Mushroom Barley Soup

This is a deliciously earthy, satisfyingly comforting, and  hearty mushroom barley soup. I love it.

Mushroom Barley Soup

1/2 cup dried mushrooms, such as porcini or shiitake
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound white mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 pound shiitake, cremini, portobella, or other mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pearled barley
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and black pepper

Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with the hot water. Set aside for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, remove stems, and finely chop the mushrooms.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Saute the onion and carrot in the oil over medium heat until the onion begins to color. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the fresh mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and begin to release their liquid.

Raise the heat to medium-high, add the barley, and saute until it begins to color slightly. Add the broth, mushroom soaking liquid, and reconstituted mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the barley is tender.

This soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for a month.Reheat to serve.


Brownie Biscotti

It is about time to start my holiday baking (I give cookies as gifts). Biscotti are some of my favorite cookies to bake. They are low-fat, crunchy, and wonderful dipped in hot coffee. These brownie biscotti are very good. If you are planning on giving them as gifts, you will have to hurry up and package them so that you don’t eat them all. The only (slight) problem I have with this recipe is that it ONLY makes 2 dozen cookies.

Oh, a good tip: line the baking pan with foil and then spray the foil with cooking spray…this makes it so much easier to remove the biscotti log from the pan after the first baking. Enjoy!

Brownie Biscotti

2 T. butter (or margarine), softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cups chocolate chips or white chocolate chunks
1/4 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg, egg white and vanilla until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. add to the egg mixture and stir until almost combined. Add chocolate chips and pecans and stir just until blended.

Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into an 8” long log. Place the logs 2” – 3” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and flatten each into a rectangle that is about 3” wide.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until firm and starting to crack on top. transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees.

Place logs on a cutting board, trim the ends and cut each diagonally into 1/2” to 3/4” thick slices with a sharp serrated knife. Place biscotti cut side down on the cookie sheet. Return them to the oven for 20 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 2 dozen biscotti.

Recipe source: One Smart Cookie by Julie van Rosendaal