Link Lab’s Pizza Special

Link Lab's Pizza Special

Link Lab’s Pizza Special

I absolutely love to cook, but there are some days when I don’t want to make anything more complicated than a phone call for pizza. I recently had just such a night and was thrilled to discover that Pagliacci was running a special featuring Link Lab sausage. The shiitake and sage pork sausage on this pizza is fantastic; it works especially well paired with the fresh shiitake on the pizza. David, the owner and driving force behind Link Lab, has been a client of World Spice since they started grinding out sausage. I remember tip-toeing up to the door at David’s house, being careful not to wake his newborn, to drop spices off at his converted home-workshop. Now he has a beautiful, dedicated facility to keep up with the growing demand for Link Lab products. So, to David and everyone at Link Lab: Congratulations on having your fantastic sausage featured on a great pizza!  All of us here at World Spice can’t wait to taste what you come up with next.

If you miss February’s pizza special, be sure to check out Link Lab’s website for the most up-to-date information about where you can find their incredible sausage. If you’re in the mood for pizza, but were too late for the Link Lab special, be sure to try Pagliacci’s pie featuring Salumi products, another one of our favorite clients at World Spice.

Categories: Hot Topics, Main Meals, Notes from the Field | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Spice, Tea, and… Romance??

Sanjay and Pooja's Adorable Wedding Favor!

Sanjay and Pooja’s Adorable Wedding Favor!

The spice shop is a special place for many of us, staff and customers alike. For two decades we’ve swapped stories of favorite recipes and moments shared, but recently we heard a story that touched us like no other.

Meet Pooja, and her groom-to-be, Sanjay. They first found each other on an online dating site, but when discussing a place to meet in person, Sanjay suggested World Spice. On the 15th of January, 2012 the couple met for the first time right here in our shop, and spent the afternoon sharing  stories about spices and favored dishes. For the couples’ second date, Pooja prepared a pumpkin coconut curry and Harissa shrimp, and they realized a mutual love of ethnic foods, and big flavors. “We feel lucky to have found each other,” Pooja told us. Fast forward to February of 2013, and the happy couple is preparing to marry, still eating together, and when their busy schedules allow, cooking meals like grilled Tandoori chicken with roasted onions and peppers, and spicy burgers with sweet potato fries.

Pooja and Sanjay

Pooja and Sanjay

Herbs and spices are deeply rooted in romantic tradition. Giving gifts of spices for weddings is still very much alive. In modern times, spices can symbolize a fresh start. Pooja and Sanjay are giving away small tins of Indian Garam Masala to the friends and family who are sharing their special day. Congratulations, Pooja and Sanjay, we wish you a long and happy life together, full of love, spice, passion, and good food!

Categories: Holiday, Hot Topics, Spice Notes | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Roasted Quail Feast for Valentines Day

Exotic, aromatic and romantic we prepared this intimate feast with a table for two in mind. Succulent quail are roasted to perfection with one of our most alchemical blends: Ras el Hanout, which contains a hint of Moroccan rose petals and finished with a finger licking honey glaze.  Our  Wild Rice Pilaf accompaniment features the bold, classic flavor of cassia cinnamon while the  Paradise Pistachio Relish combines grains of paradise and Aleppo to bring everything together for a memorable Valentine’s Day Feast, we’ll leave the desert up to you. 

Honey Roasted Quail

Honey Roasted Quail with Wild Rice Pilaf and Paradise Pistachio Relish

 

Honey Glazed Roasted Quail

Ingredients

For the Quail Brine
1/2 gallon water
Ice, about 2 quarts
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
10 long Pepper, whole
3 tablespoons Indian coriander, whole
2 tablespoons allspice berries, whole
2 tablespoons rose petals
Peel from one lemon
For Roasting
1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons rose petals
For the Honey Glaze
3/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons Indian coriander, whole

Instructions

  1. For the Brine - Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot.
  2. Once boiled, remove from heat and add sugar and salt.
  3. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.
  4. Add enough ice to bring water volume to 1 gallon
  5. Once the brine has cooled, add quail and spices and refrigerate for 2 1/2 hours
  6. Preheat over to 450 degrees
  7. Remove quail from brine and pat dry with paper towels Set aside to bring to room temperature, about 30-40 minutes
  8. While quail are setting, melt butter in a small skillet
  9. Add Ras el Hanout, whisk and remove from heat
  10. Apply butter/Ras el Hanout mixture liberally to quail
  11. Roast quail, preferably on a grill rack, for 12-17 minutes
  12. While the quail roasts, prepare the glaze:
  13. In a small saucepan, heat honey and coriander over medium heat, stirring often, until honey is reduced by half, about 8 minutes
  14. Discard coriander seeds
  15. With a pastry brush, glaze the roasted quail with honey.
  16. Finish with Sel de Mer
  17. Serve with rice pilaf and pistachio relish (recipes below)
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/honey-glazed-roasted-quail/

 
Wild Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

1 cup wild rice
3-3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, diced
4 tablespoons dates, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, brink stock to boil
  2. Add rice, cinnamon stick and bay leaf
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until rice kernels open, about 45-50 minutes
  4. While rice cooks, saute onion on medium heat until lightly browned, about 10 minutes
  5. Add garlic to onions and continue sauteing until garlic is lightly browned
  6. When rice is nearly cooked, add onion/garlic mixture, and dates
  7. Cover and until the dates have dehydrated, about 10 minutes
  8. Season with salt to taste
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/honey-glazed-roasted-quail/

 
Paradise Pistachio Relish

Ingredients

1 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, toasted and roughly crushed (use the bottom of a bowl)
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grains of paradise, ground
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine pistachios, parsley, mint, garlic and lemon in a mixing bowl
  2. Slowly add olive oil, mixing as you go
  3. Add Aleppo, grains of paradise and salt
  4. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/honey-glazed-roasted-quail/

Categories: Global Cuisines, Holiday, Main Meals, Middle East, North America, Recipes, Sides, Spice Notes | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Voodoo Shrimp and Grits

Have you ever eaten something so good that it induces a trance?  Well, check out our Voodoo Shrimp and Grits.  This classic dish features our brand new spice blend, Voodoo, a robust seasoning which includes onion, garlic, thyme and allspice on a base of peppercorns and sea salts. We are excited to share Voodoo Shrimp and Grits just in time for Mardis Gras.  French for Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.  Definitely rich, this recipe could be the inspiration for your own Mardi Gras ritual.

Shrimp and Grits

Voodoo Shrimp and Grits

 

Voodoo Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

For the Grits
6 cups of water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups stone ground grits (instant grits won't produce same results)
3 cups half and half
1 stick of butter, roughly chopped
Tellicherry black pepper, freshly ground
For the Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 andouille sausages
1 medium sweet onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dulce pimenton
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 1/2 cups fish stock or shrimp stock made from reserved shells
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. For the Grits: Put water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Add salt and slowly sprinkle in grits while stirring with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the half-and-half and return to a simmer.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and cook the grits slowly.
  5. After 30-40 minutes, stir in chopped butter and black pepper.
  6. Continue to cook grits until smooth and creamy, about an hour.
  7. For the Sauce: In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and brown the andouille sausage. Once the sausage begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes, remove from pan.
  8. Season both sides of the shrimp with Voodoo.
  9. Sear the shrimp over medium high heat for about a minute on each side, working in batches to not crowd the pan. Remove from pan.
  10. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pan
  11. Add cooked sausage onion, pepper, garlic and spices. Saute for 3 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent
  12. Add stock and bring to boil, gently scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any flavorful bits on the bottom of the pan
  13. Reduce heat and slowly add the cream
  14. Bring up to a simmer and allow to reduce until sauce begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes
  15. Once thickened, add seared shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked, about 2-3 minutes
  16. Spoon sauce over grits
  17. Finish with Voodoo
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/mardi-gras-shrimp-and-grits/

Categories: Cajun & Creole, Fruits of the Sea, Holiday, Hot Topics, Main Meals, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Piment d’Espelette Fish Stew

This hearty stew hits it on all notes — the high acid of the tomatoes and wine play against the sweetness of the deeply caramelized onion and fennel, the brine-y olives render the seafood right at home, and the Piment d’ Espelette… oh, the Espelette! The perfect balance of heat and complexity that clarifies this bounty of flavor, and unites it all in delicious harmony. If my fish-monger has them, I’ll often throw in a few oily little fish, like fresh anchovies or sardines, too… Just sear them whole, skins and all, in a bit of olive oil and add to the serving dishes.

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Piment d’Espelette Fish Stew

Ingredients

4 ounces (8 large) raw, shell-on shrimp
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken stock, or fish stock, if you’re so lucky
1 1/2 cups water
½ cup clam juice
1 cup dry white wine
1 strip of lemon rind
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons oil
2 medium (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total) fennel bulbs (tough green tops trimmed), cored and cut in half, then cut into thin slices, reserving some fennel fronds for garnish
1 large sweet onion, such as Maui, Mayan, Walla Walla or Vidalia, cut into thin slices
Salt- I prefer Sel de Mer for this recipe
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces waxy yellow potatoes, such as Yukon gold, ½ inch dice.
½ cup large green olives, such as Lucques, pitted and halved
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Freshly ground Lampong black pepper
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
8 ounces skinless, firm white fish fillets, such as swordfish, cod, halibut, or sea bass
8 ounces clams or mussels or a combination of the two
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon Piment d'Espelette

Instructions

  1. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, placing the shells in a medium pot and reserving the de-veined shrimp in a bowl, tossing with half the ground fennel to coat. Use the remaining ground fennel to season the fish fillets, and set aside.
  2. Add the stock, water, clam juice, wine, bay leaf, lemon rind and allspice berries to the pot with the shrimp shells; bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the broth through a wire strainer, discarding the shrimp shells and whole spices. Add potatoes to the broth, and simmer until fork-tender.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of the Piment d’ Espelette. Cook for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are tender and golden. Deglaze with the tomatoes, add the garlic, and simmer until reduced by half.
  4. Add broth to tomato and vegetable mixture, adding in the olives and sun dried tomatoes, and season to taste with salt and fresh pepper. Keep hot over medium low heat.
  5. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of the oil and the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the fish until lightly browned, turning and cooking until just firm- do not overcook, as they will continue to cook in the hot broth when served. Transfer to a plate.
  6. Add the shrimp to the hot pan along with clams and/or mussels, along with a few generous ladles of broth, and cover tightly with a lid to steam open the bivalves.
  7. Place an equal portion of fish into serving bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the fish, garnishing each serving with shrimp, clams and mussels, chopped fennel fronds and a generous pinch of Piment d’ Espelette.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/piment-despelette-fish-stew/

Categories: Fruits of the Sea, Main Meals, Mediterranean, Recipes | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Piment d’Espelette

espelettehouseok2

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Spice merchant Christmas is coming a little late this year, but it is well worth the wait! The current crop of Piment d’Espelette has arrived at our doorstep, ready to transform our soups, stews, rice pilafs, and most especially egg and fish dishes with its mild heat, and fruity, almost tomato-like flavor. A single sampling of this precious spice leaves no question as to why we are so excited by its arrival!

Piment d’Espelette (pepper of Espelette) originates in the area that joins the southwestern-most corner of France with northeastern Spain, a region historically known as Basque country. Piment d’ Espelette bears the distinction of being the only spice recognized by the AOC, or Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée. The AOC guarantees that products which bear its seal will be produced in traditional manners, and originate only from their traditional region (Champagne is a classic example). Therefore, only the superior pepper grown in the ten, tiny approved Basque villages may be labeled “Piment d’Espelette.”

Visits to this picturesque region in late summer and early fall yield visions of festoons of peppers, drying against white stucco houses as they have for centuries. Each October, the end of the Piment d’Espelette harvest is marked by a vibrant festival, complete with parade, that draws upwards of 20,000 tourists. There, the peppers are sold fresh, pickled, or dried and ground, as we carry it. At only 4,000 on the Scoville scale (as compared to 40,000 for Indian Cayenne), Piment d’Espelette’s mild flavor is the cornerstone of the traditional Basque stew piperade, a piquant concoction of peppers, tomatoes, onions, and on occasion, ham and eggs.

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In keeping with Basque tradition, we consume our Piment d’Espelette seasonally; making way for the new crop when it comes. The Basque have another tradition worth imitating- that of the txoko, or gastronomical society. Generations of Basques have gotten together to cook, sing, and experiment with food in thousands of private clubs.  Pick up some of the freshest and most flavorful flakes of Piment d’Espelette available in the United States by the ounce, or sweetly packaged in a 1/2 ounce jar for your next txoko, or meeting of your foodie friends. On egin!

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Categories: French, Hot Topics, Mediterranean, Notes from the Field, Spice Notes | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Kala Masala Skillet Cornbread

This savory cornbread knocked our collective socks off at first bite. Our Kala Masala spice blend is a complex one, and that complexity of flavor transfers easily to the skillet cornbread.  There’s a tiny bit of heat from some guajillo chiles in the blend that is balanced perfectly by a healthy dose of toasted coconut for sweetness. Try it with a fish, lentil or vegetable soup for maximum enjoyment!

Cast Iron is essential for crusty cornbread!

 

Kala Masala Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons Kala Masala, ground
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons butter, bacon fat or vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to get hot while you make the batter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda and Kala Masala. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and the ¼ cup melted butter together.
  3. Take the hot cast iron skillet out of the oven, and add in the butter. Swirl it around until the butter starts to melt, being sure to tilt the pan to coat the sides and bottom evenly.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients in the dry ingredients and mix quickly, just until moistened. Do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cornbread until it’s golden brown, about 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, and try to let it cool for a few minutes before you dive into it. Cut into 8 wedges.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/kala-masala-skillet-cornbread/

Categories: Course, Curries & Masalas, Indian Subcontinent, North America, Sides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Expect a huddle in the kitchen as well as around the TV with this Creole-inspired dish.  Many of us fondly remember Sesto’s Cafe, our neighbor here on Western Avenue and its New Orleans native and owner, Chuck Smith.  Chuck made some of the most memorable and mouthwatering Gumbo out of the Bayou.  We sure miss Sesto’s but lucky for us, Chuck generously shared his recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. We’ve streamlined his process just a tad (Don’t worry, Chuck, your secret is safe!), and layered it with a classic roux from the cookbook of the Junior League of Lafayette, LA.  There’s this big game happening on February 3rd in New Orleans – a city rich with culinary history, laden with exotic influences.  What an excellent opportunity to enjoy this delicious dish.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

 

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients

For the Roux:
 
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil or butter
 
For the Gumbo:
 
4 cups onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups celery, chopped
1-1/2 cup bell pepper (red or green), chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce (or 1/4 teaspoon) Worcestershire
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 links Andouille sausage, sliced (We like Uli's sausage)
2 pounds chicken thighs, skinless
4 cups chicken stock, heated
Salt, to taste.

Instructions

  1. A large, heavy pot is a must - the heavier the better. Patience is a must - the more the better. (It will be rewarded! We promise!)
  2. Mix flour and oil until thoroughly until blended before heating. Turn heat on medium-low and immediately begin stirring. Allow roux to brown slooowly, stirring constantly.
  3. When roux is dark brown, add chopped vegetables.Increase heat to medium and stir until onions are translucent. Add seasonings, stirring to blend. Add sausage and chicken, stirring until evenly browned.
  4. Slooowly add heated chicken stock, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until gumbo comes to a simmer. Simmer 1 hour, stirring often and reducing heat if necessary to prevent sticking. Add salt to taste.
  5. You can adjust the final thickness of the gumbo with file (FEE-lay) powder , or pass it at the table as a traditional accompaniment.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/gumbo/

Categories: Cajun & Creole, Holiday, Main Meals, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harissa and Vegetable Couscous

This recipe has been a long time coming. Hardly anyone who comes in to the shop — spice masters and novices alike — can pass over the North African section without some long, lingering sniffs. The spices from that region are so exotic, in their perfect union of sweet-spicy-aromatic. “How do you use the Harissa?” is one of the most common questions following the exclamations of delight, and though my fellow merchants and I have written versions of this recipe on many a business card, envelope, and scratch paper, it’s about time it took its place among our favorites here on the blog.

The tender-crisp vegetables and fluffy cous cous are a perfect vehicle for this sumptuous sauce; our version of the traditional Tunisian red pepper condiment that is so ubiquitous in Northern Africa. The cumin, coriander, and caraway add complexity and depth, with the guajillos lending just enough heat to be interesting without being overwhelming. You can also try the Harissa sauce on grilled meats or eggplant — or even on halibut!

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Harissa and Vegetable Couscous

Ingredients

For the Harissa –
 
6 ounce can of tomato paste
12 ounce jar roasted peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Harissa, ground
1-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
4 green onions, sliced thinly
 
For the couscous –
 
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
2-1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 small acorn or butternut squash (cut into ½ inch cubes)
1 small cauliflower, florets cut into small pieces
1 medium zucchini (cut into ½ inch cubes)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
¾ cup fresh or thawed green peas
½ cup chopped cilantro
1-1/2 cups couscous

Instructions

  1. To make the Harissa – In a small saute pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add the chopped red onion, and saute until it starts to get a little color. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the tomato paste, roasted peppers, Harissa, garlic granules, 1/3 cup olive oil and red wine vinegar. Pulse until it’s still a little chunky. (You can also puree it until it’s smooth.)
  2. Transfer to a bowl and add salt to taste. Add the sauteed red onions and green onions and mix well. (You can prepare this ahead of time – let it get to room temperature before serving. If you have any leftovers, it will keep well in the refrigerator. This works well as a condiment to any meal.)
  3. To make the Couscous – In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over low heat. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add stock, dried apricots, squash, zucchini, cauliflower florets, chickpeas, turmeric, ginger powder and Aleppo pepper, stirring well. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Place the cover on the pot, reducing the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, but still a bit crispy. This should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Then mix in the diced tomatoes, peas, cilantro and couscous. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes. (This will cook the couscous.)
  5. Remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle some of the Harissa onto the couscous, serving the rest of the Harissa on the side.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/harissa-and-vegetable-couscous/

Categories: Africa, Main Meals, Mediterranean, Sides, Snacky Bits | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heavenly Hawaij Soup

This decadent  mushroom soup wowed us at our last tasting. The fusion of the aromatic cardamom, turmeric and saffron in the essential Yemenese blend combined with mushrooms and cream to make one heavenly bowl of soup. We added Porcinis for a meaty richness and additional depth of flavor.  This exotic twist on an American classic is perfect as a soup shot for a holiday party or on those chilly winter nights.

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Heavenly Hawaij Soup

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 ounce (about 1 cup) dried Porcinis, broken into smaller pieces
2 pounds chopped Crimini mushrooms
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons Hawaij, ground
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven, melt the butter on medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions until slightly browned. Add the flour, and mix well. (It will be thick.) Add in the Porcinis, Criminis, stock, wine and Hawaij. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium low, and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  2. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Once the soup is pureed, return it to the pot and add the heavy cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes, to reduce the cream a bit. Add the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, then taste for salt and add what you need. If you feel the soup is too thick, add more stock. If you feel it needs to be thicker, continue to reduce it on low until it’s at the consistency you prefer. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/hawaij-cream-of-mushroom-soup/

Categories: Course, Global Cuisines, Middle East, North America, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment