Holiday Fruit Salad

I meant to post this earlier, hope it can still be a good reference for anyone doing a fruit salad this Thanksgiving or for Christmas.

20131127-184703.jpg

To make this jolly good fruit salad, you would need:

1 Chinese Pear, cored and cut into wedges then halves

1 Apple, cored and sliced thin

2 Navel Oranges, use a small sharp knife to cut off the skin then cut into small pieces, they have less sugar than canned mandarin oranges

1 Organic Pineapple, peeled, cut out the eyelets, remove the core and cut into small wedges

1 Pomegranate, cut into half, check out this link on how to get the seeds out http://lifehacker.com/5895852/deseed-a-pomegranate-in-10-seconds-using-a-wooden-spoon

Several splashes of lemon juice to keep the apple slices from turning brown. This also helps to preserve the fruits longer too

1 splash of Rice Vinegar used for making sushi rice

1 – 2 teaspoons of Sugar (optional)

Several shakes of Cinnamon Powder

Mix everything well in a big mixing bowl, the liquid collected below the bowl is so good even my baby boy likes it after giving him a tiny bit just for a taste.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays everybody!

20131127-185043.jpg

Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Turkey ABC Soup

This is the soup that I cooked on the same night as the watercress soup. We are having soup all week. Mmmm…slurp!!!

I have expanded on the Singapore vegetable soup aka ABC soup substituting pork with turkey for the main ingredient and adding celery, garlic, cilantro, dill and Summer sausage chunks to flavor the soup.

This is a picture of my day old Turkey ABC soup where the meat started falling off the bones nicely after I reheated it up. My hubby would say it’s a mistake to eat curry the same day that one cooks it, this soup is the same way. It gets better the next day. I made a mistake of skimming off the fats in clear soups in the past after refrigerating them overnight. Now I kept the fats, even though it is less healthy that way, the fats of the meat are what flavors the soup.

20131111-083129.jpg

I made this huge pot of soup in a tall pasta pot, as usual I made enough for an army so feel free to cut down the portions of ingredients if you cook this soup. The key thing is to include a variety of skin, bones and meat from the turkey to better flavor the soup.

Here you go:

2 Turkey Drumsticks, 2 Turkey whole wings, 1/4 of a Turkey breast (a total of almost 6 pounds of meat including skin and bones)

2 bags of Baby Carrots

2 small bags of multi-colored small Heirloom Potatoes including golden, purple and red ones

1 Cauliflower, cut off and discard the leaves and the big stem in the middle; break off the individual florets by hand; do not cut the cauliflower with a knife or it will make a mess

1 big Yellow Onion, sliced into wedges

2 sticks of Celery, sliced thin

1/3 of a Summer sausage, cut into 1 cm wide chunks or cubes

3 Wedges of Garlic (sliced thin)

1 bag of Frozen Peas, thawed under cold running water in a colander

1 bag of Frozen Sweet Corn, thawed under cold running water in a colander

5 stalks of Cilantro (chopped finely)

4 Sprits of Dill (chopped finely)

1 packet of Swanson’s Organic Chicken broth with reduced fats and reduced salt

Boiling water

This is how I cooked my version of Stone Soup leaving no stones unturned or leaving any stones behind:

First, add the turkey meat and bones into a big pasta or soup pot. Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat. Bring the water to a boil. Next, add the carrots? potatoes, cauliflower and more boiling water to cover everything. Now bring that to a boil again. Add onion, celery and the chicken broth, bring to a quick boil, then turn the heat down to a little above the low setting to simmer the soup while it bubbles a little. Simmer the soup for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Fry the Summer sausage in a non stick frying pan without adding oil. When the Summer sausage turns crispy and golden brown on its edges, add the garlic slices and fry quickly till the garlic slices are slightly golden brown on their edges.

Add the Summer sausages and garlic to the soup after it has been simmering.

Add some broth to the frying pan to mix in the remaining sausage grease then pour that back into the soup to flavor the soup.

Until the meat reaches 180 degrees outside of the pot just slightly detaching away from the bones and the meat under the skin is no longer pink, add the peas, carrots, cilantro and dill just before turning off the heat when you are ready to serve the soup.

I recommend that you watch the episode of Stone Soup in Jim Henson’s Storyteller while you sit back and enjoy this soup.

Here’s also a quick update of our number two. He is six months old now and weighs a little over 15 pounds. He is a lot taller than his sister when she was that age and the apple of her eye. Thankfully, it gets easier as they get older for me to cook and continue blogging.

20131111-093241.jpg

Have a blessed week and keep warm!

Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Watercress Soup

20131108-150541.jpg

There is nothing like a bowl of warm clear soup on a cold Autumn day like today amidst grey skies and the typical Oregon rain.

Watercress soup is one of my favorite clear soups growing up. I always cook a big batch in my 10 quart crock pot as there is no such thing as too much soup in our household.

If you are talking about the Ying and Yang properties of food: Ying meaning cooling and Yang meaning heaty as in lowering or raising body temperatures; watercress is definitely a Ying/ cooling food. That is why when Chinese cook watercress soup, we often add red dates and gezi (also known as wolf berries) that has Yang/ heating properties to balance out the Ying and Yang properties of this soup.

I am so into soup lately that I cooked two different soups including the watercress soup – an Asian soup and a Western soup that is TBA.

This no fuss soup is really simple, here are the steps and ingredients:

First, give 4 half chicken breasts a quick rinse under cold tap water and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of a 10 quart crock pot.

Next, cut off and discard the roots and the soil attached to 4 bunches of watercress.

The most tedious part which is worth the while is to wash, rinse and repeat each bunch of watercress separately after dividing and cutting them into three equal lengths.

My mom and grandma used to painstakingly pluck the leaves off the stem. They would cook the stems as a bunch with the leaves floating on top of the soup. We were spoiled as we would only eat the leaves which are the most tender parts when drinking the soup and the stems were discarded. But these days, I include the stems as they are a good source of fiber.

I do not like to add salt to my clear soup if I don’t have to, instead I like to be able to taste the flavor of the meat that has been slow cooked in it.

I seasoned the soup with 3-4 small pieces of dried octopus (a dried delicacy that is impossible to find online, so dried cuttlefish can be used instead. I also added 2 dried scallops (they are also known as conpoy), 8-9 dried red dates and 2 tablespoons of gezi (also known as wolf berries). I also used 5-6 dried shitake mushrooms after giving them a quick rinse under cold tap water for flavoring the soup.

This is a tonic soup as the watercress is chalked full of vitamins particularly calcium, iodine, folic acid, vitamin A and potassium. Red dates are known to benefit the heart and gezi/ wolf berries are known to be good for the eyes. Shitake mushrooms also has plenty of antioxidants.

The important thing is to add 14 cups of boiling water to the ingredients before cooking everything on low for 17 hours.

It is essential to cook watercress with boiling water which will make the broth clear. The use of boiling water and cooking the soup overnight would help kill a parasite that sometimes thrives in watercress. The parasite can cause liver fluke so do not test the taste of the soup until it is done cooking.

You can read more about watercress on Wikipedia on this link.

Never mind the parasite scare. Just be sure to cook the soup as detailed above and you can sit by the fireplace and slurp up this yummy and nourishing soup.

Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Aubergine Curry

20131108-073840.jpg

Purple is one of my favorite colors. Dark purple is a color associated with royalty. Here’s a vegan curry aubergine I cooked with very majestic flavors. It is cooked with the dried shrimp flakes that I made beforehand like in my Yellow Curry Collard Greens.

Aubergine is a kind of eggplant. In Singapore, eggplants are often used in fish curries together with okra, except we usually use the lighter purple ones called Brinjals. See my Assam Pedas Ikan Curry/ Tamarind Fish Red Curry recipe.

Let’s think purple now and listen to some of the group Deep Purple’s songs like Smoke on the Water while you cook this dish.

1 big Shallots, minced

1 Garlic, minced

6-9 Red Thai Chillies, minced

1 heaping tablespoon of Dried Shrimp Flakes, see my Yellow Curry Collard Greens recipe

2 Aubergines, cut off the stems, cut cross-sectionally into half then cut into 1 inch wide wedges

1 heaping tablespoon of Curry Powder

1/2 a can of Coconut Cream

Rocking to it:

First, add three tablespoons of oil to a non stick frying pan. Sauté the minced shallots and garlic for two seconds, add the dried shrimp flakes and sauté for two seconds.

Add the cut aubergine pieces while the garlic is only slightly golden brown. Sauté the aubergine pieces to mix them well with the seasoning. Since the dried shrimp flakes are already salty, we don’t need to add any salt to the dish.

The aubergine will start getting soft. Once the aubergine are semi soft depending on whether you like them firmer or softer. Add the coconut cream and sauté till the coconut cream melts into the aubergine and everything is bubbling a little. Then turn off the heat and you have a smoking hot aubergine curry.

Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise