Shopping the Farmers Market: Why Blog

After years of frequenting the farmers markets in NYC, but only buying a few supplemental ingredients here or there, I decided to be experimental and work dishes around what is in season or looks particularly mouthwatering at the market that day. Green seems to be the buzz word these days from NYC to the White House, and the eat local movement is in full swing. My attempt here is to buy as many ingredients as possible from a the farmers market, and then occasionally supplement with locally produced ingredients from chain markets around the city. Most of the recipes I post (except for the baking recipes) are either things I created myself, or variations on recipes I've found elsewhere. I hope that you take the recipes and shopping tips here and they inspire you to do your own local cooking.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cold Day, Warm Soup

So, I'll start off by saying that I didn't actually make it to a farmers market today. My day was taken up by running my first 5K race in just over 30 minutes! I know 5K isn't that far, but for someone who couldn't run a mile 3 months ago it was a big deal.

So instead of making a meal from ingredients I bought at the farmers market, I decided to make a dish where it was possible to get most of the ingredients at a typical farmers market.

One of my favorite dishes on a cold day is soup, and there's no other soup for me than my mom's cream of mushroom soup. The earthiness of the mushrooms blends well with the complexity of the sherry, warming your insides. I think the original recipe actually came from a cookbook that my mother got for her engagement to my father in the 1960s, but I'll always think of it as my mom's creation. Here's the recipe with a couple of minor personal tweaks.

Today I purchased:

Ingredients that could be bought at the farmers market:

3/4 of a pound of mushrooms (the original recipe calls for button mushrooms, but I like to mix button and crimini)
1 medium onion
Heavy cream

At a supermarket:

Celery (if you're lucky you might be able to find this at the farmers market as well)
Chicken Stock

Supplemental ingredients I had at home:

Salted butter
Dry sherry or sherry cooking wine

Recipe: Mom's Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 lb. of button mushrooms, diced
1/4 lb. of crimini mushrooms, diced
4 tablespoons of butter
Medium onion, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
3 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
A pinch of paprika
A grating of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of heavy cream
4 - 8 tablespoons of sherry (I usually add 6, but I like a strong sherry taste)

Saute the celery, onion, and mushrooms on medium-high heat in the 4 TBS of butter until the mushrooms begin to release their juices, and the onion begins to soften.

Add the stock and parsley, simmer covered for ½ hour.

Puree the soup in the blender or food processor. I usually find that there's too much liquid to puree the soup all at once, so I usually do it in 2 batches so the hot liquid doesn't shoot out of the top of the blender. Unfortunately, that was a learn by experience lesson. Once the soup is pureed, poor it into a bowl and reserve.

Melt the 2 TBS of butter in the original pan, add the salt, pepper, paprika, nutmeg, and flour. Cook for two minutes, whisking constantly. Add pureed soup, cream, and sherry. Whisk until smooth.

I like to let it cool a few minutes before serving. I feel that the flavors come out more when it's not piping hot. I served the soup in a bowl with a parsley garnish. I hope this soup reminds you of your mother's soup, or maybe it will be like the soup you wish your mother made. Welcome to fall!

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