cream puff 
Thanks to Rachel’s hard work and perseverance, these profiteroles (a.k.a. pâte à choux, a.k.a. cream puffs) came out perfectly on the first try (of the 2nd attempt).  Light, flaky and not overly sweet, profiteroles are a simple but very elegant way to indulge your sweet tooth.  Top the puffy dumplings with a semi-sweet chocolate sauce and you’re on your way to portly heaven. 

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french bistro collage
Who are these lovely people and why are they dressed as French stereotypes?  You’re catching a rare glimpse into the inner sanctum that is Gourmet Club.  Rachel and I had the privilege of hosting, and I’ll be posting the menu and more info soon.

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soup with mushroom ravioli 
Growing up, matzoh ball soup was my go-to metaphorical ethnic penicillin.  For some, chicken soup will always be the prescribed treatment for aches, pains and a sore throat.  However, there’s no reason that we can’t soothe ourselves with something a little more filling.  Next time you call in sick, email this 30-minute remedy to your significant other as a subtle dinner suggestion.  You’ll be back on your feet in no time.

Makes: 4 bowls
Total kitchen time: 30 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 1 cup pancetta, finely diced (you can use bacon if you want, but make it good bacon)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 small leek, diced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced into 1/8” strips
  • 1 package portobello mushroom ravioli (or any other ravioli that sounds good to you – lobster, pesto or spinach all work)
  • finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan, to garnish
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the pancetta has started leaving brown bits on the bottom of the pot. 
  2. Add the onion, garlic and leek and continue to cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the white wine to deglaze the pot – the acid in the wine will let the brown bits on the bottom become unstuck.  Scrape them up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Let simmer for at least 20 minutes, or up to 4 hours for maximum flavor.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. When you are about ready to serve, bring the soup to a boil and add the mushrooms.  Cook for 1 minute, then add the ravioli and cook according to the package directions, usually about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes.
  5. To serve, ladle a generous serving of broth and a few ravioli into a bowl and top with a little parsley and parmesan cheese.
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