the freezer, to use what we had -- served with some grilled shrimp kabobs. It tasted great! ... and used up some of those randoms we had laying around. That was lunch.

We also had some leftover chicken from grilling yesterday, so I cut it up into small pieces, put in a deep skillet with the frozen veggies in the freezer that had partial bags (california medly, peas, corn). I added some mushrooms, chicken broth, and some spices (just a little of each) that were sitting on the counter -- salt, pepper, lawrey's, montreal grillin' spice, and garlic salt. After thickening the mixture with flour, I put into a 9x9 glass baking pan and made some Jiffy cornbread muffin mix and spread it over the top. After 20 minutes in the oven, we had a yummy cornbread chicken potpie (or something like that!). It was good, and there is now a lot less leftover sitting around, which is nice. Score 1 for less waste!

not your mom's chocolate cake

I'm a sucker for chocolate - especially dark chocolate. And while I like cake, I prefer a good truffle or a brownie. The more dense, fudge-like texture is definitely more my thing. A few months ago, after having this at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis -- with a yummy glass of red wine (yum!) -- I had fallen in love with my new favorite 'cake' -- a fourless chocolate cake.

I know what you're thinking - a cake without flour?! Trust me, you'll be pleasantly surprised. It tastes great - and is very rich. Make it when you have a bunch of people coming over because a little really goes a long way. If you're like me, you also are knowing a growing number of people whose diets don't allow for gluten. That's one of the other great things about this type of cake -- it's gluten-free!

I can't take the credit for any part of this recipe, as I found it online and followed the directions nearly exactly - but am posting it here for convenience. But in an effort to give credit where credit is due, the original can be on AllRecipes.com.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.

Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.

Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

My only notes on this would be that I don't have a double boiler, so melted the chocolate in the microwave and that worked just fine. Also, patience is a virtue! I didn't let it chill in the refrigerator as long as it should have because I wanted it NOW! Wait... it will come out of the pan more smoothly if you do. I learned the hard way, so don't make my mistakes. :)

And finally, it's VERY chocolate-y, so consider adding a little bit of other flavor - I drizzled a bit of carmel over it. Would also be good with whipped cream, ice cream, or some kind of fruit / fruit glaze. Enjoy!