Soup Spark is Lit! Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa

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The completed Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa

Yikes! This is my first blog post since May! Somehow my passion for playing golf and training for my first half marathon ate up all my time over the last few months.  But heck, it’s never too late to start back at er! It is fall here now and somehow my soup spark has been lit again!

Every once in a while when I receive Costco’s bi-monthly magazine I flip through the pages just to read the recipes. For this September/October issue, I found this great looking soup recipe that had quinoa in it.  I have had a bag of quinoa for quiet sometime and been meaning to make a quinoa salad or something, but never looked into any recipes to date. I have not thought of using it in soup.  But soup it is today!

The Verdict of Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa?

The original soup recipe was good, but with some fine-tuning, I transformed it into a splendid soup for myself!  Somehow it seemed a tad bland so I added more pepper and freshly squeezed lime juice, which seemed to have lifted it up quite nice! Also goat yogurt is highly recommended or even give Greek yogurt a try – they both will give the soup a nice creamy taste! Just make sure you swirl it around in your soup before digging in!

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 pound sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/8 cup of fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup goat yogurt

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Cut top of garlic bulb off, place on tin foil enough to cover the whole bulb, sprinkle olive oil, wrap and bake in oven for about 30 minutes. Cool then spoon out garlic.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan or pot over medium heat.  Cook onion for about 8 minutes, then add in mushrooms and cook for 7 more minutes until mushrooms are softened.
  3. Remove 2 cups of the mushroom/onion mixture and put aside till later.
  4. Add in stock, water, quinoa, roasted garlic, thyme, salt, pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approx 15 minutes until the quinoa is tender.
  5. Puree soup with hand blender (or in blender and return back to pot).
  6. Stir in reserved mushroom/onion mixture. Cook gently until evenly heated through and stir in lime juice and spinach.
  7. Ladle into bowls
  8. Garnish with a dollop of goat yogurt and grated parmesan.

Original soup recipe from:  Costco Connection, September/October 2012 edition, reprinted from: Quinoa Revolution: Over 150 Healthy Great Tasting Recipes Under 500 Calories by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.

What I changed from original soup recipe:

  • Used olive oil instead of vegetable oil
  • Doubled the mushrooms and used shitake as well as cremini
  • Used 5 cups of stock versus 4 cups
  • Added lime juice
  • Added goat yogurt
  • Used more pepper

Soup Mistress Rating for Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa:

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

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup – A Great Pick Me Up Soup

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup

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The Completed Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup

Yesterday I decided to make this refreshing soup. I was looking for something to pick me up because the night before I had one too many glasses of wine with my girl friends.

I decided to replace regular green cabbage with napa cabbage – it is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter. Napa cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, folate, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Read more on the nutritional value here:

The Verdict of Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup? I did like the sweet and sour taste of the soup. It seemed more on the sweet side to me though – so if you are not a sweet soup kind of person, this is not for you. Myself, I do like savory as well as sweet soups. This soup did in fact pick me up and make me feel like I did not have wine the night before. It was a great pick me up soup. I would make this soup in the future. I think this soup could also be served cold in the summertime or used as a base (simmered down more) to cook chicken in and served it over some rice.

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced (plus few slices for garnish)
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 14oz canned tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3.5 oz pineapple with reserved juice, finely chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoon wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium sauté onions for about 5 minutes or until soft (not browned).
  2. Add cabbage and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add apples and apple juice,  and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, pineapple, vinegar, and water.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour until fruit and veggies are soft.
  6. Take soup off heat, add lime juice and puree soup with hand blender (or in food processor working in batches).
  7. Return soup to rinsed out pot, and heat up soup on low.
  8. Add pepper and salt to taste.
  9. Ladle soup in warmed bowls.
  10. Garnish with thin apple slices.

Original Recipe: Soup Bowl, An inspiring Collection of Soups, Broths, and Chowders,  Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup (page 137)

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • omitted raisins and orange juice
  • added lime juice and tomato paste
  • omitted tomato juice
  • used more cabbage and napa cabbage instead of regular cabbage
  • used more pineapple and the reserved juice

Soup Mistress Rating for Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5)
Presentation: (3.75/5) 
Taste: (3.85/5) 

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup – Definitely a Bowl Licker!

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup

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The Completed Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup

My soup-a-holic friend Noel Pullen shared this Spanish Chickpea and Chirizo Soup – it is one of his favorite soup recipes (actually one of his wife’s favorites). The Tomato Basil Organic Soup is his other favorite. Both soups are original soup recipes from Jamie Oliver.

I didn’t change much of the original recipe, but I did add cumin and paprika, which are ussually found in Spanish dishes. I must say that I really love cumin.

The Verdict of Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup? Wow – Noel’s wife has good taste buds indeed. This soup recipe is a keeper for sure! I am not sure if this soup will ever make it to the freezer because I had it last night and then today for lunch. This is one soup that rocks for flavor the first day and the flavors explode even more the next. I felt like licking the bowl because the base was so good. I also like how the prosciutto cooks a little and the hammy texture is so nice with the chorizo. For each and every spoonful, you are most likely to get one of the meats!

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large (5.5 ounces) chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 8 fresh tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of good quality chickpeas, rinsed with water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 ounces of prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced thinly (egg slicer can come in handy!)

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil up in large saucepan, saute chorizo until fat comes out.
  2. Add onion, garlic and celery. Turn heat to min and cook slowly for 10-15 mins with lid on – don’t colour onions.
  3. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cumin, paprika and chicken stock.
  4. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 40 mins.
  5. In meantime, place eggs in pot of cold water, bring pot to a boil then turn off heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse eggs in cold water and peel.
  6. When soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add in baby spinach.
  7. Puree about 1/3 of mixture or use the handheld blender for about 4 seconds.
  8. Season with salt and pepper
  9. Add prosciutto and stir for 1 minute.
  10. Ladle soup among serving bowls.
  11. Add sliced egg on top of soup.

Original Recipe:

What I changed from original recipe:

  • added cumin and paprika
  • used baby spinach and did not chop it
  • used 3 cloves of garlic instead of 1
  • used low sodium chicken stock
  • added spinach close to the end of simmer stage
  • sliced the eggs for garnish instead of grating

Soup Mistress Rating for Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.75/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (4.75/5) 

Garlic Broth With Pan Seared Halibut

Garlic Broth with Halibut

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The Completed Garlic Broth With Seared Halibut.

Wow, today we had a windy day here in the lower mainland of Vancouver with gusts as high as 80 km/h! I walked my dog this morning and we were blown away a few times with some gusts. I was chilled right down to the bone all day. I thought it was a perfect day to have hot garlic broth with some halibut.

I had my eye on this recipe which originally called for scallops, but I thought it would be great to substitute it with halibut pieces. Halibut is a very beautiful fish, I wanted to celebrate it in a delicate yet tasty broth versus hiding it in a soup with many ingredients (like a chowder).

Garlic Broth With Pan Seared Halibut Ingredients:

  • 1- 1/2 large garlic bulb separated into peeled cloves
  • 2 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 carrot, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 6 parsley stems
  • 1/2 red thai chile pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 cups water
  • 8 oz halibut
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Garlic Broth With Pan Seared Halibut Instructions:

  1. Combine garlic cloves, celery, carrot, onion, peppercorns, parsley stems, red thai chile, tomato paste and water in a saucepan with good pinch of salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer partially covered for 45-50 minutes.
  3. Strain in a fine sieve into clean saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.
  4. Cut halibut in small chunks
  5. Season halibut on both sides with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat up olive oil over medium-high. When pan is hot, cook the fish for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn, reduce the heat to medium, and cook about 3-4 minutes longer, until the fish is firm/opaque in the center and browned on both sides.
  7. Divide halibut pieces among bowls
  8. Ladle soup over the scallops, then garnish with cilantro leaves. And enjoy!

Original Recipe: Soup Bowl, An inspiring Collection of Soups, Broths, and Chowders,  Seared Scallops in Garlic broth (page 195)

What I Changed From Original Recipe: The first time I tried the original recipe the broth was a bit tasteless as well as clear (didn’t look to appealing). I adjusted the original recipe a fair bit:

  • Doubled carrot and celery.
  • Used more garlic and peppercorns.
  • Used halibut instead of scallops.
  • Added tomato paste.
  • I peeled the cloves (original recipe called for unpeeled).
  • Added red chile pepper to give it a tad of heat.
  • Simmered for longer period to extract the flavors more from garlic as well as vegetables.

Soup Mistress Rating for Garlic Broth With Pan Seared Halibut:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.25/5) 

Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil

Arugula Soup

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The Completed Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil

I love arugula and poached eggs, but I would have never thought of them together in a soup. When I saw this recipe in one of my cook books, it intrigued me. Hmmn, a poached egg with truffle oil is a nice touch indeed! I decided to give the recipe a whirl with few modifications.

The Verdict of Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil? I found the original recipe a little bland, so the second time around I added garlic. Also, this is one soup that lends itself to a fair bit of pepper – it goes well with the potato/arugula base. I really love the idea of the egg, but there is no room for a poached egg on the hard side – a very soft and runny egg makes this soup very good indeed. I would even put two eggs in one large bowl of soup if that is all I was to have for my meal.

Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups leeks, chopped
  • 3 – 1/2 cup new potatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped (additional adjustment the second time I attempted this soup)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons goat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy based saucepan.
  2. Saute leeks for about 5 minutes on medium heat, until soft and glistening.
  3. Add potatoes, garlic and saute for a further 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are really tender.
  5. Remove from heat and add the arugula, let it wilt for about 10 minutes.
  6. While arugula is wilting in soup, bring a deep skillet of water to a boil; add the vinegar, and then turn down to a gentle simmer. After soup is blended (step 8), crack the eggs in each corner and turn off the heat. Let sit for 3 minutes or until the eggs start to float up.
  7. Transfer the soup to a blender and pure until smooth (I usually count to 25 seconds).
  8. Return soup to pan, stir in yogurt, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If soup is to thick at this stage, add more vegetable stock to your liking.
  9. Heat soup up, but do not boil.
  10. Divide the soup between 4 bowls, top each with a poached egg, and serve with fresh grinding of black pepper and drizzles of truffle oil.

The Original Recipe: Soups no-fuss recipes for Hearty Soups, author Tonia George (Hard cover book, page 50)

What I changed from original recipe:

  • Replaced butter with olive oil
  • Replaced chicken stock with low sodium vegetable stock
  • Replaced heavy cream with goat yogurt
  • Adjusted and converted ingredients to measurement in cups
  • Added garlic

Soup Mistress Rating for Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil:

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

Playing Russian Roulette With Asian-Style Chicken Mushroom Noodle Soup

Asian-style Chicken Mushroom Noodle Soup

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The completed Asian-style Chicken Noodle Soup with pea shoots

Just the other day, I decided to play recipe russian roulette and have some fun.

Being quite adventurous, I grabbed one of my many soup cookbooks and with my eyes closed shut I opened to a random soup recipe page. I decided that the page I landed on would be my next soup I was to cook up.

And Asian-Style Chicken Mushroom Noodle Soup is was!

I enjoyed making and eating this soup. I did make a few adjustments though from the original recipe. It originally called for some canned straw mushrooms and I did not want any part of that soup desecration. I am very lucky to have many options of mushrooms in the lower mainland, so I substituted the canned straw mushrooms for fresh enoki and shiitake mushrooms. Yum.

The Verdict of Asian-Style Chicken Mushroom Noodle Soup? I adjusted the recipe and brought back my superstar ingredient that I used in my Spicy Oyster Chowder, which was the thai red chile. That little chile is so powerful and adds the perfect amount of heat to any soup – it played very well with the sesame oil and fish sauce. I swear I am going to keep red thai chiles around in my kitchen as a staple from now on. This soup also had a nice texture with the enoki mushrooms (one of my favorites) and the shiitake mushrooms had a delicate yet meaty flavor. The soup the next day had a more intense flavor indeed. I was a tad surprised that the original recipe called for cinnamon and cloves though, but they also worked very well in the soup.

I would make this soup in the future and would not change a thing from how I adjusted and made it myself.

Asian-style Chicken Mushroom Noodle Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh gingerroot, finely chopped
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 small red thai chile, finely chopped
  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken (1 small chicken), shredded
  • 5 large shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 package enoki mushrooms (cut off and discard the roots)
  • 4 oz(125g) uncooked thin rice noodles
  • 1 bunch (6oz) pea shoots
  • pepper

Asian-style Chicken Mushroom Noodle Soup Instructions:

  1. Add oil to large saucepan/pot. Saute onion for 2-3 minutes on med/high heat until soft.
  2. Add stock, fish sauce, sesame oil, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and red thai chile.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat, simmer for 25-35 minutes.
  4. Remove star anise, cinnamon and cloves from pan, and discard.
  5. Add chicken and mushrooms to soup; simmer an additional 3-5 minutes or until chicken is hot.
  6. While soup is simmering (in step 3 above), bring 2 liters of water to boil, add noodles and remove from heat. Let stand 2-4 minutes or until softened. Drain in colander.
  7. Divide noodles among serving bowls.
  8. Ladle soup on top of noodles in each bowl.
  9. Top with pea shoots and season with pepper.

The Original Recipe: All New Soups, Stews and Chili’s, A pamphlet book by the Pampered Chef (Page 21).

What I changed from original recipe:

  • replaced vegetable oil with olive oil
  • replaced watercress with pea shoots
  • add red thai chile
  • added 1 tsp sesame oil
  • replaced canned straw mushrooms with fresh shitake and enoki mushrooms
  • didn’t bother with using a sachet for cinnamon, star anise, ginger and cloves.
  • left ginger finely chopped in the soup (original recipe instructed to have it in sachet and discard it after the simmer).

Soup Mistress Rating for Asian-style Chicken Noodle Soup:

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

Spicy Oyster Chowder Perfect to Serve up for Valentine’s – A Soup Recreation

Spicy Oyster Chowder

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The completed Spicy Oyster Chowder garnished with chives.

Happy Valentine’s day! If you are looking for ideas on what to cook for your loved one tonight, why not serve up some Spicy Oyster Chowder?

Did you know that oysters are an excellent source of zinc, a nutrient known for its contribution to sexual development, hence the reputation as an aphrodisiac? Well, if you didn’t, you know now. Oysters are also rich in iron, copper and other minerals, which contribute to good health.

I have been on a hunt for a good Oyster Chowder recipe and decided to modify another recipe last night. This recipe is a recreation from a Clam Chowder I made at a cooking class a few months ago.

The Verdict of Spicy Oyster Chowder? Yup – this is a keeper recipe for sure. This is one soup I am very proud of. With the modifications, this chowder base can be very versatile and used with other variations of fish (I.E. salmon, clams, shrimp or any white fish). The superstar ingredient is the Thai Red Chile (don’t underestimate this little chile – one alone can really heat up your whole pot of chowder). I also decided to use a goat yogurt (10% Greek style) instead of a cows milk/cream since I am a little sensitive to casein which is found in cows milk and not in goats milk. Along with the heat from the red chile, the tangy goat yogurt with the lemon and thyme, the chowder has an addicting freshness and good balance of acidity!

For a special treat, I used more white wine as the base.

Spicy Oyster 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
  • 1 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
  • reserved oyster juice from oysters
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 large tomato, diced small
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup goat yogurt (I used 10% Greek style)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 small tubs fresh oysters, drained, washed, chopped midsized. (Sieve the oyster liquid and keep to use)
  • 3 teaspoon chives, finely sliced
  • dash of salt and pepper

Spicy Oyster 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, 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.
  5. Add in chopped oysters and cook until oysters are slightly firm (edges curl a little) , approx 2 -4 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with chives.

Original recipe here: Julienning and Dicing For The Perfect Soup

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • replaced clams and nectar with oysters and juice of oysters
  • added red thai chile, celery, red pepper, tomato
  • replaced whipping cream with goat yogurt
  • omitted cornstarch and corn
  • used more veggies, thyme, wine and garlic

Soup Mistress Rating for Spicy Oyster Chowder:

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


Scrumptious Shrimp Wonton Soup Mom Approved

Shrimp Wonton Soup.

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The Completed Shrimp Wonton Soup.

My mother is in visiting from Winnipeg, so last night I decided to make shrimp wonton soup for her (she is huge shrimp lover).

Before attempting the soup,  I decided to do some research and it seems as though many shrimp wonton soup recipes had pork in it. Hmmn, I wonder why? Was it for the taste or was it being used as a filler? Not sure, but for my soup I wanted to use 100% shrimp. I consider pork a filler ingredient as I am not a huge fan of pork.

The Verdict? At first, I thought substituting vegetable stock for chicken stock may not give this soup that much depth, but I was wrong. The ginger, fish sauce and sesame oil should not be left out though – as they are the true superstars of this soup! I was very happy to hear that this soup was two thumbs up for my mom and she wanted to have the left over soup again today!

Since I used 100% shrimp paste, I found there was no need what-so-ever for cornstarch (which many recipes call for) – shrimp forms very well in the wonton when cooked.

Wonton Ingredients:

  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • 1/2 pound shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ bunch chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Soup Broth Ingredients:

  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • ½  teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon splash of fish sauce
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 carrot thinly peeled or sliced
  • 6 shrimp sliced in half (for garnish)
  •  ½ bunch chives, finely chopped
  • dash of salt and pepper to taste

Shrimp Wonton Soup Instructions:

  1. Place the shrimp on paper towels and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  2. Keeping 6 halved shrimp aside, chop the rest of shrimp to a paste in a food processor or by hand with sharp knife.
  3. In a large bowl, mix shrimp paste, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, chives, ginger and sesame oil. Blend well, and let stand for 25 to 30 minutes in fridge.
  4. Place about one teaspoon of the filling at the center of each wonton skin.
  5. Spray all wontons with fine mist of water, and then pull the top corner down to the bottom, folding the wrapper over the filling to make a triangle.
  6. Heat 3 quarts of water to boiling in a large pot. Drop wontons in and cook for about 4 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Strain and distribute wontons to serving bowls
  7. Heat the stock, soy sauce, fish sauce to boiling.  Add halved shrimp pieces, spinach and carrots, turn down heat to medium low, cook 1 minute until shrimp is cooked and spinach is wilted.
  8. Ladle soup over wontons in serving bowls, add chives, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Original Recipe:

What I changed from original recipe:

  • omitted pork and used more shrimp
  • omitted brown sugar
  • replaced chinese rice wine with red wine vinegar
  • used less soy sauce
  • used chives instead of green onion
  • added sesame oil
  • added carrot
  • added full shrimp as garnish
  • used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock
  • used more stock

Soup Mistress Rating for Shrimp Wonton Soup:

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

Chicken Avgolemono – A Greek Goddess Soup Indeed

Chicken Avgolemono Soup

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Chicken Avgolemono Soup

I had in the back of my mind for quite sometime to make Greek Egg-lemon Soup (also known as Avgolemono = a soup made with lemon juice and egg mixture). It has been about 2 years since I have had this soup when visiting my girlfriend Karen in Long Beach, California. We went to Cafe Ambrosia and they served up a really tasty bowl of the Avgolemono soup (I think it was a soup of the day back then because I don’t see it on their menu online).

Last night, I decided to make the soup for my friend Brain Pape, a mortgage broker, who was coming over to help with my remortgage and get some paperwork signed. He’s quite a cook himself and makes a killer Vichyssoise, so I was hoping that this soup turned out yummy for him.

The Verdict? I think this soup is a Greek Goddess Soup indeed. I will make this soup again in a heartbeat. The homemade chicken broth with the tangy lemon-egg was so very velvety smooth.  I actually woke up in the middle of night to have a little bowl of this soup as a snack. This was out of character for me – I’m not really one for evening snacks – but I was craving it!

I decided to purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and take the meat off the breast and then use the carcass for the stock. I have used raw whole chicken in the past with all meat on to do the broth but the breast meat chicken gets to rubbery to use in the soup. I’d rather shred the roasted chicken and keep to the side to put into the soup.

Chicken Stock Ingredients:

  • whole roasted chicken carcass
  • 8-9 cups water
  • 2 carrots, chopped in large pieces
  • 1 onion, cut in quarter
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped in large pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • salt

Chicken Avgolemono Soup Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 14oz cooked chicken (white meat), shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • pepper

Chicken Stock Instructions:

  1. Cut off white breast meat from the roasted chicken (excluding skin – keep it for stock) , shred and put aside in fridge to use for soup later on.
  2. Bring chicken carcass (with skin and dark meat left on), onion, carrot, celery, garlic and salt to a boil, simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour (or 1.5 hours) with lid partially on.
  3. Strain stock.

Chicken Avgolemono Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat the chicken stock in a large saucepan and add the rice.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  3. Add the chicken and warm through for 2 -3 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Add two ladles of the warm stock (slowly one at a time) and whisk until thinned.
  5. Remove the soup form the heat and gradually pour in the egg mixture, whisking to amalgamate it. It should thicken in the residual heat, but if you need to, place it over low heat for just 3-4 minutes, stirring the bottom of the pan to thicken. Do not return to high heat once the egg has been added, or it will boil and scramble.
  6. Add in the lemon zest and give it a final stir.
  7. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with parsley, extra lemon zest, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Original recipe is from this book: Soups: No-fuss Recipes for Hearty Soups by Tonia George

What I changed from original recipe:

  • omitted fried croutons – I don’t think this soup needs it.
  • made my own chicken stock.
  • added lemon zest – I love lemon zest!

Soup Mistress Rating for Chicken Avgolemono Soup:

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

Stirring up Carrot and Saffron Soup at The Cookshop in Vancouver

Chef Alan Storimans

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Chef Alan Storimans was very passionate and instructed us how to create a few dishes.

Just right before the Christmas holidays I had the liberty to attend a cooking class at The Cookshop in Vancouver. The evening theme was Tuscan Participation and I had a wonderful time.

Chef Alan Storimans was very passionate and instructed us how to create the following dishes:

  • Carrot soup with saffron, sour cream and chives
  • Yukon gold potato gnocchi with pesto, lardons and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Handkerchief pasta, fire roasted tomatoes, spinach, baby shrimp, sea scallops, herb pan butter sauce
  • Goat cheese ravioli, wild smoked salmon chive cream sauce
  • Sweet honey ricotta cannoli

This week I remade the carrot soup recipe at home with some minor modifications, and I do love it. It is the first time that I have cooked a soup with saffron. I think saffron along with the chives are the superstar ingredients of this soup. Saffron’s aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Read more about Saffron on Wikipedia here.

Ingredients for carrot soup with saffron, sour cream and chives

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup leeks (light green and white part), chopped
  • 3/4 cup white onion, chopped
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 4 cups carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 and 1/2 cups of low sodium vegetable stock
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 6 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chives, finely chopped

Cooking Instructions for carrot soup with saffron:

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add leeks and onions; cook 5 minutes, or until onions are softened.
  2. Add saffron and carrots and cook for 4 more minutes
  3. Add stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and gently simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  5. Return soup to saucepan over low heat. If soup is too thick add more stock and cook just until heated through (do not boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and top with sour cream and chives. Serve immediately.

What I changed from original carrot soup with saffron recipe:

  • replaced butter with olive oil
  • used more leeks just because I love them
  • used low sodium vegetable stock instead of chicken stock

Soup Mistress Rating for Carrot and Saffron Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (4/5)