Josh and I went to the grocery store yesterday and I spent some quality time going through TJOC to make a list so I that I had plenty of ingredients for anything I might want to make.
One of soups I instantly spotted as wanting to try was TJOC's Hot and Sour Soup (p. 131). I LOVE hot and sour soup (hss) and have never managed to find a recipe that was similar to what you get at Chinese restaurants. I have a recipe that was getting close--from the Everyday Food cookbook--but it still wasn't quite right.
So TJOC's hss...
1. I don't know what cloud ear, wood ear, or tiger lily bud mushrooms are or where you find them so we had to go with the generic shiitakes. The recipe calls for dried shiitakes that are reconstituted. Why is this important? Because it is this reconstitution that gives the mushroom that slightly chewy texture that they are supposed to have. Mystery 1: solved.
2. The recipe has raw pork going into the soup but it seems like it is barely on the stovetop. I was CONVINCED I was going to have to eat raw pork. I didn't. Apparently, the huge amount of cornstarch in the recipe causes the soup to take FOREVER to simmer, which cooks the pork. Mystery 2 (how does the soup get that strange texture): solved (TONS of cornstarch).
3. You marinate the pork in a cornstarchy, soy sauce, rice vinegar mix. When you add the meat to the soup are you supposed to pour in the marinate? I assumed yes--and I think I'm right. It's the rice vinegar that makes the soup "sour". Mystery 3 (what makes the soup sour): solved.
4. Hmmm...and what makes it hot? Mystery 4: solved (lots of black pepper).
Yum! It was SOOOO good. It makes enough for 2 people...or just me, if I'm in a soupy mood.
Blintzes. I've always liked them. For those of you who don't know what a blintz is, it's like a crepe but it isn't cooked on both sides (that seems to be the main difference). I've always been disappointed when I've bought them at the grocery store...so might as well try to make them myself.
Problem--I have the world's smallest food processor. And it isn't airtight so it leaked batter all over...oh well, it got the job done. Give yourself plenty of time on this one--the batter is supposed to sit for at least 30 minutes, and if you are using frozen blueberries, they have to thaw.
The blueberries managed to stain my bamboo mixing spoons...oh well! I hate vague instructions like "cook until it's the consistency of jam"--what exactly does that mean?
Yum! Blintzes! These are really easy to make and incredibly tasty...look how attractive they are!
The finished product--wonderful! You put the blueberry mixture in, roll them up, and fry them again. I think the one of the right is the most attractive by far...
I really recommend making these--they were awesome! Apparently the freeze well too, which is always a nice option.