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two (or three) mushroom barley soup

     This is for Karen, who was requesting barley soup recipes.  I fell in
     love with this soup for several reasons and I actually brought it for
     lunch today.  One of the reasons I fell in love with it was because
     you can do anything to this soup and it is always amazing.  I don't
     even really have a recipe anymore; I just throw in whatever I have.
     There are a few things I prefer to have in there, though.

     3/4 cup or so precooked barley
     2-3 kinds of mushrooms - lots! (I like the 'ordinary' kind we get here
     in Minnesota, plus portobello cut thin and nice and my personal
     favorite, those black Chinese mushrooms...mmm...yummy flavor.  Also,
     if you have any of these left over, whip up some mushroom gravy for
     Sunday comfort food.  But maybe that is just a Minnesota thing :))
     1 carrot (chopped up fairly well)
     1 medium onion (chopped up fairly well)
     2 ribs of celery (chopped well)
     2-3 cloves of garlic
     and some really good veggie broth (I use about 4-6 cups or so)
     any spice you want.  I like oregano, some basil, pepper, sage and some
     dill (I'm a dill NUT!)
     tamari sauce, if desired

     Put onion in 1/2 broth and saute.  Add garlic after 5 minutes or so.
     Add the rest of mushrooms & veggies plus 1/2 cup more broth.  Let cook
     for 10-20 minutes or so and add the barley, more broth and spices as

     I really vary the amounts I make.  There are only two of us, so I make
     it in small batches.  Also, my SO really likes the barley over
     everything else, so my soups are generally 'barley heavy'.  I agree
     with you that it is terrific.

     I hope you don't mind the casual style of the recipe.  If this drives
     you crazy, I can get the exact amounts in the original from my mom.
     But don't worry!  You cannot harm this soup!

     Jeni Heineman, who loved the tofu pudding!