By Dina Eliash Robinson
For years my taste buds were yearning for the umami taste of a thick mushroom soup but I was reluctant to dedicate time and effort to improvising one that was both hearty and flavorful enough to satisfy my craving, while it was also crafted to match our health requirements.
The above refers to the healthy, nutritious, and all-organic diet that has kept my husband, me and several family members and friends healthy for the last 40 years, without medications—and especially without canned or otherwise processed foods. Although tempted sometimes by the boxed or canned mushroom shelves of Whole Foods, we were quickly discouraged by its ingredients, especially the cow milk and cream which , along with other cow dairy proved to trigger severe lactose intolerance symptoms, as well as other unpleasant reactions. Our research showed they were due to the fact that (1) cow dairy is aggregated by even the organic dairy industry from different farms—thus rendering their quality and components undifferentiated and uncontrollable; and (2) cow dairy is the product of unfortunate ruminants that are being fed grains (mostly corn), an unnatural diet for herbivores, which they cannot digest without human hands moving the feed through their four-compartment stomachs.
The other problem was how to thicken the soup without cream or wheat—the latter having been deleted from my husband’s diet temporarily, due to an unexpected sensitivity he developed after a week of binging on (organic, Non-GMO) bread, pasta and crust-heavy apple pie.
(I am still in deep research mode trying to find out whether a person could actually overdose on wheat—i.e. develop sensitivity to it—after having spent a long lifetime without experiencing a single problem or aversion to gluten? Any answer you might have to this question would be most appreciated. Please email me at [email protected].)
Using my preferred improvisational cooking method I call Jazz Cooking (see my quick-and-easy Jazz Cooking recipes at www.FreeRangeClub.com)—and true to my tendency to supersize dishes that keep well in the refrigerator to provide about eight to ten servings without my having to cook every day—I began to assemble all the organic ingredients that “tasted” perfectly together. (I am fortunate to have inherited from my Mother the ability to “taste” in my mouth most foods I see or think about, as well as which foods, herbs and spices can be combined for best flavors together.) The list of creamy mushroom soup components—all organic of course—is as follows:
- Costco’s box of a pound and a half of Baby Bella mushrooms,
- a medium size red onion,
- six plump cloves of fresh garlic,
- two-thirds of a cup of extra virgin olive oil,
- a half cup of buckwheat flour,
- a carton of coconut milk,
- two tablespoons of dry rosemary,
- one tablespoon dry thyme,
- one tablespoon Worcestershire sauce,
- one-third teaspoon powdered ginger,
- two tablespoons dry parsley,
- two tablespoons dry basil,
- one teaspoon Turmeric powder,
- a quarter teaspoon Umami Seasoning,
- a pinch of Cayenne Pepper (to taste),
- one tablespoon sweet red paprika powder,
- if needed, add Pink Himalayan salt to taste.
- In a small pot, boil rosemary and thyme in a cup and a half of bottled spring water, turning heat way down as soon as it starts to boil and simmering for about five minutes until the herbs’ essence is transferred to the liquid. Set aside. When it cooled to room temperature, strain it into a glass jar and set aside. (Extra liquid essence can be refrigerated and used for future cooking.)
- Wash the mushrooms thoroughly in cold water, drain in a colander and cut them into halves or quarters depending on their sizes.
- When relatively dry, pour mushrooms into a blender.
- Chop the onion and garlic and add to the mushrooms in the blender.
- Add half the coconut milk and set blender to Puree until only a few solid pieces are visible; then set to Liquify until mushrooms, onion, garlic and coconut milk are almost completely smooth (no need to be perfectly liquified, since having a few intact pieces to chew can be pleasant).
- In a big pot, on a very low heat, warm up olive oil with buckwheat to create a roux—stir constantly and cook for only a minute or slightly longer to prevent burning the delicate flour in the roux.
- When the roux is done, pour contents of blender (i.e., mushrooms, onion, garlic, coconut milk) slowly into pot over it, stirring vigorously to prevent clumping.
- Stir in all the above-listed herbs and spices, along with the Worcestershire Sauce and a quarter cup of the strained liquid essence of the rosemary and thyme.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk—and if needed, add bottled water, stir often as the soup simmers on low heat for about six or more minutes, until your cook’s intuition says it is done. Or shut the heat off, cover the pot and let the soup simmer under cover for a few minutes—but make sure you don’t forget to stir now and then to prevent any part of the soup burning to the bottom of the pot.
- Serve with something crunchy—I find the O-shaped, unsweetened organic, dry oat cereal ideal. Wheat-free rice crackers work well, too. Though this soup is quite filling on its own.