mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

spinach souffle! . . .

 

souffle-5I’ll admit that making a spinach souffle sounds daunting. . . but it’s really not when you break up the process into sections. I bought some beautiful fresh spinach yesterday at the market and thought that cooking it down with onions, adding it to a bechamel sauce and then adding eggs for a souffle would be a nice dish to enjoy for supper.

I used Ina Garten’s recipe for the most part. Here are my steps:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees:souffle-1

  1.  SPINACH PREP: Rinse and clean half a bunch of fresh spinach; chop off the stems and coarsely chop the leaves
  2. Melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter, brown half a chopped vidalia onion and add the chopped spinach
  3. Stir gently as it cooks down until everything is soft and cooked through; sprinkle with grated nutmeg (yum!)
  4. Drain it of all the juices, place on a cutting board and chop with a cleaver alternately crosswise until it resembles frozen chopped spinach (just kidding!) You could also use frozen chopped spinach, draining it of all the water, but I like the idea and taste of fresh spinach!souffle-2
  5. CHEESE: Grate half a cup of parmesan cheese. I have a gorgeous chunk of it and grated it on the large holes of a box grater. It will give a nicer lift to the cheese than Ina’s recipe (cheddar and fine parmesan.)
  6. SAUCE: Making the bechamel sauce and incorporating the eggs:   Melt unsalted butter (2 Tablespoons) in a skillet; add 3 tablespoons more or less of flour and incorporate it into the melted butter. Add 1 cup scalded milk into the mixture, slowly incorporating 4 egg yolks one at a time, mixing gently. Add the grated parmesan and the chopped spinach. Combine and let the whole mixture cool.
  7. EGG WHITES: With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. A little at a time, fold the egg whites into the spinach mixture, making sure that it remains light and airy. Butter a souffle dish well and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Lightly fold the mixture into souffle-3the prepared souffle dish.
  8. Make a circle in the top of the souffle with a knife to encourage the souffle to rise more. When you know everyone will be ready to eat in about a half an hour, place the souffle in the oven and turn the heat down to 375 degrees (nothing is more exasperating when the souffle is done and people take 10 minutes to get to the table!)
  9. Bake the souffle for 35-45 minutes until done. Let it rest in the oven after turning off the oven with the door open; move immediately to the table when everyone is ready to eat!souffle-6

This is a truly delectable meal! . . . Bon Appetit!

 

mushroom barley soup for lunch! . . .

mushroom-barley-soup

I’m still on the search for a steady way to lose weight and have come full circle back to trying out some semi-macrobiotic recipes. The other thing we have decided to do is to forego sandwiches at lunch and to eat soup or salad instead.

So yesterday, I made a simple onion soup which is a tried-and-true easy recipe that is astonishingly tasty based on the simple steps below:

  1. Slice up a Vidalia onion (they’re sweeter and juicier than the yellow ones)
  2. Brown the onion in unsalted butter in a small soup pot
  3. Add a packet of Knorr’s homestyle beef broth (or a can of beef broth)
  4. Cook until the onions are soft

I used to heat up some leftover bread sprinkled with parmesan cheese under the broiler and serve it on top – but am going without it during this bread-less time.

Since macrobiotic cooking features hearty grains in the diet, I bought some millet, brown rice and barley at the store yesterday. This morning, I thought I’d parboil some barley in water to make a mushroom-barley soup for our lunch. I let the barley soak while I prepared the rest of the soup:

  1. Heat up a small soup pot and melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter
  2. Cut up half of a vidalia onion and brown in the butter
  3. Cut up a box of white button mushrooms (I had about 2/3rds of a box to work with) into quarters, not small bits and pieces. I like these big pieces of mushrooms because they give the soup a more robust quality
  4. Cut up a carrot into small pieces – stir fry the mushrooms and carrots with the onions until nicely browned.
  5. Add two Knorr homestyle beef broth (oval gelatin-like concentrate) plus water to cover
  6. Drain soaked barley and add to the soup
  7. Cover and cook very gently for an hour, checking there’s enough liquid as the barley expands in the soup. Taste that the soup is not too salty by adding more water
  8. Taste for seasoning and serve with cracked pepper for a hearty Fall lunch!mushroom-soup

Very low in calories, hearty, warming and delicious! Not that time-consuming to make either if you start early enough in the morning.

BTW, here’s a funny article about a guy in New Zealand who proved it’s the amount of calories that you consume that allows you to lose weight, not what you eat. He cut his intake by a third to 1600 calories and ate nothing but pies and low-cal beer – and he lost over SIXTEEN POUNDS in just four weeks!! Hmmmmmm