Tag: soup

Kale & Sweet Potato Soup

Kale & Sweet Potato Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Kale & Sweet Potato Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Kale & Sweet Potato Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

We’ve turned on the heat. On the afternoons when the cold is seeping into my bones I nudge the thermostat up a couple of degrees. We’ve had four fires in our fireplace. Jonah even acquired one third of a cord of wood (which is a lot). I am drinking tea most mornings. The leaves are fiery red, more neon than I remember them being in years past. I think I’m so excited about all of this because I missed fall last year. I’ve always loved fall for many of the usual reasons: sweaters, tea, cozy gatherings with family and friends. But this year it all seems bigger. Last year we went pretty much straight from summer in Portland to more summer in Thailand, and then straight into winter in Germany. I missed my favorite season and some of my favorite ingredients.

But having more appreciation isn’t the only thing that’s different. There have been little things in our day to day lives that have altered since we started making this home. It seems silly, but I used to be very particular about leftovers, and often didn’t really like eating them very much. These days I am a leftover guru: combining bits from different meals to make something completely new and also really good (if I do say so myself). I am working on going with the flow more, and am getting better every day. And this season I am determined to confront my mediocre feelings toward soup. It’s not that I hate soup at all – I don’t even dislike it. But there is always something I would rather eat (the exception to this is matzoh ball soup). But with a new kitchen, a new dutch oven, and a new perspective on leftovers, I’m going to conquer soup.

I made this decision over a month ago when we arrived in Chicago for our wedding. Once we hauled our suitcases into the living room at Jonah’s parents’ house after a long day of travel, my mother-in-law asked if we wanted something to eat. She scooped rice into a bowl and topped it with this light coconut broth, simmered kale, and sweet potatoes. There was a healthy pinch of cilantro, and she got out the hot sauce for us to liberally drizzle over. I took one bite and was convinced that I needed to re-examine my relationship with soup. I ate this for the next three days for lunch, secretly sneaking into the kitchen for a slightly early lunch so I would get to it before Jonah’s family finished it off. It was selfish, but I couldn’t help myself.

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Pumpkin Curry Soup

Pumpkin Curry Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin Curry Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin Curry Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin Curry Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin Curry Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin Curry Soup | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I should be working. You see, in about 10 hours I’ll be getting on a plane to Bangkok, sleeping in a hotel, and then getting on a 12 hour flight to Cologne, Germany. And I have a few items to cross of my checklist before I hop that flight. Instead, I want to tell you about Wee.

We discovered Wee’s Restaurant thanks to friends Zita and Jeremy, who found it via Trip Advisor (oh man do I have a love/hate relationship with that site, but that is for another time). We first ate at Wee’s in early November, and then we kept returning, and returning. My dad was the one who observed that she had a cooking class, and so I handed Wee my phone, she found herself on Facebook for me, and we started messaging about when we could do the class and what dishes to make. A few days later, we ate our Thanksgiving dinner at her place, and then a couple of days later Kylie, Walt, Jonah, and I spent 9 hours in her kitchen cranking out her amazing dishes.

What won me over was Wee’s wing bean salad with shrimp. But as I tried more and more of her dishes, I fell deeper and deeper. They were unique, unlike dishes that we had at other restaurants in Chiang Mai. They tasted more complex, more interesting. You know when you can taste that something has been made with care and, dare I say it, love? That’s how Wee’s food tasted to me. Between that and Wee’s sense of humor and her infectious smile, I knew we would get along.

It felt like we made a majority of Wee’s menu in the kitchen that day, but we truly only scratched the surface. This pumpkin soup that we had on Thanksgiving was one dish that kept me coming back. The pumpkin is sweet, the coconut broth a little spicy from the curry paste, and herby from the kaffir lime and lemongrass. And the best thing about it that just as I was eating it in warm Chiang Mai, I could imagine my friends back at home making it to warm themselves up.

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Tom Yum Koong (Hot & Sour Prawn Soup)

When you think of Thai food, do you think of pad thai? Of rice noodles with a slightly ketchup-y sauce topped with too many bean sprouts? Or mild curries, full of almost mushy vegetables? Or do you think of fresh noodles with a tart and savory flavor, created by a mixture of tamarind and oyster sauce? Or curry paste pounded by hand, spicy and complex?

Tom Yum Koong (Hot & Sour Prawn Soup) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Tom Yum Koong (Hot & Sour Prawn Soup) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Tom Yum Koong (Hot & Sour Prawn Soup) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Tom Yum Koong (Hot & Sour Prawn Soup) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Since I have been in Thailand, I have mostly enjoyed the latter kind of Thai food. Food that is packed with flavor, that has depth to it, layers of ingredients that have been combined with care, with knowledge. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to take a cooking class, to learn these recipes and techniques. And, in the end, they aren’t as time consuming or confusing as you might think. The ingredients may be hard to find back home, but I can make do.

The day before Thanksgiving, I booked a cooking class for us and our visitors. There were eight of us total, and I thought it would be a good way to all spend a day together, doing something that we really enjoyed. Plus, it would almost be like Thanksgiving what with the hours in the kitchen and the overeating. We went with a company called AsiaScenic, and (after a little confusion) they picked us all up in a van and drove us to a market on the way to their farm north of the city.

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Weekend Finds 7:20:14

It has been HOT in Portland, you guys. I’m talking like 90 degrees, humid, blech. The kind of hot that just makes you want to dip your toes in a fountain, drink milkshakes, and take a nap in the afternoon with the fan blowing full force. When it’s this hot, it officially becomes salad season. Here are some weekend finds to help deal with the heat.

1. Gazpacho

Gazpacho Season // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Ooh I could go for a cup of gazpacho right about now.

Jonah claims he doesn’t like gazpacho, but I’m convinced I can change his mind if I find the perfect recipe. I haven’t committed to one yet, but I’m determined to make some this week, before it cools off too much. I’ve been looking at recipes like this, this, and this. Let me know in the comments if you have a great gazpacho recipe.

2. Tomato, Corn, Cucumber Salad

Corn, Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta Salad // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Doesn’t that look just like the definition of summer?

Earlier this week, we needed a quick, crunchy, cold dinner before we went to play a show. I picked up some corn, grape tomatoes, and feta on the way home, we sliced it all up, added some cucumber, and voila, dinner (via this recipe). Then last night we went over to a friend’s house for salad night and we pulled out the leftovers, threw them on top of some spinach, added some chickpeas and a tahini dressing (this one minus the ginger and garlic, plus a little more vinegar). It was filling and refreshing and really delicious.

3. Crispy Tofu with Sriracha Honey Lime Sauce

Crispy Tofu with Sriracha Honey Lime Sauce from I Am a Food Blog // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Beautiful tofu from I Am a Food Blog

On the nights it isn’t so hot, we cook things like this crispy tofu with sriracha lime honey sauce from I Am a Food Blog. I think this might be my new favorite way to make tofu. Be warned though, that sauce is spicy. (I like eating spicy things when it’s hot out – why not be hot on the inside and the outside?) Also, if you don’t know about I Am a Food Blog, you should. Go to her site and poke around. Everything we’ve made from her has been awesome.

4. Cleaning out your spice drawer

Cleaning out the Spice Drawer // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Look at how organized that spice drawer is. I want that in my life.

We are re-signing our lease, and that means we are doing a massive cleaning of our house. We’ve probably cleaned out our spice drawer(s) multiple times since living here, but it can’t hurt to do it again. It’s important to know how long you can keep things before they lose their punch. This guide from The Kitchn is a great help.

5. Miso Quinoa Pilaf with Eggplant and Cucumber!

Miso Quinoa Pilaf from Food52 // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Plus this quinoa pilaf features one of my favorite flavors ever: miso!

I don’t usually like quinoa. I find that it tends to be underseasoned/underdressed, and as a result is awfully bland. But my roommate is slowly changing my mind… We made dinner together a few weeks ago from some leftover, and we made this really delicious quinoa bowl with roasted vegetables. Anyway, point is, I’d like to try to eat more quinoa, and this miso quinoa pilaf looks like a great place to start.