Hot and Sour Soup

Let’s just collectively agree that we’ll overlook the months it’s been since I’ve last posted.  I was traveling a bunch for work and bought a house and had to move!  Those are valid excuses, right?  RIGHT?!  But just look at that thing!

I mean, look at that awesome thing!

Okay, I suck, but it’s a new year now and I’ve got a sweet-ass new kitchen to cook in, so here’s hoping I can start posting with more frequency.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or like, in Miami or San Diego, the two places in this country that are not frozen tundras, IT’S REALLY COLD OUTSIDE.  Polar VORTEX WHAT EVEN IS THAT.  THAT SOUNDS LIKE A HORROR MOVIE.  Even here in the hell fires of Texas, yesterday’s high temperatures only reached the mid-30s.  There’s ICE outside DURING THE DAY.  That’s like freaky New England weather and I thought I left that shit behind.

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I CAN’T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH. ICE. IN TEXAS.

Enough, Mother Nature!  (But seriously you can’t even go outside in Canada without getting frostbite.  NOT COOL.)

While it’s still cold, all I ever want is soup.  Hot soups, cold soups, ALL OF THE SOUPS.  And since I figured I can’t ALWAYS make Tom Ka Gai (https://thegirlwhoate.com/2013/06/19/tom-ka-gai/), I decided to move onto another Asian soup:  Hot and Sour!  I used THIS recipe:  http://food52.com/recipes/25530-joanne-chang-s-hot-and-sour-soup and it was delicious.

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Hot and Sour Soup

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts, minced
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 5 mushrooms (I used button, but any sort should still be delish)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 cups rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha (less if you want it less spicy, more if you want to be crying)
  • 2 eggs

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One-Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Dutch ovens are probably my favorite cooking vessel.  You can do pretty much anything in them.  My mom recently bought me this giant Le Creuset pot and I want to marry it.  For real.

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Isn’t she gorgeous?! (THANKS MOM)

We’re going to do everything involved for this dish in this beautiful piece of cast-iron wonderfulness.  Although i guess you could cook the pasta in a different pot but I’m feeling lazy about cleaning and ONE POT YOU GUYS.

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One-Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta

  • 1 box bowtie pasta
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 chicken breasts (sliced or diced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or chicken/vegetable stock)
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes (or you can use marinara sauce for a faster result)
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan
  • basil (I forgot to buy this)
  • mushrooms (forgot to buy these too, womp womp)

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Crockpot Cheesechicken!

Turns out when you have a pretty much full time job, there’s not much time to cook during the week.  But there are these amazing revolutionary man-made machines called slowcookers and they are wonderful, especially if you’re feeling lazy but want slow cooked goodness.  So prepare yourself for the easiest recipe yet:  Crockpot CHEESECHICKEN!  Let’s DO THIS thing.  And prepare for hardly any prep time then doing other things for 6-8 hours!  Amazing.

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Tom Ka Gai

Apparently I’m one of those people who gets sick on vacation.  I spent the last five days in Manuel San Antonio, Costa Rica, and with two days left on my wonderful vacation, I began to feel that gross phlemy throat feeling that is my body saying, oh good job, here’s a cold.  Then my nose started to get stuffy.  Then runny.  Then coughing and that lovely headache. Luckily this illness has mostly held off until I returned stateside, and that means it’s time for SOUP.

This is the soup that my roommate Jason and I make anytime we’re feeling under the weather.  We want liquids.   And hot and spicy liquids?  Even better.  I’ve made this more than any other soup, but beware if I’m making it for you, for it’s not for the faint of heart and you may feel like breathing fire.

Tom ka gai is a spicy coconut chicken soup that is made with a base of chicken stock and coconut milk, then gets a spice from hot peppers and an immune boost from lemon and ginger.  Here’s to feeling better.

Le ingredients.

Le ingredients.

Tom Ka Gai Soup

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • a few slices of galangal root (this is a Thai ginger root that can be found in most Asian sections of your grocery store)
  • 2-4 stalks of lemongrass, sliced lengthwise (my grocery store didn’t have stalks, so I used this weird tube stuff, but better than nothing.  you need that lemongrass flavor to really make this soup)
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, sliced thin (I use 2 peppers with seeds, but for a milder soup, use less pepper and remove the seeds on the pepper.  also do not make the mistake of rubbing your eyes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 knob of ginger (I sliced some thinly, then grated the rest)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • juice of a lemon and some zest
  • 1 tablespoon of Sriracha (again, add less for less spice)
  • a bunch of mushrooms (any variety will do, I used buttons)
  • 1 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 head of bok choy
  • salt for seasoning

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Shrimp and Grits

Sometimes I don’t understand why there are foods that I never ate before coming to Texas.  Like breakfast tacos (why are these not a thing EVERYWHERE?! I do not understand), or in this case:  GRITS.  Grits are like a big cheesy pile of delicious mush.  And when you put shrimp and gravy over them, it’s like an explosion of awesomeness in your mouth.  And turns out they’re pretty easy to make.  It was harder to FIND them in the huge ass Whole Foods than it was to cook them.

Shrimp and Grits

(based on this recipe:  http://www.annies-eats.com/2013/01/16/shrimp-and-grits/)

  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • juice of a lemon
  • hot sauce (I used Sriracha because obviously – this is optional if you’re a wuss)
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grits (not the instant kind)
  • 6 slices bacon (I got the thick sliced stuff at Whole Foods)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 of a green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • a bunch of mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar

First, defrost your shrimp if necessary and peel them.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the shrimp and drizzle with hot sauce (in this case, Sriracha).

Sriracha just goes on everything in my house.

Sriracha just goes on everything in my house.

Toss all that together and set aside.

Grab your grits.  This was the only kind that Whole Foods has that weren’t instant, but I think there’s also yellow grits.

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Also known as polenta?! Who knew?!?!

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Lobstah Staahk (Lobster Stock)

Look at all these beautiful discarded lobster parts from our Memorial day boil!

Lobsterz for daaaayz

Lobsterz for daaaayz

Now that you’ve boiled, cracked and dissected your shellfish friends, it’s time to use those shells and bodies to make stock!  Use it as a base for lobster bisque, lobster risotto, or straight up drink it.  The possibilities are limitless!

Lobstah Staahk
(based loosely off this recipe:  http://fishcooking.about.com/od/soupsstewsstocks/r/lobster_stock.htm)

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 lobster carcasses and shells, cleaned (remove the gills and eye sack because it’s sandy and gross)
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 onions, roughly chopped
  • a few cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4-6 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • the tops of one fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • handful of mushrooms (any variety), sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • handful of parsley, chopped (I used dry because I forgot to buy fresh, but fresh is always better!)
  • a few bay leaves
  • salt
  • water

In a large pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil at medium heat and add the onions, celery and carrots, cooking them for about 3-4 minutes until they soften up a little.  Then add the lobster shells and cook for another few minutes before adding the garlic, fennel, and mushrooms.  Cook all this goodness together a few more minutes and add the herbs (parsley and bay leaves) and the sherry.  Let the sherry cook down until the alcohol burns off, you’ll be able to tell mostly by smell, but give it a taste.

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