Tag Archives: soup

Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup

Gentle readers, in this season of a million germs, few things are more delicious than a bright gingery soup full of greens and carrots. Let us pause to say, I love ramen, I love noodles, and I love the little shops that sell those things. But I don’t live next door to any of them, and the habit gets expensive. And when I’m feeling a touch under the weather, I don’t feel like a fuss.

Enter a homemade version. After a bit of googling, and combining recipes, here’s what I devised. This is flexible, work with what you’ve got in the house, substitute to your taste, with a couple of caveats: 1) the miso paste is worth finding as it adds a depth of flavor; 2) I love soba noodles in this, but you can sub (but buckwheat!), just cook the noodles separately!

The goal here is hot soup that is flavorful, filling, pretty healthy, and can open your sinuses without killing you in the process. Enjoy.

IMG_8640.jpg

Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup 

Ingredients:

splash of olive oil
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1 shallot, minced
1-2 carrots, peeled and cut into circles
4 cups chicken, vegetable, or whatever stock you like
1 Tbsp miso paste
half a bag of spinach, chard, or quick cooking baby greens (anything green that wilts nicely will do)
1/2 package soba noodles, cooked according to package instructions (mine came in a 4-pack of noodles, I used 2 “rounds”)
1 soft-boiled egg per bowl of soup (3 or 4 will be plenty)
soy sauce, to taste
red pepper flakes or Siracha, to taste

Method:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot but not sputtering, sauté the ginger, shallots, and carrots, stirring frequently.
  2. When carrots are a little soft and the mixture is fragrant, add the chicken stock. Heat until it bubbles.
  3. Take out a cup of the soup liquid, add the miso paste to it, stir to mix well, add back to the soup pot.
  4. Add the greens, cutting the heat off as they start to wilt.
  5. Taste the soup at this point. If you’d like, add soy sauce or red pepper flakes to adjust the flavor. Depending on how salty the stock was, you may not need to do much.
  6. In individual serving bowls, put a portion of soba noodles, and ladle the soup over them. Top with soft-boiled eggs cut in half. Serve immediately with soy sauce and spicy things (red pepper flakes or Siracha) so people can adjust to their level of tolerance.

 

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Weekly Menus: 3/3/2013

Gentle Readers, another week, another busy time. I am learning to forgive myself for doing less cooking and more plating up these days. There are still inspired moments in the kitchen, we still eat very well, and I know that the time will come when I make souffles once more.

My Kitchen Staff, The Practical Cooks Junior

My Kitchen Staff, The Practical Cooks Junior

But for now, the focus is on time together, teaching the Practical Cooks Junior how to cook, and eating food that is both healthy and visually appealing. The Jrs help me shop, plan, and prep, which takes more time, but yields better results for the team. I can’t complain.

Without further preamble, here are our Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 3/3/2013

Weekly Menus: 3/3/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 3/3/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 3/3/2013

Which translates into:

Sunday: Flying Mayans
This will be burrito style and use up the leftover sweet potatoes, black beans, and rice I found in my fridge upon returning from my business trip. Woot!

Hello beautiful sweet potatoes.

Hello beautiful sweet potatoes.

Monday: Soup and Sammie
We got some rocking good bread (there has been a protest held over “just brown bread”), and sammies are once more fun. Many smiles in the grocery store when I made them choose, without interference, saying, you pick it, but don’t complain later. Survey says, the Jrs prefer “prairie” bread, or something with a lot of seeds.

Tuesday: Pork chops and Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Though my offspring are still primarily vegetarians, I’m going to try this hybrid meal. They’ll gladly eat the gnocchi on its own (with extra crispy sage), and I’ll serve a pile of Brussels sprouts on the side. That way they can choose to pork chop or not.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Extra Crispy Sage

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Extra Crispy Sage

Wednesday: Veggie Burger and Fries
This feels like a night to watch a bit of a movie and have some vegetarian junk food. Always popular to get over the midweek hump. We’ll have salad or broccoli with.

Thursday: Polenta with Mushrooms
You can’t complain about raising kids who can tell a) which portobello mushrooms are the best and b) the clerk that they’re not shitakes.

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms: A vegetarian family favorite!

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms: A vegetarian family favorite!

Friday: Leftovers
Who knows what we’ll have left and in what capacity, but it is going to end up on the table. We can stretch this with crostini or cheese and crackers. Mama Tapas in the house!

Saturday: Dine Out!
The plan is to go restaurant reviewing with Waldorf. Hopefully we’ll find a new gem or at least fight about it in the process. We’ve been far too agreeable lately.

Send good ideas, dishwashers, and extra sleep to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up on Wednesday: Spinach Crostini, a Recipe of Sorts

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/12/2012

Gentle Readers, it is hard to believe that summer is drawing to a close. I will fully admit that I’m reaching the end of my tomato consuming capacity, I’m done with humidity, and I look forward even to the structure the school year will bring. Perhaps that’s because this was a summer like any other for Team Practical Cook: we embraced it with both arms and squeezed.

Mango dessert at ONE Restaurant. "I'm going to eat this until it's gone." --The Youngest

Mango dessert at ONE Restaurant. “I’m going to eat this until it’s gone.” –The Youngest

I haven’t been in the kitchen as much it seems, but when I am, there has been great joy and relative simplicity. It has been about cooking with and for more people, new adventures, new places, new tastes. There’s an incredible backlog of things to try, and I look forward to working through that list this fall. Please keep your challenges and questions coming, they will be addressed as the seasons turn.

Summer adventures in the Guggenheim.

Summer adventures in the Guggenheim.

Enough waxing poetic, we still all have to eat. Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Weekly Menus: 8/12/2012

Weekly Menus: 8/12/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/13/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/13/2012

The above is still so lean because we continue to get vegetable drive-bys from the family. Not complaining, just explaining how I can feed the family without ever apparently shopping for food.

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Eggplant Parm or Dine Out
I know, I know, we are dining out a lot. But the Juniors have a much richer social calendar than I do, and I have to accommodate the requests for their time. Field research has been fantastic, more on this upcoming. Otherwise, we’re making Italian food at home.

Monday: Nachos!
A family favorite. We’re taste testing different chips, and this is a good way to use them up. Our version is with black beans and sweet potatoes, cheesy without being gloppy, and no meat.

Tuesday: Salad Surprise
The other trick of this summer has been lots of salad. Great way to use up leftovers. Always evolving, and make it according to your own personal style.

Wednesday: Pancake Courses
We’ve been challenged to create a 3-course pancake meal. This will either be the test run or the live edition, if the guest of honor (aka, the challenger) is available. It will be appetizer pancakes (small cornmeal ones), savory crepes, then a dessert pancake (like an apple fritter).

Thursday: Beef and Veg
We really have to use up the cow in the freezer. It’s becoming a friend at this point.

Friday: Soup and Sammie
The heat has broken enough that soup (not just gazpacho) is on my mind again.

What is your summer food memory for this year? Share your comment below! It’s wide open there, like the beach first thing in the morning.

Send all challenges, strokes of brilliance, and gold medals to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Wednesday: Simply Herb Pasta Recipe.

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Parmesan Rinds Spotted, Or, I Told You So

Gentle Readers, though it is immodest to think that The Practical Cook is behind this, she is not above a “I Told You So.” Parmesan rinds are hip and happening. Or Whole Foods has discovered a way to make money out of what previous went to the compost pile.

Parmesan rinds for the rindless! Spotted in the wild at Whole Foods.

Parmesan rinds for the rindless! Spotted in the wild at Whole Foods.

What’s the going rate?

Parmesan rinds are cheap if you don't have any at hand.

Parmesan rinds are cheap if you don't have any at hand.

So here’s 3 ways to use Parmesan rinds, how would you use them? Post a comment below!

Send your photos of food sightings, or other such stuff to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today to stay current on all of The Practical Cook news!)

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Up next, Dining in London, Reviews from the Road (if I’m awake, otherwise, something else).

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Mushroom Stock Recipe

Would you like a taste of the forest floor in your soup? Neither would I. For whatever reason, the Practical Cook has never loved some of the more high-flying descriptions of the flavor of mushrooms, even though she adores the mushrooms themselves. Mushroom stock is full of umami, complex and interesting, and this version is made from scraps.

Mushrooms in the Stockpot

Mushrooms in the Stockpot

How to Make Mushroom Stock

Step 1. When you use mushrooms (and I do a lot of that), break off the woody stems, put them in the freezer, and stockpile until you amass a quantity. (If you are in a hurry, or a low-volume user, feel free to buy some supplemental button mushrooms.)

Variety is not important here, button mushrooms, creminis, whatever you have will work.

Step 2. Once you’ve collected a fairly good amount (I’ve seen 2 pounds as the suggested amount, I used around 8 to 10 cups of stems), take a large stockpot, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat, and brown the stems a bit (throw them in frozen, it’s all good), adding 1 peeled carrot that’s been sliced in 1-inch pieces.

Step 3. Add 14 to 16 cups of water, or enough to cover the stems and pieces by at least an inch. (You’re going to reduce the liquid by nearly half, so don’t be stingy.) For a flavor boost, add a small package of dried porcini mushrooms. Bring to a boil, skim any scum, reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced, at least 30 minutes, longer if you have the time and want more concentration.

Step 4. Strain the stock through a sieve, pressing the solids to extract maximum fungal flavor. Cool and separate into a few sizes of containers for freezer storage: The Practical Cook recommends 2-, 4-, and 1/2- cup measures.

Bubble, Bubble Mushroom Stock

Bubble, Bubble Mushroom Stock

5 Ways to Use Mushroom Stock

  • Add 1 cup per jar of red pasta sauce (in this case, it was tomato basil). Wow, seriously wow. The stock balanced out the sweetness of the jarred sauce, and turned the Punt! that was cheese tortellini into awesome.
  • Substitute into any beef-broth based soup.
  • Heat and pour over cooked tortellini or potstickers for quick soup. Top with nicely sliced scallions and you’ve gone white tablecloth.
  • Pan-sear a steak (or a portobella) deglaze with mushroom stock for a quick pan sauce.
  • Risotto!

For my mushroom-hating friends who may be reading this, yes, I’m likely to slip some of this into your food. You are welcome in advance.

Coming up tomorrow, Can this supper be saved? The Whole Wheat Waffles are being tested, and the batter is too thick. What to do? Tune in to find out.

If you’ve got a kitchen problem, question, or success story, send it to practical cook at gmail dot com.

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The Secret Art of Sandwiches: From Types to Presentation

This marks the end of a very long week, with all aspects of the Practical Cook’s life demanding complete and undivided attention.  Cue the sandwiches, or sammies as we call them.  Punt sandwiches. Including one made on a waffle when the bread ran out.

Punting Platter of Sandwiches

Punting Platter of Sandwiches

Here’s how to punt with sandwiches:

Creamy Tomato Soup (from a Can)

Creamy Tomato Soup (from a Can)

  • Consider making your own bread. Any sandwich is more special that way. A bread machine makes light work of it, and there are quick breads (like Irish Soda Bread or Brown Bread, look for upcoming recipes) that even I can manage (and I’m not a talented baker).  Then you’ll generally have good bread around.
  • When that fails, consider what else in your home can be used instead of bread: waffles with peanut butter, English Muffins with eggs and cheese, tortillas with spreadable cheese or hummus, bagels with anything, etc.
  • Presentation counts! Stack the sandwiches, cut them neatly, provide a platter with multiple choices.
  • Toasting. If the bread isn’t the freshest, or if the cheese is wilting, toast it. Even if everything is fine, toasting makes it seem special. It melts peanut butter, warms avocados, and makes cheese gooey. Score.
  • Think outside the jar. There is life beyond peanut butter. Find it. Do not bore yourself or your children to death. Try a different nut spread, honey and banana, tuna fish, white beans/garlic/lime juice pulverized into
    Bagels are Sandwiches Too!

    Bagels are Sandwiches Too!

    hummus, pickled items paired with luncheon meats. If it will stay on a piece of bread or in a wrap, it could be a sandwich.

  • Cut into triangles. Okay, that’s just if you’re making a sandwich for me. Mom, I appreciate your doing that for me.
  • Pair the classics together. Sandwiches go with chips, salads, and soups at delis and restaurants across the country for a reason. All of these items are readily available, and if they’re not typically served in your house, it’s a treat. Don’t forget to add a fruit plate to the table, sandwiches cry out for apple slices or berries, things you can eat with your hands.

Sometimes, the answer is as simple as grilled cheese and tomato soup. Here at the Practical Cook kitchen, we often spend so much time trying new things, that the classics taste really good.

Classic Grilled Cheese

Classic Grilled Cheese

Up tomorrow, we’ll do a first ever Readers Review. Feedback on recipes made and how it turned out. This is the last call for content—if you’ve made a Practical Cook recipe, and you have a story or a picture, send it in to practicalcook at gmail dot com!

Twitter: practicalcook

Thanks for all of the great questions and suggestions.

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