Vietnamese Chicken and Noodle Soup with Greens

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup with Greens

This is a very simple Vietnamese soup. It makes for a nice lunch or light dinner. You can find the rice vermicelli noodles and fish sauce in the ethnic section of some grocery stores. You can also find these ingredients at Asian markets. Check out the produce while you are at the Asian market. You can often find bok choy and other Asian vegetables at very reasonable prices.

I have made this soup dozens of times and have used all kinds of greens in it. Today I used some Swiss chard that I got in this week’s CSA box. It was another beautiful box from Pinckney’s Produce. It contained strawberries, spring onions, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, buttercrunch lettuce, spring mix,  turnips, and turnip greens.

Spring 2014 CSA Box Week 2 (640x401)

Vietnamese Chicken and Noodle Soup with Greens

1 chicken breast
6 cups chicken broth
4 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
1 head of bok choy or a small bunch of Swiss chard, washed well.
3 tablespoons fish sauce (I like Three Crabs brand)
black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, soak the rice vermicelli noodles in hot water for 15 minutes or until they are softened. Drain well in a colander. Once drained, cut the noodles into 2-inch lengths using kitchen shears.

In a soup pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken breast. Cook, skimming off any foam that rises to the top, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and cool until it is easy enough to handle. Shred the chicken and add back to the broth.

Remove the stems from the bok choy or Swiss chard and save for another use. Cut the greens into shreds and add to the broth. Add the softened rice vermicelli noodles and fish sauce to the chicken broth. Heat through. Season with black pepper and ladle the soup into serving bowls.

Vietnamese Chicken and Noodle Soup with Greens (640x480)

Stir-Fried Rice Vermicelli with Bok Choy and Tatsoi

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Tatsoi with Rice Vermicelli (640x455)

I was super happy to pick up my first Pinckney’s Produce CSA box of the season last Thursday. The first week’s box contained: bok choy, tatsoi, strawberries, spring lettuce mix, spring onions, Swiss chard, and mustard greens (which I swapped out for another head of bok choy).

Spring 2014 CSA Box #1

We ate through our CSA box quickly. My boys ate the strawberries. I sautéed the Swiss chard with one of the spring onions for a side dish one night. I made several salads with the spring mix. I prepared Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Broccoli with Chicken with some of my bok choy, and then used the remaining head for this noodle dish. Can’t wait to get our next box on Thursday.

Stir-Fried Rice Vermicelli with Bok Choy and Tatsoi

8 ounce rice vermicelli (about 1/2 a package)

3 tablespoons soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten-free option)
2 tablespoons Chinese rice (cooking) wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sambal olek or sriracha (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, slivered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 carrots, peeled, cut into thirds, and julienned
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 large head bok choy, chopped
1 small bunch tatsoi, chopped

crushed peanuts

Prepare the ingredients before starting to cook. Once everything is ready, this stir-fry comes together fairly quickly.

Soak the rice vermicelli in a large bowl with enough hot water to cover for about 15 minutes or until they soften. Drain in a colander and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, water, sambal olek (or sriracha), and cornstarch. Set sauce aside.

Heat a wok (or large sauté pan) over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and then add the onions. Stir-fry until the onions start to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and mushrooms and continue to stir-fry until the mushrooms start to release some of their liquid. Next, add the bok choy and tatsoi and cook another minute. Add the softened and drained rice noodles and the reserved sauce. Stir-fry until everything is heated through and the noodles have absorbed the sauce. This may take up to two or three minutes. Serve the noodles hot or at room temperature with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts on top.



Savory Pear Tart from The Texitarian

Savory Pear Tart 2

Yesterday, I made the Savory Pear Tart recipe found on the blog, The Texitarian, to take to an Easter potluck. I thought it turned out beautifully. I enjoyed the tart and even got a couple of compliments on it.

Pear Tart

The tart was really easy to make. I just laid the ingredients out on a thawed piece of puff pastry and baked it. I got the spinach and rosemary out of my garden. I thought the results were quite impressive.

Here’s what the tart looks like before baking:

Savory Pear Tart Before Baking

You can find the recipe for this tart here:

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake Piece

This cake makes me homesick for Texas. It’s a classic. And no, you cannot substitute any other nuts for the pecans. : ) My kids won’t eat anything with nuts, so if I’m feeling nice I will make the cake and only put the pecans on half the cake. The cake still tastes good, but it is not the same.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 butter
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 2 teaspoons lemon juice and enough milk to make 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Spray a 13 X 9-inch pan with cooking spray and dust with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Combine the water, butter, and cocoa in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer until blended. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs; beating well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool.

For the frosting, combine the butter, milk, and cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread over the hot cake. Sprinkle the cake with the chopped pecans. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

You can bake this cake on a 15 x 10-inch jellyroll pan. Just cut the baking time to about 17 minutes.

Kale and Cannellini Soup

Kale and Cannellini Soup

Here is another easy soup featuring greens and beans.  This vegan broth-based vegetable soup is perfect for lunch or as a first course of a larger meal.

Kale and Cannellini Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 medium red potatoes, diced (you could use any type of potato you wanted)
4 cups of kale, stems and ribs removed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large soup pot, sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add the minced garlic and celery, and cook 1 minute more. Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, diced potatoes, and kale. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a slow boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with dried chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Serve.

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto (547x640)

I made this risotto while I was on the low iodine diet, but you don’t have to be on a special diet to enjoy it. My husband and I both thought it was delicious. This can easily be made to be vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

3 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 bunch (about 1 pound) fresh asparagus, sliced in to 1/2-inch pieces
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 ounces mushrooms (button or baby bellas), cleaned and chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the unsalted chicken broth to simmering.

In another saucepan, cook the sliced asparagus in salted (with Kosher salt) boiling water, until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet with a heavy bottom, heat 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the Arborio rice, stir to coat with oil and sauté with onions for about 5 minutes to toast the rice. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to sauté until they soften. Add 1 cup of the heated chicken broth, stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring until the rice has absorbed the broth. Add another 1/2 cup of the stock, stirring often until the rice has absorbed the broth. Continue adding the broth (about ½ cup at a time) as the rice absorbs the liquid and the pan becomes dry, until all the broth is absorbed. This should take about 20 minutes (the risotto will become creamy). As you are adding the last bit of broth, add the drained asparagus and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, season with Kosher salt and pepper, stir to combine, and serve immediately.