Tomato Noodle Soup

Tomato Noodle Soup
Tomato Noodle Soup
Tomato Noodle Soup
Tomato Noodle Soup
Tomato Noodle Soup
Tomato Noodle Soup
Tomato Noodle Soup
Tomato Noodle Soup
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Why is it that every single time I plan on traveling for the weekend the week leading up to it is totally bonkers? Every. Single. Time. I'm going home to Cleveland this weekend to get some family time in and to see Hamilton! I can't really explain how excited I am for this weekend. But before I get to Cleveland I need to survive this week first. Lots of deadlines and multiple moving parts to juggle over here! As much as I love staying busy, the core of my being is a creature of comfort. Which is sort of a strange duality to balance, I guess. I love to multi-task almost as much as I love laying on the couch with Reuben watching Netflix while also rolled up in my pink blanket snacking on cheese and crackers. Honestly, I probably love the latter more.

If noodle soup was a more couch friendly meal that's easy to eat why you're dressed as a giant pink burrito then I would say that noodle soup is one of the easiest and most versatile any time dishes. Most people don't realize that noodle soups are just as easy and quick to whip us as stir-frys. Making noodle soup requires one additional pot, but you can still customize it with whatever you have in your refrigerator at the moment. 

To make any noodle soup you need these components:

Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions - The holy trinity of Asian cooking
Broth Base - I like to keep some beef, chicken, or vegetable in stock for soup, but chicken bouillon also works perfectly well to enhance any soup you're stewing. 
Vegetables - Hearty vegetables like bok choy, kale, zuchinni, and mushrooms work beautifully. Tomatoes are a great addition too : ) I know it's a fruit...
Protein - Pulled chicken, Sliced beef, bits of tasty seafood, tofu, or even egg would make great additions!
Noodles - the most important part! I encourage you to explore the asian markets near you and see what kinds of noodles call to you. Maybe it's egg noodles, rice noodles, or something crazy like kelp noodles!

The time it takes to cook a noodle soup is really as short as the time it takes to fully cook your veggies and boil your noodles. If you have some super ninja chopping skills, I bet you could have yourself a bowl of noodles in less than 30 minutes!

Ah I just love noodle soups so much. It's pure comfort in a bowl. Before you tell me how it's summer time and how we should be eating crisp salads all the time, I'm going to stop you. I know it's summer time for most of you right now, but it's still foggy and chilly here in San Francisco, which means I can eat noodle soup whenever I want to! I'm utilizing the most summer ingredient in this recipe though: The Summer Tomato!! The summer tomato has taken up our Instagram feeds. Or is it just me? My favorite way to enjoy a ripe summer tomato is raw, sliced up, on toast. Simple and easy. But I want to use the summer tomato a little different. I didn't grow up with creamy campbell's tomato soup... I honestly think it's pretty gross. My mom made really light tomato broth egg drop soup growing up and it was and still is one of the best things! You can find the recipe for it here

This noodle soup is very similar to my mom's tomato egg drop soup recipe, but I've added egg noodles and some bits of seafood to round it out as a complete meal. The broth is super light and fresh with really pure tomato flavor. It also gets a little bump of seafood brininess from the cuttlefish balls and fish tofu I added in while the tomatoes were stewing. You can find these at all asian markets in the frozen section. Don't be turned off by the word "fish tofu" it's so freaking delicious. If those fishy things sort of scare you, you could just increase the amount of shrimp! Do what feels right! 

Okay, gotta back to this week's craziness! 


Tomato Noodle Soup

serves 4 

materials:

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic - minced
3 green onions - chopped with whites and greens separated
1 inch chunk of ginger - minced
8 cups of water
3 large ripe tomatoes - roughly chopped
2 tbsp chicken boullion
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp salt - more per taste
1/2 tsp white pepper - more per taste
1 lb fresh egg noodles
12 shrimp peeled and de-veined
12 frozen cuttlefish balls - optional
12 pieces of fish tofu - optional

steps:

1. Heat up olive oil over medium high heat. Add in garlic, green onions (whites), and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add in water, chopped tomatoes, chicken bouillon, oyster sauce, salt, and white pepper. Bring to a boil. Throw in frozen cuttlefish and fish tofu at this time. Bring it back to a gentle boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down. Adjust seasoning per your taste.

2. While the soup is boiling, cook noodles per the packaged instruction. If using fresh egg noodles, they cook for only 2-3 minute. Drain and set aside until ready to eat.

3. Turn off the heat for the soup and throw in the shrimp. The shrimp will cook in just a few minutes and will be ready once your soup is at a safe temperature to drink.

4. Add noodles to a bowl. Pour in desired amount of broth. Top with shrimp, cuttlefish balls, and fish tofu. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and enjoy!
 

Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
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Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Hi, hi! What's happening??! You ate a bunch of tomatoes and stone fruit over the week? It was actually warm enough where you are to go to the beach??! Wow. That sounds like the dream : ) Reuben and I had a pretty chill weekend. We watched a whole season of Weeds, stocked up on our asian sauce collection, picked up our Japanese knives from the knife sharpening store, and went grocery shopping. Pretty boring, pretty chill, but just wanted I wanted. Oh, and I washed a mountain of dishes that I accumulated from cooking lunch for my entire office. Gosh. It was super fun but it was so exhausting. My tiny kitchen isn't quite fully equip to handle catering lunches for parties of 30 people. Thankfully, Reuben let me store some veggies in his secret beer fridge! I mean, we've had parties at our apartment before where we've fed 30 people, but being able to transport all the food across town in an Uber is quite a technical challenge. But somehow I got all the food to the office and everyone was happy and full! Chicken wings, soba noodle salad, and onigiri are crowd pleasers if you're also planning on making lunch for your entire office. I'm going to have to look into where in our 800 sf apartment we can fit an extra refrigerator and deep freeze before I volunteer to make lunch again!

Shall we talk cupcakes?

Okay. Before you say anything... I know what you're going to say. These cupcakes have a striking resemblance to the poop emoji. BUT. That probably wasn't the best word choice... but, they taste like the absolute opposite of poop! I wasn't planning on making them look like poop. I was having some buttercream and piping tip issues with my original decoration plan and had to resort to something a little more simple. My buttercream piping skills are a little poopy... sorry, this isn't the most appetizing language... I'll stop using that word. For real though, these coconut cupcakes are so tasty. They are light as air, perfectly slightly sweet, and the texture is so soft and tender. I think this is the best cake batter I've ever made. EVER. The buttercream is also super light and fluffy. It's full of mango flavor. When you take a bite out of the whole cupcake it makes you feel like you're at a baby shower in Hawaii or Thailand. I've never been to a baby shower in Hawaii or Thailand but I imagine that these cupcakes would be there and that I would hang around the dessert table the whole time so I could keep eating these.

I hope you make them sometime and I hope you make them look less like poop!


Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

makes 18 cupcakes

Cupcake Materials:

1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1/3 cup toasted coconut shreds

Mango Buttercream Materials:

1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 mango - you need about 3/4 cup of puree
pinch of salt
orange + yellow food coloring

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 cup suagr, and salt in a large bowl. 

2. Whisk together coconut milk, vanilla, canola oil, and egg yolks in a separate medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut and set aside.

3. Add egg whites into the bowl of your standmixer with the the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add in 2 tbsp sugar and whisk for another 3-4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.

4. Line the cupcake tins with wrappers and scoop batter into each tin until they are 3/4 of the way filled. Bake for 13-14 minutes until done. These bake really fast so keep a close eye on them. You don't want them to brown that much, if at all.

5. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove to completely cool on a wire rack.

6. While the cupcakes cool, make your buttercream. Score and scoop out the flesh of one mango. Puree in a food processor or immersion blender until smooth. Place softened butter in the bowl of your standmixer with the paddle attachment on. Mix butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the mango puree and salt. Mix on low speed while also gradually adding in the powdered sugar. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter cream is light and smooth. If it looks like it's curdled, it's okay! Just keep mixing! After mixing for 4-5 minutes it should be smooth. Add in food color and mix again until color is evenly incorporated. Fill a piping bag with butter cream and decorated as you wish.

7. Top with toasted coconut shreds.

Plum Shrub

Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub

Do you ever get a weird sinking feeling stuck deep in your chest and no matter what you do or how many calming matcha lattes you drink you just can't shake it??? That's what anxiety feels for me. Actually this time, it sort of feels like I'm suffocating and stuck in a room with a million doors but none of them can open right now. Anxiety hits me in great big waves. When it's not hovering over me, I feel like the happiest person in the world. In my natural non-anxious state, I like to think of myself as a sunny and overly positive person. But then every once in a while, it just crashes down on me and it takes few days for me to bounce back. I'm honestly not a fun person to be around when I'm feeling like this. Sorry, Reuben.

My anxiety could be triggered by a whole bunch of things. It could be from an exhausting or unproductive week of work. I hate not having anything to do... it literally drives me crazy. Or it could be from experiencing a creative block with my art or developing recipes. Sometimes, it's from something dumb like posting a photo on Instagram and having no one "like" it. This time it's triggered by feeling super restless and unsure about everything that I'm doing. Like, what am I supposed to be doing with my life?!!

We all feel this way sometimes, right? Tell me I'm not the only one!

In an attempt to help get this anxious feeling out of my chest, I try my best to relax and find some hippy dippy internal peace. I take a break from developing recipes and just cook without any intent of photographing or styling. I let myself clock in some extra hours on the couch watching Netflix (we're currently watching Weeds!). I get Reuben to take me out to a new restaurant for some recipe inspiration. I try to sit outside on my lunch break, alone, breathe, and reassure myself that this is exactly where I'm so supposed to be. Hopefully this weird feeling is over in a few days because I need to get out of this funk and back into the kitchen.

Apologies if you didn't sign up to hear about the lows and only want to know about the fun things I do on the weeks or the random recipes I whip up in my kitchen. About 95% of my life and blog are sunny and happy, thankfully. But as with everyone, there is always those days when you're not feeling 100%. If you're down for 5% that's not so sunny, thank you for listening : )

Let's brighten things up now, should we?!
*metaphorically opens the curtains and sunshine comes flooding in*

You know what also helps you get out of funk? A bright, sparkly, and fruity drink! Have you had shrubs before? It is a drinking vinegar made with sugar and fruit. It's super easy to make and is a great addition to cocktails. I personally like to just mix it with some sparkling water for a quick, pretty, and refreshing drink that makes you feel fancy on a Tuesday. I had some rhubarb shrub at the photography workshop I went to a few months back and I though it was magic. I have an affinity towards anything sour and tart. I love me some sour beer, pickled vegetables, and kombucha. You can make shrubs with pretty much any fruit! Don't use bananas, I think that would be pretty awful. I used red plums because our friend, Alex, has a ridiculous abundance of plums from his tree and I'm doing my best to help a friend out! I also recommend that you play around with the types of sugars and vinegars. Maybe throw some herbs in there! Get fancy with it.

I might actually make myself of spritzer right now! 


Plum Shrub

Materials:

1 lb pitted and chopped plums
2 cups white sugar
2 cups white vinegar

Steps:

1. Combine plums and sugar in a bowl. Give it a light smash with a potato masher to help release the juice of the fruit. Cover and let the sugar and plum mixer sit in the fridge for 24 hours.

2. Mix in the vinegar. Cover and allow the shrub mixture to chill in the fridge for another 24 hours. You can allow this mixture to sit for a few more days if you want a stronger flavor.

3. Strain out the plums from the mixture and discard. Pour shrub into airtight glass containers and keep chilled in the fridge. Use shrub in cocktails or mix with sparkling water.

I make a spritzer using 1 part shrub and 3 parts sparkling water.