This is one of my favorite soups and fairly simple to make. It just takes a few steps and some prep.
Hot and Sour Soup (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
Servings: about 6-8 (and freezes well)
7 ounces extra firm tofu, drained
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch, plus an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 (8 ounce) boneless center cut pork chop, about 1/2 inch thick and sliced in julienne strips (or I’ve used 1lb ground pork)
3 tablespoons cold water, plus 1 additional teaspoon
1 large egg
6 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock
1 small can bamboo shoots, sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips (from one 5-ounce can)
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick (I also add a can of straw mushrooms)
1/4 cup black vinegar (or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar – but it’s worth finding black vinegar at an Asian market for the authentic flavor)
2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons raw or turbinado sugar
3 medium scallions, sliced thin
Place tofu on a pie plate and set a heavy plate on top. Weight with 2 heavy cans; let stand at least 15 minutes (tofu should release about 1/2 cup liquid). Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in medium bowl; toss pork with marinade and set aside for at least 10 minutes (but no more than 30 minutes).
Combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water in small bowl and mix thoroughly; set aside.
Mix remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with remaining 1 teaspoon water in small bowl; add egg and beat with fork until combined. Set aside.
Bring broth to boil in large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; add bamboo shoots and mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. While broth simmers, dice tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Add tofu and pork, including marinade, to soup, stirring to separate any pieces of pork that stick together. Continue to simmer until pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. IF using ground pork, I sauté the pork first, then add my mushrooms, bamboo shoots and then add the broth when the pork is cooked. Then I add the tofu.
Stir cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens and turns translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, pepper, and remaining soy sauce, sugar; lower heat. At this point, adjust the heat or amount of vinegar and soy to your liking. I usually end up adding more of all of them, the vinegar, soy, sugar and chili oil! More flavor!
Without stirring soup, use soup spoon to slowly drizzle very thin streams of egg mixture into pot in circular motion. Let soup sit 1 minute, then increase to medium-high heat. Bring soup to gentle boil, then immediately remove from heat. Gently stir soup once to evenly distribute egg; ladle into bowls and top with scallions.
I was inspired by a conversation on Facebook started by Joe Schutt and a reply by Evan Sage about gin and cocktails to create one just for this blizzard/hurricane that much of New England is in for tonight and tomorrow! The 2-14 Gin Blizzercane was born on this Valentines Day of 2015.
This citrusy concoction is Bombay Sapphire, a splash of St. Germain, the juice from half of a lime, a splash of fresh Lemonade, and just enough Blue Curacao to tint the drink ice blue 😄 Oh, and a colorful sugared rim.
Cheers to everyone in the 2-14 Blizzercane jet stream!
Sweet Italian sausage, ground beef, San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, onion and fire roasted tomatoes! Simmer a few hours, add a couple teaspoons of raw sugar, a dash of salt and pepper and serve over pasta topped with ricotta and fresh basil! Perfect for weeknights! Continue reading
The other night I had a really nice mixed greens salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts, apples and a nice Balsamic vinaigrette. So I decided to make one for dinner tonight. I happened to have some homemade pumpkin bread (a gift from someone at my husband’s office) and cubed it up, baked it at 275 until it was dry and lightly crisp. I tossed some baby mixed greens with sliced Granny Smith apples, toasted walnuts, crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and Maple Balsamic Vinegar from Fiore. It was DELICIOUS! The combination was just perfect. A new favorite!
Here’s a small bite put together (my sample so I could decide if I should make a big salad!) It’s a GO!
My friend Susan Axelrod is an online content producer for MaineToday.com and posts centered around delicious food and drink. And you know that’s right up my alley. So I saw this post earlier today and knew I had to create my version of a classic favorite, Mai Tai!
I happen to be into infusing spirits with fresh fruits. I have a mason jar in the fridge with some dark rum. It’s a little too heavy, so I decided to add some light rum to it (when from the start, I should have just used my favorite Mt. Gay which is a nice medium golden rum). So when I read that the recipe Susan posted uses a light and a dark rum, I thought, “perfect!” because that’s essentially what my infusion is. I didn’t have orgeat syrup on hand, however, since it’s a little sweet, citrusy and floral, my ideal substitute would be St. Germain. It has the most beautiful aroma reminiscent of sweet honeysuckle and roses, but not too heavy or perfume-like at all. And those who know me, KNOW that St. Germain is my favorite addition to so many cocktails. It adds a certain je nails se quoi that leaves you wondering!
So my version went like this:
4 ounces of pineapple infused rum (fresh pineapple chunks, fill mason jar half with light rum, half with dark, such as Goslings, or all Mt. Gay, and let sit for a week or two)
1 1/2 ounces St. Germain
the juice from 1 lime
the juice from 1/4 wedge of an orange
the juice from a 1/4 wedge of a lemon
Shake over ice, pour into a chilled glass and serve it up! Garnish with lime peel and a pineapple wedge. To lighten it up? Add just a splash of club soda.
Thanks for the inspiration, Susan! Next time you and Ted come over, let’s have “Chopped Cocktails”! 🙂
So this past Sunday, I did a food and wine pairing at Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, Maine. It’s a gorgeous vineyard with a stunning farmhouse, tasting room and dining area that makes you feel like you must be in California wine country. But we’re in the beautiful state of Maine. With delicious wines. I love this place. I was very excited to be cooking some bites to pair with their wines for their regular pairings on Sundays.
I decided to make three bites: First Bite:
Fresh Lobster, Sriracha Aioli, Red Onion, Lemon Zest and Fresh Dill on Crostini
Second Bite: Creamy Leek, Fontina and Parmesan Fondue on Crostini topped with Lobster and Sherry Butter
Third Bite: Bacon, Onion, Fig Jam with Blue Cheese on Crostini (pictured below in the middle)
Bacon Onion & Fig Jam makes about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 stick butter
3 medium onions
diced 8 slices thick cut slab bacon
diced 4 fresh figs (dried are fine as well) plus 4 dried figs, diced
3-4 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Fiore Fig Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Fiore Espresso Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (I used my favorite – Maille)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
Sauté onions with butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat until they begin to brown, about 45 minutes. While the onions are cooking, cook the bacon until it’s just shy of crisp, you want some “bend” to remain (about 80% done). Then add to the onions, adding some of the grease, but not all. Then stir in remaining ingredients and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Taste after about 10 minutes. If it’s not sweet enough, add sugar. If it’s not tart enough, add more Balsamic. If you want more mustard for more of a savory kick, add more. This is where you cook to your taste! Blue Cheese Butter (I used Gorgonzola) 8 ounces of blue or Gorgonzola cheese 1/2 stick of butter Let cheese and butter sit at room temperature to soften. Mix with paddle attachment in stand mixer or food processor (or by hand!) until well combined. Baguette slices (fresh or baked until crisp) Top with blue cheese butter and a spoonful of bacon jam. It’s a perfect couple of sweet-savory bites! But we all agreed, pair it with a nice bold, fruit forward red!
Oh, and by the way, the other two bites were Maine lobster…….stay tuned for those recipes!
One of my favorite recipes (and inn guests as well) in my cookbook The Art of Breakfast is the Grapefruit Brûlée. And somehow I always find myself inspired to transform breakfast creations into cocktails for the “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” part of the day. I think it comes from the beautiful colors that fresh fruits provide. The brûlée recipe is a cold grapefruit half, a chilled vanilla cream sauce and it gets topped with raw sugar and torched (I love to use my torch). So how did I transform this into a cocktail? Quite simply. Fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit, vanilla vodka and a brown sugar rim. DELICIOUS!
After a short 15 minute walk into the woods behind our house I stumbled upon these beauties! I’ve never harvested any mushrooms before but this variety was obvious to me. I knew what I had in front of me, and yes, I did a bit of a happy dance! So many things to make with them! A nice sauté with shallots and butter to accompany grilled salmon tomorrow night is on tap. But I would love to do a mushroom bisque with these too. And tempura mushrooms! I’ll report back after my next foraging excursion…where? I cannot tell!
Since we are in the midst of the wild Maine blueberry season, I thought I’d share this post from a couple years ago (yep, I forgot about it and think I need to make it again!). The filling uses all fresh, wild Maine blueberries but I garnished the top with some out of state (frankly because I forgot to reserve some Maine berries for the top!).
The recipe is on the WCSH Portland website. Enjoy!