mushroom barley soup

Servings: 8
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 2.5 hours

Robust and flavorful deli-style soup. Chicken or vegetarian broth.


3 quarts chicken or mushroom stock (low sodium okay)
1 1/4 cups pearl barley
2 bay leaves
6 dried shitake mushrooms
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery, including leaves
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 lb white mushrooms, scrubbed and sliced
Salt and pepper


Pour chicken or mushroom stock into a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Stir in the barley, add the bay leaves, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered. Set your timer for 2:15 (2 hours 15 minutes) starting now.

While the soup simmers, place dried mushrooms in a separate small saucepan. Add 3 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, remove saucepan from heat and let the mushrooms soak for 20 minutes.

Drain the mushroom water by straining it through a coffee filter (use a mesh strainer or colander to hold the filter). Reserve the mushroom water.

Chop the soaked, softened mushrooms into small pieces and reserve.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion to the skillet and sauté till softened.

Add the celery and carrots and sauté for 5 more minutes till everything is browning and starting to caramelize.

Add the soaked chopped dried mushroom pieces and crushed garlic, sauté for 2 more minutes. Your kitchen should smell really good right about now!

Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour the strained mushroom broth into the skillet, bring to a boil, stir. Cook for 2 more minutes till mixture is hot and bubbly. Add the contents of the skillet to the simmering stockpot with the broth and barley.

Without rinsing the skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat, tilting to coat the bottom of the pan. Spread half of the sliced white mushrooms in a single layer at the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and turn heat to high. Let the mushrooms sear without stirring.

After 2 minutes, stir the mushrooms continuously for another 1-2 minutes until they are seared golden brown and shrink to about half their size.

Pour the seared mushrooms into the soup pot. Heat the last 1 tbsp olive oil in the skillet and repeat the process for the remaining mushrooms. Add the rest of the seared mushrooms to the soup pot, stir to blend all ingredients.

Reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the soup cook uncovered until your timer goes off (2 hours 15 minutes total cooking time), or until the barley is completely tender and the soup is nicely thickened. Add water during the simmer if the soup becomes overly thick. At the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Shrimp Creole

Servings: 4
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 1 hour
Source: Adapted from the 1975 edition of the New Orleans Cookbook Paperback by Rima and Richard Collin


2/3 C oil
1/2 C flour
1 3/4 thinly sliced scallions
1/3 C celery
1 C onion, chopped
1/2 C chopped green pepper
4 tsp minced garlic
3 Tbs parsley
16 oz can Italian style whole peeled tomatoes, drained
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbs chives
4 Tbs dry red wine
4 bay leaves
6 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp chili
1/4 tsp mace
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 tsp lemon juice
2 C water
2 lb raw shrimp, cleaned

Cooked rice


In a 6-8 quart pot, heat the oil and gradually add the flour, stirring constantly. Continue stirring over low heat until the roux is medium brown or the color of peanut butter. Remove from the heat. Add the fresh vegetables and parsley to the roux, mix well, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly until the vegetables begin to brown. Mix in the canned tomatoes and sauce, chives, wine, seasonings, and lemon juice.

Raise the heat and bring to a low boil. Add water and bring to a boil again, mixing thoroughly. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes. Add the shrimp and allow to come to a low boil again, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for another 20 minutes (seems excessive to me). Remove pot from the heat and allow to stand 10 minute prior to serving. Serve with rice.

Chicken Jumbalaya

Servings: 6
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 2 hours
Source: Adapted from the 1975 edition of the New Orleans Cookbook Paperback by Rima and Richard Collin


2 Tbs oil
1 fryer (3-4 lb). Cut up thighs in two, breast halves into 4, and remove small winglet
4 C chopped onio
3/4 C chopped green pepper
3/4 C thingly sliced scallion tops
1 Tbs finely minced garlic
3 Tbs parsley, chopped
1/2 C ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 Creole/Andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch disks
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 who bay leaves, crushed
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 C long grain rice
2 1/4 C water


Heat oil in a 7-8 quart pot at high temperature. Brown the chicken parts on all sides. Remove from pot, leaving oil behind.

Saute vegetables, parsley, ham, and pork in pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently for approximately 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened, and perhaps browned.

Add the sausage and seasoning and continue cooking for 5 minutes, then add in browned chicken pieces, rice, and water. Mix gently.

Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to very low. Cook for approximately 45 minutes with cover on, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked. Uncover the pot during the last 10 minutes of cooking and raise heat to medium. Stir gently as rice dries out.

Vegetarian Carbonara With Spinach

Servings: 4
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 30 minutes

This spinach-laden carbonara deviates from the standard by nixing two of its leading ingredients: custardy egg yolks, which create its silky texture, and cured meat, which delivers its salty punch. This egg-free version uses a combination of butter and starchy pasta cooking water to give the sauce body. A sprinkle of grated smoked Provolone or Gouda adds a bit of the earthy flavor that traditionally comes from guanciale or pancetta. The final coup? Adding greens: One entire pound of baby spinach may look like a gargantuan amount, but it wilts right into the pasta. Most importantly, don’t be shy with the black pepper: It adds a necessary dose of spice and heat.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound spaghetti
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh baby spinach
Red-pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
¾ cup grated Parmesan (2 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup grated smoked Provolone or Gouda (1 1/2 ounces)


Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups cooking water and drain the pasta. Return the pasta and reserved cooking water to the pot and heat over low. Add the butter and onion-garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed and sauce is slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach, season with salt, plenty of pepper and red-pepper flakes, if using, and stir until spinach is wilted. Stir in the Parmesan and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top each with 2 tablespoons smoked cheese. Finish with more black pepper, if desired.

Crab Louie

Servings: 4
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 1 hour

The dressing is excellent.


1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 pound asparagus
Two 6-ounce romaine hearts, cut crosswise
1/2 inch thick
One 6-ounce seedless cucumber, thinly sliced or cut into spears
4 large radishes, thinly sliced
4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges (optional)
4 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges
1 pound crabmeat, preferably Dungeness


In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the ketchup, relish, lemon juice, garlic, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until just tender, 3 minutes. Drain and cool.

Arrange the romaine, cucumber, radishes, tomatoes, eggs and asparagus on a platter. Top with large chunks of the crabmeat and serve, passing the dressing at the table.

Cheesecake Brownies

Servings: one 9 inch or 8 inch square pan
Preheat: 350
Prep Time: 
Source: David Lebovitz – Adapted from Ready for Dessert. If you like higher brownies, use an 8 inch pan

Fabulous brownies – chocolate and cream cheese


For the brownies
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch process
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips

For the cheesecake topping
8 ounces (225g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).
3. In a medium saucepan, to make the brownie batter, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.
4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
5. In a separate bowl for the cheesecake topping, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter. Rap the pan on a countertop a few times to let the batter and swirl settle together.
7. Bake until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set, 35 to 40 minutes.

Let cool, then lift the brownies out holding the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.
Storage: These cheesecake brownies will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well for up to two months. I recommend freezing them individually so you can remove them one at a time.

Persimmon Bread

Servings: Two 9-inch (23cm) Loaves
Preheat: 350
Prep Time: 
Source: David Lebovitz / James Beard

Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.Adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.

Fabulous around Thanksgiving with really soft persimmons


3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)


1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.
2. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) degrees.
3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.
5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cranberry Upside down Cake

Servings: 8
Preheat: 350
Prep Time: 1 hour
Source: Alice Waters

Fabulous cake for Thanksgiving. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.


For the topping:

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

9 ounces (2 2/3 cups) fresh cranberries

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

For the batter:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.


1. To prepare topping: In a 9-inch round cake pan over low heat, melt butter and add brown sugar. Stir sugar until it dissolves, swirling pan to coat bottom. When sugar starts to caramelize, remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

2. In a small bowl, combine cranberries and orange juice. Toss to coat berries well. Spread berries evenly in pan, and sprinkle with any juice remaining in bowl. Set pan aside, and prepare the cake batter.

3. To prepare batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. Using an electric mixer, cream butter with sugar until pale, light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and beat in egg yolks one at a time, scraping bowl once or twice. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, ending with dry ingredients. Set batter aside.

5. Using electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar just until whites are stiff enough to hold a slight peak. Fold whites into batter 1/3 at a time. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and spread it evenly over cranberries. Bake until top is browned and cake pulls away slightly from edges of pan, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cake cool for 15 minutes before turning onto cake plate. Serve with slightly sweetened whipped cream, flavored, if desired, with orange liqueur.

Pasta Puttanesca

Servings: 3
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 30 minutes

Use canned plum tomatoes if you can. Fresh tomatoes don’t lend the same flavor to this pasta. To get them to the right consistency for the tomato puree called for in the recipe, remove them from the can and crush them with a fork or by hand. Also note that the sliced garlic is added to the oil cold. If you add minced garlic to hot oil, it can burn very quickly.I always rinse capers, whether they are salt-packed or in brine. Then I squeeze them dry before using them. The brine has particular flavor that, to me, distracts from the capers. If using salt-packed anchovies, those should be rinsed as well. Anchovies packed in oil don’t need to be rinsed.You can start the pasta before you begin making the sauce, although if making this for the first time, it’s probably easier to make the sauce, set it aside, then rewarm it again before adding the warm pasta and a bit of the pasta water, until you get the rhythm down. Make sure to reserve some of the pasta water to finish the pasta in the tangy tomato sauce.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3-4 anchovy filets, minced
2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup (40g) chopped, pitted black olives, preferably oil cured
1 3/4 cups (14oz can, 390g) tomato puree (see headnote)
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
7 ounces (200g) dried pasta


1. Make the sauce by putting the olive oil, garlic, and minced anchovies in a large, wide skillet. Heat the pan over medium heat, cooking the garlic and anchovies, stirring frequently, until the garlic is lightly browned and the anchovies are very soft and almost melting, about 2 minutes.Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to cook the pasta in.
2. Add the olives, capers, and red pepper flakes to the skillet, and stir for a minute, then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Continue to cook, and stir, until the sauce is a deeper red color and the consistency of warm jam, which will take a couple of minutes. You want it wet and loose, but not watery. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. When the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it until it’s al dente. Just before the pasta is ready, rewarm the sauce. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water, and add the pasta to the sauce warming in the pan, as well as 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water, stirring until the sauce coats the pasta and everything is heated through.

Serving: The pasta doesn’t really need any accompaniment so I don’t serve it with cheese or another else on top.

Storage: The sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance and refrigerated.

Variations: Some people add a bit of fresh, chopped parsley to the sauce, or dried oregano. I don’t, but you’re welcome to.

Chicken with Mustard

Servings: 4 to 6
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 1 hour
Source: My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

This one-pan meal is a perfect fit for your largest, most extravagant pot. This dish requires you to brown the thighs and legs. Unless you have a very large skillet or a Dutch oven, fry the chicken in batches—you want them to have room to brown, not steam, which overcrowding creates. This dish is best served with a tangle of Herbed fresh pasta, which is exactly the right vehicle for sopping up the delicious sauce, or celery root puree.


½ cup (135g), plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
4 chicken thighs and 4 legs (8 pieces, total)
1 cup (100g) diced smoked thick-cut bacon
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried
1 cup (250ml) white wine
1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
2 to 3 tablespoons crème fraîche (page 327) or heavy cream
Warm water (optional)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish


Mix ½ cup (135g) of the Dijon mustard in a bowl with the paprika, a few generous grinds of the pepper mill, and the salt. Toss the chicken pieces in the mustard mixture, lifting the skin and rubbing some of it underneath.

Heat a wide skillet with a cover or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until it’s cooked through and just starting to brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan, discarding the rest. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the thyme, and let cook for another few minutes, and then scrape the cooked onion into a bowl.

Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and place the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer. (If they don’t all fit, cook them in two batches.) Cook over medium-high heat, browning them well on one side, then flip them over and brown them on the other side. It’s important to get the chicken nicely colored as the coloring—as well as the darkened bits on the bottom of the pan, called the fond—will give the finished sauce its delicious flavor.

Remove the chicken pieces and put them in the bowl with the onions. Add the wine to the hot pan, scraping the darkened bits off the bottom with a sturdy flat utensil. Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the bacon and onions. Cover and cook over low to medium heat, turning the chicken in the sauce a few times during cooking, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Check doneness by sticking a knife into the meat next to the thigh bone; if it’s red, continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, the mustard seeds, and the crème fraîche. If the sauce has reduced and is quite thick, you can thin it with a little warm water. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and serve.