(Let’s try this again shall we??) …darn WordPress…
Following on from my last post about our very first recipe from Mastering The Art Of French Cooking (a challenge that both Rob and I started up to teach us… ok, me… different French techniques), I bring you my experience with Potage Velouté Aux Champignons, or Cream of Mushroom Soup. This is no Campbell’s can here, I assure you!
Rob was quite excited going into this, and was more excited for this than the Potage Permentier previously done. I on the other hand… less enthused.
Since I was a kid I have sworn up and down that I really didn’t like Mushrooms. They were gross, icky, and tasted bad. As I aged up a tiny bit, I expanded my list of adjectives to include slimy and worm-poo, and have likened their sponginess to a small child who has been given a slice of bread to feed ducks with (smooshed, gummy masses thunked into ponds everywhere are the result of that catastrophe, in case you are spawnless like the two of us). When determining our challenge rules and going over the boatload of recipes, we realised that in order to make true representations and to learn fully we would have to cross some culinary bridges that would be better blown up with little ACME ™ TNT.
I’m not a complete convert by any means… but I didn’t mind the little fungi.
Because I’ve claimed to never really like Mushrooms, I’ve never really looked at what kind of selection there was at my store. There’s been no need to sample really any of them, and that’s where I was completely wrong and uninformed over my dislike; I feel like I didn’t grow up at all and that I had been acting like a brat this whole time without even trying them! There were so many sizes, shapes, and even colours!
Since the recipe didn’t call for any specific kind (just oodles of them), I chose some basic white buttons, and some frankly adorbz semi-larger brown ones of indeterminate name or origin (read: I threw out the package before writing down there specs….). I was completely drawn to the eggshell-shade of them; call it the inner baker in me.
At this point you can officially call me lazy. And pretentious. I’ve seen so many cooking shows in my short life that I have become a complete and utter know-it-all, and as such I didn’t wash the ‘shrooms. Don’t tell Rob… he’d probably call poison control.
A lot of chopping was involved in this recipe, and I am starting to realise how right the women were when they wrote about learning the techniques early on to help you down the road. They also mention that there are no recipe times written at the beginning of each recipe because it takes different people different amounts of time to complete tasks like chopping veggies or kneading dough. Because I wanted to teach myself the right way to use my ever-dull chef’s knife (birthday present anyone??), it took me longer than I’d like to cut those fungus. I didn’t mind much, and I don’t think Rob did either, because of the smells coming off of our stove! That earthy word I used earlier? New fav fo show. It is the only thing that I can think of that can encompass the amazing bouquet of mulch-and-butter-and-citrus that was all up in our noses.
An optional portion near the end of the recipe was a suggestion of a garnish to be referred to at the back of the book. Now, I don’t normally make garnishes unless they are made of buttercream, dipped in sugar, or made of buttercream dipped in sugar, but the Fluted Mushroom Caps in the illustration looked so pretty I couldn’t resist.
*Making another oh-so-important gift plug (Christmas/Birthday/Wedding Season is just around the corner!), I didn’t actually have a small serrated paring knife like what was suggested. My best bet was using a slightly scary steak knife. I say scary because it was really awkward trying to basically peel a sponge with a long shark-tooth of a blade. Needless to say the actual act of creating the little pinwheels was ridiculously easy and will be stolen and stashed at the back of my brain for any and every time mushrooms will be involved on my dinner plate. The garnishes were to be cooked in a sauce made of butter (of course, Julia didn’t get her schtick from any old place now) and lemon juice, and turned my horrible sponge analogy from childhood into a unique and delicious trait. The directions were a little vague for once, so I ended up with a couple of tablespoons of butter in the pot and spooned the mixture over while it barely simmered throughout the course of the whole shebang.
What resulted from my kitchenism was a really hardy, rich soup that had Rob licking his bowl clean. I’m not an expert, but I believe that may in fact be a good thing (a reminder, Rob is a person, not a dog :P). I think I had a little too much in my bow, but that didn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it. Again, not a mushroom convert… but at least some headway has been made in their conquest of my bowels.
Ok, that was a gross metaphor. Please ignore… and comment/follow/promote!