This past weekend was a cold one for sure!! The freeze baby I am though was happy as can be. My bag was packed for a weekend trip to Florida. As I hugged my son goodbye at the airport, snow lightly falling around us, my smile met his smirk with a “stay warm now” wish as I hurried myself inside!
I heard the temperature in Florida would be chillier than normal, but also knew it could only feel better than where I was. Spring Breakers were not so happy when the Captain announced the current morning temperature in Florida to be 51 degrees! Especially the boy sitting next to me ready to hit the beach in his flip flops, swim trunks and tank top! By the time we landed it hit 58 degrees and as far as I was concerned, it was a gorgeous weekend!
So they say, all good things come to an end, or do they really? I like to feel that they continue, in different ways, through the memories that touched my heart and bring a smile to my face even as I write this post. No good times do continue and with luck, repeat again with even more special moments.
As for my son, he needed some warming up when I came home. The fridge was pretty bare; a lonely package of portabella mushrooms sat on the shelve; my son obviously not having a clue what to do with them. In a matter of minutes, earthy warming aromas filled my chilly home. Yes, good times continue as we sat down to a big bowl of comfort and caught up on our weekend.
Marsala Mushroom Bisque
This is my basic recipe for creating a bisque, flavored with onion, celery, sometimes carrots and then strained out. The mushrooms can be swapped out for whatever you may have on hand, precooked chicken, shrimp, crab or asparagus are a few I like. I like using an egg yolk to thicken, however, I have at times pureed the onion and celery instead of discarding and returned the puree into the soup as a thickener.
For the mushrooms:
1 cup portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons Marsala wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the bisque:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour (I did use white/wheat blend)
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 medium onion, cut in half
1 celery stalk, cut in thirds
3 cups milk, I used non-fat
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg yolk
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup Marsala wine
For the mushrooms: In a medium skillet, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil. When the mushrooms have released their liquid and begins to evaporate, allow the mushrooms to brown slightly, salt and pepper to taste. Remove the skillet from the stove, add in the Marsala wine and simmer gently to reduce. Set aside.
For the bisque: In a large saucepan, melt the butter slightly, add in the flour and stir over low heat to a bubbling paste. Add in the broth, salt, onion and celery. Cook over low heat about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until creamy. Strain out the onion and celery and discard. Add in the milk, mushrooms and garlic powder, cook until well blended, just a few minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk. Add a bit of the hot soup to the yolk while continuing to whisk bringing the yolk to temperature before stirring it into the large saucepan of soup. Add in the Marsala wine and cook only to blend, do not allow it to boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.