Monthly Archives: February 2014

DRAGON SOUP (Asian style chicken and egg noodle soup – serves 6)

 Since being confined to my house, because of this….

my back steps

my back steps

I have been cooking big pots of soup, which are made from things that I have, not from things that I planned on having for soup-making. I have been too lazy to dig my car out from under the big white powdery blanket it is now wrapped in,  (and the blanket has gotten thicker by the day!) and so have been making soup from what my kitchen has to offer up – and for the moment, quite good stuff actually!

Dragon Soup

Dragon Soup

My soups tend to veer towards the brothy/Asian side, which are chock full of everything to round out an entire meal;  protein, veggies and carbs. I do like a blended, creamy style soup occasionally, but it doesn’t satisfy me if it’s going to be my dinner. This Dragon Soup has EVERYTHING that is great about soup and it was slurped up while we watched the snow slowly bury our house.

Blue Dragon Noodle Nests

Blue Dragon Noodle Nests (these noodles are very sturdy and hold up well in hot broth)

A bag or two of these egg noodles is always a good thing to keep in stock. They came in handy for this dish. Of course this soup works equally well with a cup of rice added to each bowlful, but there was something so gratifying about winding the long strands around my chopsticks before inhaling them.

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*This is a good Blood Type A Diet recipe – omit the black pepper and chili flakes and we are good to go!*

You will need:

1 lb chicken breast fillet – thinly sliced (If you stick the chicken in the freezer for a 1/2 hour or more, it will be easier to slice)

1 medium onion – diced

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1/3 lb shiitake mushrooms – thinly sliced

1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional, but I like the subtle heat)

1 tsp salt (use less if salt is very fine – you can always add more later if you need to)

1 bunch chard  – about 5 big leaves, center rib removed and leave roughly chopped

12 cups chicken broth (or 2 good quality bouillon cubes and water)

4 scallions (green onions) – very thinly sliced, including some of  green parts

1 cup julienned or thinly sliced carrots ( about 1 medium/large carrot)

2 tbs finely chopped cilantro leaves (if you have them, but works great without)

juice of 1/2 a lime

salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning

6 oz egg noodles (If you can find egg noodle nests, use 1 per person. Figure on about 1 oz per serving)

Method:

1 – Put soup pot on medium heat and add 1 1/2 tbs olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Turn the heat up a bit and add the thinly sliced chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until it turns white all over (about 3 minutes). Add the broth, cilantro,  carrot, salt, pepper and pepper flakes (if using) to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn down pot to a simmer and cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Add base ingredients, saute, add broth

Add base ingredients, saute, add broth

2 – Add the chard and continue to cook for another 8 to 10 minute. Taste for additional seasoning and adjust if necessary. Add the lime juice and let the soup sit for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Add chopped chard

Add chopped chard

3 – While the soup is sitting, cook your egg noodles according to instructions. Drain and add a serving to each soup bowl.

Ladle soup over noodles and garnish with some chopped scallion and serve!

Add noodles to bowl and ladle soup into bowl

Add noodles to bowl and ladle soup into bowl

QUICK PEA & KALE SOUP (serves 4-6)

This is a fantastic soup that looks so impressive in the bowl; so silky smooth and bright grassy green in color. We had this yesterday and it was a welcomed comfort in the midst of this miserably icy and cold winter.

Simply Perfect

Simply a lovely bowl of soup – and so quick and easy to make!

I always have a bag or two of frozen peas in my freezer. They are great in emergencies and are quick and convenient. I have absolutely nothing against good quality frozen veggies and they were the reason for this wondrously good soup.

place your peas in a bowl to thaw a little

 A bag of frozen peas is a handy frozen pantry item!

The other great green that keeps forever is kale. I know lots of people who think they “hate” it, or are afraid to cook it, and it is such a shame. It is so good for you and in a soup like this you can convert the pickiest or most cantankerous of eaters!

Hardy and healthy kale

Hardy and healthy curly kale

Buy some peas and kale and see if you don’t fall in love with this Spring-y soup.

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*This is a great Blood Type A recipe – just omit the bacon, cream, chili flakes and black pepper – you could add a touch of cumin in their place*

You will need:

1/3 to 1/2 lb bacon strips (about 8 to 10 thin slices)

1 1/2 tbs olive oil

1 sweet or mild onion – diced

1 lb baby peas (I used frozen)

4 cups chopped kale (I used curly kale)

1 tsp chili flakes (optional)

several grinds black pepper

salt to taste

8 cups chicken or veggie stock (or good quality bouillon cube and water. Use two cubes if they are small)

1/3 cup heavy cream (optional, but delicious)

Method:

1 – Fry bacon, chop roughly and set aside.

Fry bacon.

Fry bacon.

2 – Put medium pot on medium heat and add the oil. Add the onions and saute for about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

saute onions

saute onions

3 – Add the broth and kale and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and add the pepper and chili flakes (if using). Cover and simmer for 3 minutes before adding the peas.

Add broth and veggies

Add broth and veggies

4 – Cook at a low simmer for about 8 minutes. Turn off heat and take lid off pot. Let it cool for about ten minutes. Blend in your food processor with most of the bacon (keep some bacon bits to use as a garnish). Return the blended soup to the pot and swirl in the cream (if using). Taste for further seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pot of Pea soup..

Swirl a little cream in at the end and serve

Divide between bowls, adding a little dollop of cream on top and some bacon bits if you like. You can also serve with some nice crusty bread or a sandwich (which makes a great dinner!)

CRISPY PANKO PORK (or chicken) WITH RICE (serves 4-6)

More often than not, dinner in our house, is decided on a “planned whim”. What I mean is, I am not the kind of person/woman/mother who sits down and plans out a weekly menu (Come to think of it I don’t know anyone who does? Unless of course they are too embarrassed to admit to that slightly over-fastidious quality!)

My dinner on a whim; Crispy panko fried pork with perfume-y rice and zucchini

My dinner on a whim; Crispy Panko fried pork with perfume-y rice and zucchini

This particular plan came together while in the supermarket when I saw beautifully thin and expansive pieces of pork. They looked like what I wished my meat ended up like when pounding our meat for scallopini, only these were sliced with precision on a machine and were perfect in every way (no thin spots or lumpy bits when I’m having an off-day with my mallet skills!)

This was an easy accomapiment to my flat and crisy pork

This diced zucchini and squash with fresh thyme was an easy accompaniment to the basmati rice

As soon as I threw this luscious pork into my basket, I was off to the “international” aisle to grab some panko crumbs before zooming home to make dinner. This dish was wonderful in every way. The crispy pork cooked in minutes (although it did take a little preparing before getting it to the hot pan), and the rice literally cooked itself (my rice-cooker is my sous chef!) and was perfect with the zucchini and squash.

you do have thyme to cook!

Fresh thyme is so handy to have for a dish like this – you should always have some in your fridge (if it’s not growing outside when in season)

This dish would work equally well with beef, chicken or some other meat, so go ahead and give it a try. It is amazing!

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*This is a good “Blood Type A” Recipe if you substitute chicken or turkey for the pork. If you are strict; also omit the black pepper and sriracha and only use olive oil*

For the pork; you will need:

2 1/2 to 3 lbs boneless pork sirloin chops – very thinly sliced

2 eggs

3 tbs soy sauce

3 tbs mirin

1 tbs sriracha sauce (optional or use less if you want less heat)

1 1/2 to 2 cups panko bread crumbs (can be found on the same aisle of soy sauce)

1 cup all-purpose flour

oil for frying (olive, canola, safflower, or vegetable will work here)

Method:

*If you are cooking the rice dish with this, cook your rice now and keep it warm until ready to serve*

1 – Make sure your pork is dry (you can dab it with a paper towel). Place it on a plate for easy access. Using plates or shallow bowls; put flour on one plate, panko crumbs on another (1 cup to start and add as you need it).  Crack two eggs onto another plate or shallow bowl and add the soy, mirin and sriracha sauce if using. Whisk together with a fork.

Prep everything before you start frying

Prep everything before you start frying

2 – Coat a piece of meat in flour, next dip each side into egg mixture and then press each side into panko crumbs. place on a plate and continue like that until all of the meat is prepared.

Prepare the meat

Prepare the meat

3 – Put heavy saute or cast iron pan on medium/high heat and add about 2 tbs of oil (more if your pan is large). when the oil is hot, add a few pieces of pork to the pan, in an even layer with plenty of space (if you crowd the pan, the meat will “steam” rather than cook fast!). Coo for about 3 minutes or less per side. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Continue until your meat is all done.

Fry the pork

Fry the pork in batches until crispy

For the Zucchini & Squash with Thyme-y Rice:

3 medium zucchini or squash, or combination of the two – diced

6 (approx) thyme sprigs

1 tsp salt (kosher, sea-salt or sea salt flakes are all fine)

several grinds of black pepper

6 (approx) cups of cooked basmati rice (cook as much as you think you and your guests will eat!)

olive oil for frying

Method:

1 – Place large saute pan or shallow casserole dish (safe for stove top use) on medium heat and add about 3 tbs olive oil. When it has warmed up, add the zucchini and thyme and cook until softened and has some “brown bits” on the skin and flesh. Stir regularly and turn up heat if there is no real sizzle. Add the rice and cover. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Fry the veggies with the fresh thyme

Fry the veggies with the fresh thyme

Arrange some panko pork on each plate with a serving of rice. Offer a little sriracha for the pork if you like.

Serve with rice (and some sriracha sauce is good here too - look at top picture)

Serve with rice (and some sriracha sauce is good here too – look at top picture)

Blood Type A Food List

Hi there!

For anyone interested, I just published a handy Blood Type A Food List. Just click on “Blood Type A Food List” at top of my Blog!

HERBY TURKEY MEATBALLS SERVED WITH RIGATONI & ASPARAGUS – SUPER DELICIOUS (serves 6)

I have been trying to like ground turkey more these days! Everyone nowadays, (including me) is making the effort to substitute red meat with turkey or chicken; proteins which are leaner and lower in everything that is bad for your body for one reason or another (for me, it is not part of my Blood Type Diet but for others it might be part of their fight against cholesterol). It has been a struggle because there is no substitute for a good juicy lamb or beef burger! I have always been disappointed when I order a Turkey Burger when eating out. More often than not, it tastes like a bland white sponge!

lyugkuyg

Herby Turkey Meatballs with sumptuous Pasta and veggies

Yesterday while humming and hawing at the meat counter at the supermarket, I began to eye the ground organic turkey, and it was on sale. That was it; I decided to challenge myself and make a little turkey meatball and pack it with pungent and traditionally stong-tasting fresh herbs. I didn’t want to make plain old spaghetti and meatballs as I wanted the meatballs to be so good that masking their flavor in a thick red sauce would have been a crime. When I spotted the luminously green asparagus, my mind was made up to make something that looked like Spring. Yes; I WANT SPRING!

Luminous asparagus

Luminous asparagus

This dish was the perfect introduction to Spring. It was light and delicate, and the colors were amazing. My little turkey meatballs were alive with flavor and I would have been content with just a big mound of them in a bowl for dinner. Anyway, this is a fantastic dish and I guarantee you, if you feel like I do about turkey and it’s lack-lusterness in the tasty department, I think this recipe will sway you too!

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*this is also a Blood Type A Diet recipe – omit the butter and black pepper. Soak the bread in a little water and you are good to go!*

For the Herby Meatballs:

2 tbs olive oil

1 large egg

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey

1/2 tbs finely chopped rosemary leaves

1/2 tbs fresh thyme leaves

2 sage leaves – finely chopped

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 slices white bread

1/3 cup milk

all-purpose flour for rolling meatballs

For the Rigatoni & Asparagus Dish:

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

3 shallots – sliced (If you don’t have shallots, use 1 medium onion; any kind)

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 whole sage leaf

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 small sprig fresh rosemary

1 bunch asparagus spears (about 2 doz) – sliced into 2 inch pieces

1 cup matchstick carrots (or 2 medium carrots – thinly sliced)

1 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp sea salt (less salt if it is very fine) – more to taste

freshly ground black pepper

1 lb rigatoni pasta (or other big tubular pasta)

Make the Meatballs:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Soak the bread in the milk. While the bread is soaking, put the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl, except the olive oil and flour. When the bread is soaked, add it to the mixture squeezing out the milk as you go. Mix everything together until it is well-combined.

up close to the meatball

Make meatballs and roll in a little flour

2 – Put about 1 cup of flour in a shallow bowl and put a little olive oil on the palms of your hands and start making little meatballs. Roll into a ball between your palms (the oil will keep your hands from getting tacky with meat) and then roll in the flour. Place on a plate as you go.

Place in oven....no spitting pan to deal with!

Cook in oven….no spitting pan to deal with!

3 – Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on a large baking tray and grease the whole surface using your finger tips. Place in the hot oven for about 3 or 4 minutes (this will stop the meat balls from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove the hot tray from oven and add a single layer of meatballs, remembering not to crowd the pan. Place in the oven for about 18 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Remove and set aside (covered) until ready to add to pasta dish.

Make the Pasta Dish:

*put the water on for the rigatoni. This pasta cooks in about 10 to 12 minutes so try and time it to be ready to add to your dish when it is cooked. In other words, put the pasta into the boiling water at step 3 (below). Do not rinse pasta, but rather add the drained noodles directly into your finished dish*

1 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil (extra-virgin is good here). Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 4 or so minutes. Add the fresh herbs. Cook for another minute or two.

Cook onions, and garlic, add herbs

Cook onions, and garlic, add herbs

2 – Add the carrots and asparagus and continue to saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the veggies

Add the veggies

3 – Turn up the heat and add the wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half (about 3 minutes), and then add the broth. Bring to a boil. Add the butter and Turn pan down to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook for 4 minutes.

liyg

Add Wine, then broth

4 – Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste.

Add meatballs to broth

Add meatballs to broth

5 – Add the cooked rigatoni (or whatever pasta you are using) to your pan and stir gently.

Add cooked pasta

Add cooked pasta and serve

Serve in warmed shallow bowls and if you have hot pepper flakes or a little Parmigiano Reggiano cheese available, then pass it around too!