Category Archives: Lunch

Tomato Gorgonzola Soup


Until recently, I didn’t really like soup.  Something about drinking food with chunks in it seemed really weird to me.  That was until I went to this small soup shop in Tacoma, Washington called Infinite Soups.  I had a tomato gorgonzola soup, and it was amazing.  Since then, I have tried other soups and they’ve been good, but they’ve never compared to the tomato gorgonzola I first had at Infinite Soups.  If you ever get the chance to go there, I highly recommend it.  They even have vegan and vegetarian selections and all the soups are made fresh daily.

I’m always worried to try to make my favorite of anything because I’m worried it won’t turn out well.  There’s nothing worse than expecting something awesome and getting something awful.  Luckily, that was not the case this time.

When I realized my boyfriend and I had guests coming over for dinner, I decided soup was an easy option and I should try to make my favorite soup.  I took the risk that it might turn out bad, any it actually turned out really well!  It was creamy and cheesy and tomato-ey.  All of the flavors came out smoothly and none were overpowering.  This is a delicious one-pot meal that makes food that will last for days.  It was a hit with everyone else as well.  This would be a great meal for a potluck as a vegetarian option.

While I was looking around for a decent recipe for a tomato soup, I found out that baking soda will prevent milk from curdling.  I think it must be something about it being basic since it’s sodium bicarbonate, but I don’t know why.  I didn’t search for very long, but I couldn’t find any answer for why this happens.  Does anyone know?  I’ll give you a recipe for tomato gorgonzola soup if you can tell me…oh wait….

Recipe:

Printable version

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp baking soda (to prevent curdling)

8 oz low fat cream cheese

8 oz gorgonzola cheese

1 cup half and half

3-14.5 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes, salt free

2 cups low sodium tomato juice

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp oregano

salt and pepper, to taste

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 8 servings, about 1-1/2 cups each

Cooking Instructions:

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the baking soda, the gorgonzola cheese, the cream cheese, and the half and half.  Break apart the cream cheese and stir until the cheeses have melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the soup heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the canned tomatoes, tomato juice, and spices.  Stir to combine.  Heat for a few minutes until the tomatoes are slightly tender.  Then blend the soup using an immersion blender or by pouring the soup into a regular blender and blending in parts and return to heat.  Stirring frequently, heat to a simmer and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.  Garnish with extra oregano or basil.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

My First Time Making Sushi


Have you ever wanted to make sushi, but didn’t because it seemed too intimidating?  That was me for a while.  As it turns out, it’s not scary.  Since I’ve been cooking more, I feel like I’ve been getting better at it and I’m more confident.  Last week when my boyfriend requested I make sushi, I didn’t shy away from the idea like I normally do.  Instead, I looked up everything I could possibly want to know on the internet and tried it out. If it didn’t work, no big loss.  If it did work, I’d get delicious sushi.

Sushi is really fun to make.  I want you to be able to have fun making sushi too so I’ve compiled all the resources I used and divided them up by step in the sushi making process.  Good luck.  I would love to help anyone having trouble and I can try to answer questions.  I’m no pro, but I have done it myself so I can try to help.

What You’ll Need:

Sushi rice

Bamboo mat

Rice Vinegar

Very sharp knife

Nori or seaweed wrap

Sugar

Salt

Vegetables (whatever you want.  I used carrots, cucumber, and avocado)

Fish (optional)

Other stuffing ingredients (cream cheese, sauces, spicy mayonnaise, etc.)

*All ingredients can be found at local Asian markets and are becoming increasingly common in regular chain supermarkets.

Making Sushi Rice:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/sushi-rice.html

To pick oout the sushi rice, I went to my local Asian marketplace and asked someone where to find the sushi rice.  They pointed out a bag that was clearly marked “sushi rice,” but also told me that sushi rice is just a grain of rice and there is nothing else special about it. Feel rather silly for not seeing the sushi rice, I bought it.

This is the brand I bought.  I can’t vouch for this amazon seller I linked to, but the rice worked well.  It was only about $5 in store.

After that, instead of cooking the rice in a pot, I cooked the rice in my rice cooker.  I have an old, but really high quality, rice cooker and it cooked the rice very nicely.  If you do not have a rice cooker, I would follow the instructions from the link above.  I cooked 1 cup of dry rice and got about 3 cups of cooked rice.  Once the rice was cooked, I removed it from the heat and put it in a bowl.  I then heated 1/3 cup of rice vinegar on the stove and added 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp salt.  I heated the combination until the sugar and salt had completely dissolved.  The above link recommends 1/2 cup rice vinegar for 3 cups of cooked rice, but I found that to be a little too vinegar-y so I reduced it to 1/3 cup for 3 cups of cooked rice.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the cooked rice and mix well.  Allow to the rice to cool and the vinegar to soak in.

The Vegetables:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/carrot-cutting.html

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/cucumber-cutting.html

This is what I struggled with the most.  I did not end up with pretty even little sticks of vegetables like I wanted.  Turns out, it didn’t really matter.  I followed the above instructions as best I could, but it didn’t end up having a big bearing on the taste or the outcome of the sushi.  I think that practice makes better so I will eventually get better, but I didn’t find it to be very important.  The best advice I can give is find very even vegetables.  If you find ones that are perfect cylinders, then that would be ideal.

Fish:

I did not buy raw fish or cut fish for this sushi.  I found canned crab and used that for the sushi.  Maybe I’ll get adventerous and try to use raw fish, but I was focusing more on the roll first.

Preparing the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/foodwishes?feature=etp-gd-SUR-13#p/search/1/dC9gJsXAXGU

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/How-to-make-sushi/classic-roll.html

The first step is to wrap the sushi mat (usually bamboo with one side flat and one side round) with plastic wrap to prevent sticking.  Prepare a small bowl with water and add a little rice vinegar.  This is to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.  Also have a hand towel ready.  You want to handle the rice only with wet hands and you want to handle the nori or seaweed wrapper only with dry hands. Place the nori on the mat with the shiny side facing down and rough side facing up.  Wet your hands and grab a handful of rice about 3″ in diameter.  Spread the rice over the nori leaving about an inch of  room at both the top and bottom of the nori (where you will start rolling and where you will stop rolling).  Add the vegetables, fish, and whatever else you want (spicy mayo, cream cheese, etc) to the starting end of the roll on the rice.

Rolling the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 1:37)

Use the video above.  It was very helpful after 1:37.  The beginning part is just her spreading rice out and is very boring.  Start by using the mat to roll the nori over the stuffing (veggies and fish).  Use your fingers to keep the stuffing from spreading out.  Squeeze the mat tightly after this first roll.  Roll the sushi again squeezing tightly after each complete roll until you reach the end.

Cutting the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 2:13)

All I can say is use a sharp knife.  What I did was first sort of wiggle the knife in a sawing motion to get through the top layer of nori.  Then I cut straight through and I sawed again at the end.  The helped keep the nori on the sushi and prevented it from exploding everywhere.  I cut my sushi into 6 pieces, but you can decide where you want to cut it.

As I said at the beginning, good luck and I’d love to try to help anyone having trouble.  I had a really fun time making sushi and I want you all to have fun too.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Spicy Tuna Melt


I found a stray kitty this weekend.  I was sitting on my porch (in Arizona this is acceptable in December) and he came up to me and started petting himself on my legs.  I pet him back and noticed he was horribly skinny.  I got some food and he purred and…well…. I live with three kitties now.  His name is Ripley and he’s adorable.  I took him to the vet and they say he’s about 8 months old.

Having an extra kitten around means we go through cat food a lot faster (especially since I’m trying to get the new kitty to gain weight).  We ran out of wet cat food so I used a half of a can of tuna instead.  I don’t like to waste food, so I tried to figure out something to make with the left over half of tuna.  Since I’m not a huge fan of tuna, I made a tuna melt for my boyfriend and he said it was really good.  He likes things a little spicy so I tried to make add a little spice to it.  He said that it was good, but not that spicy so I have the recipe with changes to make it a real spicy tuna melt.

This sandwich is flavorful and makes a nice lunch.  At  less than 400 calories with lots of protein and a few veggies, this sandwich is also healthy for you.  Enjoy!

Recipe

Printable Version

Ingredients:

2 slices pumpernickel bread

1 tbsp olive oil or butter

1/2 can of tuna

1/2 tbsp chipotle mayo

1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard

dash of chili powder or hot sauce*

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

3 slices of roma tomatoes

2 slices pepperjack cheese

*I have not tried this, but I think that it would add a nice kick to this sandwich

Active time: 15 minutes

Inactive time: 0 minutes

Servings:  Makes 1 sandwich

Cooking instructions:

Combine the tuna, mayo, mustard, vinegar, and whatever spice(s) you want in a bowl and mix.  Lightly oil or butter one side of each slice of bread.  Place one piece in the a small frying pan. Put the cheese on the bread.  Top with the tomato slices, then the cheese, and finally the tuna mixture.  Turn the heat on medium and wait.  Flip once the cheese begins to get nice and gooey and the bread begins to darken.  The sandwich is done with the other side of the bread is also beginning to darken.  Slice in half and serve.  Don’t forget to go for second helpings!

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