Ratatouille

ratatouille

I love Ratatouille! It is a very tasty meal that takes a bit to cook but not too long to prepare the vegetables – a great dinner to set up, walk away, and come back to. I like to prepare it this way because the vegetables here are not overcooked, but instead retain just enough of their own flavor and character to work wonderfully together. Here, there are not specific measurements of vegetable ingredients – simply work with what you have and how much food you think you would like. You can easily add more vegetables to this recipe as well.

Serves 3 – 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 large globe eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper or 3 – 4 mini bell peppers
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp herb d’provence or italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  •  parmesan to top
  • olive oil

Instructions

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Lightly sprinkle each slice with salt on one side, leave all of the slices in a colander to sweat some of their water while you prepare other ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers, and tomatoes into about a 1/4″ dice. It doesn’t matter what size your slices are – I like it if they are all roughly the same size, about 2″ square. To cut the bell pepper, slice across the whole pepper so thaty you have rings of pepper rather than thin slices. Remove the seed tissue. Slice the onions – cut off the ends of the onion, then cut the onion in half, perhaps even quarters depending on your preference, and peel away layers of the onion to create different pieces. Combine all the vegetable slices in a mixing bowl, mix in about a tsp of salt, a few good shakes of pepper, the herbs d’provence, and about 1 tbsp of olive oil – mix to combine and cover the vegetables in a thin coat of oil. You can add more of these to taste.

Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel, then combine it in the bowl.

In a Dutch oven or a square baking dish, pour half of the tomato sauce and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Peel and slice the garlic and sprinkle it over this sauce. Now, you can either add the ingredients all at once and spread them out evenly, or I like to layer them in so that each type of vegetable alternates into a spiral. This is a little more work, but when I have time I like to do it because it reminds me of the movie Ratatouille! Now, pour the rest of the tomato sauce evenly over the vegetables.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about five minutes, then top with parmesan cheese and the parsley (you can give it a rough chop if you like). Serve with a crusty bread or an olive bread to soak up the juices!

Hot Beef Borscht

beefborscht

I am in love with beets as they are is easy to prepare and pair well with sweet and savory dishes. I have worked hard to create a borscht recipe that is perfectly balanced. Borscht is really a term for an array of eastern European dishes that are made differently in many countries. I like to think of borscht as a way for both Jake and I to connect with our heritage – it is considered both a Jewish dish and a Catholic holiday dish – as well as a way to feel a human connection with other parts of the world, namely Ukraine, that deserve my thoughts. While borscht can also be a vegetarian dish, in this particular recipe I chose to include beef for an added level of flavor. Don’t be tempted to omit the pickled beets or sauerkraut either – you can find these canned at the grocery store, and they add a layer of complexity that takes this soup from a simple dish to a fantastic meal!

Serves 4 – 5 as a main course.

Ingredients 

  • 3 large beets
  • 1 1/2 pound beef with shin bone in
  • 1/2 cup beet greens (if attached)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup rutabaga (substitute potato)
  • 1/2 cup pickled beet
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • 1 bay leaf and 1/2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or substitute 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Garnish with croutons, fresh dill and sour cream

Instructions 

Cut the beef into 2 inch wide strips. In a 5 quart Dutch oven or pot, combine the beef with the stock and water and bring to a boil. Peel and dice the onion (I like a medium dice) and saute the onions with the butter and a pinch of salt until slightly browned. Wash, peel, and chop the carrots and add the onions and the carrots to the broth. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients.

On a baking sheet, wrap the beets in foil and roast beets for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove, unwrap using oven mitts, and cut the beets in half. Let them cool for about ten minutes, then peel and grate on a box grater. Set aside. Peel and finely dice rutabaga. Drain and dice pickled beets. Add beets and rutabaga with the pickled beet, bay leaf, sage leaves, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Quickly toast the coriander and fennel in a dry skillet for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, then add to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook for an additonal 1 1/2 hours (for a total of 3 hours).

Remove the bones of the beef, then take the beef out, roughly chop, and add back into the soup, stirring to mix. Serve into bowls and garnish with rye croutons, sour cream or yogurt, and roughly chopped fresh dill.

Amish Style Potato Salad

tatersalad

If, like me, you are lucky enough to have access to Amish markets, you know the deliciousness that is Amish potato salad! This potato salad is tangy and sweet, although I have cut down on the sugar that goes in most Amish style recipes. If you have rutabaga, use it to lend an additional slight sweetness! If not, add a fourth potato instead and an extra pinch of sugar. Either way, this is a great salad to make ahead of time – if it weren’t for leftovers and foods I pre-make, I would rarely eat lunch, or I would get by on some potato chips from the vending machine. Make this potato salad to serve as a side, take for lunch, or include in a picnic basket. It keeps well for several days and goes well with breads, crackers, and on sandwiches!

Makes 6 – 8 side or lunch servings.

Ingredients

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped rutabaga
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (substitute regular paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp powdered mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp deli mustard, I like stone ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 cup combined fresh parsley and/or dill
  • 1/2 tsp tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 2 – 4 hardboiled eggs (optional)

Instructions

Wash the potatoes and chop them, or peel them if you don’t like the skins. Cut into a 1/2″ dice. Peel and dice the rutabaga similarly, then add both to a pot and just cover with water. I like to add a 1/4 cup of 2% or whole milk when I boil potatoes, I think it gives them a nice softness, but this is not necessary if you don’t have milk to spare. Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer while you prepare other ingredients, until rutabaga is just tender. The potatoes may be soft before the rutabaga is, it won’t hurt them to keep boiling. When they are done, strain the mixture and add the root vegetables to a large mixing bowl where you will combine all of the ingredients.

If you’d like to add hardboiled eggs, you can make them now, too. Add the eggs to a pot and cover with cold water, bring to a boil. Then, turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let sit for eight minutes. Remove the eggs and put them in cold water to stop cooking and let them cool off, they are now ready to peel. Once you have peeled the shells off the eggs, roughly chop them and add them to the bowl.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the celery stick, chop the parsley and dill, mince the garlic, and slice the tender white and green parts of the green onions. Combine these in the mixing bowl and add all of the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly, then taste the salad. If you’d like it saltier, add more celery salt in pinch, mix, and taste again. Add a pinch of sugar for more sweetness, a splash of apple cider vinegar for more tang, or tabasco sauce for more of a kick.

Enjoy as a party side dish, picnic salad, or a lunch side throughout the week!

Ricotta Manicotti with White Beans in Marinara Sauce

manicotti

Last night I was in the mood for some savory Italian flavors, so I broke out the ricotta and the manicotti shells and got to work. This manicotti is not as cheesy as most recipes – I was in the mood for something that was cheesy and good but also made me feel good afterwards! If you like, you can substitute the zucchini for mozzarella cheese and an extra whipped egg to make this manicotti very cheesy, if so, bake for 35 minutes. In any event, this was a delicious mixture of beans, artichokes, tomatoes, garlic, and cheese – plenty tasty for me!

Serves 4 – 5.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked cannelini or white beans or one can of precooked beans
  • 1 tomato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup artichokes, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, copped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • one package of manicotti shells (12 – 14)
  • 1 1/2 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • salt and black pepper
  • grated Parmesan for serving

Instructions

If you are using dried beans, cover beans in water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt and boil until soft.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Add onions, celery, zucchini, and garlic to a skillet with about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables have begun to lose their water and become translucent. Combine the vegetables (trying to omit their liquid) with the ricotta, nutmeg, sage, rosemary, and oregano. Temper in the egg, then taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Precook the manicotti shells in the boiling water until they are al dente, according to package directions. Drain, then fill each shell with the ricotta mixture. This may be easier if you use a wide fitted pastry bag or a large plastic bag (freezer or gallon sized) with the tip of the bag cut off, filling with the cheese and pushing it out into shells. Oil a large baking dish, then layer in the filled shells.

Combine drained beans, parsley, artichokes, and diced tomato. Add a pinch of salt and a few shake of black pepper. Spoon this mixture over the shells. Then top with the marinara sauce, evenly spread.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until you are satisfied with how hot the dish is or how much the egg has set. Top with parmesan cheese and serve!

Tofu Pad Khing

padking

In college, there was one Thai restaurant nearby, and on a whim I tried an unfamiliar dish very similar to this one from their menu. I have remembered those tastes ever since! Once I decided to make my own version, I had a hard time tracking down a recipe – I learned that this dish is probably of Chinese to Thai immigrant origin, and that while I enjoyed a tofu version at the restaurant, it is most often made with chicken. As I researched looking for an “authentic” recipe, I came to a realization I so often have and try to remember – recipes are always changing, and are influenced by too many countries and histories to count. Sometimes, in my efforts to respect the origins of a dish I do just the opposite – I expect it to be a window into a historic world that doesn’t exist. So! This recipe is a combination of many recipes I found as well as the flavors that I remembered from that wonderful first dinner, and I was very pleased. The meaty flavor of the mushrooms and veggies hold their own very well against the ginger, resulting in a dish that is balanced but packed with flavor. Enjoy!

Serves 2 – 3.

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake (optional for more spice)
  • 1 head broccoli, sliced into large pieces
  • 6 – 8 oz shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 3 green onions, white and tender parts sliced
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce*
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce*
  • 1 tsp fish sauce*
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar or white sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup chicken stock, mushroom stock, or water
  • Jasmine rice for serving (1 cup uncooked rice)

*Cook’s note: if you are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free – this dish can still work for you, just pay attention to the sauces! Oyster and fish sauce are products of fermented fish, and can be substituted for with 2 tbsp soy sauce. However, if your diet doesn’t prohibit these, don’t be tempted to omit them – these flavors add additional complexity to a great dish. If you are gluten free – just be careful of the soy sauce that you use! Many contain wheat, look for a tamari sauce (lower sodium soy sauce) that is labeled gluten free. I am most familiar with the Kikkoman gluten free tamari.

Instructions

After pressing tofu, cut into 1″ – 1/2″ cubes. Oil a baking sheet, and bake the tofu on the baking sheet in a toaster oven or oven heated to 350 degrees F while you cut and cook other ingredients, or for about 30 minutes until slightly crispy and starting to brown. Start your rice now, too.

In a wok or large frying pan, add about 1 tbsp of canola oil, followed by ginger, garlic, and chili flakes. Stir over medium high heat until fragrant, about 30 – 40 seconds. Now, add the broccoli and mushrooms. Continue to stir for a few minutes until the vegetables are just beginning to lose their water, then add the red pepper, shallot, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Continue cooking until the broccoli and mushrooms are almost tender – you don’t want to completely cook the water out of these though, because they are nice with a bit of a crunch!

Now, remove the tofu from the oven and add it to the stir fry along with the stock. Turn the heat up to high, stirring for an additional minute or two until the broccoli and mushrooms are just tender and the sauce has begun to diminish. Stir in the green onion and remove from heat. Serve over the rice, and don’t forget to spoon out the extra sauce! One of my favorite thing about this dish is that the rice soaks up the saucy flavors.

Quick Pickled Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (diced to about 2 1/2 cups) Mini peppers or red peppers, deseeded and sliced to the size or thickness that you prefer
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Instructions

Clean a quart sized mason jar and pack the peppers in. Don’t press them down too tightly but you should be able to fit them all.

In a saucepan combine the vinegars, sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the peppers while it is still very hot, leaving about one inch of space clear from the lip of the jar. Using a spatula, pack the peppers down beneath the liquid. Slide a lid on loosely and wait for the peppers to cool to room temperature, refrigerate the peppers for up to one month–although here they never last that long! Enjoy as a topping on pizzas, added in salads, dips, or blitzed with some lemon and vinegar as a salad dressing.

Mushroom Pot Pie

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Enjoy a crustless, meat free version of a savory pot pie on a cold night! The leftovers can last for days, or you can share the whole pie.

Serves 4 – 6.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound mushrooms, caps cleaned and stems removed, sliced
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into a 1/4″ dice
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 celery stick cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tbsp parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 tomato, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked lentils or kidney beans (optional: cook the beans in vegetable, mushroom, or chicken stock instead of in boiling water)
  • 1/4 cup gravy* (optional)
  • 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

*To make this recipe gluten free, omit the gravy, or make your own using a non-gluten flour or starch as a binder. I will write more on this later. You can use a meat or vegetable gravy, whichever you prefer.

Instructions

If you are cooking the beans, soak them overnight in a bowl, covered in cold water. The next day, as you start to cook, drain and recover the beans with water or stock if you are using it. Bring to a boil and boil the beans or lentils until they are soft, between 30 – 40 minutes. Drain and set aside. If you are using lentils, you can leave them to simmer until they start to break down and most of the liquid has evaporated – this will make a better consistency for later.

Clean and slice mushrooms. Don’t rinse the mushrooms to clean, rather, remove their stems and use a paper towel to wipe clean. If you want, reserve the stems to make a mushroom stock for storage. In a skillet over medium heat, combine mushrooms, red wine vinegar, sage, a pinch of salt, and enough olive oil to coat the pan. Simmer until the mushrooms have just lost their water, stirring occasionally, until they look slightly browned and wilted but still have a little structure. Remove the mushrooms from the pan into a medium mixing bowl, reserving the liquid left behind by the mushrooms.

In the skillet, add the tomato to the reserved mushroom juice. Cook over medium high heat until the tomato breaks down. Add the beans, peas, and gravy, stirring until the mixture has a gravy like texture and has lost most of its extra water. Remove from heat.

Over medium high heat sauté onions, celery, carrots with about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic when onions become translucent and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and white pepper and remove from heat. Combine all of the vegetables, beans, and mushrooms, adding parsley and stirring all ingredients together. Add to a pie dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a pot, combine potatoes and milk. Bring to a simmer, just below a boil, stirring until potatoes are soft, about ten to fifteen minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup of the milk. Mash potatoes with 1/2 tsp of salt, reserved milk, sour cream, and horseradish. Spread potatoes across surface of the pie dish over vegetables. Top with the cheddar cheese and bake for 20 minutes until cheese has started to brown.

Remove from the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve with rustic bread!

Pork Braised with Sauerkraut

pork

We have had some pork shoulder in the freezer for a while, and decided it was time to make a delicious dish out of it. This recipe was inspired by Julia Child’s recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, although we made a few changes here, mostly by adding the pork to a slow cooker, so that we could have a lazy, low maintenance dinner that was really fine cuisine!

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients 

Pork Salt Rub

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Slow Cooker Ingredients

  • 1 cup sauerkraut
  • 2 carrots, scraped and shredded on a box grater
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 macintosh apple
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups brown stock (chicken is okay)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Sage
  • 1/4 tsp. Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. Parsley
  • 1/8 tsp. Clove
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 Bay Leaf

Instructions 

Mix together the salt, spices, and garlic to make a spice rub. Rub the mixture over the entire surface of the pork. Close the pork in a bag and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to several days).

Brown the pork in a skillet with about 1 tbsp. oil over high heat until the pork is a nice crispy brown color on every side. Place the browned meat into a slow cooker. Add all of the sauerkraut to the slow cooker along with 1 cup of red wine and 2 cups of stock. The liquid should cover about 1/2 – 3/4 of the meat.

In the same pan used to brown the pork, add in onion, apples, and carrots. Saute over medium low heat until the onions are slightly caramelized. Then, add the crushed garlic and cook until it is fragrant but not burnt. Add 1/2 cup of wine to the pan and cook until the wine is fully reduced. Add the mixture to the slow cooker.

Add all of the spices to the slow cooker. Salt and pepper the liquid to taste. Cook the pork on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

Slice off pieces of the pork and spoon out the vegetables. Serve with a bowl of the braising liquid and French bread.

*If you do not own a slow cooker, bake in a covered oven-safe casserole at 325 degrees for about 2 hours or until the pork is done.

Tempeh Bahn Mi

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I have wanted to try a Bahn Mi sandwich for a long time, but I live so far from a Vietnamese restaurant that I finally decided to just make a sandwich for myself! Bahn Mi is an interesting fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine resulting from French colonization, and is a general term for a Vietnamese style baguette and sandwich. Bahn Mi can include many ingredients, and generally incorporate cold cut meats or tofu, mayonnaise, fresh cilantro, chilis, and a variety of pickled vegetables–basically, it a sandwich style rather than a prescriptive recipe, which made me very excited to try it using ingredients I had at home! Don’t be tempted to get rid of the pickled vegetables- they are essential for a savory and sour balance of flavors! I will also post a quick onion pickling recipe soon so that you can get to work making bahn mi for yourself. If you are interested in marinated meat recipes, or making your own baguettes (Jake makes ours at home), Andrea Nguyen provides excellent guidance on her blog. Either way, this sandwich can be made a variety of ways and tastes delicious! 

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the Tempeh* 

  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 2 tbsp black soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp thin soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • juice of one lime
  • 1″ ginger, chopped 
  • 1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder 

*Cook’s note: This marinade would also work well with a package of tofu – fried similarly in slices until golden brown over low heat. 

For assembly

  • 2 personal baguettes or one large baguette, halved to sandwich size 
  • Mayonnaise to spread (optional: mix in a dash of fish sauce and a large dash of sriracha sauce)
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
  • Thin carrot slices or thin pickled carrot slices
  • Pickled red onion or pickled daikon radish
  • Red pepper or hot red chili slices
  • Small handful of fresh mint, cilantro, and/or thai basil leaves
  • Avocado, thinly sliced (not pictured)

Instructions 

First, prepare the marinade. Cut the tempeh into thin about 1″ wide strips, then cut these in half through the thickness of the tempeh so that they can absorb more marinade. Combine all of the marinade ingredients together, then let the tempeh sit in the marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, for about 30 minutes at least. Put the tempeh in a baking dish or on a large plate, pouring the marinade over top. Turn the tempeh at least once so that the marinade coats both sides. While you wait, prepare your other ingredients. 

In a large skillet over medium high heat, Add the tempeh and marinade and grill until the tempeh is slightly golden brown, flipping once or twice. You may need to add a bit of canola or olive oil to the pan. 

Meanwhile, toast the baguette whole in the oven or large toaster oven at 350 for 3-5 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown. Make sure to keep an eye on it so that it does not get too crispy! Remove and let it cool for a minute or two, then cut in half. If you want, you can hollow it out a little bit inside to make more room for sandwich ingredients to fit inside!

Assemble your bahn mi sandwich, adding the mayonnaise, tempeh slices, cucumber and vegetable slices, pickles, and fresh herbs to the baguette. Enjoy warm, or you can let the tempeh cool and assemble picnic sandwiches for lunch or for later!

Tom Kha Gai

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For a few months I lived in London, UK, and on dark fall nights I decided that I needed a pick me up and a cooking project! I was interested in Thai food and had access to a market, so I started to research dishes that I might be interested in making. I came across this recipe for Tom Kha Gai by Leela Punyaratabandhu on her fantastic blog SheSimmers, from which my recipe is adapted. There are no large differences, this is just the way I have come to prefer preparing this meal. This soup is a fantastic array of flavors that are balanced perfectly into a delectable bowl of soup. It is a little salty, sweet, spicy, savory, and sour- a little bit of everything!
 
Serves 2 – 3. 
 
Ingredients
 
  • 3 cups sodium-free chicken stock 
  • 2 chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces across the grain
  • 8 ounces fresh or canned straw mushrooms (drained)
  • 1 cup snap peas 
  • Two stalks of lemongrass
  • 2-3 fresh bird’s eye chilies (more or less depending on your heat preference
  • 2-inch piece of fresh galangal (you can substitute ginger, but use 1 – 1 1/2 inch)
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) coconut milk
  • 4-5 fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 limes
  • fish sauce to taste
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (can substitute Thai basil)
Instructions

Combine the stock and coconut water (not coconut cream on the top of the can) in a large pan. Begin to heat to a simmering temperature.

Cut the tender bottom half of the lemongrass stalks into 1-inch pieces. Peel the galangal and slice it very thinly, I used a mandoline to create thin slices. Place the lemongrass and half of the galangal into a strainer or tea ball and add these to the simmering liquid. Put the other half of the galangal directly in the liquid instead of the strainer, you can eat it directly as part of your soup after it has simmered a bit.  

Add the coconut cream to the liquid and bring almost to a simmer. You don’t want to boil the liquid because the coconut cream will begin to form a skin. Don’t worry – it’s very hot and your chicken will cook! 

Halve the straw mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. You can use other meaty mushrooms like oyster or cremini mushrooms, but stay away from portobello – while delicious, they don’t work well with this soup and turn it an odd gray color. Add the mushrooms, snap peas, palm sugar, and chicken to the broth and stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked. This will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces, just keep an eye on your pot and check the chicken when it looks completely white and cooked through. If you need more liquid to cover the ingredients add a bit of water. 

Remove the stems and the tough veins that run through the middle from the kaffir lime leaves, and tear them up into small pieces. Tear some cilantro leaves from their stems or the Thai basil. Cut the chilies into thin slices. Set aside.

When the chicken is cooked through, remove the pot from heat and season with fish sauce. Add a few dashes first, then taste the soup and see if you would like to add more fish sauce to make the soup saltier. Then, stir in the lime leaves. Serve the soup into bowls. 

Top the bowls with cilantro or basil, juice of at least 1/2 lime, and however many chili slices you would like to add to your heat level. You can also serve your bowl over hot jasmine rice!