Tag Archives: Fall

Mushroom and Artichoke Soup

The chill in the air this weekend made it the perfect time to enjoy a hearty soup.  With both mushrooms and artichokes on hand, we decided to put our own twist on a mushroom soup…

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Unsalted butter

Extra virgin olive oil

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 quart baby portobello mushrooms, chopped with stems removed

5 chestnuts, peeled and cooked

12 ounce jar of artichoke hearts, drained

3 pieces crystallized ginger

4 cups chicken stock

Half and half

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until it softens and becomes translucent.  Then, add the mushrooms and chestnuts, cooking for about 7 minutes.

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Next, add the artichoke hearts, ginger and chicken stock.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

After cooling for several minutes, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend at high speed until smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan and add a few splashes of half and half to your desired consistency.  Also season with salt and pepper.  Bring the soup to a simmer again before serving.

Garnish with sprigs of thyme and serve with some crusty bread and olive oil for dipping.

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Concord Grape and Ricotta Pie

Everyone remembers enjoying Concord grape juice and peanut butter and Concord grape jelly sandwiches as a child.  Although these are two of the most comforting ways to appreciate the sweet yet tart grape now available in farmers’ markets, there are so many other preparations – chutneys, jams, pies…

I detected the unmistakable fragrance of Concord grapes at a farm stand this weekend and could not resist buying a bunch.  As I still had some ricotta in the refrigerator from recent ravioli making, I decided on a Concord grape and ricotta pie.

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 pound ricotta

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup Concord grapes, halved and seeded

Zest of one lemon

Ricotta Pie Batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 inch tart pan or pie dish.  Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and then mix in the ricotta, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Fold in the grapes and lemon zest.  Pour and smooth the batter into the tart pan, and bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Garnish each slice with additional grape halves and lemon zest.

Concord Grape Pie

Drop a few grapes into a glass of Prosecco to celebrate autumn with this Concord grape dessert.

Autumn Soup at Sbraga

My favorite Philadelphia restaurant, Sbraga, is currently serving the ultimate autumn soup – carrot ginger.  The ginger provides a kick that is balanced by the sweetness of the carrot.  A perfect spoonful will include a piece of the charred marshmallow slowly melting into the velvety gold puree.  You will also notice an occasional surprise hidden in the rich, creamy soup – chopped pistachios.  This first course is sure to stimulate the palate for the courses to follow.

carrot soup