Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy New Year -- and Happy, Healthy Cooking!

Did you set goals for 2013? For me, the word "resolutions" is so laden with past years' failures, I decided not to use it. So, I set "goals", instead!

Three of my goals for the New Year are:
• Resurrect my long-neglected blog,
• Cook simple, good-tasting meals that don't require much time, and
• Eat foods that are higher in fiber, lower in fat and eat more veggies.

Today, I'm combining all three of those resolu goals by sharing my new dish, Wild Rice / Wild Mushroom Soup. It's surprisingly simple, vegetarian (can be vegan) and meets my goals for healthy eating (and good eats!).

I hope you like it, too!

Wild Rice / Wild Mushroom Soup

• Makes about 3 quarts (about 8 - 12 servings)
• Low-fat (you can omit the butter)
• Use the celery leaves; they add lots of flavor
• Fresh lemon and lots of pepper really bring out the flavor
• Refrigerates well and tastes even better the next day!
• If served with pine nuts and a piece of whole grain bread, this makes a well-balanced meal including proteins
• A pinot noir makes a delightful accompaniment!

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
3 carrots, small dice
3 celery stalks with leaves, small dice
1 1/2 cup wild rice
1 cup brown rice (long or short grain)

3/4 lb. assorted fresh mushrooms (i.e. shitake, oyster, cremini)
1 C dried porcini mushrooms; look in the bulk spices section of a health food store, if not in the produce section (soaking in 3 C hot water)

Juice of 1 fresh lemon
½ to 1 teaspoon chili powder (not cayenne)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2/3 C pine nuts

1. Brown the onion in the butter and olive oil in a large pot (6 qt.), just until beginning to be translucent
2. Add the wild rice; sauté about 3 minutes (stop before the edges of the rice are “opened”)
3. Add the brown rice, carrots and celery; sauté on medium-high heat about 2 minutes
4. In the same pot, add water to about 1/2 full
5. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, wash and trim the fresh mushrooms. Slice into fairly thin slices; set aside.
7. Using your hand or slotted spoon if the water is too hot, scoop the porcini mushroom out of the hot water. Set aside the top 2/3 of water (discard the bottom 1/3 of water as it will have sand). Chop the porcini mushrooms into small pieces; combine with the fresh mushrooms.
8. When the rice is almost done, add the fresh and porcini mushrooms, the top 2/3 of hot water, chili powder, salt and pepper.
9. Check for doneness: the rice should have "body" but not soggy
10. Depending on how thick you like it (like a thick mushroom stew or thinner like broth-based soup), you may need to add more water.
11. Add the fresh lemon juice.
12. Return to a simmer.
13. Toast the pine nuts: in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stir the pine nuts; stir frequently until thoroughly toasted (but not dark brown, else they’ll be bitter)
14. Spoon the soup into bowls and top with the pine nuts.

I'll be interested in how you like it, and suggestions you have to make it even better!


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