Part 2:  Soup
For the next part of my parents’ anniversary dinner extraordinaire, I made this mushroom bisque that is so creamy and warm and rich, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to, um, a place where they use the word “bisque” to describe any awesome soup.  Seriously.  We researched it, and “bisque” is supposed to be seafood-based.  Technically, this recipe should be called a “cream soup,” but “mushroom cream soup” just sounds like something gross you would glob out of a can, so I’m going to be all fancy and keep calling it a bisque.

Despite its elegant name and amazing, rich flavor, this soup is pretty easy to make.  The hardest part is chopping up all the mushrooms.  I do it by hand; I suppose you could try using a food processor, but I like a little more texture to mine.  If you forget to buy half and half (oops), just substitute equal parts whole milk and heavy cream.  A small cup of soup per person is plenty, especially if you’re following it with a main dish.

To make the heart shapes, I put sour cream in a sandwich-sized zip-top bag, cut a small hole in the corner, and squeezed it out like frosting.  It sort of floats on the top.  You could just spoon on a little instead, if you don’t care so much about the appearance.

Bruschetta and Tapenade on Homemade Crostini
Mushroom Bisque
Chicken Piccata
Mystery Dessert

Mushroom BisqueMushroom Bisque (recipe from a family friend)
Time:  20-25 minutes
Serves 8

1/2 cup butter
12-16 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
4 T. flour
1/4 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half (OR 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream)
1/4 cup cooking sherry
sour cream and chopped chives, for garnish

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté mushrooms over medium heat until tender.  Add flour, mustard, and salt, and cook for one minute, stirring with a whisk.  Pour in broth and continue to cook until thickened, stirring frequently, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add half and half and sherry.  Heat thoroughly, but do not allow to boil.  Garnish in bowl with sour cream and chives.

Mushroom Bisque