Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mushroom Cream Soup - Vegan Recipe Video

Fungus shouldn't taste this good. Almond milk and caramelized mushroom blend together perfectly. My rich and earthy Mushroom Cream Soup is meant to be shared on a cold wintry day.


I often find four ounce packages of brown crimini and portabella, along with regular white button mushrooms, at my local 99c only Stores, here in Los Angeles. Sorry to rub it in, but mushrooms are expensive, except in my Cheap$kate Chateau.


Click on any photo to see larger.

The rest of the ingredients are cheap enough. I saute onion along with the  mushrooms, and sweeten the soup with white wine and almond milk.

You can keep this recipe vegan by substituting cream with almond, cashew or soy milk. I'm not up on all the milk alternatives, so use what you like. 


I add a couple cups of water to the soup, but you can use a favorite broth for an extra flavorful soup.

Can you keep it low calorie and leave out the rich cream? Hell yeah, it's just as tasty without cream.

But if you are feeling extravagant, and making this for a special occasion, like trying to impress a date, then go all the way...with extra cream!

Mushroom Cream Soup - VIDEO 

Play it here, video runs 3 minutes 14 seconds

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients (about 4-6 servings)
3 packages of mushrooms - I got 4 to 5 ounce packages of each: crimini, white button and portabella mushroom. Okay to use one type of mushroom, or any you can find on sale.
1 onion chopped - I used a cheap yellow onion. If you don't like onion then leave it out.
1 cup white wine - optional. If you leave it out then just use broth or water instead.
2 cup almond milk - use any favorite milk substitute.
1 cup water - or a favorite vegetable broth.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil - to saute onion and mushrooms.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions
Please note that I cooked this soup recipe in a large pot. If you use a standard smaller pot then cooking time for mushrooms may take longer than 5 minutes, more like 10 minutes. Mainly, just cook veggies until soft.

Chop one whole onion. Saute in pot with tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Cook and stir onions until soft, about 5-10 minutes. You want onions to caramelize just a little to sweeten and lose that raw onion texture and flavor.



Clean mushrooms if needed. (Wipe off dirt with a soft brush or napkin.)


For crimini or white button mushroom roughly slice. Okay to use pre-sliced mushrooms.


For larger portabella mushrooms whip off any dirt. Once the portabella mushrooms are cleaned, slice them up. Doesn't matter how small the pieces, as they will end up in a blender or food processor.


Once onions are softened stir in the mushrooms. Cook them another 5 minutes until mushroom pieces are soft. May take longer to soften if you use a small pot - the more pan surface area the quicker everything cooks through.


Salt and pepper to taste any time during sauteing.

Mushrooms and onions will reduce in size considerably. Again if you use a small pot the mushroom may take 10 minutes to soften.


Pour in about a cup or white wine. 


Finally, add 1 cup of water or a favorite broth. Mix liquid well. Bring soup up to a low simmer and cover the pot.


Simmer for about 15 minutes. You just want to finish cooking the mushrooms and onions until extra soft.

Now you are ready to finish up the Mushroom Cream Soup. Allow the soup to cool down, so you can add it to a blender or food processor. Blending with too hot liquid is asking for trouble. Let the soup cool down for at least 5-10 minutes.

Add soup to a blender and pulse/blend until smooth. It goes pretty quickly. I blended all my soup in about a minute. Okay to work in batches. I blended my soup in two batches.


Lastly, add blended soup to a pot. Stir in 2 cups of almond milk. You can use any favorite vegan milk substitute, since now all you are doing is a final soup warming up.


Heat Mushroom Cream Soup until hot, about 5 minutes - that's it.



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dos Amigos Tamales - Deal of the Day Review

Plump and pungent in a small package, my latest Latin-style Deal of the Day is worth a second bite.


I unearthed tamales by Dos Amigos from the frozen deli case at my local Dollar Tree. You get two for a buck. Right off the bat, not a bad deal. The tamales are wrapped in corn husks, Mexican-style.


You have to read the fine print under Ingredients on the front of the package to discover if the tamales are cheese, veggie, fruit or meat filled. The tamales I purchased are made with pork.


The cooked pork is halfway between ground and shredded, and you get a good amount. Often tamales are skimpy with the meat, not so here. The pork is steeped in zesty chili pepper spices.


The spice mix is well balanced with a slight tongue-tingling heat that slowly builds. The overall flavor is similar to enchilada sauce, what one would expect. I was not disappointed.


I microwaved these suckers like the label says. Since tamales are normally steamed, I made sure to wrap them in a damp paper towel to keep moist during defrosting.

It only took a couple of minutes for tamales to reach steaming hot.


tamale rises or falls based on the corn husk-covered steamed masa. And masa can be too dry and crumbly, like eating sawdust, at it's worst.

The ground corn masa coating did not dry out like I expected. While not as moist as the best tamales you would get at a Mexican bakery or grocery, these retained a soft texture, but there were a few dry flaky spots. Next time I would steam these tamales, instead of microwaving. But overall not a bad texture.


The corn masa was not gritty and the flavor was mild to contrast with the intense chili spices in the pork filling. Overall a nice balance of corn and pork flavors.

The two tamales are small, just short of four inches in length, but you get two fat ones for a buck, so no complaints here.




I also like that the ingredient list is short. They seem a little on the oily side, so not a low-calorie meal. But it's a small amount overall, in a  plump package.

So, on my Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being perfection, I give Dos Amigos tamales a tasty 6!

I can recommend my latest Deal of the Day from the Dollar Tree. While they won't replace tamales you get from the neighborhood street vendor, they're enough to temporally satisfy an attack of tamale-fever.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe - Video

I love Chicken Salad as much as Tuna Salad. It's a milder taste compared to tuna, so the crunchy veggies and mayo/mustard come forward in flavor. My Chicken Salad recipe video will have coming back for seconds and thirds once you've had your first bite.


The ingredient list is small. I like a little fine chopped onion and celery for crunch. And those veggies are about the lest expensive ones you can find at any grocery store.

I also include a tablespoon of pickle relish. You can add more or less veggies to suit your taste. You can even leave out the veggies for a more meaty salad.


I add a little mustard with a lot of mayo for extra creamy Chicken Salad. Again, you can adjust the balance to please yourself and the family. If you don't like mustard then leave it out. Some recipes call for the herb Dill. Again, use it if you like it, or forget about it.


All the ingredients come cheaply these days. I get dark chicken leg quarters for way less than a dollar per pound and white meat for around 99 cents per pound from Superior, my local Latin market. Dark meat is harder to filet than white meat, but after you've done it a few times it does get easier


I lightly boil or poach the chicken pieces so they stay moist. You can use any chicken you have on hand, either fresh-baked or sauteed, too. I've used leftover roasted whole chicken from the deli case of my local grocery chain store when it's on sale, usually at the end of the work week. Leave out the skin and bones.

Poaching Video


I always can find mayo on sale at my 99c only Stores. And onion and celery are some of the least expensive veggies around.




Chicken Salad is versatile recipe that's delish between 2 slices of bread, or as an appetizer and spread on any favorite cracker. Put a big scoop on you favorite green garden salad for extra flavor and heft.

So get out the leftover cooked poultry and mix up my latest video recipe of Chicken Salad.
Chicken Salad - Video

Play it here. Video runs 1 minutes, 38 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 chicken breast - cooked and cubed. About 2 cups. Okay to use dark meat leg quarter (leg plus thigh.) Use leftover cooked turkey during Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion - okay to add more or less to taste. I fine chopped 1/4 of a white onion. You can use any type of onion including red and green onion.
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery - okay to add more or less to taste. I used one celery rib.
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish - optional.
  • 1 teaspoon mustard - or Dijon mustard. I've made this salad without mustard.
  • 3 tablespoons mayo - any favorite light or whole mayo. Again add a tablespoon at a time to reach your preferred creaminess.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dill - herb can be dried or fresh. Optional ingredient.


Directions
Use boneless and skinless cooked chicken. I used leftover breast meat from a roast chicken.

You can boil/simmer chicken pieces about a half hour in seasoned water. Or, saute chicken in a little oil. Just make sure chicken is cooked all the way through - no pink or red juices.



While chicken cooks you can chop celery and onion. I like onion in salads (tuna, chicken, turkey, egg) fine chopped. For celery, I like pieces a little larger. Okay to chop veggies anyway you like.

Now time to bring it all together. Add chicken and chopped veggies to a bowl.


Mix in a tablespoon of pickle relish. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the herb Dill (optional.)


Stir in a tablespoon of mayo at a  time to reach your desired creaminess. I mixed in about 3 tablespoons. Add teaspoon of mustard. Okay to add or subtract amounts of mayo and mustard.


Finally salt and pepper to taste. Store Chicken Salad in the refrigerator. If you wait a couple of hours before serving, then all the ingredients will have time to meld and become more intense.

I like to scoop my Chicken Salad onto a toasted onion bagel. You can serve Chicken Salad with crackers as an appetizer. Add a scoop of Chicken Salad to your fave salad.


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