Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Curry Soup

Lily's Curry Soup

I started getting ideas about making curry soup by dialoguing with my friend, Darbi. I've made versions of this soup with shrimp or with chicken breast. But since Troy loves it so much without meat of any kind, I've been saving the meat for other dishes.

Precision on ingredients, per usual, is rather difficult on my part, since I do not measure and I never cook the same thing the same way twice. But, here's my best shot at giving you an idea of what was involved in making this. These are photographs of the soup I made today.

Ingredients: makes 8-12 servings
  • 1 sweet onion.
  • 3 green peppers.
  • around 10-12 medium size red potatoes.
  • olive oil.
  • sea salt.
  • a tad of brown sugar.
  • water.
  • chicken broth.
  • whole milk and 1 1/2% milk.
  • Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste - gluten free, 4 oz (I am not being paid or given anything to advertise this product; this is simply what I have been using) - I used the entire bottle.


Regarding the potatoes, I washed them and then cut them into squares (leaving the skin on) and boiled them in a pot. In a pan, the one you see below, I placed diced onions in with olive oil and proceed to caramelize them. Once the onions were finished, I added in the cut green peppers (I cut them into thin strips and then halved them or cut them into thirds) into the pan, along with a generous amount of chicken broth (not enough to completely the green peppers and onions). Once the peppers simmered for a bit, and the potatoes were well done, I dropped everything else into the pan - the potatoes, sea salt (how much you use is up to the diner's preference; I probably used roughly 3-5 tbsp), the entire contents of the green curry paste, milk (once everything was stirred, the milk along with the chicken broth barely submerged everything). Bring to a boil and it's ready to serve.

Serving suggestions:
  • We eat this over a bed of rice, which is cooked and kept separately (until ready to eat). But, I'm a rice-aholic.
  • If you're not planning on eating this with any rice, starch, or pasta, this soup's spicy-ness is not best suited for the faint-hearted. It's not quite as bad as the most recent version of jamalaya I made, but this can give a sensitive taster a swift kick in the pants.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lily's Chicken Noodle Soup from Scratch

Chicken Noodle Soup from Scratch

Ingredients: servings - a butt load (I'm not sure, perhaps 12 or more?)
  • sea salt.
  • thyme.
  • a bit of brown sugar.
  • parsley flakes.
  • a few cloves of garlic.
  • soy sauce.
  • chicken broth.
  • water.
  • 6 red potatoes.
  • 2 petioles/bundles of celery.
  • 1 pound of carrots.
  • 1 sweet onion.
  • 4 thingeys of green onion.
  • frozen corn.
  • chicken breast.
  • 1 pound of rotini.

I haven't made chicken noodle soup in quite some time, but when Manda mentioned it, putting it on our menu sounded great. Didn't look at her recipe, because I was already too excited about my own plans for the soup. For me, this doesn't count as a quick meal to serve. I took nearly an hour and a half preparing this, using nearly all fresh vegetables (the exception was corn). I kept busy peeling and cutting carrots, washing and cutting celery, cutting the sweet onion, washing and cutting the green onions, you get the idea. But, I probably wouldn't qualify to be on Hell's Kitchen, with my pace of preparation. Chef Ramsay would be yelling down my throat for working too slow, I am certain. That being said it ended up being delicious.

I ended up using 3 pots/pans to cook this soup. The stock pot you see above is where everything ended.

In the stock pot, I put in water, chicken broth, and already prepared (cut, washed, or whatever was needed) red potatoes (I kept the skin on), celery, carrots, garlic. In a pan, I stir fried the onion with a bit of olive oil. I've been into some version of caramelizing onions lately; I cooked it until it was well done and sprinkled it with some brown sugar. Once done, I added most of the onion to the stock pot, leaving behind just a few onions and the remaining juice (and oil), in which I cooked cut up chicken breast. I used 1/4 of a package of family size chicken breast (I buy them on sale, when they are less than $1.80 per pound for family size packages).

While the stuff in the stock pot was cooking, and the chicken breast was cooking in the pan, I cooked the rotini pasta in a separate pot. I ended up using an entire box, 1 pound.

When the contents inside the stock pot (esp. the carrots, celery, and red potatoes) were tender and cnce the pasta and the chicken breast were ready, into the stock pot they went. I added sea salt, thyme, parsley flakes, soy sauce, and corn. Didn't use much soy sauce, maybe a few tbsp full. Same with parsley flakes and thyme, perhaps a few tbsp. Kept an eye on the soup level. Ended up using approximately 50/50 ratio of water and chicken broth (equal proportion of each, in other words). Once everything was brought to a boil, I turned the stove off, put the lid on, and left for church. It was another hour and a half before we got to enjoy the fruits of the labor. That was plenty of time for the flavor to soak in and the soup was still hot when we got home (it's a huge stock pot, and I left the lid on it).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

I think I need to rename this blog, at least on the claim that these recipes are quick. When I made fried rice this morning, I used three pots/pans total: one to cook the rice, one to cook the eggs followed by the vegetables, and one in which to mix everything. I suppose I'm a chef at heart and this is a dish where cutting certain corners makes a big difference in taste and texture; in other words, some corners are not worth cutting.

This is one of those dishes that I took many attempts to perfect. By perfect, I mean get it so it's not too watery or too dry, but tasty.

  • 4 cups of rice (measured b/f cooking)
  • 1 small package of frozen mixed vegetables.
  • handful of frozen shiitake mushrooms.
  • a few cloves of garlic.
  • half a cup of chicken broth (ish).
  • 6-8 eggs.
  • soy sauce.
  • sea salt.
Servings: rough guess - 8 servings.


1. Cook the rice. I used a rice cooker to do this. I hate having to constantly check the rice when cooking the rice by stove. I'm a rice snob and love medium grain rice (that is not minute rice). So, one corner to cut and avoid washing a pot is to use some sort of instant or quick cooking rice. I cannot give any personal testimony as to how that would affect the taste or quality of the dish, but I would venture to guess, as a cook at heart, it wouldn't taste as good.

Once the rice was ready, I dumped it into a larger container (as seen above) where all ingredients would eventually go.

2. Saute the rice with soy sauce. This does NOT mean to drown the rice in soy sauce. I cannot say how much I put in, but it wasn't all that much. The soy sauce isn't the only condiment that makes the dish salty.

3. I put garlic and olive oil on medium heat. Once I could smell the garlic, I dumped in the eggs and scrambled. I drizzled sea salt on it while it was cooking.

Once it's done, combine it with the rice and gently stir.

Hey, how did this picture get in here? While I was cooking snack time hit, and Victoria let me know this in no uncertain terms. She had to had some, even though I wasn't done.

4. Then I repeated part of 3., put in more fresh garlic with more olive oil. Once I could smell the garlic cooking, I put in the frozen mixed vegetables and shiitake mushrooms. I added in a bit of chicken broth and sea salt.

Once the vegetables were defrosted and hot, it's ready to add to the rest of the stuff.

Stir gently and the dish is ready to serve and eat.

I do not recommend recooking the rice, just to get it hot. If one works fast enough, the rice won't cool off all that much. The various risks of recooking the rice might be as follows: it sticks to the pan, it might become too watery (adding water or broth in attempt to prevent it from sticking), or it might be too greasy (another attempt to prevent it from sticking to the pot or pan).

Also, I often make this with chicken breast or shrimp. I just didn't do it this time, for the girls' sake; they're a bit picky these days, for different reasons.