Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Almost Vegan "Cream" of Mushroom Soup

Granted it is not the most beautiful job of food styling, but trust Boy 3 who hates mushrooms - this soup is ʻono-licious. It's a combination of two "soups," but we will call it a mushroom soup although it really is a cauliflower soup with mushrooms.


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • salt and pepper (be generous, keep tasting)
  • 1 tsp. of Earth balance or butter
  • 1 8 oz. tray white mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • green onion to garnish
The cauliflower soup is the "cream"

  1. In a pot, bring a quart (4 cups) of water, salted, to a boil
  2. Add the cauliflower, turn it down a little after it boils again and cover the pot
  3. Let it cook for about 5 minutes until it is very tender
  4. While the cauliflower cooks, cook the mushrooms, onion and celery in a wok with very little oil or water saute on medium heat until the onions get brown and carmelized.
  5. With a slotted spoon, take the soft cauliflower pieces out of the water and put into a Vitamix. 
  6. Use the cooking water to put 1/2 as much water as the cauliflower. Just eyeball it.
  7. Put the creamed cauliflower back in the pot, add the pat of butter and taste and season until it's good by itself. 
  8. Add the mushroom mixture and taste again.
  9. Serve soup with green onion for a nice fresh bite.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lemon Tahini Dressing

I am always searching for salad dressings, so I saw this on the Food 52 site and I trust their recipes so I used it pretty much as is. The original is here.

Photo Credit: James Ransom

1/2 c.tahini
2/3 c. water
3T fresh lemon juice
some zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
3/4 tsp. sea salt
black pepper

Blend it and enjoy. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hot Soba Soup

Warning: This broth, like the other kombu broth is めんどくさい (mendokusai) - troublesome or bothersome and not for the lazy cook.

Japanese food should look simple. Clear broth, buckwheat noodles, a few condiments, but it is probably very Buddhist, or very Zen (not sure on my Asian religions) for the simplicity of the end product to come from struggle. Food, after all, is a metaphor for our own mortality so add your thoughts on that here.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
  • 8 cups water
  • large piece of good quality kombu
  • 2 large handfuls of katsuoboshi (dried bonito flakes)
  • 4 T. mirin
  • 2 T. sake
  • 4 T. shoyu
  • 3 bundles soba noodles
  • Condiments like:
    • kamaboko
    • par-boiled greens like pak choy, choi sum (nothing too strong so not mustard cabbage)
    • leftover fish, tako, tempura
    • negi including the whites (Japanese green onion)
Note: I did not have the amount of time I needed to get the broth where I wanted it to so I also added 2 packets of kombu dashi powder, a few pieces of dried daikon, and after I strained it, I used some misoshiru no gu that I had in the pantry (which added  some ebi, wakame, dehydrated kamaboko and iriko)

  1. Soak the kombu in water overnight. (Remember, kombu should not be boiled because it gives off a naturally occurring chemical like MSG)
  2. Transfer the water and the kombu in a pot and heat it up. Just before it starts boiling, take the kombu out. 
  3. Add the katsuoboshi and simmer for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and let it simmer in the pot for about 10 minutes. Most of the flakes should sink to the bottom as it rehydrates and flavors the dashi.
  4. Set a large strainer lined with paper towels over another pot and strain the liquid. Squeeze the paper towel to get all the broth out. You now have your base stock. 
  5. Add the mirin, sake, shoyu and heat the broth up again to boiling. Taste and salt as needed. Cover and let it sit on simmer until the noodles are ready.

Soba directions:
  1. Get two pots of boiling water ready plus one colander and one large bowl for rinsing
  2. Cook the soba in one pot (about 3 1/2 minutes)
  3. Drain the water and put it in the large bowl.
  4. Rinse the soba by hand to get the film off of the noodles.
  5. Put the soba in the 2nd pot of water to heat it up again.
The finish:
Prepare your condiments, place warmed up noodles in bowls and let everyone put in their condiments and broth.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pinterest Project: Orange Sauce

I am guilty of "pinning" and creating Pinterest boards without even trying it, so since I have an open 3-day weekend, here's to the start of the Pinterest Project - try something, if it works it out, I'll repin it.

Orange Sauce for Pancakes

I tried a chocolate dutch baby from Pinterest, thought the recipe was suspect, "fixed" it and didn't like it. But that recipe also called for fresh strawberries that I didn't have. I did have "naked" oranges. Big Spazz used the orange zest to create triple sec so I decided to try this orange sauce from Pinterest to use with the chocolate dutch babies. The original Pinterest recipe is here.

  • Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Equal part of sugar

  1. Juice the oranges and pour into a measuring cup
  2. In a medium pot, add the juice and the same amount of white sugar. 
  3. Heat on medium until the sugar is dissolved. It tastes great served warm over pancakes.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Garlic Ginger Shrimp

We had a little over a pound of cleaned shrimp from our tempura making on New Year's eve so I found a garlic ginger shrimp stir fry recipe on Steamy Kitchen and adapted it here.  Wish I had some baby pak choy and a lot more green onion - there is definitely enough sauce for more greens. 

  • 4 T. oyster sauce
  • 2 T. shoyu (used low sodium)
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled with tail intact and deveined
  • enough cooking oil for the wok
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 bunch baby pak choy, chopped
  1. In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce and shoyu and set aside.
  2. Pat the shrimp dry and mix it in a bowl with cornstarch to lightly coat the shrimp.
  3. In a wok, over high heat and a little oil, add the shrimp in a single layer and leave it for a minute until it gets crisp and flip it over. The shrimp does not need to be cooked all the way, just get it crispy, take out of wok and drain on a rack. It took me about three rounds to crisp the shrimp.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium, stir fry the pak choy, green onions, garlic and ginger with a little more oil until the pak choy is a little soft.
  5. Pour in the sauce mixture and the shrimp back into the pan. Stir fry for another minute until the shrimp is cooked through. Serve immediately.