Sunday, January 6, 2008
The rain came back today with on-and-off squalls throughout the day. This front is more of a soaker than the windy storm of Friday night. Our only "casualty" of that storm was the "Torrance Wild Animal Park" sign blew off its hook.
There is nothing better on a cold, rainy night than a hot bowl of soup. I made one of my favorites...Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup.
I first had this soup at a local restaurant. I think the real name was just Szechuan Restaurant, but since it was pretty much one cavernous room, we dubbed it "The Big Chinese Place". I used to go there all the time for lunch and order this soup..well, its really classified as a noodle dish. The restaurant is no longer there, which is sort of weird, since the place seemed pretty popular.
So I was glad to run across this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, "China Express" by Nina Simonds. One of the things I love about this cookbook is that the recipes are "accessible" as well as pretty easy. Probably not all that authentic and more geared to the American palate. But I like 'em.
Chunks of beef are cooked in a stock flavored with ginger, chiles, garlic, scallion, orange peel, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Once the meat is cooked, mix about 2 cups of chicken stock with 2 cups of the strained cooking stock in a separate pot and bring to a boil. Put a handful of fresh spinach in the bottom of a big soup bowl, then a mess of cooked spaghetti noodles and top with a few ladles of this broth. Top with the meat chunks and you have a fine bowl of soup for a cold day.
Our fireplace is nice and warm and we're just waiting for tonight's new Simpsons. Move over Obama....its Ralph 2008!