Over the weekend I…

Mushroom Stock

Over the weekend I made my favorite Cream of Mushroom Soup (with requisite homemade mushroom stock). The picture shows the stock on the stove as it gets under way. This is probably my favorite soup to make because it's so easy and it's so delicious. It never fails to impress, and I've discovered you can totally leave out the cream and it still tastes really good. Now I usually just garnish it with a dollop of whipped cream, but I never add cream to the soup. Try it over the holiday season, I'm sure you'll be the belle of the ball if you make it. It's elegant and rich and just the thing on a wintery night.

Eighty-three percent of chicken sold…

Eighty-three percent of chicken sold in U.S. grocery stores may contain bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. The USDA denies the report from Consumer Reports, saying their sample size was too small. Consumer Reports also said the rate of bacteria contamination was "34 percentage points higher than the rate it found three years ago." I'm not sure who's "right" on this one, but if Consumer Reports used the same methodology as they did last time, and still found at 34% increase, it seems like there might be more bacteria on the meat.

Update: Here's a more detailed article on the Consumer Reports site. Thanks Rory!

Mushroom Stock

1 oz. dried mushrooms (I like to use a variety of porcini, oysters, and chanterelles)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
4 to 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped leek greens and leek roots, if available
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 thyme sprigs
bouquet garni (small bundle of parsley sprigs, bay leaf, and thyme)
10 sage leaves
2 teaspoons salt

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Every weekday between now and…

DWR Wine KnotEvery weekday between now and December 22, I'm going to do a food enthusiast gift idea. There will be ideas for all gift-giving budgets, so if you find yourself stuck for a present, and the myriad lists other people have created can't help, you might spy something here. Today we begin with a Wine Knot from Modern furniture purveyor Design Within Reach. An "ingenious interplay of shape and color," Wine Knot holds six liter wine bottles, with space in the center for a magnum. This is a wine holder for display, not cellaring. $98 from www.dwr.com.

It turns out the Sticky…

It turns out the Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream was the result of a Food Network contest and there were ten semi-finalists. You can watch the segments about each of them on the site. The only competition I see on the list is "Mocha Malt Crunch" but that's because I'm a malt freak. The others sound good, but too fancy for my taste (e.g. Caramelized Figs and Walnuts). Mmmm…I want to eat sticky toffee pudding right now!

Handmade holiday gift ideas from…

Spice SachetHandmade holiday gift ideas from Martha Stewart Living. Somehow one of the best, Mulling Sachets, is on the splash page for the article but not included in the big list. But there's all sorts of stuff there if you're the crafty type and looking to make some presents this year. I like to give and receive homemade food stuffs (like jam, or mulling spices), so a lot on the list appealed to me.

Get the dish on what…

Get the dish on what it's like to be a female chef in a 3-star Parisian restaurant from this great blog that was recently brought to my attention. Not surprisingly, it's a lot of hard, back-breaking labor. But the author writes so well and shares so much enthusiasm (and great photos), that I'm envious of her job as I read. I look forward to following her tale. Thanks Nelson!