The yolks on you if you believe without bias, even half-and-half, that a casserole shoots a zesty ramekin in the noodle without springing a leek

This week’s menu is:

Fresh Mushroom Soup          Chop Suey          Lemon Pudding Cake         

Its starting to feel a lot like winter and our instinct to hunker down and seek comfort foods is setting in. What can be more soothing than a nice, rich cream of mushroom soup? No, not that one out of a can . . . but a luscious, easy to make, fresh mushroom soup.  Puréed to a mostly smooth consistency, this soup provides a blend of textures for those seeking a toothsome experience. So few ingredients but, oh, so good!

Chop Suey is a curious dish. Depending on where you hail from you have probably come to expect a particular ingredient mix. Many prefer to keep it purely vegetarian with tofu as the protein included while others gravitate to mainstays such as pork. Chop Suey (shap sui in Cantonese) is a Chinese-American creation while Chow Mein would qualify more as an authentic Chinese dish. Using a variety of different vegetables and meats, Chop Suey fairly consistently includes bean sprouts, celery, onions (and/or leeks) and bamboo shoots. Depending on the mood of the day, it is realistic to find mushrooms, snow peas, peppers, water chestnuts, baby corn and/or bok choy in this casserole. Generally served on rice, chop suey is frequently served with noodles or pasta. In this rendition, pork is the protein of choice and a relatively standard combination of vegetables are included with some options mentioned and cooked with a base layer of broad noodles.

The Lemon Pudding Cake is a spectacular combination of the well-loved lemon curd everyone seeks in lemon meringue pie coupled with the light fluffy texture of sponge cake. Served in individual ramekins ensures that everyone gets their fair share of this classic, or soon to be classic, dessert treat. With two leftover servings, sharing is optional. While delicious whether served hot or cold, keeping these compact treasures as a treat in a lunchbox or served after warmed-up leftover Chop Suey, it is a guaranteed tasty treasure.

Fresh Cream of Mushroom Soup          

Photo: Flickr

4      tbsp  butter or Becel (60 ml)
½     lb      fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (225 g)
2      cups  chicken broth, salt free (475 ml)
3      large egg yolks                  
1      cup   half-and-half cream (±18%) (240 ml)
to taste      salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large (2-quart/2-litre) saucepan over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth, raise the temperature to medium and bring to a boil.

Beat egg yolks in a small bowl. Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat. Beat ½ cup (120 ml) of the hot broth into the egg yolks until mixture is frothy. Gradually pour this mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly to prevent eggs from curdling.

Return saucepan to the stove over medium heat and add the half-and-half, salt and pepper. Reheat, uncovered, stirring constantly, but do not let the soup boil.

Serves 6

with butter:
159 Calories, 134 Calories from Fat, 14.9g Total Fat, 8.6g Saturated Fat, 140 mg Cholesterol, 332 mg Sodium, 3.5g Carbohydrates, 1.0g Sugars, 4.0g Protein

with Becel:
126 Calories, 101 Calories from Fat, 11.2g Total Fat, 4.3g Saturated Fat, 120 mg Cholesterol, 337 mg Sodium, 3.5g Carbohydrates, 1.0g Sugars, 4.0g Protein

**     For a more elegant soup, set aside 6 cooked mushroom slices, purée the soup with a food processor or blender until smooth. Top each individual bowl of soup with a slice of mushroom.

Chop Suey      

Photo: Flickr

1½    lbs      pork tenderloin, or chicken ¾” (1.9cm) cubes * (680 g)
2      med    onions, diced                                                    
2      med    leeks, cleaned well and diced                                                       
2      stalks celery, cut on the bias, 1/2″ (1.25cm) pieces                          
8      large   white mushrooms, sliced                              
1½   cups   hot stock (vegetable, chicken or beef) (350 ml)
1¾    lb        fresh bean sprouts (800 g)
2      tbsp    butter or Becel or canola oil (30 ml)
1/3    lb        broad egg noodles (175 g)
1      can      bamboo shoots, drained and chopped                            
to taste       soy sauce, Maggi, freshly ground black pepper, hot sauce
optional     snow peas, green pepper, spring onions

In heavy skillet, fry pork in butter, when browned, remove from pan.

In remaining fat, fry onions until lightly caramelized. Add leeks, celery and mushrooms (and optional vegetables), cook until soft. Add meat.

Add hot stock to de-glaze the pan then add spices.

Boil noodles with a steaming pot on top with the bean sprouts. When cooked, drain the noodles and add as the bottom layer in a large, greased casserole dish. On top of the noodles, add the bean sprouts then the drained and rinsed bamboo shoots. Top with meat mixture.

Bake in a 325ºF (162ºC) oven for 30 minutes with the lid on (or foiled) then for 20 minutes with the lid off.

* If cooked meat is being used, eliminate browning the meat and proceed from there.

Add the meat to the onion mixture just before adding to the casserole dish.

Serves 8

with pork and butter:
294 Calories, 69 Calories from Fat, 7.6g Total Fat, 3.2g Saturated Fat, 88 mg Cholesterol, 233 mg Sodium, 27.0g Carbohydrates, 2.2g Dietary Fibre, 3.6g Sugars, 31.0g Protein

with pork and Becel:
282 Calories, 56 Calories from Fat, 6.3g Total Fat, 1.6g Saturated Fat, 80 mg Cholesterol, 235 mg Sodium, 27.0g Carbohydrates, 2.2g Dietary Fibre, 3.6g Sugars, 31.1g Protein

with chicken and butter:
301 Calories, 65 Calories from Fat, 7.2g Total Fat, 2.9g Saturated Fat, 92 mg Cholesterol, 238 mg Sodium, 27.0g Carbohydrates, 2.2g Dietary Fibre, 3.5g Sugars, 33.4g Protein

with chicken and Becel:
289 Calories, 53 Calories from Fat, 5.8g Total Fat, 1.3g Saturated Fat, 84 mg Cholesterol, 240 mg Sodium, 27.0g Carbohydrates, 2.2g Dietary Fibre, 3.5g Sugars, 33.4g Protein

Lemon Soufflé Pudding Cake   

Photo: Flickr

1      cup    granulated white sugar, divided (240 ml)
3      tbsp   unsalted butter or Becel, room temperature (45 ml)
3      large  eggs, separated 
1      tsp     pure vanilla extract (5 ml)
2      tbsp   lemon zest (30 ml)
1/3    cup   all purpose flour (80 ml)
¼     tsp     salt (1 ml)
1/3    cup   fresh lemon juice (80 ml)
1      cup    whole milk  (240 ml)
1/8    tsp    cream of tartar * (0.63 ml)

Preheat oven to 325ºF (170ºC) and place rack in the centre of the oven. Butter six 1 cup (240 ml) ramekins or other heatproof bowls. If you prefer, butter an 8″x8″x2″ (20 cm x 20cm x 5cm) baking pan.

Set aside 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the sugar to use when whipping the egg whites.

Place the remaining sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the lemon zest to the sugar. With the back of a spoon, or spatula, grind the lemon zest into the sugar, creating a fragrant, slightly yellow tinged sugar. Working the zest into the sugar will release lots of the essential oils in the zest, creating a super lemony batter. Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the lemony sugar and butter. Add the three egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour in the lemon juice and milk. Set aside while you beat the egg whites.

In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.

Carefully pour, or ladle, the batter into the prepared ramekins. (The batter does not rise much during baking so you can fill the ramekins almost to the rim.) Place the ramekins in a larger baking pan (or any size pan that will hold the ramekins and leave about 1 inch/2.54 cm around the edges.)

Boil water for pouring into the baking pan. A water bath is used to provide temperature protection for the eggs in the mix. Place the baking pan with the ramekins inside into the oven. Carefully pour in enough hot water so that the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. If you are using a square pan, fill a large roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides.
Bake for ± 40-45 minutes or until the sponge cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. Be careful not to insert the toothpick into the lemon sauce at the bottom of the ramekins. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool slightly before serving.

Dust the tops of the puddings with confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar. Dress with an optional dollop of whipped cream, fresh fruit or slivered pistachio nuts.

* if you don’t have cream of tartar, substitute with ¼ tsp (1 ml) white vinegar

Serves 6

with butter:
272 Calories, 87 Calories from Fat, 9.7g Total Fat, 5.2g Saturated Fat, 125 mg Cholesterol, 190 mg Sodium, 42.4g Carbohydrates, 36.2g Sugars, 5.3g Protein

with Becel:
247 Calories, 62 Calories from Fat, 6.9g Total Fat, 1.9g Saturated Fat, 110 mg Cholesterol, 194 mg Sodium, 42.2g Carbohydrates, 36.2g Sugars, 5.4g Protein

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Categories: Dinner for 4 for -$40, Food


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