Showing posts with label rice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rice. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "How We Disappeared" by Jing-Jing Lee, Served with a Recipe for Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce and Rice with Radish

It's Wednesday and the week is sliding into the home stretch and the weekend and I couldn't be more ready. I am also happy to be today's TLC Book Tour stop for How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee, a compelling World War II historical novel that is haunting and beautiful. Accompanying my review is a simple recipe for Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce and Steamed Rice with Radish.
 


Publisher's Blurb: 

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel set in World War II Singapore about a woman who survived the Japanese occupation and a man who thought he had lost everything—for fans of Pachinko and We Were the Lucky Ones.

Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
 
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.

In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.

Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.

Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Hanover Square Press; Original edition (May 7, 2019)


My Review: 

I will say that I was disappointed when How We Disappeared arrived. I was caught up by the incredibly gorgeous tropical cover and thinking of how great it would look in pics, that when the more plain black ARC arrived I was a bit sad. What I wasn't disappointed in however, was the incredibly moving and beautiful story I found within its pages. I have read several books, fiction and non-fiction about the so-called "comfort women" of the WWII era--young women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in brothels. It is a disturbing subject and one that isn't easy to read or think about, but I try to read historical fiction from different perspectives and viewpoints and I think these women's voices are incredibly powerful and important. Author Jing-Jing Lee has incorporated some of her own family's history and experience in Singapore during WWII for the novel and has written a compelling story that while hard to classify as an enjoyable read, is certainly an engrossing one. 

The book alternates from the voices of Wang Di, a young village woman who is taken from her family and forced into sexual slavery for nearly three years during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, and Kevin, a twelve-year-old boy, living in Singapore with his parents and grandmother. Wang Di tells of the war years as well as Singapore in 2000 where Kevin's story is also set. It isn't completely clear in the beginning how these two lives will intersect but the pieces come together well and I found myself equally caught up in their stories. I liked the way Lee wove the stories, setting and times together and how the disappearing in the title applied to both characters, how they felt about themselves and how others failed to see them. I finished the book a few days ago and can't stop thinking about it and our contrasting human powers for cruelty and kindness, despair and resilience, overwhelming fear and incredible strength and courage. If you need an easy, breezy book, How We Disappeared is not it, but it is a well-written story that will touch you with its poignancy.

-----

Author Notes: Jing-Jing Lee is the author of the novel, If I Could Tell You. Her poems have been published in Ceriph, Poetry Quarterly, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Moving Words 2011: A Poetry Anthology. Jing moved to Europe in her early 20s and started to pursue writing full-time. In 2011, she gained a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. She now lives in Amsterdam with her husband and is working on her second book of fiction. When she’s not working on her novel-in-progress or reading (or taking photographs), she can be found here and on twitter.

Connect with Jing-Jing on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Food Inspiration:

There was so much food in How We Disappeared, even with the wartime years, when supplies were meager and the fare simpler, there was no shortage or food inspiration. I had a couple of pages of notes that included egg, water spinach, biscuits, congee--(several mentions with different toppings and additions to this simple rice gruel), pork with salted cabbage and peppercorns, chicken rice, coffee, mangosteens, roast duck and chicken, soup stock with fishcake, raw stuffed okra, silky tofu and straw mushrooms, sweet dumplings and cakes, noodle stalls, Oolong tea, boiled rice in banana leaf, fried shrimp, pickled mustard greens, tapioca, banana, chicken wings in coconut milk with freshly ground curry, root vegetables (cassava and potato,tapioca) home-pickled vegetables, curry, mangoes, silky soybean curd, cups of hot Milo, white bread with margarine and jam, a twist of radish omelet, pandas cake, oyster omelet, soft-boiled egg, pork dumplings, sweet potatoes leaves stir0fried with chili paste, sweet potato porridge, various kinds of kueh (dessert pastries, cakes usually made from gulitnous rice),  salted fish, vegetable soup, tangerines,char su rice with no cucumbers and extra chili, peanut and pigs tail soup, lotus root soup, stir-fried greens, and chocolate Hiro cake.


For my book inspired dish, I thought about making my favorite hawker dish of Singapore street noodles, and considered congee--although I made it fairly recently for a post and didn't want to repeat it. Finally I decided on something very simple--lunch that Kevin's mom left him of white rice, stir-fried choy sum, and three pieces of luncheon meet. (I left off the luncheon meat of course). ;-) I had wanted to stir-fry some water spinach (ong choy here) as it starts out the book, but it isn't as easy to find as choy sum at my local grocery store. Speaking of local, the choy sum and the radishes I put on top of the rice (I was going to pickle them but ran out of time) are local ingredients. I like my greens with garlic and looked at a few recipes online before tossing together my own.


Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce
Inspired by a bunch of recipes, but tossed together by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 3 to 4 as a Side Dish)

Choy Sum:
2 bunches choy sum (about 1 & 1/4 lbs or so), chopped as desired
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or peanut oil + 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Garlic Sauce
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 Tbsp low-sodium Tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp water
salt and black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add choy sum--blanch for about 2 minutes, drain, and pat dry. 

While water is boiling, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for abut 2 minutes, until fragrant. Scrap cooked garlic from the pan into a small bowl, add tamari/soy sauce, oyster sauce, corn starch, sesame oil and water, whisking together until well blended. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if desired and set aside.

Heat a large wok or saute pan and add oil. When pan is hot and oil is at smoking point, add the choy sum, and saute, stirring regularly for 2 to 3 minutes. Add sauce and stir into the choy sum, cooking for about 2 minutes. 

Plate, serve with a scattering of sesame seeds if desired and enjoy!

Note: I just used some leftover white rice, topped with thin slivers of radish for crunch.   


Notes/Results: Just a simple, fairly quick to put together light lunch or dinner of garlicky greens and rice. Sauteing the garlic softens it somewhat, but it definitely plays a big flavor role, so you can reduce it if you want something milder. The sauce would be equally as good on other greens--kale, chard, spinach, bok choy... as the garlic, sesame, tamari and oyster sauce work well with the slight bitterness greens can have. You can of course add your favorite protein to round things out. I actually had some tofu poke salad that I enjoyed with my meal, and my leftovers will likely be topped with a soft-boiled egg tomorrow. I will happily make it again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "How We Disappeared" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Congee: Soupy Rice Comfort for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

A busy few weeks and a lack of sleep and good rest for a variety of reasons means I can't seem to shed the cough and cold I have been nursing. I needed something easy, satisfying and comforting this weekend, so I picked Congee. Technically it is a porridge rather than a soup, but it is soupy rice, and as host of Souper Sundays, I'll allow it. ;-)


It's been ten years since I made and posted congee on the blog (this one as part of Cook the Books, The Last Chinese Chef book club review). 


Congee is a lot about the toppings and for that one, I used topping from the book: tofu cubes, roasted peanuts, (Chinese) pickles, smoked ham (I ate meat back then!), scallions, greens, and re-hydrated wood ear mushrooms. For today's congee I kept the nuts and scallions and added capers in place of tiny pickles, sauteed oyster mushrooms, chili oil and a jammy soft-boiled egg. 


Ruth says "Nothing is easier to make than the classic Chinese breakfast . It's basically rice slowly cooked with lots of liquid. I like to use arborio rice, although it's not traditional; any kind of rice you have on hand will do. The ratio is about 1 cup of rice to 8 cups of liquid. I think it tastes best with chicken stock, although you can certainly use plain water."

Congee
Slightly Adapted from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
(Serves 4)

1 cup rice
chicken stock or liquid of choice (I used vegan non-chicken-style bouillon paste)
ginger 

To serve: 
soy sauce
scallions
roasted peanuts, jammy hard-boiled eggs, sauteed (oyster) mushrooms, capers, chili oil and/or toppings of choice

Put the rice and liquid in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and let it simmer for an hour, stirring once in a while. 

The result is a thick, creamy porridge, a canvas for flavor. What you choose for garnish is completely up to you, but to me a julienne of ginger is essential, as is a little shot of really good soy sauce. Peanuts and scallions are nice, and shredded chicken or shiitakes are lovely too. It is the ultimate tonic: basic, fragrant, satisfying. 

Ruth notes: "A confession: in a pinch I've used leftover cooked rice, simply cooking it with lots of water and stirring until it collapses into the correct currency."


Notes/Results: Good flavor and texture make this the perfect comfort food, whether eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack. I especially like how the jammy hard-boiled egg yolk mixes into the brothy rice, and the capers add their briny notes taking the place of tiny pickles. It made my stuffy nose better and I'm looking forward to enjoying more of it this week. I will make it again.


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where the theme is Gimme a R!--Ruth Reichl recipes that feature ingredients that begin with the letter R. Here we have rice and roasted peanuts. 

And for Souper Sundays...


My friend Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared this tasty Baked Potato Soup and said, "Baked potato soup with a healthy twist.  Well, except the bacon topping 😏 On a cool day a homemade bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is just the ticket. Healthy, economical and absolute comfort food. This is another recipe I tried from SkinnyTaste. You use potatoes and cauliflower for the base. now the toppings are to your preference and we used bacon, cheese and scallions."


Thanks to Tina for joining me this week!  

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

 

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).



 
Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Chickpea Rice Soup with James Beard's "Onion Rings" Sandwiches: Simple Comfort for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was hoping it was allergies but I think I have to admit that I have my first cold of the season. Consequently, I have been laying low over the weekend and not in the mood for much effort. I decided to throw the contents of my veggie drawer together with beans and rice from the pantry to make Chickpea & Rice Soup, a vegan take on chicken and rice soup. 


I'm pairing my soup with Ruth Reichl's take on James Beard's "Onion Rings"--little onion sandwiches that can be made vegan with the right mayo. It's simple comfort food and hopefully the alliums, specifically the onion, garlic, and leeks will work their magic on my stuffy nose.


Chickpea Rice Soup
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes About 6 Servings)

2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 medium leeks, white & light green parts halved. cleaned and sliced
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 russet potato, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp caraway seed
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium vegan chicken broth 
2 (15 oz) cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup long grain rice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped parsley to serve

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, leek, carrot and celery and saute for 10 minutes until veggies are softened. Add the garlic, potato, thyme, caraway seed, sage, celery seed, smoked paprika and bay leaf and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add the broth, chickpeas and rice and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice and vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with fresh parsley to serve. Enjoy alone or with the onion sandwiches below. 

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James Beard's "Onion Rings"
From My Kitchen Year & RuthReichl.com

Ruth Says: "I made James Beard’s “onion rings” the other night for the first time in a while. Now’s the perfect moment for them – farmers’ markets are filled with sweet onions just pulled from the earth, and this is the best way I know to showcase that compelling flavor. On top of that, this is the moment when all the parsley in the garden is proud and full.
 
Start with a loaf of sturdy white bread. Or traditional Pepperidge Farm sandwich white.  

Using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut circles out of the bread. Slather them with good commercial mayonnaise and sprinkle them with salt.
 
Slice your onions very thinly.
 
Chop a good amount of parsley as finely as you like.
 
Put a slice of onion on a circle of bread and sandwich it with another circle of bread.
Spread mayonnaise on the edge of each sandwich and roll it in chopped parsley. 

These keep surprisingly well; I just ate the last of the two-day old sandwiches. It made a perfect 10 a.m. snack."


Notes/Results: A simple, savory and tasty soup, full of good flavor from the herbs and garlic and texture from the chickpeas and vegetables. I packed mine with rice, to make it thick and satisfying, so if you want, you can add less for a brothier soup. For the Onion Rings sandwiches I used a sweet Maui onion and Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise and I really enjoyed the little sandwiches-although I would probably buy a loaf of thinner white bread rather than use the sourdough that I had on hand. I'll let you know if the soup (and those onion sandwiches) help kick my cold. ;-)


Linking up the tasty little sandwiches at I Heart Cooking Clubs where our theme this week is Bread Basket--Ruth Reichl recipes for or featuring bread.


Let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor is here with a soup and sandwich combo of Chicken Salad on Croissant and Loaded Baked Potato Soup. She says, "This isn't homemade but it is inspiration for me to duplicate this soup. Hopefully I can do that and post in an upcoming Souper Sundays. Doug met me for lunch one day this past week and we did the easy thing - went to a restaurant so we could eat, talk and then run a few errands. ... This soup was such a hearty bowl of comfort food on a chilly day. I need to make a version that isn't so heavy on the bacon but just as creamy and cheesy. Certainly there are other folks who enjoy duplicating a recipe and tweaking it to their taste, it's a cool challenge and so rewarding when it turns out well. So, coming up I hope to share a loaded potato soup recipe that's all homemade!"


Mahalo to Tina for joining in this week!
 
About Souper Sundays:


Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up her in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).




Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of National Geographic's "Tasting Italy"--Served Up with a Recipe for Saffron Risotto (Risotto Alla Milanese)

It's always a good day when I get a gorgeous cookbook to drool over and I am excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey from National Geographic with America's Test Kitchen. Accompanying my review is a recipe for a gorgeous and tasty Saffron Risotto from the book. 


Publisher's Blurb:

The experts at America’s Test Kitchen and National Geographic bring Italy’s magnificent cuisine, culture, and landscapes–and 100 authentic regional recipes–right to your kitchen.

Featuring 100 innovative, kitchen-tested recipes, 300 gorgeous color photographs, and 30 maps, this illustrated guide takes you on a captivating journey through the rich history of Italian cuisine, region by region. Rich excerpts feature the origins of celebrated cheeses, the nuances of different wine growing regions, the best farmer’s markets in Venice, and more. Intriguing prose illuminates key ingredients, from olive oil and how it’s made to the various pasta shapes of Northern Italy. In every region, the food experts at America’s Test Kitchen bring it all home, with foolproof recipes for standout dishes as well as hidden gems: Piedmontese braised beef in lustrous red wine sauce, crispy-custardy chickpea flour farinata pancakes from Genoa (achieved without the specialty pan and wood-burning oven), and hand-formed rustic malloreddus pasta of Sardinia that is a breeze to make.

Hardcover: 384 pages  
Publisher: National Geographic (October 23, 2018)


My Review:

The combination of National Geographic and America's Test Kitchen make Tasting Italy much more than a cookbook. It's a travelogue celebrating the history of food in Italy through each of its regions and it is a big book and very beautiful. The 300 color photos and 30 maps show tempting food and gorgeous scenery, as well as illustrate the special ingredients, food grown or raised, historical facts, and stories about each area. I have only spent a few hours reading through it so far and I find myself beguiled by the beauty of Italy and its rich history and the interesting facts from pasta shapes to Italian cuisine influences and the origins of customs and recipes. With America's Test Kitchen involved, you know that each of the 100 recipes included have been fully vetted in the kitchen and each recipe is accompanied by a beautiful photo and a story about how the recipe came to be. I have a feeling that this book will become a nightstand addition in order to work my way through the 384 pages and savor each region's bounty each night.

Recipes that especially caught my eye and that I tagged to make include Potato Gnocchi with Fontina Sauce from Valle d'Aosta, Warm Anchovy and Garlic Dipping Sauce from Piedmont, Chickpea Flour Pancake from Liguria, Bread Dumplings from Trentino-Alto Adige, Grilled Polenta with Whipped Salt Cod Spread from Veneto, Barley and Bean Soup from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Stuffed Flatbreads from Emilia-Romagna, Tuscan White Bean Soup from Tuscany, Vegetable and Farro Soup from Umbria, Fried Stuffed Olives from Le Marche,  Roman Gnocchi from Lazio, Linguine with Seafood from Abruzzo & Molise, Lemon Sorbet from Campania, Tomato and Burrata Salad with Pangrattato and Basil from Puglia, Fiery Macaroni from Basilicata, Grilled Swordfish with Salmoriglio Sauce from Calabria, Tuna with Sweet and Sour Onions from Sicily, and Fried Zucchini from Sardinia. Lest you think the book is all vegetable, fish and seafood dishes (what I eat), there are plenty of recipes featuring chicken, pork, lamb, and beef such as Chicken Under a Brick, Milk-Braised Pork Roast, Orecchiette with Sausage and Cream, Grilled Steak with Olive Oil and Lemon, Braised Oxtails, Chitarra Pasta with Lamb Ragu, and Braised Savoy Cabbage with Pancetta to name a few. 

Tasting Italy would make a wonderful holiday gift and is a book that will be equally adored by Italophiles, cooks, foodies, travel junkies, and armchair travelers alike. I have not had the pleasure of going to Italy (yet), but Tasting Italy makes me want to book a trip there.


The books were delayed in getting to us so I managed to cook just one recipe from Tasting Italy, but what a recipe it is, a gorgeous bowl of golden-hued Saffron Risotto (Risotto Alla Milanese) from Lombardy. Lombardy, in Northern Italy is right under Switzerland and is considered "the industrial heart of Italy" with Milan, the regions capital, being the heart of the country's fashion scene. Lombardy is also one Italy's largest agricultural areas with its combination of mountains, plains and plentiful water. Meat and dairy are prevalent in the region and mascarpone cheese and bresaola (dried beef) originate from there. With its plains of of wheat, corn, buckwheat and rice, polenta and rice are more common than pasta, which only became popular after World War II. There are abundant fruit and vegetables grown there such as melons, pears, apples, asparagus, and pumpkins. 


For me the Saffron Risotto cried out most to be made. Simple but luxurious and flavored with exotic saffron, the dish is often served on its own as a primo, or used to accompany a platter of Osso Buco (Braised Veal Shanks). I love risotto and have about twenty recipes on the blog. I also had the last of a small bottle of saffron that a friend brought me from Spain to use, along with the Carnaroli rice called for in the recipe from the gourmet section of my local grocery store (although the book indicates that Aborio rice can also be substituted). 


Tasting Italy notes: "The dish's origin is a subject for debate. One legend claims that it was invented in the 1500s by a Milanese glassmaker who earned the nickname 'Zafferano' because he used saffron often to make gold stain. When he was jokingly  challenged to add it to risotto, he did! However, the recipe's first appearance in an Italian cookbook wasn't until the 1800s. Perhaps it originated form Milan's ties to Spain, or a Milanese affinity for the golden color, or possibly the idea that saffron was beneficial to health."

Saffron Risotto
Recipe from National Geographic's Tasting Italy
(Serves 6)

3 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used non-chicken stock)
3 cups water
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
salt and pepper
2 cups Carnaroli rice
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
1 cup dry white wine
2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

Bring both broth and water to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and saffron and cook, stirring frequently, until grain edges begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in 3 1/2 cups warm broth, bring to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost fully absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes.

Continue to cook rice, stirring frequently and adding warm broth, 1 cup at a time, every few minutes as liquid is absorbed, until rice is creamy and cooked through but still somewhat firm in center, 14 to 18 minutes. Remove pot from heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Asjust consistency with remaining broth as needed (you may have broth left over). Stir in Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.


Notes/Results: So creamy, rich and delicious and you can't help but smile at the sunny golden color. The saffron is fully present in the flavor but the wine and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese add to the complexity of taste. I'm not used to adding so much of the liquid at the beginning (3 1/2 cups of the broth mixture) but it worked beautifully and toasting the saffron (and the onion) in the butter broke up the threads of the saffron releasing the color and flavor throughout the rice--it also adds to the richness of the dish. I was content to spend some time stirring the rice (it was my zen moment to recover from a busy day) until it reached it's maximum creaminess while still having a slight firmness, then curling up on the couch with a bowl of the deliciousness while watching the election returns. I would happily make this recipe again. 
 

Tasting Italy is my tenth foodie book entry for the Foodies Read 2018 event. You can check out the November 2018 Foodies Read linkup, hosted by Heather at Based on a True Story, to see what everyone is reading this month.   



I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "Tasting Italy" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.   You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.  

  
 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ruth Reichl's Avgolemono Soup (Take Two): Revisiting a Favorite for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Avgolemono soup, that Greek comfort soup of lemon, eggs and rice is one of my favorites. You'll find several recipes for it, both regular and vegan versions on this blog. You'll even find Ruth Reichl's version (here) from her My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. I don't usually post the same exact soup recipe twice--at least not knowingly, but when I was looking for a dish to welcome Ruth and kick off cooking her recipes at I Heart Cooking Clubs, it's what I wanted. And, it is my birthday so I believe I can have what I want! ;-)


Because I had a carrot to use up, I added it to the soup--mostly for its pop of color, but really, you can't miss with the basics here. A good, non--broken, perfectly creamy avgolemono is like a hug. 


Avgolemono Soup
Slightly Adapted from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
(Serves 6)

6 cups chicken stock (I used a veggie, non-chicken soup base paste)

(I added 1 medium carrot, diced)
1/3 cup rice (I used 1/2 cup)
1 lemon
4 eggs
salt
(I garnished with Pecorino-Romano cheese and finely chopped fresh dill)  

Bring the stock to a boil. Add the rice, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile grate the rind from the lemon into a bowl, then squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the rind. 

Separate the eggs, dropping the yolks into the lemon juice. (Save the whites for another purpose/use.) Add a pinch of salt and beat the yolks into the lemon juice and rind.

When the rice is tender, whisk about half a cup of the hot stock into the yolks, then slowly pour the yolks into the soup, stirring constantly. Cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until the soup is slightly thickened. Pour into bowls and eat slowly.  


(Ruth says she serves her Avgolemono with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. I used Pecorino-Romano cheese and a little dill.


Notes/Results: I you have never made this soup, try it. If you have made it, make it again. It's so creamy and lemony and tastes like sunshine. The trick is beating your eggs well and really tempering them with the broth before you stir it into the soup so the eggs don't cook into little bits and everything is gloriously smooth. Other than that, it is a pretty effortless soup that you can make mostly from the pantry when you need a comforting dinner quickly. I am always happy to make this soup and Ruth's version is a good, simple one.


As mentioned, we are saying Bon Appetit, Ruth Reichl! and cooking along with her for the next six months at IHCC. Come join us--you can cook along each week, or join in just on the themes you like. Check it out, here.

  
Now, lets take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


Judee of Gluten Free A - Z Blog shared this fall-fantastic Instant Pot Acorn Squash and Apple Soup and said, "It's fall and I am eager to start enjoying the beautiful seasonal produce in my soups! Gala apples and acorn squash are two favorites that are key players in this light autumn soup recipe. I was able to get 2 pound bags of organic apples very reasonably priced at Trader Joe's this week. In addition, the farmer's markets are starting to display their colorful winter squashes. ... Personally, I prefer the soup seasoned with cumin. However, many friends enjoyed it a little sweeter with cinnamon. Both ways are good. It's your choice."


Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is back at Souper Sundays this week with her Baked Potato Soup in the Crockpot. She said, "Creamy and flavorful potato soup simmers all day long in the crockpot.  You come home to a delicious smelling house and dinner is on the table before you know it.  Topped with all the things that make a perfect baked potato.....cheese, sour cream and bacon, this soup is a winner."


Debra of Eliot's Eats brought Olive Tapenade and Crostini and Olive Sandwiches inspired by a recent read. She said, "I finally landed on two descriptions from the novel—“Baby wanted a green olive sandwich and yogurt” (25) regarding one of Cerise’s cravings coupled with a later passage showing Eldris’ clueless-ness about her and Richard’s monetary state: 'And when he finally did take me out to celebrate, he was pulling wads of cash out of his pockets like some mobster on TV. He ordered two vodka martinis before the appetizers even arrived. Appetizers, Violet. He won’t give me the money for new carpet, but he’ll order crostini and tapenade. (169)' ... Because of the whole “olive sandwich” angle, I am linking up with Deb’s Souper Sundays (with sandwiches and salads)!"


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor battled a stressful week but still managed to bring Carole's Pasta Salad. She said, "A few weeks ago I saw a post at Carole's Chatter for her toss together Pasta Salad. The salad was good and instead of following her recipe to the letter, I added corn and tomatoes. Recipes are just guidelines and suggestions for me. Yes, here are my blue lunch bowls again."

 
Mahalo to all who joined in this week!
 
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up her in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).




Have a happy, healthy week!