Friday, October 9, 2009

A Tour of the Autumnal Garden and a Bowl of Soup

Things are winding down in the Crispy Garden. I'm finally getting around to weeding some of the beds, I'm embarrassed to say, but the weather has been lovely and in between weeding, I'm tucking in various kinds of garlic to harvest next summer.

Those fecund Busillus frying pepper plants are still setting fruit,

I've got a forest of kale that will keep on chugging through the coming snowdrifts,

And this prehistoric patch of Brussels Sprouts awaits our consumption after the first frost, when the little sprouts are even sweeter.

I have my herb patch still soldiering on and a couple of lonely red cabbages. A single Tatsoi plant remained from my Spring planting, at least one that hadn't gone to seed, and was shivering under some fall leaves. So I grabbed it and into the cooking pot it went!

I had been thinking about this month's round of No Croutons Required, the vegetarian foodie event alternately hosted by Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa's Kitchen. The current challenge is to make a soup or salad using the contents of one's cupboards (and maybe a nip out to the autumn garden!). Frugality is the name of the game and participants may not go to the store to purchase ingredients specifically for their chosen dish.

My lonely bunch of tatsoi was the inspiration for this Chinese-style soup. I had read that tatsoi is often a soup ingredient in Chinese cooking, but hadn't yet experimented with it. I chopped the crunchy stalks off and diced them up to add to the soup pot a few minutes before adding the leafy parts and that made a nice counterpoint. The leaves got very silky and tender and were perfect in this hot, noodly broth.

Chinese-Style Noodle Soup with Tatsoi

10.5 oz pkg. rice stick noodles

1 small bunch tatsoi, washed several times (makes about 4 cups)

6 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
2 vegetable bouillon cubes (Knorr's was gluten-free, but check ingredients for other brands. Better yet, use homemade vegetable stock)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger
3 Tbsp. soy sauce (check to make sure it is gluten-free)

Cook rice stick noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 6-8 minutes, or until soft. Drain and rinse under cold water for one minute to remove starch. Reserve.

Remove stems from tatsoi and dice finely. Rough chop the leaves.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add garlic, bouillon cubes, ginger and soy sauce. Return to boil and then let simmer 10 minutes to cook garlic and ginger. Add tatsoi stems and cook, stirring often, another 5 minutes. Add leaves and cook only a minute or two to get the tatsoi to soften. The tatsoi leaves get velvety soft and the stems still retain a nice crunch. Add noodles and heat through.

Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

I reheated this soup the next day and threw in some leftover diced smoked tofu and that made it a little richer. The noodles had also soaked up more of the soup stock and got very plump and soft.

In addition to sending a bowl of this garlic- and ginger-scented soup over to Tinned Tomatoes for No Croutons Required, I am going to wing a bowl over to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for her weekly Souper Sundays event. It was that good.


NKP said...

What a great garden you have!
I haven't tried tatsoi, I don't think. The soup looks very soothing indeed!

Arlene Delloro said...

I just recently learned that brussel sprouts are better after the first frost and feel that having it confirmed by my knowledgeable Crispy Gardener makes it so.

Kim said...

That is one prolific garden you have! The soup looks great, especially when you had all the ingredients on hand. Great way to use the tatsoi :D

Alicia Foodycat said...

Such a wholesome-looking bowlful! Yum!

Maria Verivaki said...

i love your garden - pepper plants are very hardy (ours are booming), and i envy your brussel sprouts - they don't grow here...

Deb in Hawaii said...

A perfect soup. I see tatsoi all the time but have not cooked much with it. This soup would be a wonderful way to use it. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays.