Let me address a couple of housekeeping things:
(a) The search box at the top of the side-bar is the best way to locate a particular recipe that you are searching for. Alternatively, use the Recipes page (the recipe collection is still being updated) at the top of the blog.
(b) Some people report having trouble using the contact form; others seem to have no problem because I get mails through the contact form all the time. I tested it a few times and it seems to work OK now, but if you have trouble, let me know.
I looked at a bunch of contact forms and chose this kontactr one because (a) it sends mails directly to my inbox where I can respond to them quickly, which is not a functionality available with using, for instance, google docs to create the form, and (b) it was simple to set up unlike some other sites which required uploading files to the server etc. If you know of a better contact form, I would love to know about it. And I tried to remove the captcha requirement from the present form since that's the source of the problems, but it cannot be removed.
(c) Comments: I know many people leave a comment using the "anonymous" option because they don't have blogs or websites and so don't want to use the "Name/URL" option. In fact, the URL part is optional, so you can use that option and just leave the URL field blank. In the name field, you can write your full name, first name, initials, nickname, Internet pseudonym- whatever you prefer. It was brought to my attention that some people don't know that the URL field is optional so that's what I wanted to point out.
If the blog looks wonky in your browser, and if you have comments or suggestions about the way it looks, please let me know. I'm constantly looking for ways to make this space as functional, pleasing and user-friendly as possible.
* * *
Now to the most important issue on hand- food! Today's recipe is another simple soup. What can I say- we have soup weather, although it is not quite as soupy here as some parts of the North-East US. This soup came together in minutes from whatever I had on hand in the fridge and freezer, and we enjoyed it so much that I decided it was blog-worthy.
Life always needs back-up plans and I certainly keep a few back-up foods in the pantry and freezer, including a bag of frozen vegetable potstickers/dumplings (gyoza) from Trader Joe's. Potstickers are Chinese dumplings, cute little dough purses filled with vegetables or other fillings. More about potstickers here and here. In my freezer, the bag of potstickers patiently sits there for months on end, to be pulled out one evening for a dinner rescue mission.
This could not be simpler- vegetables are simmered in stock, seasoned with a chili black bean sauce, and the soup is finished off by cooking potstickers right in the soup.
This chili bean sauce (this brand is the one I happen to use) is the spiciest thing in my kitchen, which is saying something because I have things like habanero peppers and Kolhapuri chutney in my kitchen as well. But the chili bean sauce has a fiery and rich taste that adds incredible flavor to many of my Chinese-inspired dishes. Use only a small dab of it or you will have a coughing fit with every bite. This brand does contain MSG, but I personally don't have a problem with using MSG every once in a while, especially in such small amounts.
Mushroom Potsticker Soup
1. In a soup pot, add
3-4 cups vegetable stock/mushroom stock
4-5 cups chopped mixed vegetables
I used sliced baby bella mushrooms, green onions (white parts; save green parts for garnish), a handful of frozen corn and carrots cut in small dice. Other vegetables would also work well, such as broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, spinach.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are barely tender.
3. Season the soup with chili bean sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar to taste. Keep tasting and adjusting the seasonings, perhaps adding a tiny bit of sugar to balance out the flavors.
4. Add 6-8 frozen vegetable potstickers and let the soup come to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the potstickers are cooked through.
5. Garnish with green onions (green parts), cilantro and a splash of toasted sesame oil. Serve right away.
This soup was light, filling and flavorful all at the same time. You could add cubes of tofu to the soup to add extra protein. As long as you make sure to use vegan dumplings, this soup is suitable for vegans.
* * *A funny thing happened- I was reading Bong Mom's To The Market post (it is a wonderful read about Indian food markets) and remembered a post I wrote 4 years ago about a vegetable market in Kolhapur. I went back to read my post and what do you think I found hidden in the last picture on that page? Some Manila tamarind, which I was asking you all about here a few days ago. It was right under my nose the whole time and I had no clue!
Enjoy your Sunday; Happy Valentine's Day and I hope you get some of the sweet sweet love that's in the air.