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Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

I have a confession to make. Even though I’m a real foodie to the core….I have a dirty secret. I love Shin Ramyun Hot n’ Spicy. This is no ordinary ramen noodle processed food product. It’s shameful deliciousness. It’s Korea’s favorite ramen, and mine too. In fact, the only ramen I would even eat. And hey, I was making it with homemade chicken stock and adding good stuf like free range chicken. That redeems something, right?

My desire to make this addiction more tolerable has led to me to try to reproduce it at home without the gluten, soy, MSG, etc., and whatever other nasty crap is in it. So I found this recipe and ofcourse, modified in true KKF style.

This recipe comes darn close to a reasonable replication of my beloved Shin Ramyun

Spicy Noodle Not Ramyun!

KKF Spicy Korean Noodle Soup

3/4 cup dried mushrooms, reconstituted

2 T soy sauce

2 T Ponzu sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 t coconut oil

1 T red chili flakes

4 cups poultry stock (I used smoked turkey stock I made from the bird I smoked on the Green Egg)

6 oz diced chicken (I plan to try tuna, pork and shrimp in the future)

1 T gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)

1 egg, beaten (optional – I didn’t find it brough much to the dish except for extra protien, which is reason enough to add it.)

6 oz Asian vermicelli (rice or bean thread noodles/celophane noodles)

1 t salt

Cook noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water and cut into more manageable pieces if they are really long.

Melt coconut oil and saute garlic for a few minutes, then add the red pepper flakes, soy sauce and mushrooms with the liquid you reconstituted them in. Boil for a few minutes, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, add gochujang, salt and Ponzu sauce. Add chicken, bring back to a simmer and whisk in the beaten egg, if using.

Simmer for 10 minutes, add the noodles and simmer for another 4-5 minutes until everything is heated through. Grab yourself some chop sticks and dig in!

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We just got back from vacation. As usual, I am starving for nourishing foods when I got home. Vacation food is delicious, but not always nutritious! I looked around the kitchen and this is what I came up with. Apparently it was good because Test Subject Bill devoured it!

KKF Creamy Winter Squash Soup

2 medium sized winter squashes, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 large onion, diced

3 T butter

6 cups chicken stock

1 can coconut milk

1 T garlic powder

1 T dried marjoram

1 1/2 T ground sage

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions in butter until soft. Add cubed squash and stock. Simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes. Stir in seasonings and simmer covered for another 10 minutes. Cool for a bit, then puree in food processor, blender or using a stick blender. Return to heat, stir in coconut milk and adjust seasonings. I like lots of pepper. Enjoy!

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How to cook like Kitchen Kung Fu in four easy steps:

1) Find a great recipe

2) Make sure you have all the ingredients (well…the essential ones, anyway)

3) Carefully read all the instructions in advance (or at least know that there ARE instructions)

4) Go into the kitchen and do whatever the heck you want

KKF'd Jambalaya

Case in point. When I decided to try this jambalaya recipe, I made sure I had my chicken, andouille sausage, some ham, etc. Some things I knew I wouldn’t use (chicken boullion cube and green pepper, for example) and planned a substitute in advance. I started reading the recipe while I’m pulling stuff out of the fridge and then just kind of did as I pleased. Recipes are really just suggestions anyway (unless you’re baking, then playing fast and loose is generally a bad idea.) So this is how the recipe looked after I got done making my changes:

Kung Fu'ed recipe

The good news is, I didn’t screw it up. The soup was delicious. Whether you make it my way, or the way Linda originally intended for it to be, you will be happy. Even test subject Bill ate a few bowls as leftovers (a true measure of a quality dish – if he eats leftovers, it was good.)

I’d like to note that the Cajun seasoning I used is from Mill Creek Spice Company, a local (to me) company owned by a very nice man who grinds and mixes all his own spice blends using organic ingredients. I’ve tried a few of his mixes and really enjoyed them. You can find his quality products online at www.millcreekspice.com (he ships, as he recently did to the Kung Fu Mama – that’s my mammy – for mother’s day!) and I have also seen him at the Dahlonega Farmer’s Market at Rancho Alegre and the Suwanee Farmer’s Market if you live in the Gwinnett County area. If you don’t…well, visit the website 🙂

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Easter is a time of true celebration. I mean, we are talking about the God of the universe loving us so much that He came down to Earth, suffered and died for our sins, and then to make sure everyone noticed He rose from the grave a few days later. Wow. And the best part, all we have to do is say “I do” to Jesus and we’re golden. What’s not to celebrate??

This year I decided to do something really special for Easter. Duck. As you may recall, I once helped process ducks in exchange for free duck (will work for food) but my roast duck was a bad call due to the age of the birds. (The crock pot duck, however, was fantastic!) This year though I proudly paid for a young duckling from Nature’s Harmony Farm, a good recipe and was ready to go.

All trussed up!

I pulled the roast duck recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple (yes, I’ve been hanging out with the primal crowd lately) and used the Spice Seasoning and the Orange Honey Sauce. After liberally seasoning, I trussed a duck for the first time (well, any fowl actually). For chickens it doesn’t seem to matter much to me but the duck legs were way out there so I decided to tie him up. It’s actually much easier than it looks. Into the oven the bird went and I focused on my other dishes.

Cream of Swiss Chard Soup

I made some mashed potatoes to please my sweetie, threw together a salad with shallots and red wine vinegar, and got some sugar snap peas ready for a quick saute (sauteed them in bacon fat – heck yeah!) I had some swiss chard from my CSA hanging out in the crisper that had gone pretty wilty on me, so I decided to try a cream of swiss chard soup. Since it turned out really well (test subject Bill even ate the leftovers!) I thought I’d post what I did here:

1/2 onion, chopped

1 big bunch swiss chard, stems removed and chopped

3 cups chicken stock

2 T butter

1/2 c half and half or heavy cream (I used half and half only because I was sadly out of cream)

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and chard stems in the butter until soft, then add about 1/2 cup of the stock, cover the pot and simmer until everything is nice and soft. I was busy doing other things, so I probably left mine for 30 to 40 minutes. Add the leaves of the chard and the rest of the stock, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Use a stick blender to puree the soup well, then return to heat and stir in the cream or half and half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

It didn’t look so attractive, but turned out quite tasty. It doesn’t require a lot of work so it was a good starter course to let simmer while I was handling other important kitchen tasks, like picking out a nice pinot to accompany the duck. Also, I sprinkled some shredded parmesan on the leftovers and that made it even better.

Roast Easter Duck

Back to the duck. I had a three pound duck so I shaved some cooking time off of the recipe, which uses a 4 pounder. When I was ready to take its temperature, I discovered that my probe thermometer was broken. Great! So I used a grilling fork that has a thermometer built in that someone gave us once. It said it was 10 degrees short of done, so I stuck the bird back in for a while, pulled it and measured again. 3 degrees short. At this point I am convinced the hand-me-down grilling fork had a reason for being given away, because this duck is DONE.

Crispy local veggie salad with red wine vinaigrette

I let the duck rest, finished prepping everything else and set the table. For everything I did (5 dishes) it was two hours from pulling stuff out of the fridge to table service. Not bad for a celebration feast! The duck did end up a tad overdone due to my faulty thermometers so I went online and bought this one yesterday since I pitched the useless probe thermometer immediately.

Seasoned roast duck with orange honey sauce, sauteed local peas, buttery mashed spuds

Everything turned out well, the orange sauce was delicious on the flavorful duck, and I spent a nice meal at the table (wow!) with my sweetie. Reasons to celebrate abound!

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Shrimp and Crab Bisque. And what's that fermenting in the background? Hmmm....

I love soup. Any kind of soup. If I can eat it with a spoon, it must be good. One of my all-time favorites is lobster bisque, which I have not yet attempted at home. I’m a bit scared of spoiling all my wonderful lobster bisque memories by butchering it. Shrimp, on the other hand, I’m willing to attempt unsupervised. My Food Lover’s Companion
tells me that a bisque is a thick, rich soup usually consisting of pureed seafood and cream. Here’s a super fast recipe for shrimp and crab bisque that I adapted from this recipe from Allrecipes.com. Since the seafood is not pureed it might not technically be a bisque, but who cares. It’s delicious and perfect for a tired winter weeknight.

KKF Quick Shrimp & Crab Bisque

2-3 T butter (3 if you like your bisque thicker)

2-3 T AP flour or arrowroot flour (same amount of butter that you use)

1/2 t salt

1/4 t white pepper

1 1/2 c half-and-half (in a pinch I’ve used 3/4 c heavy cream and 3/4 c water when I was out of half-and-half)

1 6 oz. can of crab meat (I use Crown Prince Fancy White-Lump Crab)

2 4 oz. cans of shrimp (I use Wild Planet Wild Pink Shrimp)

1/2 c white wine (I use a chardonnay for this recipe)

Old Bay seasoning to taste

It’s too easy: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour, salt, pepper. Slowly whisk in the wine followed by the half and half, making sure to get in the corners of your saucepan and get all the roux absorbed. Drain and stir in the shrimp and crab. Heat through. Stir in some Old Bay seasoning. Taste. Add more if you want. Eat.

Gratuitous bisque close-up.

This bisque is super delicious and faster than ordering MSG laden Chinese take-out. Keep some of this handy canned seafood on hand for your emergency food storage AND emergency dinner supply. I have not yet tried this with canned salmon, but I’ll bet it would work just fine. Maybe some day I’ll be brazen (or foolish) enough to try a lobster bisque…

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I attended another cooking class today, this time on Braises & Stews at Whole Food’s Salud Cooking School. It was an aggressive menu for a three hour class: Braised Short Ribs, Beef Stew, Pot Roast with Vegetables, Lamb Ragu and Creamy Polenta. There were nine students in class and we were split up into three groups of three.

Now, when I hear “get into groups” I immediately want to run screaming after four years of struggling through mostly useless group projects in business school with a bunch of slackers. Then I reminded myself that everyone is this class because they WANT to be there. This group would not be a headache. It would be like the Capstone dream team (Sasha and Suzanne rock, btw) except we’re all doing something we enjoy. So I relaxed, and rightfully so. My teammates Lori and Cheryl were on it.

This class involved a lot of chopping, which is fine because I got to use my new knife skills (from my knife skills class last Wednesday, blog post is forthcoming). Chef Antonio told us when it comes to tough cuts of meat, “Low and slow is the way to go.” We repeated the same procedure for all our dishes (except the polenta): brown the meat (put it in your hot oiled pan and leave it until it comes off easily – if you move your meat around it won’t brown); remove the meat and deglaze your pan with wine and/or stock; add meat and veggies back to the pan and continue heating over low heat for hours. According to Chef Antonio, you can’t overcook any of this. That statement was cheered by several students.

The Buffeast Line

We used some lovely Le Creuset Dutch Ovens and All-Clad Stockpots for everything. It was nice to see that some of the choices I’ve been making for my own kitchen are being used in quality kitchens like Whole Foods and the Viking Cooking School. Gives a girl some reassurance! I really like the Le Creuset stuff because it can go from stove top to oven and the enamel makes it rather non-stick and easy to clean up. Not that I had to worry about cleaning up today….weeee!

The final dish we made while our braises and stews were bubbling away is polenta. I’d never made polenta before but I knew that it’s a dish that takes a lot of stirring. Turns out I heard correctly. Luckily with three team members we could trade off stirring the polenta. First we brought chicken broth and cream to a boil, then stirred in the polenta. When it was nice and thick, we stirred in grated fontina and parmesan cheeses and a bit of freshly ground nutmeg. I have to say, it was worth the work. The polenta was absolutely delicious.

Clockwise from bottom left: pot roast with veggies, lamb ragout, green salad, braised beef short ribs. Center: cheesy creamy polenta!

All of our dishes turned out nicely. Each team of three made all the dishes, so we had a TON of food. I was wondering what football team we were feeding when all the dishes were pulled out and lined up for the buffeast. While everything was very good, my favorite was the lamb dish, suprisingly. It was tender (even though everything could have easily cooked for another two hours and been even better) and flavorful and different. You don’t see lamb just anywhere. The beef stew was my second favorite although when I make it it won’t be as sweet; this recipe called for sugar and red currant jelly. I might just do the jelly (unique) and skip the white sugar. Or skip them both, who needs more sugar in their diet?

Beef Stew

In summary, it was a wonderful class and well worth the time and money. Now that I’ve been to this one and a few classes at Viking I can make some comparisons and contrasts. At Viking I think it’s a little bit more individual attention and you get a 10% discount on store items the day of your class, which is nice (I picked up this Lemon Squeezer last time, works soooo much better than my other crappy one from Publix). The instruction is very good and they have a wide variety of classes and a lot of classes. I also know they make their own stock because I cut up stuff that went into it 🙂 I have three more classes at Viking coming up in the next several months which I am very excited about!

Even with all of Viking’s perks and the very nice two different venues to work in, I feel like I preferred the Salud environment. The class was a little less expensive, it’s closer to my house (always a bonus), and they are using Whole Foods ingredients which means mostly organic which is important to me and better quality meats. Also we were able to take home leftovers, which is something that I was really disappointed with at the Viking classes. (What are they doing with the leftovers? Hopefully they go to a homeless shelter…) It will be interesting to see how my Le Cordon Bleu classes (coming up in March and April) compare.

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Chicken Soup: In Hot Pursuit

One of my favorite dishes from my childhood was Mom’s chicken soup. The chicken was plump and flavorful. The noodles were thick. The veggies were always just right. Years ago, before I got religion about food, I emailed Mom for her recipe so I could reproduce the chickeny goodness in my own kitchen. I’ll paraphrase the gist of her response, since the email is long gone:

First you go outside and catch a chicken. If you can’t catch it, get one of the kids to catch it for you. Pluck it, clean it up and get some stock going with the bird and some vegetables. Then make some pasta dough and pull out your pasta roller. Make some noodles and hang them on backs of chairs all over the house to dry. When your stock is done, cut up the chicken and put it back in the strained stock. Chop up some veggies from the garden and put them in too. When everything’s about done, toss in some of your noodles. And there you go. Now you know why it was so good!

That was enough to put chicken soup out of my mind for a long time. But now that I’m in a place to actually consider doing all of that, I think about it often. The things Mom went through to feed all of us good, nutritious food!

Dreary Monday in background. Happy flowers and a little wooden reindeer Test Subject Bill made me brighten the day!

While on this dreary January Monday there were no chickens outside my door and no time to make pasta, I did have leftover roast chicken from Nature’s Harmony Farm and some fresh chicken stock that had spent a full day simmering away in the crock pot. I cut up some onions, organic carrots and celery and let them sweat away in a good helping of Kerrygold Garlic & Herb butter. (Generally I like to make anything that has more than two ingredients, but this is such an excellent soup flavoring base…) I had some organic potatoes leftover from the graduation party so I chopped them up and tossed them in as well, added some sweet corn I froze last summer from the farmer’s market, then stirred in my lovely stock.

I love inhaling chicken stock. It smells so honest. Homemade stock says love. It says you cannot get this in a drive through. When I think of slow food, stock is one of the first things that comes to mind. I used to make a speedy broth out of How to Cook Everything until I discovered this roast chicken and roast chicken stock recipe from Nourished Kitchen. The broth was good enough….the roast stock is INCREDIBLE. I can (and do) just drink it out of a mug when it gets done.

Sunshine in a bowl.

My soup’s final touch – chopped leftover roast chicken – went in the pot and got heated through. Even my suburban version takes some time. Although someday I hope to make it the way Mom did, by stepping outside and chasing down my own bird.

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