asparagus soup

1 egg
2 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ c. water
2 10¾-oz. cans (about 3 c.) chicken broth
½ lb. fresh asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces, or 1 10-oz. package frozen chopped asparagus, thawed
1 whole chicken breast, skinned, boned, and cut into bite-sized pieces*
2 tsp. fish sauce

*For a dressier holiday dish, substitute 8 ounces of cooked crab meat for the chicken in this recipe.

Beat egg in a small bowl. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix cornstarch and water to make a paste. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until tender but still crisp.
Add chicken. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until chicken and asparagus are thoroughly cooked.
Add fish sauce and cornstarch paste. (If cornstarch has started to separate from the water, stir well before adding.) Stir well for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until soup starts to thicken.
Add beaten egg a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook for 30 seconds.
Serve hot over rice, or in individual soup bowls with rice on the side.

vegetarian pho


6 cups vegetable broth
3 large shallots/onions, sliced (1 cup)
½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 Tbs. soy sauce
12 ¼-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
in a bag:
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
5-6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
5-6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup

1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles, optional
1 8-oz. pkg. firm tofu, thinly sliced
2 cups sprouts
2 cups watercress/bok choy
4 green onions, sliced (½ cup)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges, optional

1. To make Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.

2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.

favorite food this week: bahn mi



Shortcut Banh Mi With Pickled Carrots and Daikon
Published: February 18, 2011

Time: 45 minutes

3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup thinly sliced Persian, Kirby or European cucumbers
1/2 cup shredded daikon radish
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 to 3 tablespoons sriracha or other chili sauce, to taste
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
6 small hero rolls or 2 baguettes cut into thirds, split Fresh jalapeño, thinly sliced and seeded, for servingMint sprigs, for serving
Cilantro sprigs, for serving.

1. To make the pickled vegetables: In a bowl, toss together the carrots, cucumbers, daikon, vinegar, sugar and salt and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the pork. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise,

1 tablespoon scallions and 1 to 2 tablespoons chili sauce, to taste. Cover tightly and set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons scallions and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until no longer pink, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon chili sauce and the fish sauce, pepper, salt and sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the basil, lime zest and lime juice. Let cool 5 minutes, then add mayonnaise mixture.

4. Fill bread with pork mixture. Press the jalapeño, mint and cilantro sprigs into the pork. Spoon some pickled vegetables onto the sandwiches and serve any extra alongside.