Spring Soup Series – Tom Yum Goong

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This is the fifth recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

I fell into a burnin’ ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher,
And it burns, burns, burns,
The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

Johnny Cash seemed to be cheering for us on that last Sunday dinner then, when we had to chow down on these very spicy duck red curry and prawn-vegetables stir fry.

“Is it really hot in here, or is it just me?” saying jokingly to my dinner buddy when we saw burning cheeks and sweat coming out on our faces. Given I’m Asian, he looked more “burned” than I did. It felt like the house is burning down as we see other Thai dishes flying around that looked as spicy as ours.

I love spicy food, that’s why I also like Thai cuisines. My tolerance for hot stuff is really good, quite at par to confidently say so. That night though, it was spiciness at its finest. Read more

Spring Soup Series – Asparagus Soup

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This is the fourth recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

Apart from the green trees and flowers blooming all around in springtime, everyone in Belgium excitedly looks forward to another favorite – the white asparagus. It starts in April when they come out and take over market stalls, supermarket shelves, restaurant tables, and kitchens. While white asparagus is only available for a couple of weeks, everybody wouldn’t stop raving about it. You’d notice that many Belgian restaurants create special asparagus menus, all the way from appetizers to main, and even to desserts!

Known as wit goud (white gold) because it’s expensive and coveted, superb asparagus has a delicate flavor, slightly nutty and bitter with a sweet aftertaste. It is usually boiled and served with a sauce, and sometimes it becomes into a soup or blends to other dishes. Read more

Spring Soup Series – Egg Drop Soup

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This is the third recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

I am always enamored with these white ribbons prettily floating atop. When I started chowing it down, I would find myself comforted with this soup.

Indeed, the simplest foods are sometimes the best tasting foods. Despite its simplicity, egg drop soup is a warm delight.

Eggs, cornstarch, and a flavored broth are the three basic ingredients you’d ever need; or even two if you nix the cornstarch that helps thicken the soup.

Yet you can add some more into it—ingredients like tofu, mushrooms, bok choy, bean sprouts, corn, shredded meat…anything that you can possibly imagine!

That’s just how versatile egg drop soup is.

A few tips to share before trying this recipe out: Read more

Spring Soup Series – Carrot & Coriander Soup

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This is the second recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

Making soups has been a lot easier since I got my hands on the immersion blender. Before there was the blender, which also does a great job in pureeing soups. The only difficulty is when transferring the soup to and from the blender, and especially if the soup is very hot, it can be messy and potentially hazardous. Because hot liquid expands when blended, the hot soup could splatter all over.

With immersion blender, I can get perfect creaminess on my soups. It does mash even the tiniest particles. But not only that, it is also easy to use. This must-have kitchen gadget is so handheld and light that all you have to do is to immerse it in the soup pot and switch it on. Compared to blenders and food processors, immersion blender is also lot easier to clean and store. Read more

Spring Soup Series – Fish Chowder

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Winter might have escaped me this year, but never it is too late for sumptuous soups. It ain't that hot on sunny spring yet, so something warm and light will serve just right.

This fish chowder recipe is actually one of my favorites. I even like to serve this chowder as main dish since it can be so filling, thanks to generous portions of potatoes and fish meat. The taste is light and refreshing, just perfect for a nice spring day.

From Witloof with Love

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Known as witloof in Flemish, which literally means white leaf in English, Belgian endive is a small head of ivory-colored, bittered leaves that are cultivated from chicory root. The technique for cultivating endives was discovered by accident in the 1850s in Belgium. An interesting story my husband shared, it happened when a farmer hid his chicory crops in his barnyard from tax collectors – by burying them under the ground! After several days, the farmer discovered these blanched leaves sprouting out from the soil.

I came to notice these salad leaves for the first time whenever my husband would prepare our salad. “It’s too bitter for my taste,” I admitted. Obviously I didn’t like it, but the Belgians do. When I spent some time in Flanders, I started noticing how often the endives are being served. For some time though, it did disappear in our vegetable stack at the kitchen; good thing that my hubby hadn’t complained! Yet I see more and more endives in the supermarket now, I got tempted and finally, I decided to give it another chance. My hubby was convincing enough too, after telling me that I can rather prepare it in a certain way that would make it less bitter. I did what I had been told, and it’s true then – it was remarkably good!

When endives are steamed, grilled or braised, the endive’s sharp flavor mellows down and its texture’s juicier. So far I’ve paired cooked endives with roasted pork loin and pork adobo and it all went very well. Besides that endives dish can be so delicious, it’s also very simple to make. My most favorite so far now that I like preparing is Belgian endive au gratin.

 

Belgian Endive au Gratin

Cooking Diaries, Food, Main Course, Side Dish, Soups

Belgian Endive au Gratin

Ingredients

  • 8 heads Belgian endive, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or amount
  • to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 slices deli-style ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place the endives into the water. Cover, and cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Place the butter into a saucepan, and melt over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and golden brown.
  4. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper until well blended. Cook gently over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Preheat an oven broiler to low.
  6. Drain the endives. Wrap each endive with a slice of ham, and place into the prepared baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the endives. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese and parsley.
  7. Cook the endives under preheated broiler until cheese is golden brown and sauce bubbles, about 10 minutes.
http://coffeechatwithperpie.com/cooking-diaries-witloof-love/

A few tips I suggest, first off, you can skip making the flour cheese mixture. I’d just normally top it with grated cheese. You can also use bacon instead of ham. I like bacon more.

Recipe captured from allrecipes.com.

Then next, I made this Belgian endives soup and we both liked it very much.

So it’s official – the Belgian endives are back in my kitchen! And I made one Belgian in the house really happy. I also hope I can share more endives recipes anytime soon, too.

Cream of Belgian Endive Soup

Ingredients

2 Belgian endive, cored
1 white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk (or skim milk or cream)
salt and pepper
chopped chives (to garnish)
dill sprigs (to garnish)

Instructions

  • Mince the endives, reserving a few small leaves for garnish.
  • Saute the onion, garlic, and endives in the butter for 3 minutes.
    Add the potatoes and chicken broth and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Blend until smooth, using an immersion blender, or carefully transferring hot soup to blender and then back to pot.
  • Add the milk, salt, and pepper and blend. Serve hot or cold.
  • Garnish with chopped endive leaves, chives, and dill.
  • Read more