Shitake & Bunapi Mushroom Wonton Soup

I’ve been wanting to tackle a new wonton soup recipe and yesterday was a perfect day to whirl up a pot to warm us up after doing The Vegas Santa Run (great cause for Opportunity Village). I picked up Bunapi as well as Shitake Mushrooms and then did some research on Google and Pinterest to see what others were doing.

One particular recipe caught my attention because it was using fresh ginger, garlic and liquid smoke. Hmmmn, I never thought of using liquid smoke with ginger…ok, lets give it a shot!

The Verdict of Shitake & Bunapi Mushroom Wonton Soup:

This warm and light broth soup is perfect for a chilly evening. Bursting with flavor the Shitake wontons are beautifully seasoned with grated ginger, garlic. And the super star ingredient in the pockets is liquid smoke. The wontons just pop in your mouth with delightful yumminess. The wontons swim and pair well with the meaty Bunapi Mushrooms and chopped Bok Choy morsels! I love mushrooms and this recipe can be modified with any of your favorite mushroom medley.

Shitake & Bunapi Mushroom Wonton Soup Ingredients:

Wonton Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • about 16 wonton wrappers

Wonton Broth / Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1.5 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 cups chopped Bok Choy
  • 4oz Bunapi Mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt to taste

Shitake & Bunapi Mushroom Wonton Soup Instructions:

Wontons
  1. Clean shiitake mushrooms. Finely dice and place in a medium bowl. Stir in garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, liquid smoke, red pepper chile, and green onions.
  2. Fill a small bowl with water. Arrange a wonton wrapper on work surface. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in center. Dip fingers in water and moisten edges of wonton wrapper. Fold in half, over filling, diagonally, to create a triangle. Press edges together to seal. Draw side corners of wrapper inward, join and press together to seal, creating a loop. Repeat until all filling and wrappers are used (approx 16)
Wonton Soup
  1. Place olive oil and sesame oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, bok choy  and red pepper chile and bring back to boil.
  2. Add wontons and lower heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer until wontons float, about 5 mintues. Stir in vinegar, and salt to taste. Remove from heat.
  3. Ladle into bowls
  4. Top with chopped green onions.

Where I received my inspiration for this soup:  Link here

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • Used Liquid Aminos instead of Soya Sauce
  • Added Red Pepper Chiles
  • Used a tad more ginger and garlic
  • Use Oilve oil instead of Vegetable Oil
  • Used 7 cups of vegetable stock instead of 5
  • Used Bok Choy instead of Napa Cabbage
  • Added Bunapi Mushrooms in the broth

Soup Mistress Rating for Shitake & Bunapi Mushroom Wonton Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5)fiveheart
Presentation: (4/5) fourheart
Taste: (4.5/5)fourhalfheart

Fassolatha – A Greek Godess Yummy Navy Bean Soup

Oh boy, it’s been ages since I blogged about a soup!! I’ve been busy trying other recipes outside of soups (like homemade gnocchi, dehydrated snacks and a few different vegetarian pâtés). I have a liking to get back on the soup bandwagon again…we’ll see how that goes though!

Just last Saturday, I was having a girlfriend over for dinner and I decided to make it a Greek night. I made this soup along with homemade spanakopita, ttzatziki (with cashew cream instead of yogurt) and greek salad and it all did not disappoint!

The Verdict of Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

At first, I did not have any plans to add in bacon, I had FULL intentions to making this soup vegetarian. But when I was at the boiling stage just before simmering the soup, when I tried a spoonful test, the soup seemed bland to me and at this point I decided to add bacon, lemon juice and lemon zest to my recipe. I think the new ingredients made a huge difference. Also I shouldn’t short change the 1 hour simmering process that lifted the velvety navy beans and the just-right acidic diced tomatoes which were dancing in the pot with screaming delight!

We had this soup as left-overs for the next few days and on the third day I loved it just as much as the first day!

I would make this soup again and perhaps freeze it for an impromptu lunch one day in the near future.

Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, chopped small and cooked until crisp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cans organic navy beans (2 x 14.5 ounces)
  • 4 springs thyme (approx 1 tablespoon finely chopped)
  • 1 can organic diced roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped parsley
  • 5 cups of veggie stock (may add more to your liking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest

 

Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Instructions:

  1. Cook small bacon pieces in fry pan until crisp, transfer to plate over paper towel. Set aside.
  2. In soup pot, add a little olive oil heat up on medium.
  3. Sauté chopped onions and garlic, cook until translucent, 5-7min.
  4. Add carrot and celery, saute for another minute or so.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and the 5 cups veggie stock.
  6. Add beans – add more veggie stock or water to cover beans if needed.
  7. Add thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to your taste.
  8. Cover and bring to boil.
  9. Once boiling, add in the bacon.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 – 60 minutes.
  11. Serve soup in bowls.
  12. Garnish with some extra parsley and delightful lemon zest.

The Original Recipe From Herehttp://www.lemonandolives.com/fassolatha-greek-bean-soup/

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • used canned navy beans instead of great northern dried beans
  • did not use a bay leaf
  • used organic vegetable stock instead of water
  • added about 1/3 cup of cooked bacon pieces
  • used my smoking gun to give a tad smoked flavour
  • added juice of one lemon at the end of the cooking process before serving
  • added lemon zest to each bowl of soup before serving
  • used more parsley
  • I used roasted canned tomatoes and I did not mash the canned tomatoes, I kept them chopped just like they are.
  • I added garlic. What soup is not friendly for it?!! :)
Soup Mistress Rating for Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5
Presentation: (3.75/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Northwest Salmon Soup, Starring Grammy Award Winning Kale!

Northwest Salmon Soup

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Northwest Salmon Soup

Saw this recipe in a magazine at the book store, can’t recall what magazine it was though. The sight of the salmon with the roe looked so delightful along with the use of kale in the soup. So I decided to give it a whirl and voila – what a delight!

The Verdict of Northwest Salmon Soup?

Even though I added lemon juice to the creme fresh, it seemed like not enough, next time I would add some lemon zest to the creme fraiche. The broth tasted better and better after a few minutes. The the kale and salmon played so well in the taste. I’m starting to like kale a ton more especially in broths – it gives a flavourful depth to any soup! I’m going to give the Kale the superstar Grammy ingredient for this recipe – it deserves it!

Northwest Salmon Soup Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen salmon
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 – 32 ounce vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped potatoes
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 creme fraiche
  •  1 tablespoon monkfish caviar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Northwest Salmon Soup Instructions:
  1. Pat dry salmon, cut in 1 inch pieces.
  2. In large pot (or dutch oven) heat butter over medium low heat until melted. Add onion and garlic, cook, covered 10 – 15 mins until tender, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high, cook onions, uncovered for few more minutes, stir in paprika and pepper.
  3. Stir in broth, kale, potatoes and carrots. bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer covered, about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a separate pan add salmon to hot pan on med/high, cook until salmon fillet pieces flake easily when tested with fork.
  5. Ladle soup in bowls, add salmon pieces to each bowl.
  6. Top each serving with a kettle chip, sour cream, dill and caviar.

Recipe makes 4 yummy servings.

Original Soup Recipe: Jeepers, I cannot recall what magazine, if you do know, let me know and I will give the publisher full credit and a link!

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added a large clove of garlic (minced)
  • Added 1/4 tablespoon lemon juice to the creme fraiche. Could have use even more! I wanted to add lemon zest, but where I was staying in Whistler did not have a utensil to do so.
  • I didn’t use salmon roe, I used two types of monkfish caviar (red and black)

Soup Mistress Rating for Northwest Salmon Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Raw Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup, A Vegan-a-licious Delight with Zip!

Raw Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup

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Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the lemon, and fresh dill.

Yup, I am on a quest for some great summertime soups and think I am on the right track. This is my second cold soup recipe for the summer that I adjusted and I am now thinking that there may be endless possibilities to find some keepers in the chilled soup category!

Just the other day I got inspired to make a full raw meal after perusing Brendan Braziers Thrive book. His book is great and full of wonderful ideas to eat a great plant-based diet to optimize a lifestyle that has a lot of sports and endurance activities.

So last night was my first attempt of a 100% homemade vegan and raw meal, it included:

  • Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup (with horseradish)
  • Strawberry Mint Lemonade
  • Zucchini Lasagna (with cremini mushrooms, sage lemon cashew cream, herb pesto (with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan), sun-dried tomato sauce, tomatoes, pine nuts)
  • Raw Raspberry Torte (almonds, macadamia nuts, cacao powder, dates, raspberries)

 

The Verdict of Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup?

I adjusted Barefoot Contessa‘s Chilled Cucumber Soup recipe (link here). It originally called for yogurt, cream and shrimp – so I adjusted it to be vegan and raw, substituting the milk products with almond milk and avocados. Also in the end when I tasted the soup, it was so delish but seemed as though it needed a little kick. There was some mighty fine fresh horseradish in the fridge and so a put a dollop in to swim with the cukes!

I had this soup the very next day and it was just as good and uber refreshing.

For those peeps who are looking for an ultra healthy alkalian diet, this soup is it! I never felt so healthy eating this soup yet at same time my taste buds are not left feeling jipped what-so-ever!

I will make this soup in a heart beat!

Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup Ingredients:

  • 2  avocados
  • 3 cups plain almond milk
  • 2 hot house cucumbers, unpeeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh horseradish
  • thinly slices of lemon, halved, for garnish
  • fresh dill, for garnish

Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup Instructions?

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the almond milk, avocado, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, horseradish salt, and pepper.
  2. Transfer the mixture in batches to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Or use an immersion blender.
  3. Process until the cucumbers are coarsely pureed. Fold in the dill, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until very cold.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the lemon, and fresh dill.

The Original Recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chilled-cucumber-soup-with-shrimp-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • instead of using Greek Yogurt and half-andhalf I used 2 Avocados and 3 cups of plain almond milk
  • added a teaspoon of horseradish

Soup Mistress Rating for Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Summertime Soup Series: Anjo Blanco, A Gluten-Free White Gazpacho

Anjo Blanco

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Anjo Blanco a great summertime soup!

I’m down in Vegas for a while and it is hot hot hot! The last thing I feel like doing is chowing down on hot hearty soups – so I’m on a hunt for some great summertime soups!

I am keeping a total open mind – as I was one of those people who did not fancy cold soups. I think I changed.

This is the first of my many summertime soups I want to try and I have had this particular Anjo Blanco recipe bookmarked since January from a foodie magazine. It is a Spanish version of white gazpacho.

Ladle and garnish

 

The Verdict of Anjo Blanco Soup?

I would have never thought that these particular ingredients would conjure up into a soup! I was a tad sceptic on the output, but kept an open mind because it looked oh so pretty in the magazine. I am impressed of the way it turned out, especially with my modifications turning it into a gluten-free and cows milk-free soup!

The garlic worked well with the sweetness of the apple, grapes and almond milk. The graininess of the bread made me feel like I was eating a hearty soup because I used a medium sieve (not a fine one that was called for in original recipe)…and that was just fine.

My partner in crime, tester of food extrodinaire, liked the texture of the toasted almonds and the zip of the red wine vinegar it gave the soup. He also gave the soup, to his surprise a 4.5 out of 5 for taste. We both agreed that the presentation came out well too and it deserved a 4.5 out of 5.

Would I changed anything? I would perhaps serve this soup in a martini glass, which would allow me to have a choice of sipping on the soup versus spooning it up.

Anjo Blanco Ingredients:

  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
  • 2.5 cups crust-less gluten-free bread
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 blanched almonds
  • 2.5 cups almond milk (I used vanilla flavour which worked, you can also use plain)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • dash salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Anjo Blanco Instructions:

  1. Combine apple, garlic, bread, grapes, blanched almonds, almond milk, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl; season with salt.
  2. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Transfer soup base to a blender (or use immersion blender) and puree, adding water by tablespoonfuls if too thick, until smooth. With motor running gradually add 1/3 cup olive oil and 3 tbsp vinegar.
  4. Strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; cover and chill until very cold, about 2 hours. Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
  5. Toast sliced almonds to a slight brown, let cool.
  6. Ladle soup among bowls; top with toasted almonds: drizzle with oil and vinegar pretty swirls or droplets.
  7. Now go sit out on your summer deck, watch the sunset and enjoy the soup there!

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • Used 2.5 cups of almond milk instead of whole milk & water (but did add some water)
  • Used 1/3 cup of olive oil instead of 3/4 cup
  • Used shaved almonds in the soup base but thin sliced almonds for garnish
  • Used 2.5 cups of my favorite gluten free bread recipe (minus the olives and almonds) instead of 3 cups of white country bread.

Soup Mistress Rating for Anjo Delight:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Mushroom Leek Soup – A Vegetable World Meat Delight!

mushroom-leek-soup-0

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The completed Mushroom Leek soup!

A week ago, I went to a great Asian grocery store called TNT Supermarket that I haven’t been to in quite sometime. This place has a ton of various foods that you normally don’t find at regular supermarkets. I entered the supermarket without a plan of what to buy, but was drawn to the variety of mushrooms and how cheap they were.

So mushroom leek soup is was!

For this soup, I did not follow a recipe. I threw together my favorite base ingredients that I normally use in soups (e.g. vegetable stock, garlic, ginger). I also love leeks with mushrooms in any dish – so they joined the party as well. And having used enoki mushrooms in the past, their texture is almost like noodles to me and I thought they would be perfect in soup that was noodle-less.

The Verdict of Mushroom Leek Soup?

This soup is very fresh tasting and meaty with a ton of mushrooms – a vegetable world meat delight! I do love how the sesame oil added asian flare to my taste buds and it played very well with the ginger.  I had the soup for dinner and for lunch two days in a row  – and I would have had it another day but I was leaving for San Diego the next morning.

Mushroom Leek Soup Ingredients:

  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ginger, minced
  • 3 packages enoki mushrooms , ends trimmed off
  • 4 king oyster mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 package brown shimeji mushrooms, broken apart
  • 1 package white shimeji mushrooms, broken apart
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely

Mushroom Leek Soup Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a gentle boil and then keep it on simmer.
  2. In a pan add olive oil and sauté the leeks, ginger and garlic about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add in the mushrooms and bell pepper and sauté for another 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add mushroom, peppers, and sesame oil to the soup base.
  5. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Ladle soup in bowls.
  7. Garnish with green onions.
  8. Season with salt and pepper – adjust to your liking.
Soup Mistress Rating For Mushroom Leek Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (3.5/5)

Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup – What Beauties Beets They Are!

Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup

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Yummy, Spicy Beet Soup!

Over a week ago I roasted some red beets for the very first time ever and made a delish beet salad with lemon juice, shallots, macadamia oil with sprouts and arugula. It was so easy to roast beets and very yummy and fresh. I decided that my next beet culinary adventure would be in a soup and I wanted to try golden beets instead.

This soup recipe caught my attention and yesterday I headed to New Westminster Quay (Rivermarket.com) for some fresh produce to use in my soup. My good friend Karen Carter, a mighty fine real estate agent with Remax was coming over to get paperwork signed to list my condo on the market and I decided to make the soup for her visit!

The Verdict of Golden Beet Curry Soup:

Golden Beets –beauties they are!

Karen and I really liked how the curry played with the golden beets. They seem less sweet to me than red beets and perfect for this soup. The addition of carrot and parsnip gave a warm and earthy taste to the soup. Also the cayenne gave the soup a very nice mysterious heat to the soup – I don’t think it should be omitted from this soup ever (versus optional in the original recipe). The julienned red beets on top gave a nice contrast and texture. Karen did suggest that it would have been nice to have a dollop of cream in the soup (dairy or non-dairy cream like product – perhaps almond cheese?) – I have to agree with her on that point. Would have made it look even prettier as well!

Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup Ingredients:

  • 6-7 golden beets, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red beet (for garnish)
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 -1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth
Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup:
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. In a large baking pan or oven dish, toss beets, onions,  parsnip and carrot with oil and all spices. Roast the red beet whole by itself for garnish.
  3. Pour 1 cup water over the mixture and cover in foil. Roast for 1 hour.
  4. Blend using an immersion blender or puree in batches in a food processor, adding vegetable broth half a cup at a time followed by remaining water (up to 2 cup) until you reach your desired consistency.
  5. Add soup into a pot on stove top, add cinnamon stick, simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  6. Adjust curry and salt to taste.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls.
  8. Julienne red beet and garnish on top of soup.

What I changed from original soup recipe:

  • Used more beets (6-7)
  • Roasted a red beet separately and used it is  garnish julienned
  • Used 1 onion versus 1/2 onion
  • Doubled, curry, coriander, cumin, cayenne
  • Used a cinnamon stick after soup pureed and simmered it for 8-10 minutes
  • Used fresh ginger minced instead of ground ginger
  • Used more vegetable stock
Soup Mistress Rating (and Karen) for Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5)

Taste: (4.5/5)

 

A New Year Start With a Super Green Pot Of Morgans Soup

A super green soup

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The completed soup. Super duper healthy for you!

On New Years Eve before going out with some of my friends, I made a huge pot of probably the greenest and healthiest soup I made to date. This was a pot of soup for my New Years detox and to take to work that week for my lunches.

I follow Vega on Facebook (clean plant-based nutrition products) and they’ve posted this soup recipe a few times since October/November. It looked awesome and sounded super healthy with kale, swiss chard, broccoli, asparagus –  I’ve been wanting to add more Kale in my diet.

Benefits of Kale:
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, lutein, zeaxanthin, and rich in calcium. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Read more here.

The Verdict of Morgans Green Soup:
Right after New Years, I somehow got a fever/flu and I was very glad that I had this huge pot of soup all made and sitting in my fridge. I definitely, think it helped me recoup and fight the fever faster. The soup was not the best tasting soup, but the healthiest I probably had. The original recipe seemed a tad bland. I did try to adjust and add in freshly squeezed lime juice, more garlic as well as some very fine chopped red thai chile. The soup needed some acidity as well as a little more heat. Perhaps it was because I was sick and my taste buds weren’t 100%. In the end, I would make this soup again for my lunches, but probably not one I would make for dinner guests. Not everyone would appreciate it as much as I and it is not a “wow, this soup is awesome” kind of soup. Also, next time I would chop the asparagus pieces way smaller – I didn’t like how big I did them in the soup (hard to pick up with spoon).

Morgans Green Soup Ingredients (with my adjustments, I also doubled the recipe so that I had a huge pot for a few days and froze some in ziplocks for a later date.)

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 onion, diced
  • 1.5 head garlic, minced
  • 3 inch ginger, minced
  • 2 small red thai chile
  • 4L (16 cups) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 cups broccolini, chopped
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, chopped, stems and leafs separated
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 4 cups spinach (not packed)
  • 2 (14oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut thinly on an angle
  • 1 lime, juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut thinly on an angle
  • pepper, freshly cracked, to garnish
  • 1 parsnip

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pot. Sauté onion about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, red thai chile and ginger, sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in vegetable broth, cauliflower and broccolini. Bring to a boil. Simmer soup for 10 minutes.
  3. Add in swiss chard, kale and spinach. Let greens wilt in soup for 2-4 minutes.  Add in coconut milk.
  4. In high-powered blender (or use immersion hand blender), blend soup until completely smooth. If soup is too thick, add more broth or water to thin it out.
  5. Add asparagus into soup and continue to cook until asparagus is cooked, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add in lime juice
  7. Heat 1 tbsp in a small fry pan and fry the diced parsnips till a tad golden, cool on a paper towel.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  9. Garnish with green onion, parsnip, chili flakes and freshly cracked pepper.

Add sliced asparagus into soup and cook 3-5 minutes until asparagus is cooked. Serve with green onions, chili flakes and fresh cracked pepper.

Orignal soup recipe link: http://myvega.com/blog/2012/morgans-green-soup

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • doubled most ingredients to get a huge pot of soup
  • olive oil instead of coconut oil
  • broccolini instead of broccoli
  • added julienne fried parsnips as a garnish
  • omitted chile flakes for garnish – with the red thai chile, it was already hot enough.

Soup Mistress Rating for Morgans Green Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (3/5)  

Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder For The Holidays

Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder

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Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder (Top View)

Just this last week I wanted to make a nice holiday dinner for a very special fella in my life (Graeme) who was coming up from Las Vegas. We are both pretty healthy eaters (most of the time) and I didn’t want to make the traditional Christmas turkey, stuffing and gravy kind of deal for our meal. I thought, why not a seafood menu since Vancouver has the best and freshest seafood available? So a trip to Granville Island was in store for me.

On the menu for the evening was:

  • tomatoes with basil, bocconcini and peach balsamic
  • dungeness crab cakes with orange marmalade horseradish sauce
  • spicy clam chowder with fresh clams
  • gluten-free white & dark chocolate bread pudding with walnuts, frangelico cream sauce and raspberry coulis.
I have adjusted and tweaked this chowder recipe in the past when I made an Oyster Chowder. l wanted to use a similar base with the Clam Chowder because I loved the tangy creamy taste that had a bit of heat.



The Verdict of Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder

I love this chowder base and would use it in the future for other chowders, especially with smoked salmon, shrimp and halibut chowder. I would though add in some fresh shucked corn into a halibut chowder. Graeme also gave the soup a two thumbs up and accepted a second helping. He did mention that it had a nice smokey flavour, almost gouda like. It did not have gouda but I used a premium smoked bacon with goat yogurt that may have given that rich smokey flavor. Graeme did mention that it could have used a tad more lemon. I did use Meyer lemons for an expiriment but next time I will revert back to plain old lemons as they seem to be tangier and dependable. I loved using fresh clams versus canned clams – they seemed to be happier in my bowl and my tummy – so meaty and not rubbery like their cousins! Oh, ya, don’t overdo it with the red thai peppers – they are very spicy goddesses!



Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder Ingredients:

  • 100 grams double smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 2 celery (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 2 red thai chile, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (approx 3/4 cup), diced small
  • 4 medium red potatoes (approx 2.5 – 3 cups), diced small
  • 2 small bottles of clam juice (2 x 296ml)
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 1 large tomato, diced small
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups goat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 lbs fresh clams
  • 3 teaspoon chives, finely sliced
  • dash of salt and pepper

Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder Instructions:

  1. In a large pan, sauté bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp, approximately 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to plate and allow to rest.
  2. Add in shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, red thai chile, red pepper and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in oyster juice, 2 cups wine, tomato and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Add the goat yogurt, lemon juice, thyme and bacon to pan. Heat through until potatoes are soft, but do not boil at this point. Reduce heat to low. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate pot, steam clams in a cup of white wine for a few minutes or until they open up.
  6. Distribute the clams in bowls. Throw away any clams that have not opened up.
  7. Ladle soup over clams in bowls and garnish with chives.

Soup Mistress Rating for Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder For The Holidays:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Beef Pho Bo – A Vietnamese Soup Repeat is a Must!

Beef Pho Bo - Vietnamese Soup

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The completed Beef Pho Bo (Vietnamese Soup)

Tonight  I invited my very good friend Sharai (plus house sitter + niece + cool nerdette) over for some Beef Pho Bo (Vietnamese soup).

I have been meaning to try a Pho (Vietnamese soup) recipe all last winter but never done so. Tonight was perfect timing to give it a whirl since I knew Sharai really loved Pho. I wanted to treat her to a soup night and thank her for house sitting my place over the last 5 weeks when I was in Vegas.

The Verdict of Beef Pho Bo?

The best thing about making this soup was the aroma in the house –  it was unbelievable! Cloves, ginger, star anise, fish sauce and beef – oh my! They are having a mighty fine party in my pot!

Sharai and I both agreed that the original recipe simmering time of 1.5 hours can be extended to a half day or all day event. The broth was superb, but I can imagine if it was simmered longer it would be served up in the VIP section in heaven!

The soup was flavorful, refreshing and the meat just cooked perfect by the broth being poured over it. I added additional pea shoots that was not called for in the original recipe and think it was a fine choice indeed. I also used beef back ribs instead of beef short ribs (a recommendation from my butcher at Safeway).

This Vietnamese soup is definitely going to be a repeat in my home!

Beef Pho Bo Ingredients:

  • 24 cups water
  • 4 lbs beef back ribs
  • 1 lb beef inside round rouladen (thinly sliced beef)
  • 3 inch piece ginger – large chopped pieces
  • 3 garlic gloves, large chopped pieces
  • 5 star anise
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 package rice vermicelli noodles
  • 8 lime wedges
  • 4 green onions, large chopped pieces
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch pea shoots
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 thai basil
  • sriracha sauce

Beef Pho Bo Instructions:

  1. Add water, beef back ribs, ginger, star anise, garlic, cloves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and fish sauce to a very large pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer with lid on for 3-4 hours.
  2. Remove broth from heat and strain broth.
  3. Put pot back on stove, stir in noodles and wait 10 minutes or when noodles have softened.
  4. Ladle noodles into large deep soup bowls. Place bean sprouts, pea shoots, lime wedge, basil, cilantro, green onions and thinly sliced raw meat on top of the noodles.
  5. Ladle broth over soup, enough to cover and slightly cook the thinly sliced beef.
  6. Drizzle sriracha sauce over top of soup.
  7. Grab some chopsticks and/or spoon – enjoy!!

Original recipe from: http://www.theblackpeppercorn.com/2012/01/beef-pho-vietnamese-soup-pho-bo/

This soup got thumbs up from Sharai!

Soup Mistress Rating for Beef Pho Bo:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5)

Taste: (5/5)