Archive | October, 2011

Oriental Style Noodle Soup

26 Oct

Noodle soup with green beans, tofu and spices.

  • 1 pack of thin rice noodles, soak the rice noodles in hot tap water for about 30 minutes (another type of oriental style noodle is good too but I like the rice noodle because it is starchy and makes the soup broth thick; if you also enjoy thick creamy soup broths and don’t have rice noodles handy, add a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the broth)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp each of sea salt, black pepper, paprika (adjust the amount of seasoning to your own preferences.)
  • 2 tbsps of sugar (adjust the amount of seasoning to your own preferences.)
  • 4 to 5 tbsps of soy sauce (adjust the amount of seasoning to your own preferences.)
  • 1 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • a handful of green beans, trimmed and cut in half (or substitute with sugar or snow peas)
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 cup of medium firm tofu, cut into bit size cubes
  • 5 to 6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable or beef stock
  • sesame oil

Green beans, tofu, lime and sesame oil.

In a large pot, on medium high heat add in the olive oil, garlic, ginger, lime zest and onions. Cook until the onions have wilted.  Add in the sugar, salt, paprika and black pepper.  Combine well, then add in the broth as well as an equal amount of water and a few generous swigs of soy sauce. Depending on the amount of noodles, feel free to add in more (or less) broth, water and soy.  Turn up the heat so the liquids boil as quickly as possible.

Soup broth with spring onions, garlic, ginger, lime zest, soy sauce and spices.

Once the liquids are boiling, add in the tofu. Once the tofu has been heated through add in the green beans.  Drain the noodles thoroughly and add in the noodles. Once the noodles are soft, add the lime juice and a light drizzle of sesame oil.

Asian inspired broth with rice noodles, tofu and green beans.

If so desired, garnish each noodle soup bowl with a sunny-side-up egg. Serve immediately.

Potato Carrot Soup

19 Oct

A bowl of potato and carrot soup.

  • 1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated (or substitute with 1 cup of coarsely grated cheddar to make potato cheddar soup)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • sea salt and pepper
  • a potato masher

In a pot on high heat, add in the oil, butter and onions.  Cook until the onions are soft, then add in the potatoes and carrots.  Cook for a few minutes during which time the starch from the potatoes will be released and cause sticking.  Add water and seasoning (paprika, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and sugar).   Cook for a few more minutes and then add in the broth. When the liquids begin to boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.  With a potato masher, push down on the potatoes until a lumpy mash potato consistency is achieved.  If you like your soup creamy and smooth, use a hand held blender or food processor to achieve your desired consistency.  Lastly add in the milk and simmer until hot.  Serve immediately.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

12 Oct

Pan fried chicken topped with a lemon garlic sauce.

The following recipe is a modified version of another garlic lemon chicken recipe.

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, slice horizontally the thick part of the breast into two pieces and with a meat mallet, flatten the chicken as much as possible, then cut the chicken such that each piece is about the same size.  This will reduce the cooking time as well as allow each piece of chicken to cook at the same rate.
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of chicken broth (use low sodium broth if possible)
  • juice of one lemon (roll the lemon before squeezing, this helps release the juices)
  • enough extra virgin olive oil to thinly coat a shallow pan
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Two skinless boneless chicken breasts with its thick region sliced horizontally into two thinner pieces.

Season the chicken with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then coat the chicken in the flour.  Remove any excess flour.  Heat a pan on high and once hot, add in the oil, then the flour-coated chicken.

Each piece of chicken coated with flour and then placed in a shallow oiled pan on high heat.

Depending on the thickness of the chicken, cook each side for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan.

Pan fried chicken.

In the same pan, add in the garlic, butter and chicken broth.  Cook until the garlic is soft then add in the lemon juice and cook for another minute.  Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken.  Serve immediately.

Tzatziki

5 Oct

Warm pita with homemade tzatziki sauce.

I found the following tzatziki recipe many many moons ago online and after making the recipe numerous times, I have modified it a bit.

  • 3 cups of Balkan style yogurt
  • juice of half a lemon (roll the lemon before squeezing, this helps release the juices)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 english cucumber, finely grated and drain any liquid
  • sea salt

One english cucumber finely grated and then drained of its juices.

Four cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped.

Add a light sprinkle of sea salt over the garlic and with the flat part of a knife, grind the salt against the garlic a few times.  This will release some of the juices from the garlic and create a paste-like consistency. I find it also cuts out some of the raw garlic taste.

Chopped garlic mixed with lemon juice.

Chopped garlic mixed with lemon juice and olive oil.

In a large mixing bowl, add the garlic and lemon juice.  With a fork or whisk, mix together the garlic and lemon juice, then add in the olive oil and mix well. Place half the yogurt into the garlic lemon oil mixture.  On to the yogurt, add in the drained grated cucumbers and lastly, add in the remaining yogurt. With a rubber spatula or spoon, fold the yogurt to incorporate the garlic, lemon, olive oil and grated cucumber.  Combine well.

A popular Greek dip made with cucumber, garlic and yogurt called tzatziki.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.  As the tzatziki sits in the fridge, the yogurt absorbs the tastes of the pungent garlic, tangy lemon and refreshing cucumber.  Leaving the tzatziki overnight in the fridge is optimal.  Serve with warm pita, boiled potatoes, plain brown rice or use as a veggie dip.