Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hot & Sour Soup Recipe

Everyone has their comfort/go-to sick food. For some it's peanut butter toast,  some it's the BRAT diet, and then of course there is the traditional chicken noodle soup. For me though....for me it's hot and sour soup.

I don't exactly remember when this comfort fixation started. Probably when I was living in Oakland and there was a (delicious) Chinese restaurant at the end of our block (which sadly last time I visited had been turned into a hoity-toity French restaurant). Being car-less and sick means you eat what you have or what is close by. So for me it was hot & sour soup.

There is just something about the "germ-killing" feeling the level of spice gives to the back of your through - not to mention clearing out your sinuses! And I don't know about you, but when I'm sick I usually can't taste anything, but the sourness breaks through and helps remind you what food is.

A few years ago my local Portland soup spot changed their recipe and I (to this day) have not found a replacement. A coworker of my mother's however shared her recipe with me. This is her in-laws family recipe (I'd give out a shout out to the family but I don't know their name) and it makes a BIG pot (so if you're looking for smaller consider dividing in 1/2) but it's also oh-so-delicious.

I can't wait for the farmer's markets to open again so I can find the mushroom man (yes a vendor that just sells bags and bags of dried mushrooms) and make another pot of this delicious life giving soup!


Hot & Sour Soup (large pot)

10-12 cans chicken stock (more or less if you like more broth or not)
2 lbs pork, julienned
3-4 tablespoons garlic chili paste (this would make it medium spicy.)
5 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs white pepper
4 eggs, beaten
8 tbs corn starch
3 8oz cans bamboo shoots diced
3 8oz cans water chestnuts diced
2 packages dried shiitake mushrooms, hydrated in warm water for 1 hour prior to cooking. Dice and remove hard stems
2 cans straw mushrooms diced
1 extra firm cake tofu cut into small cubes
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 tbs sesame oil
1/2 package dried black fungus hydrated in warm water for 1 hour prior to cooking. Diced
Scallions for garnish

Add pork, soy sauce, garlic chili, straw mushrooms, and shiitake. Simmer over med high heat for 5-8 mins. Stir regularly.

Add white pepper, vinegar, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and fungus. Simmer 5 more mins stirring regularly.

Add tofu and mix lightly not to break tofu. Let stand 2-3 mins.

Add chicken stock. Bring to soft boil.

Add corn starch to water. Add slowly and mix well so corn starch doesn't clump. you may need more. The soup should slightly thicken after boiling. If not thick enough, add more cornstarch/water mixture and let boil to thicken.

Bring to a boil. Slowly add beaten eggs. Use a fork and drizzle egg over the top of the soup so it doesn't make large clumps.

Add sesame oil and stir.

Soup is ready to serve!! Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Green House

It's amazing how time really does fly. It doesn't feel like we've been in this new house that long but we just received our lease renewal in the mail this week! I do love this house and am glad that we're staying for another year.

Ha! Maybe I'll finally start to unpack my bedroom! Don't get me wrong we've done quite a lot around the house and that's what this post is about....GARDENING!

When we moved in there was already a number of plants in the front and back - which for me was a big draw to the house. The front yard has a number of apple, Japanese pear and Empress plum trees. There are a number of succulents, tulips, Hummingbird bushes (seen above) and recently I found out there is rhubarb growing out back!

One of my mother's good friends has a background in horticulture and has helped with a number of plantings and helping identify various blooms. But there was/is still so much we can do! So with spring here I've been buying starters, bulbs and blooms galore!

We've started talking about turning over the soil in the raised beds and planting some more vegetables - other than the rhubarb we also have herbs (mint, lavender, chives, garlic) and (we think) blackberries. I'm a little nervous about the vegetables but do really well with plants and flowers.  I have so many visions for other areas in the backyard - lights on the deck, fire pits, a hammock maybe.

If you'd like to see updates and pictures follow me on Instagram @msmorganc