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, at my core I'm 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. Actually I would still say that. 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 stock in the cupboard 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 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 flavor 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 minutes. 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!
 

Shiitake Mushroom and Beef Noodle Soup

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Heyyyy! How was your holiday break? Have you gained 20 pounds from cookies? Do you feel rested and ready to take on 2018? I baked a billion cookies, a cake, and a dozen pineapple buns. Impressed my Grandma with my baking skills and she now believes I can actually cook. Watched Coco with my family and tried to not ugly cry in public the whole time (THE MOVIE WAS SO GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL). Started watching The Crown and got my brother hooked on Riverdale (it's so terrible but so good). It has been great!

I'm wrapping up my time at home and flying back to San Francisco tomorrow night. Leaving my parent's house is always so bittersweet. Whenever I go home I always feel like a part of me reverts back to my 18 year old self, which is good and bad. Back in San Francisco, I'm a real self-sufficient and independent adult that can take care of herself. But when I'm home, all of a sudden I melt into the couch and my mom takes care of everything for me! So grateful for her. As relaxing as my time at home has been, I'm ready to get back into my normal routine and to see Reuby again! I miss my tiny kitchen, too!

Since it is nearing the end of 2017, I guess it is a time for reflection and figuring out my resolutions. So here it goes...

1. Eat more vegetables and drink more water - Pretty basic, but after all the indulgence the last few weeks I'm contemplating going vegetarian for the month of January and sort of miss going to the gym... who am I?!!!

2. Cook more of the food that I love - that includes noodle soups, dumplings, and buns! I'm super proud of all the recipes I've cranked out this past year, but I feel like there was a severe shortage of noodles and dumplings. Gonna change that.

3. Don't let Instagram get to me - To be honest with you guys, I've been developing a lot of anxiety while scrolling through Instagram. It wasn't always this way. But lately, I feel myself comparing myself to other accounts, feeling insecure, and unsure of what I want to share with the world. I don't like feeling that way, so I just have to keep reminding myself that we all have our own story to share and that the point of Eat Cho Food is to cook food that I love! Resolution #2, ya know??

4. Visit my family more - It gets harder and harder to be away from my family each year that I am away. So I've been trying to squeeze in more trips home every year. I'll be working on a project in Chicago the next few months, so I'm hoping to make some weekend trips from Chicago to Cleveland work out! Need to bake some more buns with Cho Momma!

5. Connect - This is a constant resolution for me. But I always want to work on my connections with people. Reuben. My family. My friends. You. It's hard when people are scattered around the world, but it brings me a lot of joy to connect with a far away living friend, even if it is a short phone call!

For my last recipe of 2017, I'm sharing my favorite comfort food. Noodle soup. I crave it when I'm sick. When I'm sad. When I'm tired. When I feel like celebrating. Heck, all the time! My mom can make a mean noodle soup out of anything. The random ingredients left in our fridge. Or the leftover pot roast that needs to get eaten up. This noodle soup has a super rich and deep broth made up of shiitake mushrooms and beef. The mushroom broth is made by steeping dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water. You can get dried shiitake mushrooms at most asian supermarkets. If you're soaking mushrooms for a stir fry or a non soup dish, never throw away the broth, it's way to valuable to waste! Freeze and save it for the next time you need some quick soup! This noodle soup is nourishing and comforting. After all the cookies, cakes, and meaty feasts, this is the perfect simple bowl of food to start your new year off with!

Happy New Year!


Shiitake Mushroom and Beef Noodle Soup

serves 4

materials:

10-12 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 cups boiling hot water
4 cups beef broth
3 cloves garlic
1 small white onion
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper - or more to taste
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped green onions

1 package of rice noodles - prepared according to packaged directions. Leave noodles in a strainer and tossed with a bit of oil to keep the noodles from sticking.

1 ribeye steak
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp oil

* You can make this vegetarian by swapping out the beef broth for vegetable broth and the steak with tofu or bok choy. 

steps:

Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a heat proof container and pour boiling water over them. Make sure the mushrooms are submerged. Cover with a lid or plate and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the mushrooms to soften and steep to produce your mushroom broth.

Combine the steak with oyster sauce, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, and oil in a bowl, container, or ziplock bag. give it a good mix and allow the steak to marinade for 20-30 minutes, while you prepare your soup.

Thinly slice the garlic cloves and chop the green onions. Peel and slice the white onion in half and then thinly slice into crescents. Set aside.

Once the mushrooms have soaked, remove the mushrooms and either cut them in half or leave them whole if they are small enough. You can also slice them if that is your preference. Strain the mushroom broth through a fine mesh sieve to catch any grit. Set aside the broth and the mushrooms.

Add the beef broth, mushroom broth, sliced garlic, onions, white of the green onion, salt, white pepper and dark soy into a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the mushrooms and bring the heat down to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust flavorings according.

To prepare your steak, add a bit of oil into a skillet and bring up to a medium high heat. Sear the steak for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Cook for longer if you prefer your meat cooked more well. Remember that the heat of the soup will cook the steak a little more. Place the steak on a cutting board and allow to rest for 3 -5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak.

To assemble the noodle soup bowls add a bundle of cooked rice noodles into a bowl. Place a few slices of steak on top and ladle your soup over the noodles and steak, making sure the grab a few mushrooms. Garnish with the green onions and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Jook

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Happy Thursday! Do you want you to hear the craziest thing? In last week's post, I wrote about how I really wanted to make a bunch of lasagnas for the victims and first responders of the wine country fires. I wrote that on Monday and then on Wednesday I found out about an amazing lasagna drive being organized by Confetti Kitchen, where they would be doing exactly that. I signed up instantly and I'm so unbelievably happy that I did. It took place in the gorgeous space of Cookhouse SF. I felt like I was walking into a dream. The kitchen was like out of a provincial french cooking show and all the other chefs and volunteers were so kind. I was a little nervous at first that it was going to be a bunch of professional chefs and then ... me. But it was fine! Everyone was friendly and so talented! I wish I could talk about food with other chefs all day every day! By the end of the day we ended up cranking out 50 delicious lasagnas. They made their way out of the kitchen and into the bellies of some really deserving people. Hopefully the cooler fall weather and maybe some rain will provide some relief up there.

I think we could all use some relief right now, and Fall is the perfect season for it. Don't we all become a little basic when Fall comes around? Like, we can't help. Who doesn't like crisp air, cozy sweaters, soft flannel, warm spices, the return of This Is Us, and finally being able to turn our oven on or stand over a hot pot of soup again? I freakin' love it and I don't care if you think I'm basic because of it. I feel like I can be my TRUE self during the fall. It's finally socially acceptable to be wrapped up in a blanket at all times. Apple cider is constantly stocked in our fridge (FYI, Reuben finally bought a beer fridge and there is sooooo much room in the fridge now!). The temperature outside makes me crave noodle soups, which is my favorite food group. Then there is all the orange! If you haven't noticed or don't know me very well, orange is my absolute favorite color. It is just such a bright and cheery, yet calming and warming color. I feel like not enough people love the color orange... but that just means more orange KitchenAid stand mixers for me!

Is it a coincidence that my favorite color is abundant during my favorite season??? IDK. But I'm happy that it is! I tend to buy things more if they are a beautiful hue of orange, like persimmons, sweet potatoes, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, mangoes, you get the idea. You should have seen me at the farmers market this weekend... so. many. orange. things. It is only natural that I try to make my meals orange too! I took my most comforting cozy meal, Ginger Chicken Jook, and made it all Autumn-y! If you haven't had jook or congee, it is a rice porridge-like soup and one of my favorite foods. It's also a meal that takes a bit of patience to prepare. You need about an hour of peacefully stir rice. This is a great time to call your mom though! Call your mom. The sweet potato makes the jook really earthy and hearty. It's like a sweet potato or butternut squash soup but 10 times better and more texturally interesting. You can add all sorts of toppings, an egg even! I added green onions and fried shallots, which are classic toppings, some bacon for some smokiness, and torn up some pieces of sourdough rye bread from the farmers market for dunking. I ate my bowl while wrapped up in my blanket and it was the best!


Sweet Potato Jook

serves 4

Steps:

1. Fill a large soup pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add in the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes. Boil the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes, until soft and tender. Use a slotted spoon or fine mesh sieve to scoop out the sweet potatoes and place aside in bowl. Use a potato masher or a large fork to mash the sweet potatoes. You still want a few chunks for texture.

2. Add the chicken start to the remaining water and bring back to a boil. Slowly add in the rice and give it a good stir for 15 seconds. Add in grated ginger and oyster sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper, add more to taste as it continues to cook. Allow the rice to cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes so that the rice doesn't burn.

3. After 30 minutes, add in the mashed sweet potatoes and give it a good stir. Boil for another 20 minutes until the jook has thickened and both the rice and sweet potatoes have broken down. If it gets a little two thick, add a cup or 2 of water. 

4. Once the jook has thickened, allow it to cool to a safe eating temperature. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with sliced green onions, bacon, and fried shallots! Or whatever your hearts desires!

Materials:

2 small sweet potatoes - peeled and cubed

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup jasmine rice

2 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp oyster sauce

salt + White Pepper

green onions 

crispy bacon - optional 

fried shallots - optional