Saturday, October 31, 2009

werewolf bar mitzvah! spooky, scary

Happy Halloween, possums! Such a beautiful day to dress as a harmful spirit in order to confuse departed souls of ill intent!

My family has a party on Halloween every year (though I don't know what we're going to do next year--we certainly don't want to take stock of food supplies and slaughter animals for winter storage on the Sabbath!) with soup and bread and viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas. This year my parents are in Reno watching my sister's race, and they won't be back until right before the party. With most people (us) that would present a problem, since there wouldn't be time to clean the house before guests arrived, but they are brown-nosers and keep their surroundings neat and tidy. Lame.

I have opted to bring two soups, because my sister-in-law Emily makes a zucchini soup that if I don't watch out John will cast me aside and marry her for this soup alone, and also I had a big box? container? thingie? of mushrooms that needed to be used pronto. Then some bread, and since it is FINALLY cranberry season in the stores I bought two mondo bags of them for making the cranberry scones of myth, legend and song. I know I've linked to them before, but if any of you have not made them yet you should be reported to Human Resources for creating a hostile eating environment. Unless you don't like food that tastes good, which I guess is possible.

But the real meat of my story is the soup. Ha! Emily gave me the zucchini soup recipe, which was great of her, since I can't imagine being able to find and keep a man if I were back in the singles game. "Hi, I'm Layne. I have four unruly and strong-willed children, a pregnant (crossing fingers!) goat, sixteen chickens, an ottoman-sized cat, and a house populated with old-person furniture. Also I'm excessively bossy and opinionated. I'll be wearing the pants, in case you've heard otherwise. Hey! Get back here!" I used sharp cheddar, since that's what we stock, and it may be for that reason that John likes my rendition of the soup, but does not hoover it down. But! Have you made, have you made cream of mushroom soup (to the tune of "Were You There")? Before today I had not, which means it has been a long, lonely time since I'd eaten any, as we are not ordinarily consumers of canned soups. And this soup! Words fail me. It is silky, complex, earthy, but still bright from the chicken broth. Eminently inhalable. Quick and easy as well, and thus bound for a permanent slot on our haphazard family menu.

Shall I share both recipes with you? Do I dare? Yes, I dare.
Emily's Zucchini Soup
Saute until tender:
2 medium zucchini, chopped (green and yellow are pretty together!)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T parsley
1 t dried basil (use more if you've got fresh)
1/3 C butter

Stir in:
1/3 C flour
salt and pepper to taste, about 1 t salt and 1/4 t pepper

Stir in:
3 C chicken broth
1 t lemon juice

Let boil for 2 minutes, then add:
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 large can(12 oz.?) of evaporated milk (I'm sure that an equal amount of half-and-half or cream would also be fine, but I had some evaportated milk that needed using)
2 C of frozen corn

Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Just before serving add:
1/4 C parmesan
2 C shredded cheddar

Cream of Mushroom Soup
adapted from How to Cook Everything (if you stay true to his recipe it will probably be even better, but I did what I could with what was on hand)
Saute until browned:
1 1/2 lbs. cremini mushrooms, tops sliced and stems chopped
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
salt and pepper

Add and saute until softened:
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Stir in:
2/3 C flour

Let the flour cook for a minute, then stir in:
4 C chicken broth
1 C beef broth (I'm sure you can use all of one or the other, I just like a variety, and Bittman says you can also use vegetable broth)

Let boil for a minute or two, then stir in:
2 C cream or half-and-half

Warm it through, but do not let it boil.


Claire said...

Yay! Thanks for posting these recipes. They were so yummy. The bread you made was so good, too. Is it just the recipe for the dutch oven bread you gave me?

Sarah said...

Ha! I also just bought two bags of cranberries to go be makin' me some scones. I loves them. Also, I made some pumkin cranberry bread. Nothin' much compared to the scones, but still pretty tasty. I'll be making the Cream of Mushrooom soup this week. Thank you muchly.

All8 said...

What else do you all do at your Halloween party? Ambrose and I are reconsidering our H. night activities and are looking for fun alternatives, kids included.

The soups sound divine and who doesn't want to keep her man around with a softly simmering pot of silky soup?!

Matt and Emily said...

Yum- somehow, I missed this post on Halloween. That mushroom soup sounds awesome. I'm glad you now have the zuccini soup recipe cause it's one that was meant to be shared.