Category Archives: Soups & Stews

Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho

ChickenPho Shot1

One thing that I’ve loved over time is experiencing new foods and new regions of cuisine.  Vietnamese became one of my favourites – but I cannot remember when/where I first tried it.  I think it became a regular cuisine choice while we lived in Ontario while CH was in law school – there was a great place not too far from us and it became a date “lunch” venue – cheap, delicious and time together.  It has actually also become a comfort food to me, because nothing cures a cold, allergies or stuffy nose like Chicken Pho (at least to me!)

Making this recipe was a two time attempt – I first tried the traditional method of making pho, which involved roasting beef bones, many upon many hours of simmering and lots of little steps.  The result was fabulous, but with pho being so accessible and reasonable, making it myself like that wasn’t going to happen again.

And THEN, came this recipe.  When it popped into my reader, I was intrigued – could it really be as good as said?  One try of the recipe and we were hooked.  Yes, yes it could be.  It is everything pho should be – simple, delicious flavours, comforting and now, quick from my own kitchen!

Definitely give this soup a try – you won’t be disappointed.


ChickenPho Shot2

Quick Chicken Pho

Yield: 2 servings for us, original recipe states 4
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 – 25 minutes



  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 whole chicken breast
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 3-inch chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce


  • 1 lb dried rice noodles
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
  • fresh cilantro tops
  • 1/2 cup shaved red onions
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
  • sriracha chili sauce
  • hoisin sauce
  • sliced fresh chili peppers


In a large pot – add the coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.

Immediately add the chicken stock, chicken breast, onion, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently. Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat, discarding the bone (if you used a bone-in breast).

Taste broth and add more fish sauce or sugar if necessary. Strain the broth and discard solids.

Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package and spilt between desired serving bowls.

Ladle the broth into bowls and divide the shredded chicken breast into each bowl.

Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, red onion, and other accompaniments as desired and enjoy.

Recipe from Love and Olive Oil


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Filed under Healthy, Mains, Soups & Stews, Uncategorized, Vietnamese

Seafood Cioppino

I don’t know about you, but I over indulged a little during the holidays.  It’s too hard to pass up home baked goodies, drinks with friends, Mom’s cooking and going out to our favourite restaurants while we were back in Vancouver (can you say White Spot?!).  Anyways, after having a few salads to get back on track, I picked-up Cooking Light magazine at the airport as my in-flight read. I was extremely impressed by the quality of the magazine and had quickly bookmarked many of their recipes as “must-make” – this being one of them.

CH and I decided to celebrate NYD by having dinner just the two of us.  It was a great way to kick-off the year, chat about what we want to achieve in 2012 and just start the year with some ‘us’ time, which doesn’t happen all that often these days.  In order to celebrate the New Year, I knew I wanted to cook something special, yet light and satisfying.  Enter seafood. Being from the West Coast, we are picky when it comes to selecting seafood, but with the St. Lawrence Market across the street, we have plenty of amazing fish mongers available, although given the prices of seafood in Toronto, having these items is definitely a treat.

This recipe was flavourful, balanced, soothing, and just downright delicious.  CH raved about how good all of the seafood was, and many “yumms” came from me as well – it was the perfect dish to welcome 2012.  Feel free to switch-up the seafood below for your favourites, or for what’s available near you.  I always try to buy “wild” or “line-caught” items in order to support the fisheries, and I definitely try to buy according to what’s sustainable – check out this website for more information:  Ocean Wise

This was definitely a great recipe and one that will (hopefully!) appear on our table again in the future.


Seafood Cioppino

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups)
Prep Time: 
15 minutes
Cook Time:
40 minutes



  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated/minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or other)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth), divided into 1/2 cups, per below
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (35-ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped


  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (10-ounce) Pacific Halibut filet, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 sea scallops (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 medium peeled and deveined shrimp (about 5 ounces)
  • 12 clams (Manila, littleneck or longneck), cleaned and scrubbed


  • 2 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 TBSP  fresh lemon juice
  • S&P
  • Baguette or other bread of choice


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and swirl to coat.

Add onion to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Stir-in the garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

De-glaze the pan with the wine and stir. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, all of the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and diced tomatoes to the pot and stir well.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the halibut and scallops generously with black pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat.

Place the halibut and scallops in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan and set-aside.  De-glaze the pan with the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock, scrape up any brown pieces and add the mixture to the pot of simmering broth mixture.

Place the halibut, scallops, shrimp, and clams into the broth mixture, ensuring the clams are entirely covered with broth. Cover and cook for 8 or so minutes or until clams open.  Be sure to discard any unopened clams.

Stir in parsley and lemon juice, taste the broth and add S&P according to your desire.

Serve with a toasted baguette or bread of your choice.


Recipe Adapted From Cooking Light Magazine, January 2012

And because Cooking Light is amazing, here are the nutritional details:

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving (recipe contains approximately 4 servings)

  • Calories: 319
  • Fat: 8.8g
  • Saturated fat: 1.3g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 33.4g
  • Carbohydrate: 13.9g
  • Fiber: 1.8g
  • Cholesterol: 103mg
  • Iron: 6.5mg
  • Sodium: 596mg
  • Calcium: 109mg


Filed under Appetizers, French, Healthy, Italian, Mains, Side Dishes, Soups & Stews

SRC: Curried Butternut Squash Soup

I am SO excited to share this post with you and I am SO excited to finally be back blogging again. Without SRC and What’s Baking, I don’t think my blog would have seen a post this month.  I needed some inspiration to get back at it. Thankfully, I got exactly what I needed and more.

You see, my SRC assigned-blog was a little taste of home, which is always what the doctor orders. I was so thrilled to receive the blog Gastronomical Sovereignty and it was literally a little message for me to keep at it. You see, Kristy, the girl behind this FABULOUS blog is from Victoria, BC. I’m pretty sure by now you know all know that I was born and raised in BC (and miss it every day), so getting Kristy’s blog was like receiving a little ‘virtual hug’ from home, not to mention an insane amount of “must-make” recipes too!  A few more little fun facts about Krsity and I’s Victoria connection: I was married not so far from where she lives, my Grandparents lived in Victoria during my childhood and I visited there often, CH’s Grandmother had a place right on the Harbour in Victoria and my best friend (“HI BART”!!) currently lives in Victoria (and don’t worry Kirsty – I emailed her all of your restaurant reviews!).

Anyways, I will try not to go on, and on, but Kristy has a seriously awesome blog and a great style of writing, that left me smiling and chuckling many times (not to mention drooling!). I read her blog from start to finish the day I received the assignment, and then went back many more times to try and decide on a recipe to make. It was SO tough trying to decide, so I opened my shortlist in separate tabs, and handed it over to CH to decide. I couldn’t decide between the following: Bison Burgers, Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce, Patatas Bravas, Curried Butternut Squash & Roasted Orange Pepper Soup, Creamy Coconut Basmati Rice, Strawberry Short Cake (in Mason Jars!!!!), and Gnocchi From Scratch. Just to prove how indecisive I was, check-out this picture:

So, by the title of this post you can guess what recipe CH chose: Curried Butternut Squash & Roasted Orange Pepper Soup, and it was for no other reason than the simple fact we picked up a beautiful butternut squash this morning at the market and he deemed this the recipe because of that – how’s that for excitement, lol.  In any event, you can bet your bottom that the other recipes above will be featured on here in the very near future – not to mention this soup again (it was delicious and I can’t wait for work lunches this week – yay leftovers!).

So, I should probably get to the recipe now…but let me just say it’s good to be back and thank you for sticking with me. Kristy – thank you for an amazing blog, for the inspiration to get back at it, and most of all for the little taste of home that I was missing so desperately.

Happy Cooking!

Curried Butternut Squash & Roasted Orange Pepper Soup

Yield:  About 10 cups of soup
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  1hr and 20 minutes (45 – 55 minutes for roasting – half an hour for the rest)


  • 1 Small Butternut Squash, cut in half and de-seeded
  • 2 Orange (or red or yellow) Bell Peppers
  • 2 Medium Onion, quartered
  • 2 Heads of Garlic
  • 2 TBSP Fresh Ginger, peeled & finely grated
  • 4 Cups Chicken or Veggie Stock
  • 1 TBSP Dried Rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Red Curry Powder (or Madras Curry Paste – what I used)
  • 1 – 2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • S&P


Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Chop the tops of the garlic off to expose the bulbs. Place on a piece of tin foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with S & P and then top with the rosemary. Roll up in the foil tightly and set aside.

Place the squash cut side down in a roasting pan (or baking sheet) along with the whole peppers, onion, thyme, a generous dash of S&P and a couple TBSP of EVOO. Mix well to combine. Toss the foiled garlic onto the roasting pan.  Place in the oven and roast 50 – 60 minutes or until everything is fork tender.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove the garlic from the foil & squeeze the pulp out of the casings. Peel the skin off the squash and mash a little into smaller pieces.  Also, remove stem & seeds from the peppers – be careful, they are hot.
Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan (medium sized) and add the stock, ginger, curry powder, cayenne & white peppers and salt to taste. At this point, using a handheld stick-blender, puree the mixture until your desired consistency. (OR – you can place everything above into a food processor, blend and add into a pot).
Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat & simmer about 15 to 20 minutes
Serve with your favourite bread, crackers, salad etc.
Recipe slightly adapted from Gastronomical Sovereignty.


Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Mains, Side Dishes, Soups & Stews, Vegetarian and Vegan