10 August 2009

Supper club theme: Pacific NorthWest

In lieu of going to restaurants to try new foods, a bunch of us (4 couples) meet once a month, pick a cuisine and do a potluck dinner. This is our 4th round already and it has been wildly successful. Good food, good friends and wine without paying a bucket - can't get any better..

V and I did starters this time round. Our dishes were Cream of Mushroom soup, Arugula-Apple salad and Smoked salmon with cream.

Cream of Mushroom soup
This soup turned out to be quite hearty and very earthy. I loved it - its comfort food.

Ready to serve
This is right before pureeing the soup.

Dried mushrooms soaking in sherry - isn't it beautiful to look at!

Serves 8
1 oz. dried mushrooms (morels, porcini, shitakes, etc)
1 lb cremini mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and sliced
1 lb shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 tbsps olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
5-6 springs of thyme
3 springs of sage
1 large yellow onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry sherry

Soak dried mushrooms in sherry for about 30 mins until the mushrooms plump up. Heat olive oil in a pot and throw in the herbs. Let cook for 5-6 mins until you can smell the herbs. Now add onion. garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translicent but not brown.

Increase the heat and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms cook down significantly and the water released is cooked off. Add chicken stock with the plumped mushrooms and sherry. Simmer for 30 mins.

Remove the herbs, add cream and butter. Cook for 2 mins. Turn off the heat and puree the mushroom soup in batches. Return the soup back into the pot and simmer for another minute before serving.

Arugula-Apple salad

Serves 8

2 bundles arugula, washed and stemmed
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
1 tbsp pear-apple juice (or just apple juice) - you can substite both white wine vinger and this juice by using 2 tbsps of cider vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sour cream (or heavy cream)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 apples - should be firm and crisp
2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese

Toast the walnuts in the oven at 375 deg for 30-35 mins. Core and slice apples into thin biteable pieces. Sprinkle some lime juice on them to prevent browning.

Dressing: Mix the vinegar with apple and lemon juices. Add salt and lots of ground black pepper. Whisk in olive oil and then sour cream. Whisk. Taste to adjust salt and acidity to your preference.

Toss the arugula with apples and walnuts. Add the dressing and garnish with a generous helping of crumbled goat cheese.

Smoked Salmon with cream

1 packet of presliced smoked salmon
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 shallots, chopped

Combine sour cream, dijon mustard, dill, salt to taste. Keep aside for about a hour or so. Take thinly sliced toasts and layer with smoked salmon, a small dollop of the cream mixture and sliced shallots.

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