Quick Comforting Dumpling Soup

 

Some nights are just not cooking nights. I come from work late, tired, perhaps after cooking all day, and the last thing I want to do is make myself a meal before crawling into bed with a glass of wine to watch Friday Night Lights. Sometimes I reach for leftovers, or homemade yogurt and granola, or just a hunk of cheese and some crackers, but I often reach into my freezer and pull out a giant bag of frozen dumplings. I buy my dumplings (vegetable or kimchi ) in giant bags at HMart, and sometimes they are a lifesaver. I usually fry them with garlic chips and make a quick dipping sauce, but sometimes I make a quick, comforting broth and put them in soup.

Obviously, this broth could be made more complicated (and have more depth of flavor) with the additions, but this recipe is meant for quickness! You can make this broth on the stove, then add the frozen dumplings and heat until they are soft, or package the broth in a mason jar and take it to work, frozen dumplings separate, for a quick lunch.

 

Dumpling Soup Broth

serves 4

 

I Tbs minced ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

2 shallots, minced

2 tsp. vegetable oil

4 cups water

1 cube porcini mushroom bouillon

1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce

1 finger of fresh lemongrass, sliced finely or smashed (or 1/2 tsp. dried)

3 dried red thai chilies, or 1/2 tsp. chili paste

dash of chili sesame oil

dash of rice wine vinegar

 

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and fry the ginger, garlic, shallots and fry until golden. Add the water, lemongrass and bouillon, stirring until dissolved. Add the crushed chili peppers, or chili paste, if using, and whisk. Add the soy sauce, and then the frozen dumplings, and simmer until the dumplings are soft. Add a splash of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar to finish. Garnish with chopped scallion, sesame seeds, or more fried shallots.

 

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Raw Beet Slaw

Raw Beet Slaw
Raw Beet Slaw

“Slaw” is a pretty loose term. Finely chop some veggies up, add vinegar, and you have one. I had some beautiful beets and remembering a raw beet, carrot and apple¬† slaw I once sampled at the Prospect Park farmer’s market, I set to work. Of course, because I had a fridge full of greens, I had to add some of those two. The above slaw consists of

two beets, grated
two carrots, grated
beet greens, finely diced
4 kale leaves, thinly sliced
1 mackintosh apple, diced

I dressed the salad with a quick vinaigrette of

1 clove garlic
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil

I could have diced the apple more finely, but it was 8pm, and I was hungry. Perfectly crunchy, sweet and tangy, it was delicious. I anticipate many more slaws in my summer future.

Favorite Spicy Mushroom Udon Soup

Favorite Spicy Shitake Udon Miso Soup
Favorite Spicy Shitake Udon Miso Soup

The soup with knock the cold right out of you. I make everytime I feel the sniffles coming on, and much more often than that. At least 50% of the time, when I ask Senor Lanky what he wants to eat, this is what he requests.I don’t actually every use a recipe for this – I just make it as I go, so feel free to adjust the ingrediants for your preferred level of *kapow*.

Favorite Spicy Shitake Udon Soup

Serves 4

1 block extra firm tofu, presses

1 Tbs. seseme seeds

4 cloves of garlic, loosely chopped

2 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger root

1 cup assorted fresh mushrooms (shitakes are best)

3/4 c. assorted dried chinese mushrooms (shitake, black, etc.)

2 Tbs. seseme oil

6 cups water

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 Tbs. miso

2 Tbs. chili sauce (preferably pure, crushed asian chilis)

4 oz. dried udon noodles.

Cut the tofu into small blocks. Fry until golden brown in in sesame oil, adding the sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Set the tofu aside.  Heat the seseme oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and fresh mushrooms, cooking and stirring often until the mushrooms soften. Add the water, soy sauce, miso and chili sauce, whisking to misk. Add the dry mushroom, raising the heat, boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, again, to medium. Add the udon noodles, cooking until just soft (about 7 minutes.) Stir in the fried tofu, and leave flame under the soup until the tofu is heated through (about 2 minutes).

Serve in large bowls, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, fried shallots, or green onions.

Kiss that cold goodbye.