Sunday, January 22, 2012

Soup de Jour

I love soup. Soup loves me. Pretty sure I have mentioned that before... So, a Christmas gift of Soup of the Day was a match made in heaven! This book is so fabulous, it is organized not only by suggested dates & months... it uses all fruits and veggies that are in season.  After reading a book this summer about organic and sustainable farming, I have been more aware about where my food is coming from.  Quite an interesting thing when you look and see your meat is being shipped from across the world and your fruits have been sitting in a truck for a few days making their way here from South America.  I guess what I am trying to say is, this book is great.

This week I had a chance to try two recipes.  The first was Avgolemono, a greek soup with delicious lemon flavor! I followed this recipe exactly since I have never made (or heard of this soup!)

6 c chicken broth
1/2 c long-grain white rice (I used brown)
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest (I grated)
Salt & ground white pepper
2 T finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
       In a large, heavy pot, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, uncovered, until tender.
       In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisking constantly, slowly pour 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg mixture (slowly, you don't want to curdle the egg). Reduce the heat of the broth to medium-low and slowly stir the egg mixture into the pot. Cook, stirring, until the soup is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Do NOT let it boil.
      Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley. Serve hot!
              A creamy soup with no cream!                                                   4 egg yolks...  
I love my microplane! 
 Piping hot off the stove! yummo! 

Things to note: My soup looks nothing like the recipe's photo, but my broth was actually very thick and delicious. Add more rice if you like it thicker and the leftovers definitely aren't as good as the fresh soup.  When I reheated it the next day (on super low so the eggs wouldn't curdle), it produced an overwhelming egg taste that I just wasn't that excited about. Granted, I still ate the leftovers. 

I also had my eye on a recipe for Roast Pork & Udon Noodle soup. Winter is a great time for a pork tenderloin!  I took parts of Soup of the Day's recipe and added in a few extra ingredients as I went along. Instead of having separate frying pans and pots, I combined it all into one. My changes to the recipe are noted in italics.
Roast Pork & Udon Noodle Soup
Pork Tenderloin
Freshly ground salt & pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
3 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 baby bok choy, quartered lenghtwise
5 c chicken broth
5 Tbsp soy sauce
6 oz udon noodles

my enhancements
1/2 thinly sliced white onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 c chopped carrots
3 inch piece of ginger, peeled
Sesame oil
Fresh bean sprouts & cabbage for topping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the pork on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 140 degrees,  20-25 minutes. Let the pork rest for at least 10 minutes. Then chop into bite-sized pieces (I thinly sliced the tenderloin for larger, thinner pieces)

While the pork is resting, warm the sesame oil in large, heavy pot.   Add the carrots, onions and garlic and saute until they begin to carmelize, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute, 2 minutes. Then combine and add in the broth and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Place the unpeeled ginger straight into the pot, letting the broth soak up its amazing flavors!  Reduce heat and simmer until you just can't take it anymore and you want to eat!! Not necessary to simmer for a long time, but the longer you do, the richer the flavors.  Bring back to a quick boil and add the udon. Cook until noodles are tender.  Add in the pork and shredded cabbage and reduce heat to simmer just for a few minutes.  Serve with bean sprouts and cabbage on top!
 Soaking some shiitakes
 Using up some veggies and making the broth even more amazing
   Peeled this little guy, threw it into the simmering broth and let it flavor everything up! When done & ready to serve, take the whole ginger back out and toss into trash..
 Sesame oil gives it just a little extra oomph!
   Adding the soy into the broth
 Tossed in some chopped cabbage right at the end  

Slurpy, soupy deliciousness....coming right up!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sew fun!

     One of my to-do items before I turn 30 is to take a sewing lesson.  Back when I was 9 maybe, I took a sewing class with a friend and we made a few things but after so many years, I honestly couldn't remember how to use a sewing machine.  My mother is a fabulous craftswoman and whips up amazing hand-sewn items here and there. So naturally, she would be my sewing instructor.

I wasn't sure what to do, except that I wanted to know how to work the darn machine again and a few simple hems.  But aside from playing around on the machine, my mom wanted me to have a finished product at the end. I had seen a cute idea on Pinterest to add doilies to pillows, while driving to my mom's tonight that idea popped into my head and TA-DA! I was going to make an accent pillow for my bed.

My mom was patient with me and showed me a few tricks of the trade. Okay, not that I became a sewing whiz...but I felt like I knew what I was doing.
Practicing some straight stiches

Some more practicing and then sewing on the doily to my fabric for the front of the pillow
The finished product!  I love it and want to make more, more, more!
Testing the pillow out on my bed, but it might make it to my couch... either way its cute!
I was quite proud, thanks for the inspiration Pinterest!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tri Tip Tortilla-less Soup

I am a big fan of tortilla soup and a few weeks back when I made Slow Cooker Tri-Tip, I had an idea to use the leftover meat in a "tortilla" soup. After the slow cooker, I froze half of the shredded tri tip so it was easy to use when ready.

There is no special recipe, just a hodge podge of veggies and spices.  The fun thing is you can make it vegetarian or with meat, spicy or mild, creamy or brothy (yes, I just made that word up). 

Tri Tip Tortilla-less Soup
2 cups broth of choice
2 cups shredded tri-tip
1 can black beans
1 can corn kernels
1 can diced tomatoes (with green chiles adds extra spice)
1 chopped yellow or white onion
1-2 chopped jalapenos, depending on size
Chili Powder
Cayenne Pepper 
Salt & Pepper
Avocado, cheese, corn and beans for topping

Canned veggies make it quick and easy
 Boil the broth, corn, beans, tomatoes and meat for a few minutes and then reduce to simmer
 Coarsely chopped jalapeno and onion
In they go... time for some simmering and spices
Look at all that meaty goodness!
 Chop some avocado and squeeze in fresh lime when soup is ready to be served
 Enjoy a hearty meal!

Don't forget you can always divide the extra portions and freeze for lunches or quick-fix dinners down the road... All my tri-tip is gone now, what next?