Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tom Yummmm(!!!) Soup

CH and I enjoy going out and trying new restaurants, new cuisines and new perspectives on the cuisines we love.  Going out to restaurants inspire me to re-create many dishes at home, so we can enjoy them more often.

We have grown to love Thai food.  Lemon grass, kafirr leaves, cilantro….I could go on and on.  I was always intimidated to try cooking Thai at home as the flavours were always so perfect and I didn’t think I could re-create them.  But that changed quickly!

As a wedding gift, we were given a cooking class at a local store/gourmet cookshop!  Luckily, the one day CH and I had off together, they were offering a Thai cooking class.  It was a great experience and we received some delicious recipes – this was one of them!

Feel free to play with the ingredients – if you don’t like tofu, omit it!  If you don’t like shrimp, use (cooked) chicken!  This soup really depends on your palate, so taste the soup as you add the ingredients, and adjust to your preference.  It’s a very forgiving soup, so don’t be worried.

The other bonus, this soup is SO quick to prepare.  Literally, on the table in under 20 minutes.  You have to love that.

I paired it with a Thai Mango Salad, which will be posted soon, and it made a perfect lunch!

Enjoy!

Tom Yum Soup

Yield:  4 Servings
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 inch piece of ginger (or galangal, Thai ginger)
  • 6 kafirr lime leaves
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass, bottom 3 inches only
  • 3 red chilies, diced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 bunch of Enoki mushrooms (or substitute 8 button mushrooms), diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 pack of medium-firm tofu, diced into 1 inch pieces (about 225 grams of tofu)
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, uncooked
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • cilantro, to taste, for garnish

Directions:

In a large saucepan, over high heat, bring chicken stock to a boil.

Once chicken stock is at a boil, add in ginger, kafir, lemon grass and red chilies.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.  Give it a taste after 5 minutes, if you are happy with it, proceed with next step.  If you want a little more flavour, continue to simmer.

Once the broth is ready, remove ginger pieces, kafir leaves, lemon grass stalks and large pieces of red chilies.

Continuing over medium heat, add in the lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar and soy sauce.  Stir and allow flavours to meld together for a minute or two.   Give it a taste and adjust fish sauce/soy sauce to your liking.

Once you are happy with the broth, add in the shrimp, tofu, mushrooms, spinach and cherry tomatoes.  Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until shrimp are cooked and mushrooms/tomatoes are soft.

Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro!

Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted from Jill’s Table

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Filed under Healthy, Mains, Soups & Stews, Thai

A Match Made in Heaven: Tomato Goat Cheese Pasta

To put it simply:  I think CH might have married me because of this dish!  He is one happy man when I make this as it combines two of his favourite things:  goat cheese and pasta!

This recipe is absolutely simple to prepare, but tastes as though you’ve spent hours preparing it.  Even though tomatoes aren’t in season, there is something about this recipe that highlights the tomatoes to their true glory (it goes without saying that the better the tomatoes, the better the sauce, but I prepared this last night and it was just as delicious as always!).

I’ve served this several times for company and they’ve all raved about it.  It goes beautifully with a nice piece of grilled salmon and a side salad, or simply on it’s own for a quick weeknight meal.

I almost didn’t get to post this recipe today!  You see, I set aside a portion to photograph in daylight, but by the time I’d gone back into the kitchen, CH had put it on his plate and was headed back to the table!  Luckily, I got to photograph it and share it with you, and CH got it for lunch!

Enjoy!

Tomato Goat Cheese Pasta

Yield:  4 Servings
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or finely sliced
  • 500 grams of fresh grape tomatoes, sliced in half*
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp soft goat cheese + 1 tbsp to serve
  • 150 grams of dry pasta, spaghetti or bow-tie
  • 3 tbsp of pasta water
  • 2 tbsp of fresh basil (optional)

* You can also use roma, vine-rippened or whatever tomatoes you choose, but be sure to place all of the juices in the pan when you chop them!

Directions:

In a large deep saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Once onions are cooked, add in grated garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).

Add the chopped tomatoes to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes.  Add in the chicken stock and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.  While the tomatoes are cooking, and using the back of a wooden spoon, breakdown the tomatoes.

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box.  Once cooked, drain pasta, reserving 3 tbsp of water.

After 25 minutes, add the goat cheese to the tomato mixture and stir until combined.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place pasta and reserved water in the saucepan with the tomato mixture and stir to combine!

Serve immediately and garnish with fresh basil and remaining goat cheese.

Enjoy!

JBean Original Recipe

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Filed under Healthy, Mains, Vegetarian and Vegan

A Burst of Spring: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I have always loved Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  I remember choosing them from the Costco pack of assorted muffins – you know the pack that had chocolate, blueberry and poppy seed (well, that’s when they included lemon poppy seed. They are now long gone and Costco replaced them with some sort of apple cake…err I mean muffin!).

When I saw a fellow blogger, The Way the Cooke Crumbles, post these a few weeks ago, I was instantly reminded of how much I loved these muffins, and set my mind to making them!  Finding poppy seeds wasn’t the easiest of tasks, but I finally found some and away I went!

How good are they?  I made 12 at 8pm on Thursday night….Friday afternoon at 2pm, there were 4 left.  Let me remind you that it is only CH and I in this house.  I may have skipped making dinner and lunch, and we just ate these instead.  I am planning to make another batch on Sunday evening to have as breakfast for the week (if they last that long!).

I definitely recommend adding this to your baking list.  They aren’t overly sweet, just a nice hint of lemon and all around just delicious!  I skipped doing the glaze and/or frosting and just lightly dusted them with sugar when they came out hot from the oven!

I hope you enjoy…I’m off to fight CH for the last one!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Yield:  12 muffins
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  16 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon, for grated zest and its juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

For the Icing (Optional)

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

~ OR ~

  • 3 tsp of fine sugar, for dusting while the muffins are warm from oven

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter or spray a regular-size muffin pan or line with paper muffin cups.

In your KitchenAid mixer, fitted with the flat mixer, mix the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon strong.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the lemon/sugar mixture and combine well.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and on medium-low speed, stir to blend.  Don’t overmix – a few lumps are OK and it’s better than over mixing the batter.  Stir in the poppy seeds.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  (Note – The mixture will have the texture of scones, or at least for me it did!  It was quite a sticky batter and a little hard to place in the muffin tin.  Just use your hands, it’s easier!)

Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thick knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Carefully remove each muffin from its mold and place on a wire rack.

Either sprinkle immediately with fine sugar, or cool the muffins completely on the rack before icing them.

Recipe From Tuesday’s with Dorie Host: A Cup of Sweetness (Post Inspired by The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy