Hot and sour mushroom and tofu soup

Hot and sour mushroom and tofu soup

For the cold days ahead of us, this soup fills all the requisites: light and filling, packed with protein from the tofu and egg that go along so well  with the 2 varieties of mushrooms. A rich broth made with chillies, ginger and garlic adds heat and a spicy oriental flare to the soup. The original recipe calls for bamboo shoots instead of my second type of mushroom. It is from Jamie Oliver and you can find it here .

Ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilly
sea salt
ground white pepper
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and diced
250 g shitake mushrooms , cleaned
250 g buttom mushroom, finely sliced
vegetable oil
3 tbs low-salt soy sauce
3 to 4 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp honey

1.5 litres hot vegetable stock
150 g firm tofu cut in 1 cm cubes
2 green onions chopped
½ bunch of chives chopped
1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

Peel the garlic and deseed the chillies, then roughly chop and place into a pestle and mortar, adding a pinch of salt. Peel, finely chop and add the ginger, combining it well.
Finely slice the buttons mushrooms and separate the threads of the shiitake mushroom.

Heat a tbs of oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and fry for 4 minutes, or until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli paste and mushroons and fry for a little bit.
In the mean time mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, the honey and the white pepper. Stir the mixture into the pan and cook for a minute, then pour in the hot stock and bring gently to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced.

Add the tofu, the spring onions and chives.
Once reduced, remove the soup from the heat. Using a chopstick, stir the soup in a clockwise direction until you get a little whirlpool, then slowly add the beaten egg, stirring continuously to form thin ribbons. Stir in the tofu and return to the heat for 1 minute to warm through. Season to taste with soy and vinegar, then serve immediately with the spring onions and chives on top.

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Cream of carrots soup

Cream of carrots soup

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I didn’t know a carrot soup could be so decadent until I tried this one. Carrots are cooked with milk, which brings the creaminess that elevates this hearty soup to another level. I adapted from a recipe from Canadian chef Ricardo Larivée , adding some fennel to break up the sweetness of the carrots and we all loved the result. Perfect to start a meal, perfect for this nice fall weather and for a fast and simple dinner along with a loaf of bread.

4 portions

4 cups sliced carrots (about 7)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 fennel chopped
2 tbs butter
5 cups milk
1 pinch salt and pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, soften the carrots and onion, fennel in the butter. Add the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom to prevent the milk from sticking. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth. Adjust the seasoning.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

Spicy shrimp in lemongrass sticks

Spicy shrimp in lemongrass sticks

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This is the ultimate BBQ shrimp dinner! Plain and simple, easy, full of flavor and done in a blink.
It was the first time I’ve used lemongrass sticks for barbecuing and couldn’t believe what a pretty presentation and aromatic effect I got!
The original recipe is from Food Network, courtesy of chef Matt Dunigan, I followed it with no changes and couldn’t be happier about the taste and the beautiful presentation.
I served as the main course for dinner but it would also be a great appetizer. I made the sauce in advance and kept it in the fridge. Assembling the shrimps in the lemongrass sticks was easy but I wish I had soaked them in water for a while. The lemongrass sticks bring a subtle lemony taste to the shrimps and the sauce… wow, you just have to try it!

Spicy shrimp in lemongrass sticks
2 to 4 portions

Shrimp
20 fresh shrimp peeled and deveined, around 21/25
1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 lemon grass stalks
Vegetable oil

Sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup brown sugar lightly packed
2 tsp chilli flakes
4 tbs unsalted butter chilled
Salt and pepper to taste

To Assemble
Cut the lemongrass stalks on an angle to create a 20x 6 inch spears.
Skewer one shrimp (through the thick part of shrimp and through the tail) on each lemongrass stick and place them on a baking tray.

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In a medium sauce pan set over low heat combine the ginger, lime zest, lime juice, dark rum, brown sugar, chilli flakes, and butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer while whisking constantly. Cook for approximately 5 minutes and remove from the heat.

Sprinkle the shrimp with salt, pepper, garlic and vegetable oil.

Preheat barbeque to high heat (425°F) (220°C) and oil grill well to help prevent sticking.
Place the skewers directly on the grill and cook for approximately 1 minute.
Flip the skewers and baste the shrimp with the sauce.
Continue to cook 1 more minute.
Remove from grill and drizzle with remaining basting sauce so that both sides are well coated.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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Watermelon and goat cheese bites – healthy appetizer

Watermelon and goat cheese bites – healthy appetizer

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Nothing beats watermelon in the summer. Cold, crunchy and sweet, watermelon can trick us on eating more than the our normal share of sugars and fibre. We tend to think that because it is a fruit, so healthy and fresh, we’re good. In fact this wonderful and pretty fruit comes packed with sugar and as I mentioned before, having a diabetic in the family, we have to watch our consumption of these sweet treats. This is why I make these watermelon appetizers instead of serving a big bowl of watermelon slices. It is always a big hit and light enough to not spoil your dinner appetite, perfect to start your BBQ meal.
Simple and easy, you don’t even have to make any fancy presentation (as I did for the picture posting) just quickly spread the goat cheese mix on top of it and you’re ready.

Goat cheese spread

3 oz goat cheese
2 to 3 tbs of light sour cream (light mayonnaise works too)
salt and pepper and any herb you like to season

Mix everything together and spread over pieces of watermelon.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

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Sweet spinach smoothie

Sweet spinach smoothie

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It might take you some time to get used to the appearance of a large glass of this green fluid standing in front of you before venturing in your first sip. Probably the motivation would be the constant “it’s good for you” factor that permeates our lives these days, as a statement that you’re in synch with the latest trend. It doesn’t matter the reasons, just be brave and go for it. Surprise! It does taste good and it is a meal by itself, super filling!
I had mine while I was reading the fascinating The birth house, from Canadian Amy McKay , in a rare quiet evening by myself at home and didn’t even notice I was having dinner. To balance the green overdose I had some berries for dessert and I was fed and happy.

This is my version of another smoothie’s recipe from Harley Pasternack’s book, The body reset. I added one small white guava, which was not part of the original recipe, as you can see it in the picture. Guavas (goiabas) are not so popular in North America, but very abundant in tropical countries. Seeds and flesh and lots of sugar make up for one of the most popular deserts in Brazil, called Romeo & Juliet, which is a combination of soft white cheese with the “goiabada” (made with red guavas) that actually can be a good idea for a future post.

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Sweet spinach smoothie

2 cups raw spinach
1 peach
15 grapes
6 oz Greek yogurt 0%
2 tbs avocado
1 tbs brown sugar or any sweetener of your choice
1/2 cup ice or cold water
* 1 small guava (totally optional, I couldn’t resist to add it, but it does add a tart zest)

Blend it and voilà!
Tip: start adding the liquid ingredients first to get it all blended faster.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

You might also like:

Raspberry, cashew and Greek yogurt smoothie

Papaya, ginger and coconut smoothie

Avocado and Maca shake for breakfast

Raspberry, cashew and Greek-yogurt smoothie

Raspberry, cashew and Greek-yogurt smoothie

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I am super impressed with the great smoothie’s recipes from the The body reset, the new Harley Pasternak’s book. No wonder was sold out so fast. They are delicious and of course, very nutritious since they were created to substitute meals on his diet plan.

This is my adaptation of his original recipe called Raspberry lemon drop smoothie. It is amazing how the raw cashews bring texture to it and the lemon juice enhances the raspberry and Greek-yogurt combination. You get fully satisfied until the next meal, you really do! Even if you are not trying to lose weight, this smoothie is a great breakfast or lunch option. Indulge with the raspberries and enjoy its bright beautiful color!

Raspberry, cashew and Greek-yogurt smoothie

1 portion

1 cup frozen raspberries
12 raw cashews
2 tbs lemon juice
6 ounces fat-free plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup crushed ice
2 tbs honey, sugar or your favorite sweetener

Blend everything together and serve immediately.

Nutrition information (without any type of sweetener)

Calories – 274
Total Fat – 9 gr.
Carbs – 31 gr.
Protein – 21 gr.
Fiber – 10 gr.

You might also like:

Detox papaya – ginger and Maca-belly-fat-reducer juice

Blueberry, banana and flex seed smoothie

Pineapple and kiwi juice – immune system booster

White chocolate and coconut strawberries

White chocolate and coconut strawberries

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I was so successful with my chocolate strawberries for Valentine’s that I had to make them again last weekend when we had company for dinner.
Talking about a favorite that also fits my husband’s ongoing diabetes-friendly diet!
A couple of tricks will help to cut the sugar down, if you need to: dip just half of each strawberry in the melted chocolate (which I haven’t done here this time, as you can see in the pictures) and use unsweetened shredded coconut.
I saw one of my favorites chef Michael Smith making them for Valentine’s on his TV show, tried it out and wow! So easy, fast, pretty and beyond yummy!

White chocolate and coconut strawberries

1 pint strawberries
170 gr white chocolate
1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Wash the strawberries carefully and pat them dry with a paper towel. This step is very important to make sure the chocolate sticks well to the fruits.

Line up a piece of parchment paper on your counter top.

Cut the chocolate into small pieces.

Take a medium glass bowl inside a small pan with water (no more than 2″) and bring it to a simmer. It is very important that the bowl is completely dry. Try to get a glass bowl that is larger than the pan, overlapping, to ensure no water gets in the melting chocolate while you are stirring it. If just a one single drop of water gets in the chocolate, the whole mixture will be lost. I know, it is sad.

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When 80% of the chocolate is melted, take it out of the heat and bring the bowl to your work area. The chocolate will eventually melt completely while you are dipping the strawberries.
Start dipping the strawberries, gently grabbing the stems, or use a fork to do so. After every dip wait a few seconds for the chocolate to stop running and then roll them out on the coconut. It is a delicate process but very fast you will get a grip of it and will be amazed with the result!
Lay the dipped strawberries on the parchment paper and wait for them to cool off, around 1 hour.
Serve them in the same day.

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Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!