Monthly Archives: September 2009

Sick gourmet?

Friday marked the end of my third week of my Student Teaching at a preschool for children with special needs. It has been a wonderful experience so far and, of course, the kiddos are absolutely adorable and mostly well-behaved. I’ve loved it so far. As I neared the end of week 3 and had not yet gotten sick, despite the dozens of children sneezing all over me, I thought I must have an immune system of steel. Friday morning I woke up feeling great, at 10am the runny nose started, by noon the soar throat was in full swing, and by Saturday morning I had a fever that lasted the rest of the day. Gosh these kiddo germs sure are strong!! Needless to say, I haven’t had the energy or appetite to cook much these last few days.
Friday night, I did muster up the energy to make a sausage, potato and cabbage soup that warmed me up and upped my vitamin C (from the cabbage). Saturday was leftover cabbage soup for lunch and p√Ętes au beurre (“pasta with butter”) for dinner. This morning, I’m starting to feel a little better, and suggested we have an omelet for breakfast. After all, we still have tons of veggies in our fridge that cannot be ignored!
Well my sweet sweet husband took charge (i.e. would not let me help with anything), and created an absolutely scrumptious omelet with cherry tomatoes, avocado, scallions, onion, turkey sausage and feta cheese. The sausage had a nice smokey taste and the feta was a perfect complement of flavors. The tomatoes were also a perfect addition. At this rate, I’ll be better in no time! Thank you sweet husband.

Two Small Farms

A few weeks ago, we decided to try out a new CSA, after a recommendation from Kitchen Gadget Girl. Her photo of purple cauliflower pushed me over the edge, and I decided it was time to try CSAs again. We stopped using Eating with the Seasons earlier this year, because there wasn’t enough variety of produce, and the quality of the produce was a bit unpredictable. We’re only on week 2 with Two Small Farms, but so far, we’re extremely satisfied. The value is phenomenal ($22/week)- great quality, LOTS of produce, plus they include one or two herbs each week. We’re doing a 4-week trial right now, and honestly, I’m not sure if we’ll continue just because we can’t keep up with all the produce. But I’m definitely a satisfied customer.

Here is what came in the box last week:

We got: Carrots, potatoes, onions, broccoli, fennel, Serrano peppers, tomatoes, a sugar pie pumpkin, and a bag of lettuce mix.

And here is what we got this week:

And a view from the top:

This week’s box included: Basil, golden beets, 2 heads of orange cauliflower, San Marzano tomatoes, scallions, bell peppers, a big bunch of chard, a head of romaine lettuce, and celery.

I’ll keep you updated on whether we end up sticking with it. It’s a wonderful program, I just can’t keep it up if food is going to go to waste.

Coconut Lemongrass Soup with Tofu

I realize that many of my blog posts begin something like: “So I was at the farmer’s market the other day, and found some amazing _____, which inspired me to make ______.” But what’s a girl to do? The farmer’s market is my inspiration, so it’s only fair that my dishes be based on my local finds.

This post is no different. One of my very favorite vendors at the San Pedro Square market on Fridays in downtown San Jose has a variety of Asian vegetables and herbs. I almost always have to pick up some Chinese eggplant, which is a longer, less spongy version of eggplant. I love the eggplant cut into long slices, brushed with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, and grilled. Last Friday though, I went for some stalks of lemongrass. I’d been craving coconut lemongrass soup with Thai flavors, and was determined to make some.

I was going for Thai flavors, similar to Tom Kha Gai. But since I’d never made this before, I did a little research online, and based my recipe off of this site and this one. The soup I came up with is not a traditional Tom Kha Gai, because there are no Kaffir lime leaves, or galangal, but I did get a nice lemongrass coconut flavor, which was exactly what I was looking for. Even with the warm weather we’ve been having, this was a very satisfying meal.

1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Carrots, cut into julienne
2 Anaheim bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 lb white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 head broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans coconut milk
2 Serrano or Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
2 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces and crushed
6 slices ginger
zest from 2 limes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 package firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
juice from 2 limes
cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (for garnish)


  • Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add carrots, and saute for 3 minutes. Turn heat to low, and add garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
  • Pour in broth and coconut milk. Stir in ginger, lemongrass, chili peppers, lime zest, brown sugar, fish sauce and Anaheim bell peppers. Simmer soup for 15 minutes.
  • Add tofu & mushroom slices and lime juice to soup and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • At this point, taste the soup to decide if it has enough heat for you. I used Serrano chilies (would have preferred Thai chilies), and the soup was not spicy enough for my taste. So I added about 1/8-1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Make sure to only add a tiny bit at a time, and retaste. You can always add more spice, but you can’t take any away, so be careful!
  • Garnish with cilantro just before serving. Enjoy!