Reverse-engineered Phở

Pho_Everett-WA_LAH_13One of the delightful things about visiting the west coast is the opportunity to eat at a large variety of ethnic restaurants. Of course we have international restaurants here in Colorado, but they’re small change compared to the abundance I’ve enjoyed in California or Washington. Just for example, within just a couple of miles of our old house in Cupertino there are now seven Chinese places specializing in dim sum. That’s more than exist in the entire state of Colorado. (I highly recommend the dim sum at New Port in Sunnyvale.)

The problem with visiting other places is that I develop a passion for certain foods, then discover that they aren’t readily available at home. When we first moved to Colorado Springs, twenty years ago, the only Indian restaurant was run by two Brits, and the food was pretty awful. The only solution was to learn to make our favorite dishes myself.

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Los Cabos Chicken Soup

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Necessity was the mother of invention for this recipe. We were on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula, and I needed something easy to make for dinner in our tiny kitchen. These are the ingredients I found in the supermercado, and they added up to a wonderful Mexican soup! The second time I made it, I added leftover refried beans, and it still tasted muy delicioso.

When we got home, I checked online, and found that I’m not the first to have this idea. I guess lime, chicken, and rice just go really well together!

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Making Soup

Happy New Year!! If you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions, at least one probably involves healthier food or healthier finances. Today’s blog will help you with both.

For years, soup was the refuge of thrifty cooks. There’s a reason places that offer free meals are called “soup kitchens.” With a tiny bit of effort, you can make a great-tasting new meal from leftovers, and it costs practically nothing.

I was at the market the other day, helping my elderly dad pick out some easy meals he can just heat and eat, and we ended up at the soup aisle. I guess I hadn’t looked at pre-made soups in a while. The prices were exorbitant. Why should a can of soup—not even condensed—cost $3.00? The ingredients are probably worth more like a quarter.

You do not need to buy canned or packaged soups. You can make your own. You don’t even need a recipe. It’s that easy.

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Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup

Harvest is beginning. In spite of our recent hail, my garden is actually producing some edibles, and the farmers’ markets are overflowing. How to take advantage of all this fresh produce? Tomato-basil soup is a delicious way to use lots of tomatoes and fresh basil.

If you’re familiar with canned tomato soup—this is nothing like that. No modified food starch, only a minuscule amount of sugar… this is the real thing. Don’t worry, you can still serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches. Just make them with a hearty whole wheat bread and a more interesting cheese than American!

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