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

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

Tomato Egg Drop Soup
Tomato Egg Drop Soup
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Hey! I'm back this week with a recipe! Before I get to this beautiful soup, tell me about your weekend! Is it Fall where you are? I spent my weekend catching up with life, organizing my mini studio post craft fair, testing baking experiments, and taking Reuben to the emergency room. Reuben roughed himself up pretty good in a mountain biking accident on Saturday -_- A patch of rocks caused him to fly over his handlebars and land right on his shoulder. He's mostly fine, but he can't take out the trash or open jars for me right now. We'll survive!

Indian Summer is still in full swing here in San Francisco. Hot and sunny. That hasn't stopped Trader Joe's from being filled to the brim with pumpkin things. It's everywhere and I'm having mixed feelings about it. Are there not other fall flavors that we can celebrate? What happened to the sweet potato? What about cardamom? Can persimmons become a bigger thing? I'm going to make persimmons a bigger thing. I think I'm going to try to not make anything with pumpkin this season. I'm going to eat all the pumpkin pie, pumpkin rolls, lattes, and cookies if they are in front of me. Duh. But I'm going to do my best to explore the other fall flavors out there!

I'll be heading home to Cleveland on Thursday. I'm so excited! It's going to be slightly chilly and Fall-ish. On the itinerary is apple picking, Apple Cart soft serve (the best!), and apple galette making. Oh, and dim sum and copious eating... that goes without saying. I'll fill you in on all the Ohio delights when I get back!

Okay, are you ready for some soup? First, confession-time. I was a pretty picky eater when I was little. Actually, hold up. I feel like in comparison to the average child of the Midwest, I was actually a pretty good eater. My diet as a child consisted of a lot of rice, jook (rice porridge), noodles, meat, some vegetables, and cheese. At dim sum I would scoop out the filling of my egg rolls and dumplings and only eat the wrapper. But that's the best part, am I right? The filling would go to either my mom or grandpa. I was very into plain cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, cheese pizzas, and grilled cheese. No toppings, please. To be honest, I'm still into plain cheese everything. I had a serious aversion towards mushrooms, pickles, 75% of most vegetables, spicy things, and tomatoes. GASP. No! Yes. I really did not like tomatoes. I hated tomato soup. Raw tomatoes was never an option for me. Ketchup and pizza sauce was okay. I remember my mom making this tomato egg drop soup and dreading having to drink it. Not because it was bad, it has always been delicious, but because I was stupid. I'm so sorry, Mom! But I'm older and wiser now. I eat practically everything and I LOVE tomatoes. I have come to my senses and can now fully appreciate the beautiful wholesome flavors of this tomato soup.

The soup is bursting with fresh tomato flavor! It's not diluted with any cream or herbs. It's most literally just tomato and water. It simmers for a while and the pure and clean flavors permeate the stock to make the lightest and most flavorful tomato soup you've ever sipped. You can still find gorgeously ripe tomatoes at the market, so grab them while you can! The better the tomatoes the better the soup. But it will still taste great with some off-season tomatoes. The tomatoes are great and all, but the eggs are probably my favorite part of the whole damn thing. You gently swirl them in and if everything goes right, you'll have a few poached/soft boiled eggs floating around that everyone will be fighting over. When I finally outgrew my distaste for tomatoes, I would beg for a huge bowl of this - a soft egg was a must! I honestly could not think of a better meal to transition from Summer to Fall than with this dreamy tomato soup. Happy Fall, y'all!


Tomato Egg Drop Soup

serves 4-6 people

Materials:

4-5 large ripe tomatoes

4 cups of water

4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp oyster sauce

Salt + White Pepper

4-6 eggs

1/2 lb chicken tenders (optional)

2 tbsp cornstarch (optional)

1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

green onions - thinly sliced for garnish 

Steps:

1. Combine water and stock in a large pot and bring to a boil. While your water boils, dice up your tomatoes. Once it come to a boil, add in tomatoes, tomato paste, oyster sauce, and season with 2 tbsp salt and 1 tsp white pepper. Reduce heat to a strong simmer (medium to medium high) and stir occasionally for 20-30 minutes. Taste throughout and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. If you want to add chicken to your soup, slice the chicken tenders and combine with cornstarch, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let marinate for 15-20 minutes. Add into your soup after it has been simmering for 20-30 minutes and allow to cook in the soup for 10 minutes.

3. Carefully crack one egg at a time into the soup. When it hits the water, slowly stir the soup with a heat proof spoon or ladle to get those wispy bits of egg. Don't stir too hard though! You want to try to get a little poached or soft boiled egg in there - the best part! Repeat the stir after each egg. 

4. After all the eggs have been added, turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool to a safe to eat temperature. The eggs will gently cook in the heat of the soup. Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with thinly sliced green onions!

How To Upgrade Your Instant Noodles

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Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up in an awful mood and act like an absolute monster? I did. Saturday. Saturday was pretty bad. I was having a really off day, not feeling like myself, and overwhelmed by things that shouldn't have been so overwhelming. Nothing was working out and I was just getting annoyed of anything and everything around me. Poor Reuben had to experience my raging bitchfest firsthand. But we survived - he still likes me somehow. Sunday came, we went to an NFL fantasy draft, and I ate fried cheese curds for the first time which immediately fixed all my emotional problems. Omgosh they are so good. Oh, and I got gelato... problems gone.

This happens to everyone, right? Or am I that extra sensitive kid in class? It feels like there is a tidal wave of emotions hitting me all at once and all I can do is wait for it to pass. In between my fits of frustration and tears, I self medicated by watching Parenthood on Netflix and making myself a cozy hot bowl of instant noodles. Can I talk abut Parenthood for a hot second before I get to the noods? I'm obviously very late to the Parenthood train. It encompasses everything I love: family, weekly family dinners at a long table, love, cute Berkeley/California homes, and learning important life lessons. This show was made for me. I mean, in the last episode I watched, Crosby and Jasmine got married in the magical backyard with a gospel choir singing "make you feel my love". MADE. FOR. ME. I was obviously crying my eyes out. Then the episode ended and I realized I needed to eat.

My mom made us a lot of instant noodles growing up. They were quick, comforting, and cheap. She would always add a crispy egg. It's essential! Then she would either cook up some veggies or fry up some ham or spam to add into the mix. In my mind, instant noodles were a treat and not something you were forced to eat because you're a poor college student spending all your money on bass wood and black clothes. I did eat a lot of instant noodles during college, but the overachiever in me always had to upgrade it like my mom taught me. It was the perfect thing to have after I came home from studio late at night or if I woke up a little hungover from dancing until my calves ached in the Brotel. So this Saturday, in the midst of my raging bitchfest, I was hungry and upset and saw that there was one package of instant noodles sitting in the way way back of cupboard. It was exactly what I needed. I continued to be pissy for the rest of the day, but it definitely helped.

Here are some key tips to follow if you want to upgrade your instant noodles.

1. Only use half of the flavor packet. You don't need all that sodium!

2. Put an egg on it! Fry it, poach it, soft-boil it, swirl it into the soup egg drop style.

3. Cook a veggie. Bok choy, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, kale, whatever you have on hand will work.

4. Add a punch of flavor. Grate in some ginger or garlic. Add in a few drops of sesame oil, Sriracha, or dark soy.

5. Explore the instant noodle section! You can get instant pho, laksa, udon, soba, green noodles? Literally so many options. I love going in that aisle and picking out a few new ones to try. Some of them are legit.

Stock up on some instant noodles, so that the next time you turn into a monster you'll have something tasty and easy to have for lunch. Have a great rest of week! Stay cheery! 


Upgraded Instant Noodles

serves 1

Materials:

1 package of instant noodles

2 C water

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 baby bok choy

1 egg

Steps:

1. Bring pot of water to a boil. Add half of flavor packet and grate in ginger and garlic. Once soup starts to boil, turn off the heat and add noodles to the soup. Allow to cook in the hot water for 3-4 minutes, until al dente.

2. Sear bok choy in pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper, about 5 minutes.

3. Fry egg in olive oil until set and crispy, about 2 minutes.

4. Assemble your bowl and enjoy!