Wife Jan has been having digestive difficulties for the last few weeks. She is finally getting better, but she is being really cautious about reintroducing various foods to her diet. At this point, she knows that she can handle seafood, but she is still afraid of chicken.
Category Archives: Soups
Sometimes, I want something quick and easy for a weekday dinner. Trader Joe’s has frozen chicken mini wantons that make for a good soup starter. Turning to a broth for this soup I was in a dilemma, do I make it Chinese—with chicken broth and ginger—or Japanese—with miso and dashi? My daughters’ philosophy is, “Why choose?”, so I went with both. For vegetables, I went with some of my family’s favorites—Shanghai bok choy, napa cabbage, and green onion.
The most common bok choy found in Western supermarkets are the large white stalked kind. I find this type unappealing. While there is plenty of vitamins in the dark leaves, the stalks become slimy when even slightly overcooked. Shanghai bok choy are smaller and green all over, with a better balance between stalk and leaves.
Karl’s Chicken Wonton Asian Fusion Soup
1 can (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth
3-4 fresh ginger, sliced into coins
2 cups Shanghai bok choy, chopped into 1 inch pieces, stems and greens kept separately
1 cup napa cabbage, sliced thick and leafy parts kept separately
3-4 green onions, sliced into 1½ inch pieces, white and green kept separately
5-7 frozen chicken mini wontons per person, about half a bag
1. Put the chicken broth, ginger, and one cup of water into a medium soup pot.
Tip: Add the Hondashi to the pot later—it changes flavor if you boil it too much.
Note: While I usually prefer to make fresh dashi, for a quick meal I bend a little.
2. Put half a cup of boiling water into a measuring cup and mix in the miso paste.
Tip: If you just add the miso paste to the pot you might end up with lumps of miso in your soup. If you blend it with water first you can make sure that you’ve gotten all the lumps out.
Note: Some miso pastes have chunks of soy beans left in it. If you do have the chunky type of miso, the dissolved miso can be strained, as you add it to the pot.
3. Bring the pot to a boil and add the stems of the bok choi, the thick parts ofthe napa cabbage, and white parts of the green onions.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the wontons, bok choi greens and leafy napa cabbage parts to the pot.
6. Continue simmering for another two minutes.
7. Stir in the green onion tops and dashi.
8. Simmer the soup for another 2-3 minutes and serve.
Adapted from a RasaMalaysia recipe
I have decided to do Thai food for this week’s Sunday dinner. While I have had tom yum soup at Thai restaurants, I have never tried to make it myself. This Thai standard is a hot and sour soup usually made with shrimp—although there are many variations. Tom yam kathi (Thai: ต้มยำกะทิ) is basically Thai tom yum soup with coconut milk added to it.
Wife Jan has just had dental work and needs something soft and filling, a tasty soup would fit the bill. Cock-a-leekie soup is a traditional Scottish soup from the 16th Century when Scotland and France were aligned against England. Originally a French chicken and onion soup, the Scots used their local ingredients—leeks and barley to make a similar soup.
I am making barbecued salmon for Sunday’s dinner. A traditional Japanese meal consists of a soup and three sides—the rice goes without saying—and this usually means miso soup. Miso soup can be as simple as dashi and miso, but frequently other ingredients are added to enrich this simple broth. Today, I am adding tofu—that I trimmed off my block of tofu for my salad—a few enoki mushrooms, and some wakami seaweed.
Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe
Daughter Miriam asked for Spanish tri-tip for her birthday dinner. Looking for side dishes to go with the beef, gazpacho would be an obvious choice, but Miriam has been “off” garlic and onions lately—and gazpacho is really just salsa (tomatoes, onions, chilies, cilantro, and garlic) that has been blended into a cold soup. Searching the internet, I found a recipe for “white gazpacho“—made with apples, grapes, almonds and cucumber. A little tinkering and it would meet Miriam’s dietary needs.
Daughter Miriam—who is still avoiding garlic and onions—has requested tomato soup and melted cheese sandwiches for Sunday’s dinner. She had bought a store “fresh” tomato soup and it had so much garlic that she could not eat it. Looking on-line for ideas, I find that virtually all of the recipes called for using at least one of the forbidden ingredients.
This Sunday’s dinner was a bit of a negotiation. Daughter Miriam has had difficulty with garlic and onions lately. She had thought that it was getting better, but she pushed it too far and paid the price.
My wife Jan has her college friends staying over the weekend. Her friends come with a long list of food restrictions—no wheat, rye, barley, tomatoes, citrus, or lactose—so it is quite the challenge. Japanese cuisine tends to have few of the ingredients I needed to avoid. I decided I would make miso soup, sushi, and a selection of Japanese pickles—cabbage and mixed vegetables.