Creamy Asparagus Soup

For those of you who follow regularly, you might be a bit confused just by the title of this post. Creamy soup? What is she doing? I thought Amber was lactose-sensitive?

Well, turns out I can have milk… I just had to shop around for the right type! How exciting is that?!

I still can’t have most dairy. I still have to be careful when eating out, asking if and how much dairy is in a dish. I still have to politely decline milk products when visiting friends. But, when I cook at home… I can have as much as I want! I’ve been enjoying a glass of milk with my breakfast every morning… just because I can. Seriously, I didn’t realize how much I missed copious amounts of dairy in my diet until I found a way to enjoy it again.

Guernsey cows — the blurry one was trying to lick me as I took the picture!

(This is yet another post that was a long time in the making… I started drinking milk again in late February and have been cooking with it regularly since about April.)

So, what makes this milk different? It comes from a different breed of cow: the Guernsey (most milk comes from Holstein cows), and it is A2 grade (most milk is A1). The Bovine‘s article “Mercola advocates raw milk, discusses A1 A2 beta casein in connection with autism, diabetes, heart disease, etc.” gives a good explanation of the differences between A1 and A2 cows:

The type of proteins in milk, and the proportion of various proteins, varies depending on the breed of cow and the type of animal (sheep, goat, cow, etc.).

One of the major proteins in cow’s milk is casein, the predominant variety of which is called beta-casein. In older breeds of cows, such as Jersey, Asian and African cows (called A2 cows), the beta-casein contains an amino acid called proline.

In newer breeds of cows like Holstein (A1 cows), however, the proline has mutated into an amino acid called histidine.

[T]he proline that exists in A2 cows has a strong bond to BCM-7, which helps keep it out of the cows’ milk. The histidine in the newer A1 cows, however, has a weak hold on BCM-7, which allows it to get into the milk, and also into the people who drink the milk.”

Guernsey Cow

Back in February, I visited an A2 Guernsey cow farm. The farmers showed me around, explained their product, and shared delicious samples with me. They even insisted I wait around for at least 1/2 an hour so I would be somewhere comfortable if I had a negative reaction. So kind of them! After a wonderful experience, I signed up to buy a share in the herd of cows. I now get my milk straight from the farm. (Which I LOVE visiting… the cows are docile and let me pet them, the farm dog is friendly and always greets me enthusiastically, a few of the barn cats are friendly, and I love to look at the gorgeous horses) The benefit? I enjoy dairy and no longer fear the consequences of accidentally eating a bit too much. I am confident that I will not be ill when consuming milk products.

Sylvester the Barn Cat — this handsome little guy LOVE attention (and the camera)

I’m excited to make and share family recipes that I had given up for the last 10 years or so! 😀 Today I’m sharing my family’s Creamy Asparagus Soup recipe.

And I’m going to share a little secret… we usually make this with the “scrap” pieces of asparagus. That is, when we cook asparagus, we save the ends that we snap off for this soup. I like to buy an extra small bunch of asparagus so we can reserve a few spears to make a pretty garnish. However, this is not necessary if you don’t like a smooth soup. This is a great way to use up something that would otherwise go to waste.

Please, please, please share any great recipes you have that use a large amount of dairy products. I’m so used to cooking without milk, I find it hard to come up with anything but soups. I need more ideas of delicious milk-based foods that I can now enjoy without worry!

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chicken broth – approximate cost $1.25
  • 4 cups asparagus pieces, spears reserved – approximate cost $2.50
  • 2 cups whole milk – approximate cost $2.66
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add the asparagus pieces (reserve the spears if you would like to use them to decorate your soup later).
  3. Cook the asparagus in the broth for 7-10 minutes (the broth should reduce by about half and the asparagus will be very tender).
  4. Allow the asparagus and broth to cook slightly.
  5. Move asparagus and broth to a blender and add half of the milk (1 cup).
    1. Note: An immersion blender is not ideal for this soup because you will need to strain it.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Pour the asparagus through a fine strainer back into the soup pot.
  8. Press the asparagus gently to help release the liquid from the tough pieces. Be patient, this can take a while!
  9. Discard the pieces in the strainer.
  10. Turn the burner on medium-low.
  11. Add the remainder of the milk (1 cup), sea salt, and black pepper.
  12. If you reserved any asparagus spears, add them now!
  13. Cook the soup until it is steaming.
  14. Serve hot with crostini pieces or your favourite sandwich.

Makes 2 large servings (approximate cost: $3.28 per serving).

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Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Things have been crazy busy since I returned to school. Between readings, projects, group meetings, scholarship applications, and whatnot, I feel like I’ve barely had time to cook. To address this, I make big meals on Sunday evening and pack it up into portions that we enjoy throughout the week for lunch and dinner.

One of my go-to favourites is chili. I love chili because it’s hearty, because it’s so versatile, and because I can put it in the slow cooker and come home to a delicious warm meal. I can add just about everything in my pantry and it will still be a yummy chili. Last winter, I made what Bryan calls Texas-style chili. To me, it’s just chili. For the Improv Challenge in August, I made a soup with tomatoes and Anaheim chile peppers, this is more along the lines of what Bryan thinks of as chile. Despite our differing definitions, we both very much enjoy chili (despite that I always slip some chickpeas into the mix, one of Bryan’s least favourite foods, he never complains, what a great guy.).

I went a bit overboard when making chili the other week. I had forgotten just how many servings it makes and added wayyy more herbs and spices than usual. I wanted something different from my usual chili. Unfortunately, our freezer is very full, so there was no rooms to save the leftovers for later. So we ate chili, at least once per day, for nearly a week. Next time, I’ll cut this recipe in half. Or make sure I have plenty of freezer space to save some for another time.

What’s your favourite meal to make in the slow-cooker during the fall months?

Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups beef stock – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 12 ounce can of tomato paste – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, diced and liquid reserved – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 400 grams crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cumin – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon paprika – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (less if you want to tone down the spiciness) – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup to top each serving) – approximate cost $1.50
  • Baguette (for serving) – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Soak the dried beans.
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Add dried beans.
    3. Let cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Turn the stove off.
    5. Put a lid on the pot.
    6. Remove pot from the burner.
    7. Allow the beans soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the beef, garlic, and onion.
    1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Sautee the minced garlic for 1 minute.
    3. Add the onion to the frying pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. or until the onion softens.
    4. Add the stewing beef and cook until browned.
  3. Putting it all together in the slow cooker.
    1. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes (and liquid), chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, Italian Seasoning, cilantro, sea salt, black pepper to the slow cooker first.
    2. Stir well so the flavours mix well with the liquid.
    3. Add the browned stewing beef mixture, soaked beans, crimini mushrooms.
    4. Mix again.
    5. There should be enough liquid to cover the chili. If not, add more beef stock.
    6. Cook at low temperature for about 6 hours (or high temperature for about 4 hours).
  4. Serve topped with shredded cheese and baguette on the side.

Makes about 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.83 per serving).

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Improv Challenge: Tomatoes and Peppers

I’m excited to be participating in another Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker (my fourth month participating)! Each month I strive to come up with something a bit more exciting or creative than the last.

So far, I’ve shared:

This month, the challenge ingredients are tomatoes and peppers.

This month is the first time that I’m not sharing the dish I had initially made for the challenge. Over the weekend, I made a curry-like dish with chicken, peppers, and tomatoes. It was good, but tasted a bit more like Mexican food than Indian food. I was a bit disappointed by this because it didn’t pair very well with naan bread. Also, it was wayyyy too spicy for me! I ate half a bowl. Even Bryan mentioned that it was spicy (his tolerance level is much higher than mine). He was able to finish, but was surprised I made it as far through the meal as I did. Because I was unsatisfied with the results, I haven’t have much inspiration to write about the experience, nor did I want to share the recipe as part of the Improv Challenge (I may share it in a week or so).

Instead, I made a last minute trip to the grocery store on Tuesday while running other errands to pick up more peppers and tomatoes so I could try again. Earlier in the day, I had been reading a blog post series on Chiles at MJ’s Kitchen. The posts were very informative, explaining that “the green chile pepper [is] called by many names – New Mexico chile, Anaheim pepper, California chile, Hatch, Big Jim, Rio Grande and Sandia – to name a few” (MJ’s Kitchen). I’d never heard it called California pepper, Big Jim, Rio Grande or Sandia! I was even a bit skeptical that an Anaheim pepper would be the same, though I’ve heard the peppers called by that name before.

Reminiscing about the amazing food in the Southwest US. I wanted green chiles afterwards, but that’s not something that’s regularly sold around here. In fact, the only Hatch Chiles I’ve seen are dried red chiles sold at specialty stores with a fairly high price tag. It’s always good, but not quite the same as green chiles.

Very much to my surprise, there was a large basket of “Anaheim Peppers” at the grocery store this week. I had to have them. The price was also surprisingly reasonable. Here’s hoping that they will start to carry these chile peppers regularly!

I’ve never really cooked with green chiles. My experience with them has mostly been meals someone else has cooked or take-out. So, for this Improv Challenge, I’m sharing one of Bryan’s recipes that I’ve adapted. This is one of the few things he would cook for me when we first met!

Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup

Adapted from Bryan’s recipe (I think he said he learned this from his family?)

Ingredients

  • 500 grams lean (or extra lean) ground beef – approximate cost $5.50
  • 10 fresh green chile peppers (New Mexico chile, Anaheim pepper, California chile, Hatch chile, Big Jim chile, Rio Grandechile or Sandia chile) – approximate cost $3.50
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 can diced tomatoes – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Roast the chile peppers, making sure all sides are roasted (so the skins will peel away easily later).
  2. Set the roasted chile peppers in the fridge to cool.
  3. Remove the cooled chile peppers from the fridge.
  4. Roll each of the chile peppers to loosen the seeds.
  5. Cut off the tops of the chile peppers.
  6. Pour out as many seeds as possible.
    1. If you want the soup spicy, reserve a few of the seeds.
    2. If you want the soup mild, gently wash the inside of the peppers with cold water to remove the remaining seeds.
  7. Wash your hands very well with lots of soap and avoid rubbing your eyes for a while to ensure the chile peppers will not burn you.
  8. Peel the roasted skin away from the chile pepper.
  9. Discard the skin.
  10. Dice the chile peppers.
  11. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.
  12. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  13. Add the ground beef.
  14. Break the beef into pieces using a wooden spoon.
  15. Brown the beef (there shouldn’t be any more pink).
  16. Add the chile peppers.
  17. Mix well.
  18. Add the diced tomatoes (as well as the liquid from the can).
  19. Mix well.
  20. Add half cup water (the beef mixture should be just covered by the liquid.
  21. Bring to a boil.
  22. Add the sea salt.
  23. Taste the broth and add more salt if necessary.
  24. Remove from heat.
  25. Serve hot in soup bowls.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.65 per serving).



Fresh Fish Chowder from Relish Cooking Studio

I was so nervous eating this fresh fish chowder. I have a lactose sensitivity (thank goodness it’s not an intolerance, I couldn’t give up my small amounts of whipped cream, cheese, etc.). It’s not that I can’t eat milk products, I just have to be careful and enjoy them in moderation. And, if I think there might be a problem, take preventative measures by ingesting a “dairy digestive supplement” before the meal. This meal calls for heavy whipping cream… so I took two. Because I wanted to enjoy both this dish and the rest of the meal.

Chef Mark offered to make a soup just for me with a tomato broth as the base. This would have made it lactose free. However, despite his generosity, I declined because I really wanted to taste the chowder recipe as it was meant to be.

If I make this recipe again at home (probably during the winter when we tend to enjoy more soups), I will try out the tomato broth and exclude the cream.

This part of the demo was especially fun, because not only did Chef Mark teach us how to choose fish from the store, he also taught us how to cut a whole fish into fillets. He even allowed someone from the audience to give it a try! (Unfortunately, I didn’t speak up fast enough to try, but I’m confident that, with the right knife, I wouldn’t do a terrible job filleting a fish!)

Have you made fish chowder at home? What kind of soup base do you enjoy? Cream? Tomato? Something else entirely?

Fresh Fish Chowder

Recipe by (and posted with permission from) Chef Mark Brown, demonstration at Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon butter – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups) – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine – approximate cost $1.50
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 1/2 cups clam juice – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 bay leaf – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 pounds firm white fish (such as sea bass), pin bones removed, fillets cut into 2-inch pieces – approximate cost $20.00
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy (or whipping) cream (so the brother won’t curdle, do not substitute milk) – approximate cost $2.00
  •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the wine.
  4. Cook uncovered until the wine reduces by half.
  5. Add the potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  6. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Lower heat to medium setting.
  8. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost done (10-15 minutes).
  9. Lower heat to low setting.
  10. Add fish pieces and cream to the pot of potatoes.
  11. Cook over low heat, uncovered, until the fish is just cooked through (about 10 minutes).
  12. Mix in the parsley.
  13. Allow soup to rest for 30 minutes before serving (the flavours will improve).
  14. Serve with a side of fresh bread.

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $4.68 per serving).

Slow Cooked Texas-Style Chili

I’m going to derive from my original plan to post about Thai food today. Sorry if you were looking forward to it, but I couldn’t help myself. I’m excited and inspired to write about the Texas-style chili I made over the weekend.

Why is it so exciting? Because this is one of my blogging “firsts.” This is the first time that a reader has asked me to post a specific recipe!

Over the weekend I posted a tweet about the chili:

Texas-style chili in the slowcooker for #dinner it seems wrong to have planned comfort food on a beautiful day! #sunny #warm #SundaySupper

One of my Twitter followers responded asking for the recipe!

I served this chili to a group of friends. It went over well for the most part. Unfortunately, one friend turned it down, I didn’t realize he dislikes kidney beans. I felt bad that everyone else enjoyed the chili and he resorted to snacks for dinner. I’ll remember next time. And hopefully I’ll learn to ask about people’s likes/dislikes before showing up with food.

My Texas-Style Chili recipe is constantly changing. It’s adapted from my parent’s recipe and reading a bunch of Southwest-inspired cookbooks.

I’ve divided this recipe into indicate the usual and optional ingredients. I’m including approximate pricing for the items I included in the chili I prepared this weekend.

I hope you enjoy it!

Slow Cooked Texas-Style Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef – approximate cost $4.00
  • 3 cups of dried, mixed beans (at least 2/3 of which are generally red kidney beans with a mixture of garbanzo, white kidney/cannellini, navy, and fava beans) – approximate cost $3.00
    • Alternately, if you can use canned beans (2 cans of red kidney beans and 1 can of bean medley)
  • 1 bottle of beer (alcoholic or non-alcoholic, I used a honey brown this time) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 can of tomato paste – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 4 tablespoons of chili powder – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon of salt (or to taste) – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

Optional ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 3/4 cup of frozen corn (or 1 can)
  • 3/4 cup of frozen green beans (or 1 can)

Optional toppings and sides

  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, and/or colby)
  • Toast (for serving)

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add mixture of dried beans, turn the stove off, put a lid on the pot, and let the beans soak for at least 1 hour (skip this step if you’re using canned beans).
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Sautee the minced garlic for 1 minute.
    1. If you’re adding onion, add it to the frying pan at this point and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
  5. Add the chili powder and cumin, cook for about 1 minutes (or until the spices become fragrant).
  6. Add the beer and bring to a boil then cook for about 5 minutes (the liquid should be about half evaporated).
  7. Add the tomato paste and stir into the mixture.
  8. In a large crock pot, combine the meat and spice mixture, beans, diced tomatoes (don’t drain the liquid), salt (to taste), water, and any additional ingredients.
  9. Cook at low temperature for 5-6 hours (or high temperature for 3-4 hours).
  10. Serve as is or with any additional sides and toppings.

Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.36 per serving + any additional ingredients).

Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Soup) from Relish Cooking Studio

I was a bit surprised to find that, when I arrived at the class, I was the only attendee who came alone. I felt a bit out of place at first, but quickly made friends and immersed myself in the surrounding discussions. The set-up of the studio welcomes chatting. There are a few private tables, but the majority of the class sat around the demonstration area. I got a great spot where I could see everything being prepared and could avoid bumping elbows with others (being left-handed can be challenging at dinners).

There was even a super nice group who offered to share their wine with me. Thank you random group of super nice people who talked with me and shared their things!

I think this tom yum soup was my favourite dish of the evening. It’s something I can see myself making again at home. It was delicious. The ingredients are fairly easy to find. It was on the verge of being too spicy for me. Yet it was so good that I continued to eat. I think Bryan is going to like this soup just as much as the curried squash and coconut cream soup I made the other week.

Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Soup)

Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of prawns (or shrimp), peeled and deveined, shells reserved to make the stock – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, bruised and finely sliced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 slices of galangal ginger – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red onion (or shallot), finely chopped – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1-3 small red chilies – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 1/2 – 3 tablespoons of nam prik pao chili jam (enough to turn the soup base red) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves torn (stems discarded) – approximate cost $0.50
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 1/2 ounces button mushrooms, halved – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Preheat a large pot with the vegetable oil in it over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook the prawn/shrimp shells until they turn pink (3-5 minutes).
  3. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Note: If you do not have the shells, make the brother using 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth and 2 1/2 cups of water.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes to infuse the flavour from the shells into the broth.
  5. Remove the shells from the broth and discard.
  6. Add lemon grass, galangal ginger, onion/shallot, chilies, chili jam, and kaffir lime leaves to the stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Continue to boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat to a simmer.
  8. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Add the prawns/shrimp and cook until they turn pink (approximately 3-5 minutes)
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce and lime juice.
  11. Serve hot!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $4.43 per serving).

Day 9: Lunch break

Yum! Pea soup! I’ve tried to make pea soup at home quite a few times now. It never turns out. Instead, I buy canned pea soup. I prefer not to look at the nutrition information on the can. It’s probably high in sodium, but that’s fine with me. I enjoy this soup in moderation.

This particular brand of pea soup reminds me of home. We almost always had a few cans in the cupboard that we could heat up as a quick lunch.

Curried Squash and Coconut Cream Soup

A month or so ago, we came up with some reason to splurge and go out for lunch. Honestly, I can’t remember the reason, it wasn’t a very good one.  Oliver & Bonacini, one of our favourite restaurants, had their Winter Fixe menu out and the deal was ending that Friday. So we splurged. And we don’t regret the splurge. The meal was, as expected, fantastic. Bryan ordered the salmon appetizer, I ordered the soup, and we shared our appetizers. Coincidentally, we both ordered the pizza with prosciutto. For dessert, he had the carrot cake and I enjoyed a fantastic bread pudding.

I (CouldEatSoupForEveryMeal) really enjoyed the soup. Bryan (NotVeryFondOfSoups) enjoyed it too. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to try to make it myself. I found a soup that Bryan enjoys enough that he will eat it as leftovers the next day!!!

My version of the soup is lactose-free. It also adds chives as a garnish, because I thought it sounded good at the time (and it did indeed taste good).

It was a bit spicy. I could only eat small bowls. Bryan, on the other hand, could enjoy the soup as an entire meal. Adjust the amount of curry according to your taste preferences.

Have you ever tried to recreate a dish that you enjoyed at a restaurant? How did it turn out?

Curried squash and coconut cream soup

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 can coconut cream – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons of dried chives (for garnish) – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (for garnish) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 cups water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy pieces.
  3. Slice the squash into pieces that are about one inch thick.
  4. Line the squash pieces on a baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle squash pieces with olive oil.
  6. Bake squash for 15 minutes, then turn each piece.
  7. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes.
  8. At this point, the squash should be very soft and beginning to brown (if it isn’t continue to bake for a few more minutes), remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool until it can be handled.
  9. Use a pairing knife to remove the skin from each of the squash pieces.
  10. In a large soup pot, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat (careful it doesn’t burn!).
  11. Place curry powder in pot and stir constantly for about 30 seconds to one minute (it will become fragrant).
  12. Add the squash pieces, chicken bouillon, and water, then stir well and bring to a boil (the squash pieces should start to fall apart).
  13. Turn the stove off and allow the soup to cool for a few minutes.
  14. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. The soup should be relatively thick. If it seems thin, cook it a bit longer in the next step to evaporate some of the excess water. NOTE: If you do not own an immersion blender, allow the soup to cool completely and puree in batches in a blender.
  15. Return the soup puree to the cooking pot and bring to a boil.
  16. Add coconut cream and mix well.
  17. Remove soup from heat.
  18. Serve with pumpkin seeds and dried chives for garnish.

Makes about 6 appetizer-sized servings (approximate cost: $0.90 per serving).

Guest Post on This Dusty House: Chicken, lentil and tomato soup

Today, my first guest post was published on This Dusty House. Nette has been writing about soups on Wednesdays and asked me if I would be interested in writing a guest post for her and her husband’s blog.

Nette and I met in the first class of the day on our first day of university (8:30am wasn’t my favourite time of day, I had a fairly long commute) in an Introduction to Literature course. We took quite a few courses together (we had similar interests and course requirements), but it wasn’t until our first summer term of campus that we became good friends. It started out just chatting in class. Then we started chatting outside after class. We began getting together at her apartment for study sessions (she was a great help)!

Of course, I was flattered by her invitation to post on her blog. I had a few hesitations as to whether I was ready to write a guest post. I’m still just finding my own voice. Then again, I can’t learn and experience the world of food blogging without taking those steps to be involved in the blogging community.

Thanks for being an amazing friend (and blog advisor) Nette!

Check out my post on This Dusty House featuring a chicken, lentil and tomato soup that I prepared recently.

Egg Drop Soup

I usually avoid cooking Asian foods at home. The recipes often call for a variety of exotic sauces and spices that I don’t keep on hand. That, tied in with the perceived complexity of the recipes usually discourages me from even trying.Last week, I came across a recipe on The Kitchn for Egg Drop Soupthat looked so simple I had to try it for myself. It really was easy to make! From start to finish, I think it took 20 minutes to prepare (and I might even be over-estimating!).egg drop soupWe needed a quick dinner with a few leftover in case our guests were hungry when they arrived. Our friends assured us they weren’t hungry, but a few hours later one of them gave the soup a try, saying they just wanted a small taste. As I filled the soup bowl, he commented that it would be way too much because he wasn’t very hungry. When we cleared the table, the bowl was empty. As you can imagine, I was very glad that our guests enjoyed the dish as much as we did.This soup is so simple and tasty that it could easily be served as the main course on a busy weeknight or as an appetizer when you have guests.

Egg Drop Soup

Adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chicken broth – approximate cost $4.00
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch – approximate cost $0.10
  • 8 large eggs – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons red miso – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 package of firm tofu, diced into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 bunch bok choy, thinly sliced – approximate cost $1.50
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 8 teaspoons of sesame oil – approximate cost $0.20
  • 2 teaspoons of white pepper – approximate cost $0.10

egg drop soup

Method

  1. Pour the chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add miso and soy sauce. Stir until miso dissolves.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium-low (so the mixture simmer for 15 minutes)
  4. Taste and add more soy sauce as needed.
  5. Add the tofu pieces and bok choy slices.
  6. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl and add the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch to the eggs. Mix well until there are no powdery lumps. Set aside briefly.
  7. In a separate bowl or cup, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with a small amount of cold water. Mix well until there are no powdery lumps.
  8. Slowly mix the cornstarch and water mixture into the stock and let it simmer for a minute or two until the broth no longer tastes starchy and begins to thicken.
  9. Ask a friend to help you with this part. Have your friend to hold a fork over your pot of soup.
  10. Slowly pour the eggs through the fork while constantly stirring the soup. Let the soup stand for a few seconds to finish cooking the eggs.
    Note: If you don’t want to invite anyone to assist, work in batches. Pour a small amount of the eggs through the fork and take a short break to stir the soup. Repeat until you run out of eggs.
  11. Serve immediately. Provide green onions, white pepper, and sesame oil on the side as a topping and allow others to add these items to taste.

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.25 per serving) as an appetizer or 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.50 per serving) as a main course.

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