So, the friendly people over at Marx Foods recently asked the internet-at-large “What have you done to be a good foodie this year?” And, being a member of the internet-at-large, I felt compelled to answer them. It would’ve been rude not to, right?
And so I began pondering. Pondering and musing. This was my first year blogging, and I’m getting the hang of it. My second year cooking for myself, and people seem to think I’m alright at that. My 21st year eating, and I consider myself a master at that. So I have some experience with food. But what about this year made it different? Seeing as how it’s finals week and I’m a senior in college and I’ve been having all sorts of deep thoughts about the value of a good education and how college has changed me and what on earth I am going to do in the real world, the answer came to me pretty quickly.
Learning. This year, in the realm of food and in pretty much all the other realms of my life, the thing that has been most significant throughout my experiences has been learning. In terms of food and blogging and eating, I’ve learned a ton. Big things and little things. Big things like how to take a decent food photo, how huge the difference is between high quality and cheap ingredients, and how much work (but oh how rewarding too!) blogging can be. Little things like how to like mushrooms and tomatoes, two foods I was convinced I hated a year ago, how incredible slices of fresh avocado can taste, that cardamom is what makes danish pastries taste like danish pastries and not just any other baked good, and how to consistently make good pasta dough. I’ve tried countless new recipes, ordered meals I wouldn’t have touched as a kid, and discovered incredible websites. On any given day I probably spend a good hour or two thinking about food and recipes and menus – sometimes actively, but sometimes passively, like when I’m sitting in class and realize that half of my notebook is filled with flavor combinations rather than steel code stipulations like it should be. And I like it. I hope I can find a way to make this learning continue and deepen.
In the non-food portion of my life I’ve learned a lot too. Probably too much to say. So I’ll just touch on the big stuff… like how to take care of my own finances. How to dress and talk and smile for job interviews. How to be rejected from said job interviews. How much I truly love to dance. How to stop crying and pull yourself together when you’ve been dumped and your world feels shattered. How frustrating research is. How good independence feels. How important being with other human beings on a daily basis is. How little I know about what I want in my life. How much time I have to figure it out. How to save your last tailgate. And on and on.
And there you have it. That’s what’s made me a good foodie, and a good student, and good at being myself this year. And since I couldn’t leave you without a recipe, in the spirit of learning to like new things and those friendly people over at Marx Foods, I decided to try their Hungarian Mushroom Soup. They posted it a few weeks ago, and although they aren’t flavors I usually work with, the recipe really intrigued me. Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s my recent mushroom kick – now that I know I like them, I want to eat them! Maybe it’s my inner Eastern European. Who knows. But I made it, and although I was apprehensive beforehand, I liked it more with every bite. It tastes very authentic (although you should know that my only authority in that matter comes from one week in Hungary last year), and rich and the dill really comes through in a great way. It also took 30 minutes to come together, including 20 minutes of time soaking the mushrooms, so that was a nice surprise. Everyone loves a 10 minute meal. The only thing that put me off about it was the chewiness of the reconstituted mushrooms – next time I would either chop them up into smaller pieces pre-soak, or blend the soup when it was finished.
One last thing… Since they asked, the gift I would most like to receive if a stocking full of edible goodies happened to arrive on my doorstep from Marx Foods would be saffron threads. Why? Honestly, because they are way out of my weekly food budget range, and they have such a lovely flavor and I keep having to not make recipes where they are a key ingredient.
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Reposted from Marx Foods, scaled down to serve 2.
- 1/2 oz. dried mushooms
- 1 TBS butter
- 1/2 c. diced onion
- 1 TBS flour
- 1 c. milk
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 c. stock or water
- 2 TBS sour cream
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. dill
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- Pour boiling water over mushrooms to cover. Let stand 20 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, sautee onions in butter until translucent. Add flour and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add mushrooms and their soaking water and stir until thickened. Add milk and paprika and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add 1/2 c. stock, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, salt, and vinegar and stir until all incorporated. Cook 2-3 minutes more to let flavors combine. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.