A Country French Supper for Two

Here is a lovely and simple recipe based on a superb meal we were served by Karen Gros at Foundation Farm in Arkansas. It is classic country French cooking at its best. I made a few alterations, for which I hope she will forgive me. You are welcome to make your own puff pastry, which, though challenging is well worth it. I achieved the feat for the first time in a college dorm kitchen, so I say to you, if it can be done there it can be done anywhere. Otherwise I highly recommend Dufour Puff Pastry which can be found at your local Whole Foods or specialty market. Do not substitute phyllo for puff pastry. They are NOT the same thing. Mushroom Napoleon:

Puff pastry, cut into two 4x4 inch squares 1lb shiitake mushrooms 1/4 lb crimini mushrooms 1/4 cup cream 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg 1 tbs dried thyme 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 3 tbs butter 1/2 1 large shallot

Sauté the shallots on medium heat with the butter, thyme, and salt until golden and caramelised. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the cream and nutmeg and stir. Leave on heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and cream have emulsified. Meanwhile, put your two pieces of pastry into the oven around 350 degrees. Bake until puffy and golden. Do not underbake, otherwise they will collapse.

Slice each pastry square in half lengthwise and place a bit of the mushroom mixture onto the pastry so as to make little sandwiches. Serve immediately with the soup below.

Broccoli and zucchini soup:

1 litre veggie stock 1 large head broccoli (about a pound) 2 medium zucchini 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 1/2 1 large shallot 2 tbs olive oil

Roughly slice the zucchini and broccoli, discarding the main stem of the broccoli. Sauté the shallot in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the vegetables and salt and pepper and cook until tender. Pour the stock over everything and allow to simmer and meld for about 20 minutes. In batches, pour the veggie mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. If the soup is a little thin add cream to taste. Serve piping hot with a dollop of the horseradish butter below.

Horseradish butter: 1 cup best salted butter 1/4 cup best fresh horseradish

Allow the butter to come to room temperature. Put the horseradish in the butter and blend with either an electric beater or with a wooden spoon. Serve spread over meats, vegetables, bread, whatever suits your fancy.