It has been almost eight weeks since my accident, and I am not allowed to walk without my boot and crutches. One of my ankle bones has not healed yet. My doctor told me to write the alphabet with my foot as many times as I can to regain mobility. I can now do it in cursive and in block print. I have learned a lot during these last eight weeks, especially to be patient and resourceful. I also learned to be very careful and take care of my body. Being so physically dependent, I am thankful for my husband’s and son’s loving care. Most of all, it has been a humbling experience, and a lesson about how fragile life can be.
I have been cooking very little these days. I have eaten a lot of salads, rotisserie chicken and food brought by friends and neighbors. Once I am allowed to walk, I will start cooking again. I can’t wait.
A couple days ago, I was looking at a chicken carcass. I hate to waste good food. For years, I’ve made my own chicken and vegetable stock, and never make it the same way. Sometimes I buy chicken legs or a whole chicken, but most of the time I just use the chicken or turkey carcass, leftover vegetable scraps from the freezer or veggies that have seen better days. Whenever I use leeks, I freeze the part that I don’t use which are the dark green leaves. I wash the leaves and put them in a bag. Mushrooms stems give the stock a great Unami flavor. Ginger and garlic add more flavor. I add a couple of carrots, a couple of celery stalks with the leaves, and a whole onion cut into half (leaving the skin on). Some cooks blacken the cut side of the onions in a frying pan to add color, but I don’t. I put all these ingredients in a large cast iron pot and cover them with cold water. When the water boils, I add 1 teaspoon of salt, some pepper, and garlic salt. I always add a couple of bay leaves. So, you see I really don’t have a specific recipe. Click here for some general guidelines:
Here are two fo my favorite soup recipe. My wonton and my veggie shrimp soup are perfect for cooler days, a reprieve from the heavy holiday food.
This wonton soup is full of flavor, easy to make, and you end up with a light soup which is flavored with ginger, enriched with bok choy and tasty wontons. It has been my go to soup for years and I think of it as Chinese penicillin when I have a cold.. The term wonton comes from a Chinese phrase meaning swallowing clouds.
Lately I have been needing wonton soup in my house. On a cold and rainy evening this soup will warm your belly. It will do the same on a foggy summer night. I have been playing with the recipe for years . The secret is in the tasty light broth that you want to slurp with delight. Of course a homemade broth is tastier but there is nothing wrong with using commercial chicken broth.
Normally I have been making this soup with store-bought wontons that I keep in the freezer. It is an easy and light dinner that is ready in 20 minutes. But when I decided to post this recipe I had to make my own wontons. I found a recipe I liked at (click here for the video on how to make wontons). I modified the original recipe to make less wontons. I didn’t like the flavor of my wonton wrappers so I made mostly pork-shrimp balls. For all purposes you can make this soup with pork-shrimp balls only. Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has.
In about a month I will be in Hamburg, a city in Northern Germany. I can’t wait, but in the meantime here is a recipe for Krabbensuppe, a delicate pureed vegetable soup , topped with bay shrimp. This soup is a staple in that region served with a tasty local little shrimp called Krabben. (click here for the recipe)
This soup is a treat for the cooler days. It makes for a light dinner or a first course for a dinner party. It appeals to the diner in you. In Paris it is a quintessential bistro staple.
Whenever I am in Paris I have to have French onion soup. It’s usually my first meal. I am jet-legged and just want a light, comforting, tasty, and very French meal. The restaurant has to be right around the corner from my lodging. I am so happy just to be in Paris after a long flight. If the sun is shining, I like sitting at a small table in an outdoor cafe enjoying my surroundings.
That was the case this last time when I visited Paris in late August. (Click here to read more about Paris.) Everything was just the way I like it, except the onion soup. It was horrible—the broth had no depth, it tasted like dishwater with vinegar added. This prompted me to try my hand at making my own onion soup. Why not? Years ago, I made Julia Child's recipe from her book Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Unfortunately, I have no memory of it. I do remember making my own broth by roasting beef bones. This time I choose to use organic beef broth from Trader’s Joe’s. The soup was excellent but I think it would be even better with homemade stock. For vegetarians, you can substitute vegetable stock. If you choose to make it this way, add some juniper berries and one star anise for additional flavor.
Whatever broth you use, make sure the onions are cooked slowly and caramelized. This is how you get the rich intense flavor, making this soup a savory delight. My main taster (my one and only) loved the soup. His only request was to add more cheese and maybe cut the toast into bite-sized pieces. I will give him more cheese, but the toast stays in one piece or cut in half.
Time has been flying by. We have had some beautiful fall weather here in Santa Cruz. The fires around us have been polluting the air making it hard to breath. My heart goes out to all the people that experienced pain and suffering.
I have been cooking simple meals like baked salmon with broccoli and my German green sauce. I made my quinoa salad and baked shrimp with feta for my monthly book club. I also baked my banana bread and I made my lentil salad for my girlfriend’s Open Studio. Cooking always improves my life.
Lentil Soup with Carrot Salad
Ok, I'm officially pouting. I don't want to face the reality of real life, making appointments, getting things in order, cleaning up my poor dried-out yard, going to the doctor and so on. I don't want to be a participant of life, I want to be an observer. I want to sit in a little French cafe watching people. I want to drink an Anis with lots of ice in the cafe Les Deux Magots in Paris where Hemingway and Jean Paul Sartre had their drinks, I want to admire all the beautiful decorated shop windows and walk until I find another cafe or museum.
I will post about my trip to France, later but for reality's sake, I need to make something that will bring me back to earth like good old fashioned lentil soup. I have made this lentil soup many times. It's an old friend of mine. I got some sausages, carrots, potatoes, and fresh herbs at the farmers' market and will use them for my soup. This recipe is not written in stone, so you can add different ingredients. I have sautéed pancetta with the veggies and that was delicious. It is very easy to make a vegetarian or even vegan version of this soup by omitting the meat and Parmesan cheese rind, using vegetable broth instead of chicken. You can also add baby spinach with the basil at the end to up the health factor. Puréeing part of the soup gives it a creamy texture. I use an immersion blender, but a blender or food processor will do the same thing. As you see, there are many variations on the theme. Have fun and enjoy this wonderful filling and healthy soup.
For a little salad, I grated a couple of carrots, added some lemon juice and raisins. It is a great addition to the soup.
I buttered my bread and added thinly sliced radishes sprinkled with coarse sea salt.
A secret weapon for the common cold—a delicious prescription
Your throat starts to scratch, you don't have any energy, your nose starts to dribble!
You know you're in trouble and you just hope that it will not be the cold or flu that your friend has—but your body is telling you otherwise. As far as you're concerned, you have several choices. Make yourself a stiff grog, a German remedy. Pour some rum in a glass, add some hot water and chug down the whole thing. This cured me many years ago on the island of Sylt in Germany.
Another choice is chicken soup. Hopefully, you kept some of your own in the freezer just for this occasion, but if not, gather up your energy and cook this soup. It might help, but at least it will make you feel better and your body will have a secret weapon to help you in the days ahead. This soup does not have to have exact ingredients, just add what you think will help you. Anything goes, because your body is going into battle. Good luck! However, you don't need the common cold to enjoy this soup. It is delicious and tastes great when you need a little comfort. Just in case, make sure you freeze a little extra.
A vegan soup loaded with nutritious healthy ingredients, digestive spices
and great taste
This soup has it all. The ingredients and spices are good for you and it tastes great—even to carnivores. Children (and the young at heart) will love it, because it is flavored with peanut butter. Each ingredient and spice is loaded with fiber, protein and antioxidants. The different flavors—ginger, curry and peanut butter—are pleasing to the palate. Whenever I make this soup, everyone loves it and wants the recipe.
When I was a vegan years ago, I cut this recipe out of the local paper. It originally comes from: Stop the Clock! Cooking: Defy Aging-Eat The Foods You Love by Cheryl Forberg .
A rich, healthy and calorie conscious soup
This is a filling soup with the tasty flavor of sweet shrimp. It is a staple in northern Germany, in the town of Hamburg it is cooked with the local tiny shrimp, a true delicacy. You absolutely have to try if you ever find yourself in that part of the world. I used the little cooked bay shrimp that you find here in California. The celeriac (celery root) and the other root vegetables add an earthy flavor. When I made this for my German girlfriend, my picky American husband loved it. This soup is hearty enough for an evening meal served with crusty bread and a salad. Or it would make a delicious first course for a fancy dinner. It has hardly any calories, but it is very satisfying. I cook soups like this when I need to lose some weight.
A special treat for friends and family
Cioppino is a quintessential San Francisco dish. Legend has it that the term evolved from the expression "chip in." It was created by Italian and Portuguese fishermen, who "chipped in" seafood from their daily catch and cooked it in a savory tomato-based broth. Today you can find it on many menus in restaurants. It is one of my favorite dishes and I serve it to my friends and family when our Dungeness crab is in season. I have cooked this for years and each time it is a little different. The essential question for me is whether to use red or white wine. Traditionally, it was cooked in red wine which gives the stew a deeper, richer flavor. Lately I've been leaning towards the lighter version using white wine. Whatever you choose, it it will be a delicious meal. In our house, we serve it with garlic bread that my husband prepares, add a salad and you have a special meal for a cold winter evening that you can share with your friends and family.
An easy to make elegant and light soup, perfect for a first course.
When wandering through the Whole Foods produce department, I spotted white asparagus—my all time favorite vegetable—and it was fresh! In the past, the asparagus sold in this country was old and not worth the effort. Leave it to Whole Foods to make me happy. So, I decided to make Spargelsuppe (asparagus soup). This is a very delicate soup that brings out the wonderful flavor of the asparagus. Germans love their asparagus and when it is in season you will find asparagus on the menu of every restaurant. It is traditionally eaten with melted butter and boiled potatoes, and sometimes hollandaise sauce is substituted for the melted butter. It is also served with different kinds of hams or schnitzel (a breaded pork chop).
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. It means a lot to me and I would love to hear from you .
Comments in English and German are welcome!
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