Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kylea's Healing Soup...and my fellow chef!

I was feeling a bit off this morning...actually have been feeling a bit off a lot recently. Not sure why, just not myself healthwise - not sick at all, just a little blah. So, for lunch today I decided I needed to make something super easy, light, calming on my tummy and low in fat. I used Alicia Silverstone's recipe for her Healing Soup and Nabeyaki Udon Soup as a jumping board for what I wanted to add (and hence the name Kylea's Healing Soup :-) ! ). Then I just totally made it up from there! It was perfect for my "blahness"! When I mentioned I was going to make some soup, Keith (my 4 1/2 yr old) begged me to let him cook lunch. I agreed to let him create his own soup if he would be willing to eat it. He was beyond thrilled! We had so much fun in the kitchen together! His soup actually turned out quite tasty and his little brother was quite fond of it as well! Keith then asked to eat his soup with chopsticks! Too funny! He drank the broth when he was done with his chopsticks - cleaned off the entire bowl! His soup consisted of faux chicken broth, edamame (which he patiently popped out of the pods prior to cooking!), cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, orzo, spaghetti noodles, italian seasoning, onion powder, a splash of soy sauce and fresh minced ginger. An interesting combo but pretty tasty!

For my soup, I soaked 5 shitake mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water for about 15 min. Then de-stemmed them and chopped them into pieces. I poured the soaking liquid into a pot along with one more cup of water and added the shitakes, 1/2 cup chopped carrots, 1 t chopped fresh ginger and 1/2 cup sliced green onions. A few months ago I received a sample box fro Edwards and Sons (see review at right of the blog) and one of the samples was miso soup mix - basically a packet of powder that you add to water. When I tried it the first time, it was a little too bland and I mentioned in my review that it might be good when I needed a mild soup if I was sick. Even though I wasn't sick, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out another packet. So, I added 1 packet of miso soup mix to the water. I let this cook about 10 min. Then I added 1 cup sliced cabbage and 1 cup chopped celery. In a separate pot, I cooked some spaghetti noodles (I think this would have been even better with rice noodles or udon noodles but I didn't have any so spaghetti worked fine). I placed about 1/2 cup cooked noodles in my bowl and ladled the soup over them. Then I put about 3 splashes of soy sauce on top and sprinkled the whole bowl with Gomasio. Seriously yummy, mild yet flavorful, and full of veggies. This will be my new chicken soup!

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Crispy Herbed Potato Stack

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack
I was going to try a recipe for herbed scalloped potatoes and at last minute decided to do something fast and easy. I made up the recipe and it was yummola! I layered sliced russet potatoes in a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, basil, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder. Then I baked them at 425 fr about 45 minutes. They were crisp and very flavorful!

My thrown-together salad today - after discovering I had no leftovers for lunch!

Tamale Fixings

Tamale Fixings
Plain pintos (for Keith), pintos, corn and onions; corn, jalepenos and Daiya; mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and chard

Making these was a bit time-consuming but kinda fun! They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped - the outer tamale part (not the filling) just wasn't as flavorful as tamales I have had in restaurants. I have another recipe I will try for the dough next time. Tamales are one of my favorite foods so I won't give up on this one!

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes
I modified one of my favorite pancake recipes to make it vegan and then I added blueberries. Turned out quite yummy. Soymilk sours and thickens well - very similar to buttermilk. I have been really impressed with it's ability to substitute for real buttermilk.

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

Egg replacement for 1 egg
1 1/4 cups soured soy milk (put 2 T vinegar into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add enough soy milk to equal 1 1/4 cups)
2 T canola oil
1 cup flour (I wouldn't recommend whole wheat or whole wheat pastry - it really takes away from the fluffiness of these pancakes)
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Blueberries, optional

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Heat griddle pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Sprinkle blueberries on pancakes after ladling onto griddle. Cook just until golden on both sides.

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein
Overall, this was fabulous! However, I don't think the seitan added much so I would just leave it out next time. The lo mein also needed about double the sauce so I would simply do that next time for added flavor. This was especially spicy and yummy with some Sriracha drizzled on top. I made our favorite veg egg rolls to go with this and it was truly a Chinese treat!!

Veggie Seitan Lo Mein

I really did my own thing for this recipe so I am just going to outline the instructions and include the sauce recipe. I heated oil in a large skillet and added 3 minced cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of half-moon cut onions (I was out of green onions but next time I would use green onions as I like them a lot in Chinese food) and about 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots. After about 5-6 minutes, I added about 1/4 lb of whole green beans. I cooked these veggies until tender. Meanwhile, I cooked a 16oz package of chow mein noodles. Once the veggie mixture was cooked, I poured the sauce on the veggies, heated through and tossed with the noodles. Next time I would double the amount of sauce and have adjusted amounts below to reflect double recipe.

Sauce (Source:Adaptable Feast)
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine (I used 3 T rice vinegar and 1 t sugar as I didn't have any rice wine)
3 t sugar
4 T black bean garlic sauce
Mix all ingredients and toss with above mixture.

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth
Pretty yummy. I found that steaming the wontons worked much better than the recipe suggestion to boil them. The broth was very mild and a bit too mellow for us. Still pretty yummy though. I added extra veggies to the wontons and scallion to the broth. The seasoning in the wonton filling was quite tasty!

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)

(As usual, I modified several things so it's not exactly the recipe in Vegan Yum Yum!)

1 cup chopped broccoli
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 T oil
1 t fresh ginger, minced
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1/2 t hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 t hot Chinese mustard
2 T plus 1 t soy sauce
4 cups water ( I think this might have been more flavorful had I used vegetable broth or faux chicken broth???)
6 slices fresh ginger
1 T mirin (I used a splash of cooking wine as I didn't have mirin)
1 1/2 t sugar
2 t rice vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions
16 wonton skins

For filling: Heat oil in skillet and add broccoli, ginger, garlic, carrot, onion and cook until veggies are crisp tender. Add chili sauce, mustard, 1 t soy sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make wontons, take one skin and place in diamond shape. Fill with 1-2 t filling. Fold in half to make a triangle and moisten edges with water and pinch sides to seal. Set triangle in front of you with point up and take the 2 side points and bring them together in front to cross. Set aside and prepare remaining wontons. When finished, place wontons in a steamer basket and steam over pot of boiling water until translucent.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine remaining ingredients (except wontons) and simmer 10-15 min.

Place 3-4 wontons in bowl and ladle broth over wontons. Serve.