Recipe: chinese cellophane noodle soup
NaBloWriMo day #10.
Before we get to Colorado pictures and the recipe…
You’re probably noticing a theme here with the Quaker Oats-Good Bite promo to fight hunger, my participation in Eat on $30 starting Sunday to raise hunger awareness, and now… Macy’s has launched a massive campaign called Come Together to Fight Hunger. Their goal is to raise awareness, raise money, and feed 10 million people suffering from hunger by involving the public in local events and matching individual donations dollar for dollar. The donations go to Feeding America.
There are three ways to be a part of this effort:
2) You can donate $1 directly at any Macy’s register. One dollar can feed dinner to SEVEN people.
3) You can shop for the cause at any Macy’s and get special in-store savings on October 17 (Saturday). A portion of the $5 in-store ticket sales will help Feeding America. [Why not all $5? I don't know - I encourage you to ask.]
Oddly enough, I went to the Macy’s in Boulder a few days before BlogHer Food 09 and picked up a hoochie mama leopard-spotted shirt (it’s not THAT hoochie mama, but it’s comfy and I can photograph people, dance, and hold a white Russian in my hand while wearing it) which you can see on Susan’s post. I figured my typical Patagonia attire in the sticks was not going to cut it in San Francisco. While purchasing the shirt, I also bought a $5 ticket for a special event in the store next Saturday, October 17. I hate shopping, but someone in the house (not I nor Kaweah) is in need of a wardrobe update and because part of the $5 ticket went to Feeding America, I figured it was a good thing. I had actually forgotten about the sale until Tami mentioned Macy’s Come Together campaign to me.
But there is one more minor detail.
********* GIVEAWAY *********
Because I’m spreading the word about this on urb, I have received TWO (2) $25 Macy’s gift cards to give away to two (2) of my readers! The rules are as follows: Tell me the name of your favorite food charity or the name of a local food bank or local organization that feeds the hungry (even if you don’t know of one, it’s easy to google). Leave one comment on this post before midnight (MST) Friday, October 16. If you leave multiple comments you will disqualify yourself from the drawing. I will select two winners using some scientifically approved random and ridiculous method – most likely involving The Dog. I know I have several international readers, but Macy’s does not ship internationally nor do they have stores outside of the US. However, the cards can be used by anyone. If you live outside of the US, you can still use the cards as long as your purchases are shipped to a US address (good time to get chummy with your stateside pals). Good luck!
Our deck was reading in the low teens this morning and there was an inch of fluffy, light, dry snow. Friends in Boulder were tweeting that they had 2-3 inches on the ground. UPSLOPE! Typically, our weather comes from the west, over the Continental Divide. It usually rides on a hellish wind too. But on the occasions when we have an upslope, the weather comes from the east and sometimes Boulder gets more snow than we do. Jeremy and I can always tell when it’s going to snow in Boulder – it’s when you can smell Greeley (to the northeast) on the air. What does Greeley smell like? Cow shit.
wanna go for a walk?
It was the perfect morning for a walk with Kaweah. There wasn’t any ice on the ground, just lovely, powdery snow. The sun hopped in and out from behind the clouds and snow continued to rain down in that friendly, gentle way that reminds you of the holidays. It’s only October and I am getting very excited about the holidays in no small part because of this glorious weather.
the aspens are done
ducks were swimming about in the distance
It is officially soup weather! I love soup of any kind, the hearty soups, the noodle soups, the puréed soups, the bean soups, the thin soups, the broths, the borderline soup-stews, the heady soups. They’re all great in this weather which will last up to and sometimes into May for us. My favorite soups are the ones that remind me of my mom’s cooking. My mom worked a full time job, raised two daughters, cleaned the house herself (kept it like a museum it was so spotless!), and cooked dinner every night after she got home from work. Mom made homemade chicken broth so that I still cringe when I taste canned chicken broth to this day (some chicken broths are better than others). When I met Jeremy, he was Mr. Picky Eater. Made me crazy. These days, his eyes light up when I tell him I’m making this soup for dinner. Progress.
making pork meatballs
boil them in water to cook (and save the broth!)
This is a simple, everyday version of the big pot of soup I make for Chinese New Year. During Chinese New Year, the ingredients symbolize all manner of good things like money, luck, health, money, money, money… For the rest of the year, it’s just a giant pot of steaming goodness. The pork meatballs are essentially the filling I use for my Chinese dumplings and potstickers. It’s kinda neat when I make potstickers. If I have too much filling I make meatballs, if I have too much dough I make scallion pancakes. In addition to the meatballs, I add…
cellophane noodles (aka bean thread noodles)
preserved mustard greens (not the same as pickled mustard greens!)
You can put whatever you want in the soup like tofu, fish balls, bamboo shoots, chinese black mushrooms, spinach, Napa cabbage, sprouts – endless possibilities. Needless to say, a lot of what goes into my soup is purchased at an Asian grocery store.
fish balls and tempura cake
this time i added napa cabbage, bamboo shoots, and chinese black mushrooms
The base liquid is chicken broth. Homemade chicken broth is going to taste better, but some canned (or boxed) versions will work in a pinch. I also like to reserve the water that was used to cook the pork meatballs and add that to the broth. All of this gets heated up in a large pot until it boils. Then you can start adding the goodies.
the ingredients are chopped and ready to go
adding the noodles to the pot
Whatever requires the most time to cook should go in first (usually the Napa cabbage). The cellophane noodles cook in a couple of minutes, so I tend to add them last or else they get mushy and fall apart. [An aside: my grandma says to avoid cellophane noodles from China because they fall apart too soon. She prefers cellophane noodles from Thailand or Vietnam.] When the noodles are soft, ladle up the soup. This is so satisfying after a day of skiing or mountaineering – it really warms me to the core with flavors and memories of home.
cellophane noodles are fun to slurp
Chinese Cellophane Noodle Soup
this recipe is totally flexible, mix and match what you like best
1/2 lb. dumpling filling
6 cups water
2 qts. chicken broth (homemade or store bought)
8-12 Napa cabbage leaves, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup preserved mustard green, sliced or julienned
8 oz. fish balls or cuttlefish balls
6 oz. tempura cake (fried fish cake with vegetables – there are other kinds too), sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
1 cup Chinese black mushrooms, trimmed of stems and sliced in half
8 oz. cellophane noodles (also called mung bean thread noodles)
Prepare the pork meatballs by rolling the raw filling into balls just slightly smaller than a golfball. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the meatballs and boil for ten minutes. Pour the meatballs and the cooking liquid into a large pot and add the chicken broth. Bring to boil over high heat. Add the Napa cabbage and let cook for a few minutes. When the cabbage softens add the remaining ingredients except for the cellophane noodles. As the soup returns to a boil, drop the cellophane noodles into the pot and stir them in. When the noodles are soft, the soup is ready to serve.