Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I came, I saw, I ate.

A few nights ago I conquered all things apple, and last night I attempted all things Asian. Or, all things Asian that I crave on a regular basis.

My mom has a ridiculously easy and delicious Beef with Broccoli recipe that we have been eating for years. It was that special birthday meal, the meal that we had when my dad came home from being out of town, the one that she couldn't keep us out of the kitchen while she was cooking. Yeah, you can tell she really liked cooking that meal... and after I made it once a week for 6 months, I'd had enough of it too.

Because I was feeling sickly, and because my mom was here so I knew I couldn't screw the recipe up too badly, I decided to make my first attempt at Hot & Sour soup. I was worried because I didn't want to be missing any crucial ingredients that the restaurants include. You know, like lard and copious amounts of MSG. Priorities, people. I didn't want to completely ruin something I love so much.

Well, let me just tell you... I conquered that bad boy. It was SO GOOD. I didn't take any pictures of the process because that really ain't my thang, but I'll just tell you what... YUM. I inhaled. My mom inhaled. My dad said, "Ew gross. You can really cook?" He doesn't like hot & sour soup, and he thinks we should be the exact same in every aspect, apparently including his inability to cook. Sorry pops, apparently my genes aren't entirely Hamilton and there's a little bit of mom in there. Who knew?

I used this recipe -- BAM! -- but I basically halved it. And then I eyeballed most of the ingredients because I'm lazy & my dishwasher was full.

Image from Food Network

2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms  (I hate mushrooms & my grocery store had no shiitakes, so we bought regular ones and I did the same thing and then gave all the mushroom bits to my mom. Worked fine.)
10 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger (TOO MUCH GINGER.)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (To taste... depends on how spicy you really want to go!)
1/2 pound chicken or tofu, cut into small bite-size strips or chunks  (I had every intention of adding chicken but then I just didn't... and I probably wouldn't.)
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons mushroom flavored soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Hot chile oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (Unnecessary condiments that I likely won't use again. And scallions just suck.)
Bean sprouts (I added these because I love them.)

Combine shiitake mushrooms and 3 cups of the chicken stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand until mushrooms are tender and broth is flavorful, about 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms and discard stems. Thinly slice caps and reserve. Strain broth through a fine mesh sieve, combine with the remaining chicken stock and set aside. (If you buy regular mushrooms already cut up, you can eliminate most of these steps. At least the annoying ones like straining and chopping gross mushrooms!)

In a medium saucepan heat the vegetable oil and, when hot, add the ginger, garlic (BUT DON'T LET IT BURN!) and crushed red pepper; cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the chicken stock and reserved shiitakes and bring to a simmer. Add bean sprouts. Cook for 30 minutes. Add the chicken or tofu and stir to combine. In a small bowl or cup, combine the lime juice and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the hot soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and serve the soup, drizzled with hot chile oil to taste, and garnished with some of the sliced scallions.

In conclusion, thank you Emeril for allowing me to feel the exhiliration of culinary success. And thank you, also, for allowing me to surpass my parents expectations of me. After my mom devoured her bowl of soup she turned to me and said, "Wow, you really can cook. What do you know!"

Thanks for the vote of confidence, madre.

Maybe now I'll go bake an apple pie, I have a few apples to spare. Do you think I should add mushrooms to that?

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe.

    No mushrooms in the Apple Pie though! ;]