Wild Mushroom & Barley Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz dried wild mushrooms, such as morels, porcini or shitake

3 TBLE olive oil

4 oz pancetta, diced (I had short ribs in freezer and used one… it was delicious)

3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

2 cups chopped carrots (3-4 carrots)

2 cups chopped celery (3-4 stalks)

4 teas minced garlic (4 cloves)

3/4 cup pearled barley (or farro)

12 oz fresh cremini mushrooms (baby bella worked fine too) sliced to1/4 inch –pat with moist paper towel to clean and remove stems

1/2 cup plus 2 TBLE dry Marsala wine, divided

4 cups broth (I used chicken… original recipe called for beef)

3 large sprigs fresh thyme, tied together in kitchen twine

K salt and pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Place the dried mushrooms and 6 cups of water in medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside for at least 20 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta, onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and barley and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh mushrooms and the 1/2 cup Marsala and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms have released some of their juices.
  3. Meanwhile strain the dried mushrooms, saving liquid. Chop mushrooms and add them to the pot, along with soaking liquid, broth, thyme 2 teaspoons salt, and teaspoon pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes, until barley is tender. Discard thyme. If you like, thicken using a few seconds of immersion blender.
  5. If you feel the need, simmer for a few minutes adding 2 more TBLE Marsala. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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BA’s Best Matzo Balls

Ingredients

Makes 16

6 large eggs

½ cup melted schmaltz (chicken fat) or vegetable oil

6 Tbsp. chicken broth or water

3 Tbsp. chopped dill

¾ tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp. K salt for pot plus 1½ tsp. kosher salt for matzo balls

1 1/2 cups matzo meal

Preparation

Step 1

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl vigorously until no streaks remain. Add schmaltz, broth, dill, pepper, and 1½ tsp. salt and whisk to fully combine. Whisk in matzo meal until well combined. Chill at least 35 minutes or up to 2 hours (this is essential so that the matzo meal can hydrate).

Step 2

Bring 3 qt. water to a boil in a medium pot. Season with remaining 2 Tbsp. salt.

Step 3

Using dampened hands, roll matzo mixture into 16 balls about 1½” in diameter. It’s okay to really work them into a ball; they won’t get dense—trust us, we tried! Transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet or large plate.

Step 4

Carefully lower matzo balls into boiling water with a slotted spoon, adjusting heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. Cover pot and simmer over low heat, checking occasionally to make sure water isn’t boiling too rapidly, until balls are very puffed and light in color, 30–40 minutes. Don’t remove them sooner than this; they will be dense in the middle if undercooked. Turn off heat and let balls sit in cooking liquid until ready to serve.

Step 5

Do Ahead: Matzo balls can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container along with 2–3 Tbsp. cooking liquid and chill.

Or Freeze

With slotted spoon, remove from liquid when cooled. Place on tray (they shouldn’t touch) and flash freeze. Then put in freezer bag.

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Fish Chowder

YIELD Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped, divided
  • 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, divided
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken, fish or vegetable stock, divided (I used clam juice)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 pound lean, firm white fish (such as cod, rockfish or haddock), cut into 1-inch pieces {although I used salmon and it was delicious)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, optional
  • Chopped celery leaves or parsley, for garnish
  1. Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and half of the celery until the onion is soft and translucent. Meanwhile, peel and chop 3 of the potatoes (makes roughly 2 cups). Add the potatoes, white wine and 3 cups of the stock to the pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until potatoes are very soft. Remove pot from heat. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender or in batches with a countertop blender. If needed, add some of the remaining 1 cup stock to thin soup to desired consistency. Taste and add a little salt if needed.
  3. Return pot to stove and bring back to a simmer. Meanwhile, dice the carrot and remaining potato. Add the diced carrot, potato and remaining chopped celery to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potato pieces are soft but not falling apart. Add the fish and simmer for 5 minutes more, or until fish is cooked through. Taste and add a little vinegar if soup needs some brightness. Garnish each serving with celery leaves or parsley.
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Summer Berry Cream Cake

For the cake:

non-stick oil spray

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tea vanilla

Finely grated zest of a lemon

1 cup flour

For sauce:

2 cups strawberries, hulled

2 TBL confectioners sugar

1 TBLE lemon juice

For filling and topping:

3/4 cup blueberries

3/4 cup blackberrie

3/4 cup red raspberries

1/2 cup red currents or golden raspberries

2 cups heavy cream

1 tea vanilla

1 cup strawberries hulled

1/2 tea confectioners’ sugar

To prepare cake, first heat oven to 350. Oil or spray 10″ springform pan and line bottom with parchment

Using mixer at high speed, whisk eggs and sugar together until they triple in volume, becoming thick and airy. Add vanilla and lemon zest, and whisk to combine. Reduce speed to medium low, and gradually add flour. Remove bowl from mixer, give a final fold with spatula and pour into prepared pan. Bake until risen and light golden brown, 25-30 minutes Cool pan on wire rack 10 minutes and remove sides from pan.

When cake cools, use a long, thin knife to split it unto 2 thin disks. Place bottom half cut side up on a serving platter; place other half cut side up on large piece of foil. In a blender, combine 2 cups strawberries, confectioners sugar and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Set aside 1/4 cup of puree, and divide remaining puree between two cake layers, pouring over cut sides and spreading with a rubber spatula.

In a large bowl, combine reserved 1/4 cup puree with 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup blackberries, 1/2 cup red raspberries, and currents or golden raspberries. Fold gently to mix.

Whisk heavy cream with vanilla until thick but still soft. Spread half over cake sitting on dish. Top with fruit mixture, and place remaining cake half on top, cut side down. Spread remaining cream on top. Cut strawberries into halves or quarters, and place in a bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup each of bb, bb and rasp, and toss to mix. Arrange berry mixture on top of cake, and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield 12 servings

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Pepper Steak

1 pound flank steak, trimmed of all fat

1 TBLE chinese rice wine or pale dry sherry

3 TBLE soy sauce

1 teas sugar

2 teas cornstarch

2 med size green peppers, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1/2″ squares

4 slices peeled fresh ginger, about 1 ” in diameter and 1/8″ thick

1/4 cup flavorless oil (canola ok)

With a cleaver or sharp knife, cut flank steak lengthwise into strips 1 1/2 ” wide, then crosswise into 1/4″ slices.

In a large bowl, mix the wine, soy, sugar and cornstarch. Add the steak and toss with a large spoon to coat them thoroughly. The steak may be cooked at once, or marinated for as long as 6 hours.

Place the peppers, ginger root and oil within easy reach.

TO COOK

Set 12″ wok or 10″ skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds. Pour in 1 TBLE oil, swirl it about in the pan and heat for another 30 seconds, turning the heat down to moderate if the oil begins to smoke. Immediately add the pepper squares and stir fry for 3 minutes, or until they are tender but still crisp. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and reserve. Pour 3 more TBLE oil into the pan and heat almost to smoking point. Add the ginger, stir for a few seconds, then drop in the steak mixture. Stir fry over high heat for about 2 minutes, or until the meat shows no sign of pink. Discard ginger. Add the pepper and cook for a minute, stirring. Then transfer the contents of the pan to platter. As main course, will serve 2-4. As part of Chinese meal, 4-6.

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