Friday, April 25, 2014

Wild Mushroom Soup

After coming back from our Punta Cana vacation, I must admit I have become quite the wimp when it comes to weather in the 50's here in Buffalo. Two weeks ago I would have killed for temperatures in the 50's but after basking in 80 degree weather all week I'm miserable now. So a few days ago when I went to the grocery store and bought tons of food, soup was for sure on my list. I figured if the Buffalo sun couldn't warm me up, a bowl of soup would. So I made a simple Wild Mushroom and Onion Soup. It's perfect with a piece of crusty bread to soak up the beefy broth. It's also excellent served as a first course before your main entree because it's a light soup. I've made this soup as a first course many times when I've entertained and it's always been a hit. What I like most about this soup is it's mild earthy flavors. I used a variety of wild mushrooms such as oyster, shiitake, baby bella and white mushrooms. Wegmans has a nice medley package of wild mushrooms already cut and cleaned…you pay a little more but it's worth the convenience it offers. If you are not a fan of wild mushrooms, any white mushroom will do.  This soup was a hit with Dave….he had three bowls…before our dinner….need I say more! Salute to warming up with a simple but delicious Wild Mushroom Soup.
Earthy flavors in this soup
 "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" the title of our Punta Cana vacation!
I mentioned in my previous post that our trip to Punta Cana was like paradise but there were a few glitches along the way! We've titled our trip "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." If you've seen the movie, you know that whatever could go wrong trying to get to your destination goes wrong…we were so Steve Martin in that movie! Our original plan was to fly out of Pittsburg because its a heck of a lot cheaper than flying out of Buffalo, especially with a family of five. Plus we love Pittsburg, so any excuse to take us there we jump on it. We decided to spend a couple days in Pittsburg and start our vacation early. So we left on Friday right after work and headed to a restaurant in downtown Pittsburg called Church Brew Works. It's a catholic church from the late 1800's that has been converted into a super cool brewery and restaurant. The inside is absolutely stunning, as all of the original stained glass, ornate detailing and woodwork are still in tact. All of the chairs in the restaurant are former pews, so that was neat. The food and beer were also good but my impression is that most people go for the novelty it offers. Our flight didn't leave until the next day so on Saturday we walked around the Strip District. It's basically Pittsburg's food terminal area and there are numerous old world style food markets, shops and restaurants, like the original Primanti Brothers is there. The street is bustling with people and the vibe is lively and energetic. We ate stuffed pizza bread from an italian market, listened to live music, shopped, drank insanely good Bloody Mary's and the boys enjoyed picking out candy from their favorite candy shop. I even bought a hoaky but cool kitchen gadget from a street vendor that curls and slices vegetables….I couldn't resist so I'm sure I'll post about my gadget at some point! The weather was beautiful, 75 degrees and we were all kept saying to each other life is good. We kept toasting and doing a two-step because we were so excited that we were heading to Punta Cana in just a few short hours….so we thought! We headed back to our hotel where our shuttle took us to the airport. We got to the airport a few hours before our flight was scheduled to depart. We get to the airline counter and wondered why no one was in line; we knew we were early but it seemed odd that there was no one was in sight. Finally an agent from American Airlines came to greet us. Dave handed her our tickets and she says there is no 7:00 pm flight….this flight time was changed a while back, you missed your flight. We were like what???? Well I booked through Expedia (you suck Expedia and I'll never use you again!) and they never informed us of the flight change. American Airlines said Expedia is notorious for not informing clients of changes. Yes, we should have checked ourselves, but seriously! The agent looked for other flights and nothing was available until Tuesday!!!! I'm thinking OMG we were taking our leisurely time in the Strip District and all the while our airplane had taken off without us! I looked at Dave and he knew flying out on Tuesday missing 3 days in Punta Cana was not an option. So he suggested the agent look at flying out of other airports. Cleveland was our best bet and that was the closest airport to get us to Punta Cana the next day. So she printed our tickets, we hopped in our car and rushed to drive to Cleveland. We also had to find a hotel in Cleveland which wasn't easy because most were booked, ugh! Keep in mind we drove 4 hours from Buffalo to Pittsburg and then another 2 hours from Pittsburg to Cleveland. The worst part was that we had to take three flights to get us to Punta Cana on Sunday and each of those three layovers were really tight. We knew there was a chance we'd miss one of those flights if there were any delays. Sure enough there was a delay and the drama continues. Things got worse, much worse. I'll save the next chapter in tomorrow's post! So you can see why we called our trip "Trains, Planes and Automobiles!"

As you walk inside Church Brew Works
Beer tanks in background
This was our toast to Punta Cana
Buying my hoaky but cool kitchen gadget
At Pittsburg's Strip District, waiting on fresh stuffed bread
Stuffed bread right out of the oven! 
Insanely good Bloody Mary's 
From Pittsburg to Cleveland! Making the best of it!
On the plane, hoping we'll make it to Punta Cana..only two more flights to go. Will we make it?
Wild Mushroom Soup (Click to print recipe)

Preparation and cook time: 40 minutes

Serves 8

  • 16 oz wild mushrooms (I used shiitake, oyster, baby bella, and white)
  • 1 spanish onion diced
  • 2 tb butter
  • 2 tb minced garlic
  • 1 tb worcestershire sauce
  • 8 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 t salt 
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tb chopped scallions
In a large soup pot add butter and melt over low-medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened about 10 minutes. Add worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and stir for an additional 5 minutes or until worcestershire is evaporated. Add beef broth and turn heat to medium heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add chopped scallions and serve in bowls.

Food Impressions:

Nate: He didn't try the soup because there were onions. He opted for ramen noodle soup from the Dollar Store. He boggles me when it comes refusing to eat food with onions!

Tyler: "This is really good mom and you know I don't even like mushrooms." After he had a bowl he heated up a ramen noodle soup too. I think he sort of liked it but really wanted to tell me he liked it to make me feel good. At least he tried the soup unlike Nate! Right Nate???

Zachary: "Yum, the soup smells super good and tastes super good." He was fighting Dave for more soup!

Dave: He helped himself to 3 bowls…need I say more!

Andrea: The perfect light and earthy soup. Super easy to make elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. Not the most kid friendly soup as you could tell by Tyler and Nate's food impressions.

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