Monday, September 18, 2006

Bummed about the spinach recall?

The current E. coli contamination problem with spinach couldn't have happened at a better time of the year, because this is just when we begin to see the best of the dark leafy greens. Skip the spinach salad and try a bok choy salad, or replace the spinach in a soup with kale (which holds up its shape to cooking much better than spinach). If you'd like some inspiration, here's the soup I made today to help in my battle with a cold I've caught. It comes from the book Soup: Superb ways with a classic dish by Debra Mayhew.

Beef Noodle Soup

1/4 counce dried porcini mushrooms
2/3 cup boiling water
6 scallions
4 ounces carrots
12 ounces sirloin steak
about 2 tablespoons oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 1/4 quarts beef stock
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons dry sherry
3 ounces thin egg noodles
1 cup shredded spinach
salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

1. Break the mushrooms into small pieces. Place in a bowl and pour the boiling water over, and leave to soak for 15 minutes.
2. Shred tge scallions and carrots into 2-inch long, fine strips. Trim any fat off the meat and slice into thin strips.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the beef in batches until brown, adding a little more oil if necessary. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
4. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions and carrots to the pan and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
5. Add the beef, beeft stock, the mushrooms and their soaking kiquid, soy sauce, and sherry. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
6. Break up the noodles and add to the pan with the shredded spinach. Simer for 5 minutes, until the beef is tender. Adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

My modifications: replaced spinach with bok choy, and omitted sherry (since I don't have it). Also, if you live in/around Moscow, you may want to know that dried mushrooms are currently on sale at the Moscow Food Co-op. They have porcinis and morels and chanterelles, so this might be a good time to stock up.

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