I am sorely behind on my food blog reading, and reading in general…It’s been a long time since I actually committed to reading a book. It’s been a long week and baking and blogging, except about the Yankee cupcakes, kind of took a backseat this week. But I did do some cooking and I turned that sadly green broccoli purée into a creamy pasta sauce with italian sausage and served it with rotini pasta. I also made some egg drop soup this past Friday, after developing a craving for it and with my newfound skills in the kitchen, I thought — Why order when I can make? I don’t have any post-worthy pictures of the pasta, but here is how the egg drop soup came out:
It doesn’t have that bright yellow sheen of the egg drop soups you commonly find in Chinese restaurants, but that’s just a matter of yellow food coloring, anyway. It’s surprisingly easy to make. I used Tyler Florence’s recipe from the Food Network:
- 4 cups prepared chicken stock, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 green onions, chopped, including ends
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
Bring soup stock, grated ginger and soy sauce to a boil. In a small cup, make a slurry by combining the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of chicken stock. Stir until dissolved. Slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture while stirring the stock, until thickened. Reduce heat to a simmer. Pour in the eggs slowly while stirring the soup in the same direction. The egg will spread and feather. Turn off the heat and add the green onions. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately
I didn’t follow the recipe exactly — I used 3 eggs instead of 2 and left out the green onions since I didn’t have any. I also added more cornstarch — I wanted a thicker soup. And I shouldn’t have added as much salt because it came out a bit salty. Now when I re-heat the soup I add more water and a little more cornstarch to preserve the thickness.
So that’s what I’d been up to culinarily, apart from the baking. Lately I’ve developed a conscience when it comes to spending money (like most of us these days) and I try to find ways to use what I have here in my kitchen instead of running out and buying exactly what is listed in the ingredients list. I find that cooking is a little more forgiving when it comes to substitutions than baking. I used to be a little more wasteful back when I wasn’t very savvy in the kitchen, but now when I see so much of my money going to buying ingredients, I’m a little more mindful. Besides, my fridge is starting to look like my mom’s — packed with ingredients left over from past dishes and just leftovers in general. That was actually one of the reasons I rarely cooked before — I didn’t want to be eating leftovers all the time. But that’s where the art of reinventing leftovers — a skill I have yet to even be good at — comes in. But most of the time, I think, it’s food, and it’s still good and I took my time making it and so I eat it. And I’ve always got at least 2 or 3 varieties of leftovers to choose from. And besides, I’m saving money so there’s a bonus. I’ve also found that with my cooking skills significantly more solid than they were back then, I have more confidence that I can pull off whatever it is I set my mind to make. Which brings me to why I like to cook now — it gives me a sense of knowing that I can take care of myself. I told you this was about more than just the food.
Yesterday I went to my local Goodwill Store to drop off some things I no longer wanted, and decided to stick around a little bit and browse. I went downstairs to the housewares section and found a very nice Pyrex casserole dish, but I didn’t have use for it so unfortunately, I passed it up. I think by the time I left it was gone. I did find two, plain white plates that I can use for my pictures — I often think that my black plates (I used to call them The Black Plates of Mordor) don’t serve the pictures very well in the way that they fail to give contrast to the food I’m putting on them to be photographed. According to my sister, my pictures aren’t the best quality (I’m learning to do what I can with my camera…I do not have one of those fancy, digital SLR’s that is apparently now the “hip” thing to have) and so I’m trying to do what I can to make them look the best I can. A friend suggested using a warm light filter for when I’m taking pictures under fluorescent lighting and a cool light filter for when I’m under yellow lighting and miraculously, I figured out how to do that on my camera and I’ve been playing with it ever since.
Last night I made a tiramisu, but that’s for another post…