Archive for ‘Soups’

August 25, 2011

Homemade Ramen Noodle Soup in 15 minutes!

This was the very first video that Kristin Booker from FashionStyleBeauty.com and I did together, and though it is rougher than the later ones, it’s actually a great recipe for homemade ramen noodle soup and can easily be vegan, just sub in vegetable stock for a meat based stock.

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July 7, 2011

Video: Healthy Homemade Ramen in 15 Minutes!

Boy, it is warm out there! At least here in the Northeast.  In this kind of weather no one really wants to turn their stove on at all. But if one has to, it better be for a really, really short period of time and for a good reason. If you happen to be craving noodles on a evening cool enough to turn on the stove top try these. This is another video collaboration between myself and the fabulous Kristin Booker from Fashion.Style.Beauty. These noodles are quick, easy, nutritious and delicious. And honestly we make them here a lot.

December 28, 2010

Hot and Sour Soup and Braised Pork with Spicy Soy Sauce

I took most of December off from food blogging for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that in general December is busy for everyone and the blogosphere grinds nearly to a halt, even the food news, which is after all my focus. But above both of those things I felt strongly that I needed to refocus. So I spent the month cooking recipes out of Mark Bittman’s deservedly famous tome How To Cook Everything, searching in part to clarify my food voice in a chorus of so many already great ones.

I also had the pleasure of receiving a signed copy of David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook. Needless to say I spend several days pouring over the pictures and reading every single word, even the ones not written by him. The wonderful thing about David Chang’s book is that it truly reads like a memoir and there is a fuck you attitude, which he says several times in the book, matched with an undeniable elegance and a triple awareness of the shocking ridiculousness of his success. The book is decadent on every level, from the food porn shots, to the quality of the paper not to mention the recipes. But above all it is honest. He is honest in the book in telling us, the reader, to buy steamed buns, rice cakes and noodles, but includes recipes for the crazies who want to make them. He is honest about what he does and though he is obviously grateful for his success he seems a little baffled, in part because though Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar are now without a doubt successes, the initial ideas for both restaurants fell flat and only through David Chang’s strongest trait, adaptability, a whole lot of luck which included the talented staff and co-chefs that flowed his way, did they survive at all, literally. The final accolade on the worshiping of David Chang cake is his commitment to the use of local, ethical and sustainable ingredients which shows not only in where he purchases his products but also what he uses in his dishes, like the pig tail special I had the pleasure of eating on my birthday at the Noodle Bar.

What do these two things have in common? I’ve mentioned before that I was lucky to grow up with a single father who in the 70’s (along with a lot of other people at the time) picked up a wok and tried their hands at Chinese cooking. My father went all the way and got pretty good at several recipes. Thus I, an undeniably Caucasian woman in her latest of late thirties, has an affinity of both palate and kitchen to cook Asian cuisines.  This has somehow always felt strange for me. I feel some misplaced guilt at appropriating a food culture that isn’t ‘mine.’ It wasn’t until my business partner said to me after I had done a batch of potstickers to middling success, “I find it strange that you cook all of this Asian food.” When I asked him why he went on to say, “I guess I just thought that you would cook more American foods,” and my reply of “but for me Asian food is part of American food and has been so for quite some time,” rang true to the cook, writer and self that is me.

Then I sat down and really thought about what I think about when I think of food, where I find myself in the aisles of food stores, or even what parts of town, what food blogs I enjoy reading most and where I love to eat, as well as where I put the most effort into cooking when I’m just trying to get something perfect for me. I have been working on my Pho recipe for three months straight now, I have made stocks of all kinds of bones, I have tried shank, regular soup bones, I have tried mixing pork and beef bones, I even added some lamb bones once in search of perfect balance, it was weird, don’t try it. I have tried several different incarnations of the spices that I dry toast and use. I have tried different noodles, different cuts of meat and still I search, enjoying every step, for the reason my Pho isn’t amazing. Don’t get me wrong it is damn good, but I haven’t knocked it out of the park yet.

However, the first time that I made Hot and Sour Soup it was shockingly good. And in all honesty the best Hot and Soup I have ever had and I love Hot and Sour Soup. I even love the MSG, cornstarch laden crap sold at really cheap Chinese take out places, in a different way of course, but there is love there none-the-less, a love that I am now finally proud of.

This recipe is from Mark Bittman and for those who do not yet own How To Cook Everything, and have an extra 35 dollars sitting around, stop reading, get up and go get it. I’ll be here when you get back. The book is organized to teach people how to riff of basic recipes and thus encourages improvisation, as well as the basic truth about food: it all tastes good when prepared well and there are no ‘wrong’ ideas as long as you stay within a certain area of reason. This recipe is what I have done to/with his recipe. His recipe calls for a ½ pound of tofu cut into ½ inch cubes. Given the issues surrounding tofu, genetic modification and heavy pesticides, as well as the fact that I was using pork meat and pork stock, I felt that the tofu was more protein than I needed and added instead bamboo shoots for body. For all you fantastic vegetarians out there, make this soup with a vegetable stock, put a whole pound of tofu and an extra ½ pound of bamboo shoots in the soup. For the rest of us:

I braised the pork ahead of time, this is enough for two batches of soup.

Braised Pork with Spicy Soy Sauce

1 fresh hot chili seed and minced

2 pound boneless pork shoulder trimmed and cut into bite sized chunks

1/4 cup soy sauce

¼ cup nam pla (Thai fish sauce)

¼ cup sugar

½ cup stock

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Then turn the heat down to a minimum and cook, covered, stirring every 10 minutes or so for about 45 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the heat up and boil until the liquid is reduced to less than a cup. You can do this ahead of time, you can even put this over rice and call it a day.

Hot and Sour Soup

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 pound of the braised pork

6 cups of chicken stock (I used both a turkey and a pork on separate occasions, it’s what I had)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

5 dried whole shiitake mushrooms soaked in hot water for at least 10 minutes

5 Chinese wood ear mushrooms also soaked for 10 minutes (I used black trumpets because I like them)

¼ cup rice vinegar, more if you like it more sour

3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

½ cup chopped scallions

½ pound thinly sliced bamboo shoots

Whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce and cornstarch and set aside. Combine the stock with the garlic and ginger in a large pot and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Drain the mushrooms, trim off any hard sports and cut into very thin slices, and add to the stock. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a steady bubble for 5 minutes.

Bring the stock back to a boil over a medium-high heat and add the meat, cook for another 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and pepper and reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup cold water to the cornstarch mixture and stir into the soup until it thickens, about 1 minute. While stirring, pour the eggs into the soup in a slow steady stream, the eggs will form thin ribbons that will float to the top of the soup. Remove from the heat and add more vinegar or pepper until you find the hot/sour point you like. Garnish with the cilantro, the scallions and serve.

Did I take a picture once, in all the batches I made this month, of course not, I am still me after all.

Oh, and the news item from Eatocracy that told of a recall by Rolf’s Patisserie on Christmas Eve that included some gingerbread bread houses that were sold by Whole Foods, that are possibly contaminated with Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria seemed the height of Holiday food irony.

November 13, 2010

Virtual Cruising For Tangible Tastes

From the time that I was 15 years old I have collected my recipes by clipping them from various food magazines and newspapers and putting them in a sketchbook that I organized by section. In these books are also hand written recipes from all kinds of sources including other people’s mother’s recipes and other people’s cookbooks. In fact, before I started this blog 4 months ago I previously wrote a blog called 3×5 collections (better name than Food Thinking I know) that was dedicated to all the recipes that I had collected over the years. My initial idea for 3×5 collections was to create a community where people could share their favorite family/community recipes.

With food blogs being prevalent and increasingly influential, our access to recipes, food pictures and how-to videos has vastly changed the landscape of recipe collection and has thrown to the wind the idea that Aunt May’s buttermilk pie crust is truly the best crust in the world. How does one actually determine this with so many recipes for other people’s Aunt’s best buttermilk crusts available at ones fingertips? Not surprisingly my method of collecting recipes has shifted from the clip and paste with scissors and tape to the clip and paste of command V and command C. I no longer call my Aunt when I want to make buttermilk biscuits I get online and type in buttermilk biscuit recipes to my search engine. I find myself buying fewer cookbooks and reading more blogs. I look for inspiration vicariously through other people’s cooking experiences. In fact a lot of what I decide to cook is informed by what other people’s attempts look like in pictures that give me information based only on one of the senses engaged in the cooking/eating process.  What I decide to cook has in fact become almost entirely divorced from something that I actually tasted, wanted to honor and recreate. Instead, my choices are impulse and slightly competitive driven and I wonder what it means to find oneself cooking for an audience of people with whom I share food with only virtually at least in equal part with the people I actually share food with at a table.

Yesterday, I filled my first Food Thinking notebook and had to buy a new one. Before I put it on the shelf I made a list of every recipe that was in it to put at the beginning of the notebook so I would know where to find the recipes should I want them again in the future. In the spirit of honoring the intrinsic value of a good recipe and the care that it takes to create food, here is most of that list and where I got them. To all of my fellow bloggers who have helped nourish me and mine I sincerely thank you.

Korean BBQ Chicken Marinade- Bill Granger. I pulled this one off the T.V. 1 cup sugar,  1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon onion powder. 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 4 teaspoons hot chili paste.

Duck Noodle Salad- Bill Granger

Indian Spiced Yogurt Sauce- Anjum Anand, I use this on squash as well.

Jamie Oliver’s Tray Bake- I know this is his but the link is gone, here’s the recipe. 1 1/2 pounds lamb sausage (any kind will do, but this had balsamic, so a heavier sausage will hold up better. 1/2 pound shallots halved, 1 pound new potatoes halved, 5 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs rosemary, 5 sprigs oregano, two bulbs garlic stripped but leave the cloves whole, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon medium ground black pepper, 5 tablespoon olive oil, 1 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. Preheat the oven to 350. Preheat the empty roasting pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Once the pan is hot add the olive oil and the spices until they get fragrant but do not brown. Add in the potatoes and the cloves of garlic and toss in the oil and herbs. Add the shallots and the sausages and toss. Pour  the balsamic vinegar over the whole shebang and cook until the potatoes are done, about 45 minutes.

Tomatillo Soup with Shredded Chicken- Mariquita Farm

Chicken Tikka Marsala- Jamie Oliver

Sweet Potato Gnocchi- East Village Kitchen, her site had a major hiccup so I’m linking my own post.

Scallion Ginger Sauce- David Chang via You Fed a Baby Chili?

Tomato Jam with Ginger- Healthy Green Kitchen

Hummus- Epicurette In New York

Pad Thai- Ubiquitous Cravings

Unami Chicken Marinade- Bite Me New England

Vietnamese Roasted Game Hens- Ravenous Couple

Chicken Pumpkin Stew- Jehan Can Cook

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese- Jaime Oliver via Eat. Live. Travel. Write

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce-Egg Wan’s Food Odyssey

Seasoned Spinach (Sigumchi Namul)- Korean American Mommy

Mung Bean Salad- Korean American Mommy

Beef Jerky- My Man’s Belly

Pickled Carrots with Jalapenos-Southern Fried Curry– as a warning these are delicious but quite hot!

Stuffed Peppers- This Week For Dinner

Curried Goat- Them Apples

Pickles-Kitchen Konfidence

November 11, 2010

Winter Buffalo Chili

Due to my absolute terror of beef in this country I was never much of a chili maker until my friend Jesse made chili one night with ground buffalo meat. This completely converted me partly because of how much safer and better for you buffalo meat is as well as how much I love the gamey flavor. What I love about the clip below is the farmer discussing how cows are like dogs and buffalo are like cats, which for some reason made me like them even more.

This recipe is one that I have been working on for over a year. I was pretty excited today when for the fourth day in a row it really felt like late fall here in NYC which required the first pot of winter chili. The key to a good chili is time, no one wants to hear that but it’s true and even as I type this I am resisting eating it before it has had its full 2 hours to simmer. Though cornbread is the traditional side to serve with chili, what I like to do is a get a good whole grain loaf of bread, cut it into chunks, shred cheddar cheese over the top and broil it until the cheese is bubbling. Then I ladle the chili over a portion of this. As accoutrement I do recommend crème fraiche and cilantro.

Buffalo Chili

1 lb ground buffalo meat

1 large white onion diced

2 bell peppers diced, I used one yellow and one red because that was what was at the market

2 large tomatoes diced

2  12 ounce cans garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 garlic cloves crushed with a knife, I pull them out at the end

2 12 oz bottles of beer, I used a Porter

3 tablespoons Ancho Chili powder

2 tablespoons hot paprika

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium high heat, once hot add the onion and cook until softened. Add the buffalo meat and the crushed garlic cloves and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the spices and stir well. Add the peppers, tomatoes and 1 can of the beans. Add both bottles of beer and the salt and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. An hour into the cooking process add the last can of beans. You can add them both at the same time, but I like the difference in textures. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the chili is at desired thickness. This chili is pretty hot, to keep it cooler drop the one tablespoon of chili powder.

October 19, 2010

Recipes From Around The Web: Pho, Pumpkin Stew and Olives

Normally my taste buds run in streaks. I’ll get a taste for duck and I’ll make duck several times in several different ways for a month and then I’ll be done. Or pumpkin, for about 6 weeks of the year everything I touch has pumpkin in it, near it or I have shaped to look like a pumpkin. Either I am losing my attention span or my taste buds are changing, but for the last two weeks I have been all over the map. In keeping with my normal taste bud streak I have been quite literally pickling everything I can get my hands on. I am lucky enough to have several friends in my life who are more than happy to pick up the ‘slack’ because although nutritionally, pickled produce isn’t the worse thing that one to eat, it will take its toll on your kidney’s eventually especially if you eat nothing else.

Speaking of pickling, well technically, brining, I decided to kick the preserving up a notch and make my own olives. This is at the long end a 6-month process and on the short end a 6-week process. After reading several different recipes and watching a lot of youtube videos like this one:

I decided to go with Apple Crumbles. Her recipe was the most clear to me and I liked that she had pictures most steps of the way. Since I don’t own a pickling kettle I just have the olives in mason jars that I am draining and refilling with brine daily. Apparently, the more you change the brine the quicker the process. My goal is to have these olives ready for Thanksgiving. I am cutting it pretty close.

It being pumpkin season and all, I was pretty excited when I came across Jehan Can Cook’s recipe for Chicken and Pumpkin Stew. What attracted me to the stew was that it was a slightly spicy coconut milk based stew. The recipe pulls together a lot of the flavors that I like, cumin, garlic, ginger, pumpkin (technically calabaza squash), and coconut milk. The recipe does call for chicken bouillon, which I just never have, so I added a little homemade chicken stock instead to bump up the flavor. The recipe says to cook the stew for 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender, I cooked it for close to 40 minutes, only because my pumpkin was taking bit longer to break down. It was wonderful that this was a one-pot stew and I did end up with a delightfully spiced stew in under an hour that I served over brown rice, but would probably just serve with crusty bread next time.

This week’s final treat was Vietnamese Beef Pho Soup. The two recipes that I found most helpful, and I’m a little chagrined to say this were the recipes at epicurious and at Food Network.  My first try out on this, I had pork stock in my freezer so I went ahead and used that. To give the broth the unique Pho flavor I toasted my star anise, cloves and fennel seeds and then put them into a cheesecloth with chunks of ginger, dropped the spice packet into the broth and simmered for a good 20 minutes allowing the spices to infuse the broth that way. As I am typing this I have a beef broth cooking on the stove to try the recipe again to see if the difference is that huge. Both recipes called for either knuckle or oxtail to make the broth, and my butcher was sympathetic as he told me he was out, but then he suggested that I use the shank instead. What is lovely about Pho is that it is so simple and so delicate in flavor. The cilantro, mung beans, scallions and lime juice keep the soup fresh while the rice noodles and beef fill you up. I will admit that putting the raw sliced flank steak into the soup was a little nerve-racking, until after delivering myself a swift kick in the shins I reminded myself of all of tartares and carpaccios I have eaten in my lifetime with no harm.

If anyone knows of a stunner Pho recipe I would love to hear about it!

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