On the right side of your screen (or below when you’re reading this mobile) I state that “Edie eats .. home cooked meals – every day“. No one asked me, but I was curious: how true is that?
If I may so myself, that’s very true! And to proof that, here are some numbers and the recipe for the Mushroom Soup for Champs that was the last dish I made in 2016.
As a part of getting my life a bit more organized, in January last year I was looking for a good way to keep track of all my culinary brainwaves, thoughts and recipe ideas. I started out keeping some sort of a diary in Word, looked for an app that could help me with that and ended up using OneNote. Not exactly a calendar, but great to help being organized in another way.
Amongst others, I made a folder Cooking with a few different tabs. One for recipes that I want to try, one for my own recipes, ideas and work in progress. And in one tab I started to summarize what I cooked for dinner.
Quite neurotic, don’t you think?
But it’s fun to look back on and know what I had for dinner on any date between January 28th and December 31st. Okay, not on those 10 days I only wrote a question mark.
But for about 300 days I know what I had for dinner.
Of all those days, I had to work 61 nights. Which in my case means that I cooked, just not at home. Let’s keep those days out of my calculations. Just like those days that we were traveling (30 nights) and cooking ourselves hardly was an option.
Of the remaining 235-ish days, I cooked a full meal for dinner on 62% of the nights.
Pretty good score, don’t you think?
But wait, there’s more.
On another 19% of the nights Mr. Eats cooked. Or we kept it simple. For me that means not cooking a full dinner, but composing a meal by pulling some or all parts from the fridge/freezer or use other ready made parts.
For instance when I make my own pizza dough, I consider that category 1 cooking. If I buy dough at the supermarket, but make my own sauce and top the pizza, that’s category 2.
Oh, and on some of these nights our (Sunday) afternoon snacks turned into dinner. That’s not really cooking, either.
On the other 44 nights (19%) we went out for dinner or got some take away. And quite some those (10x) were during the 2 weeks that we packed, moved and un-boxed most of our belongings from one house into another. Yep, we did do that ourselves!
How how did my average week look like?
I work on 1.4 nights per week. I cook dinner on 3.5 nights and (I) keep it simple on another night (category 2 home cooking ;-)). And that seventh night we had take-away or went out for dinner.
So in 2016 we had a home cooked meal on 4.6 nights at Casa Eats.
But Edie, eh, why exactly did you kept this list?
Well, on those days that I didn’t feel inspired, I simply could go to that list and see what I hadn’t cooked in a while. Remember my blogpost about how I alternate my dishes not to get bored in the kitchen? This list helped me do so.
And what did you cook?
I’ll tell you that next week!
Now let’s actually cook and why not remake this Mushroom Soup that I made on the last day of 2016? Soup for Champs, as the Dutch word for mushrooms is ‘champignons’. And because I added a splash of Champagne in my soup.
Hey, who said you can open a bottle of Champagne at NYE-midnight only?
Mushroom Soup for Champs
The great thing about this soup is that you can make it as fancy as you like. I used home dried shiitakes, home made duck stock, Champagne and a box of very fancy (wild?) mushrooms. But ordinary vegetable or chicken stock, simple mushrooms and any white wine that you happen to have open will do too.
I used for 2 bowls:
5 slices dried mushrooms (optional, but recommended)
2 cups | 500 ml stock
2 + 2 + 2 T butter
salt + pepper
1 handful (crimini) mushrooms
1-2 garlic cloves
4 T flour
splash of white wine (see tip below)
1 lb | 500 gr fancy mushroom mix
a dash of paprika
parsley and/or scallions for garnish
Tip: The white wine can be substituted by a sparkling wine. Or try vermouth, in particular Noilly Prat is a good choice.
Make your own mushroom stock by soaking the dried mushrooms in the hot stock. Let simmer for a while.
Start with the onion. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in your soup pan (1 quart/liter will be big enough). Peel and chop the onion and cook over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Prep the mushrooms. Clean the crimini mushrooms and cut them in parts. Four parts if they’re small, 6 or 8 parts when bigger. Also peel and mince the garlic. Add the mushrooms to the onions and turn up the heat to high. Brown and shrink the mushrooms till they start to peep when you stir.
Add garlic, stir and deglace your pan by adding the wine. Bring to a boil while stirring and scraping all browned bits off the bottom of your pan.
Let reduce till almost all wine is absorbed/evaporated. Scoop everything out of the pan and set aside.
Make the roux. In the same pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add flour when the butter is melted and foam start to disappear. Keep stirring until a paste forms. Keep on stirring for a few minutes.
Slowly add all the stock while stirring, keeping the soaked mushrooms in your other pot. Finely chop the soaked mushrooms and add them to the soup.
Let simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
Brown the fancy mushrooms. In the mean time, set the table, pour yourself another glass of Champagne and lean them and chop the mushrooms, if needed, in bite-size pieces. In a skillet, heat the last 2 tablespoons of butter. Once browned, add all mushrooms and let them brown and cook on high heat. A few minutes only, as it’s nice to keep these a bit firm. Season with salt, pepper and paprika.
Prep your garnish. Wash, clean and mince the parsley and/or scallions. About 1-2 tablespoons of chopped greens will be enough.
Taste the soup and adjust seasoning. Add a small splash of Champagne, the browned mushrooms and your garnish.
You hardly see it in recipes; add wine at the last minute. It wasn’t planned, just a flash and before I could think about it, I had poured a sip in my pan. It gave the soup a nice, slightly tangy flavor, a good balance to the hearty flavors.
Tip: This soup is also great if you want to make a vegan dish. Just replace the butter by oil. Olive oil is good, but coconut is also a nice one to try. Oh, and be sure to use vegetable stock.