Gingered Parsnip & Carrot Soup

As survivors of many a hurricane & tropical storm, these Texans weren’t terribly concerned about the Frankenstorm Sandy that threatened the East Coast.  But still, a girl’s gotta eat.  This is a recipe from my Boston Boy’s mama- she made it for Yom Kippur dinner last year and I would have seriously slurped up the whole pot if the rest of dinner hadn’t been so yummy (well, and because slurping up a whole pot of soup in front of your new boyfriend’s parents is pretty inappropriate.)

Full disclosure: I made this soup 2 days ago, also, for my house’s portion of an 11th street progressive dinner.  And then I made it again because it was so good.  It was the perfect amount for ~10 people at a dinner party or 2 people for lunch one day and breakfast the next morning when your eggs have somehow turned gross overnight.

you’ll need:

2 tbs olive oil, divided

1 lb carrots

1 lb parsnips

2 1/2 cups diced onion

1 tbs fresh ground ginger

4 cups stock (I used veggie stock the first time b/c my fellow HungryTexan is a veggietarian)

2 cups water

1/4 cup cream (omit if you’d like. BB’s mama doesn’t use this, but I couldn’t help myself)

1/2 cup thinly sliced parsnip to garnish

1 tbs chives to garnish

s&p, to taste

Start by dicing up your onion (I used red onion because that’s what i always had). Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven and let your onions simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes until soft.  While the onions are getting happy, peel and chop your carrots and parsnips into ~1 in slices.  Add your parsnips, carrots, ginger, stock, and water.  Bring this to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and cover.  Let this simmer for ~40 minutes until all of the veggies are tender.  Remove the pot from the heat for about 10 minutes.  Then blend using a food processor or your new adorable green emulsion blender.  I chose the latter 🙂  Season the soup with salt and pepper, to your taste.

And to top the soup, heat 1 tbs olive oil in a small saucepan and crisp up the thinly sliced parsnips until golden.  Finish with chives.

But wait!  You’re not quite finished yet.  I made some tasty gruyere croutons (which translated to a gruyere grilled cheese for our lunches).  Layer slices of Gruyere cheese between two thin slices of french bread or ciabatta and bake at 375 for ~15 minutes or until toasty.  Cut them into halves or into croutons.

Stay Dry!
xoxo,

The HungryTexans

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sesame ginger udon noodles with vietnamese caramel pork belly

Hello!  or should I say, Konnichiwa… or wait- Chào bạn!  Okay, so I admittedly mixed cultures with this dinner.  But it’s delicious and I’m busy surviving a hurricane, people, so forgive me.  Now that the apologies are over, let me count the ways that I love these Japanese noodles and Vietnamese caramel sauce:

1. Pork belly is cheap.  I found three bellies for $3, enough for dinner for two.

2. You don’t have to cook it for days in order to get tender, flavorful results.  Sure, you could brine it, braise it, slow cook it, and eat it 36 hours later.  But this recipe proves that you don’t need to.  It takes less than an hour from start to finish.

3. In Vietnam, this caramel pork belly is called Thit Kho and it’s usually served with a soft boiled egg.  You could take the traditional route, or you could stack these delectable treats on a crusty French baguette a la Bahn Mi.  But for this easy dinner, the flavored udon noodles were just perfect.

you’ll need: (2 servings)

1 lb pork belly

2 tbs fish sauce

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

scallions

for the caramel:

5 tbs water

5 tbs sugar

for the noodles:

1 package udon noodles

3 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

1/2 tbs freshly grated ginger

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbs of vegetable oil and saute the chopped onion and garlic.  While that’s getting soft, slice the pork belly into one inch bites (I half-froze the pork belly, which made this much easier).

When the onions and garlic are happy, throw in the pork belly.  Let it brown on each side over medium-high heat (should be about 10 minutes).

While the pork belly is browning, add the water and sugar to a small sauce pan.  Keep an eye on your caramel and stir it with a wooden spoon regularly over medium low heat.  When the sugar melts and the mixture turns from sugar-water to caramel, you want to be there for it.

Once your pork belly is browned, add the fish sauce and then the caramel sauce.  You’ll notice that the pork belly is already starting to look more like scrumptious pork and less like fatty belly.  Let the whole thing simmer for another 30 minutes.

Onto the noodles!  These are super easy and you can use whatever type of noodles you prefer.  I’m not a huge fan of vermacilli, so i try to choose a thick wheat or egg noodle when I’m shopping.  Cook the noodles per instructions on the box, then toss them with the sesame oil, sesame seeds and grated ginger.

Serve the pork belly over the noodles, top with scallions, and enjoy!

xoxo,

hungrytexans

‘noodlin

Fewer catfish, more ginger. A lot more ginger.

Perhaps the most important thing about what became a lovely meal for HungryTexan and her BoyFromBoston is the ingredients for this meal were procured purely from her pantry. This is no small feat for the girl who’s been trained from birth that every meal requires at least one, if not one-to-three trips to the grocery.

Now, these noodles required some improvisation—I used whole wheat noodles instead of soba, sunflower seeds instead of sesame, jarred instead of fresh ginger, plus I added some green beans for a little substance sans tofu. Substitutions in all—this ginger dressing made the perfect Monday meal (and Wednesday leftovers!). BoyFromBoston was trés impressed as was OneSockWonder (“ging-her? hardly even knew her!”).

Inspired by the much more aesthetically pleasing 101Cookbooks, behold a ginger dressing these HungryTexans are going to want to remember.

1 tablespoon freshly grated fresh ginger (I used jarred, pickled ginger)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g chopped white onion (I used a red onion)
1 teaspoon mirin (skipped it!)
2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey (I used honey!)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 celery stalk, strings removed, then chopped
1/3 cup / 80 sunflower oil or untoasted sesame oil