Sunday, October 17, 2010

Easy and Healthy Recipe for a Fall Afternoon

Soup is one of my all time favorite things to make. Why? No rules. I'm not good with rules, and directions and restrictions.. blah blah blah... I have no patience - and it limits my creativity!
But soup is different - this is not French pastry, this is not Beef Wellington..  this is a creation entirely borne out of my imagination and what happens to be in the fridge..I love to make soup..and you will too.
So yesterday, with a little chill in the air, it seemed liked the pertect time to whip up a batch. I was actually in the mood for Chinese food take-out... but it's often drowning in oil and expensive to boot. So I thought I could easily make an Asian-inspired soup for a fraction of the cost and the calories! Here is my recipe - and feel free to modify based on what you feel like and what you have on hand.. after all, that's the main attraction of making your own soup.. it truly can become "yours."

Asian Style Noodle Soup with Vegetables

Serves: 6 - This simple soup comes together in less than 30 minutes!

• 8-ounce package of noodles  (I used rice noodles)
• 1/2 cup sliced onions
• 2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, to taste
• 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
• 1 ½ cups of sliced veggies (peppers, bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, anything you have)
• 2-3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
• 2-3 tablespoons Vermouth or White wine  
• 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 32-ounce container vegetable broth
• 8 to 10 ounces fresh spinach, well washed, stemmed, and chopped
• 1 can bamboo shoots
• Freshly ground pepper to taste

Break the noodles in half and cook them according to package directions until al dente, then drain. Rinse briefly with cool water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a sautee pan heat some oil (I used canola oil spray) and add the onions.  Cook about 3 minutes until translucent, but not too soft. Add to this the grated ginger, stir. 

Then add some sesame seeds if you have them. Add the other veggies - starting with the "harder" veggies like carrots and peppers then adding the bok choy and mushrooms, etc.. After another 2-3 minutes add a splash of Vermouth, white wine or broth to de-glaze your pan. Add the soy sauce and continue to stir.

Add all the veggies into a stock pot, add the broth and the scallions. Then add the noodles, the sugar and the seame oil. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 6-7 minutes.

Add spinach and bamboo shoots and cook until the spinach is just starting to wilt, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper and some additional soy sauce if needed. Heat through and serve.

Delicious! And feel free to add in tofu, or pre-cooked shrimp, chicken or pork just after adding the broth.I also experiment with different seasonings - I actually added sesame ginger salad dressing one time when I was out of sesame oil - it was fantastic...! Bon Appetit!

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