Sunday, October 29, 2017

Creamy Gnocchi and Bean Soup, Topped with Spinach-Basil Pesto for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was in the fresh pasta section in the grocery store, thinking about putting some in a soup when a package of gnocchi caught my eye. I like gnocchi--little potato dumplings and thought that they would be great in soup. Searching online, it appears that Gnocchi Soup is a thing--at least if you have an Olive Garden around you as copycat recipes for their Chicken and Gnocchi Soup are what popped up first. We don't have Olive Gardens here and I've not been to one in years although their Zuppa Toscana was a favorite of mine (Here's my healthier version from back when I ate meat.) ;-) 

I wanted a vegetarian soup and although I looked at a few recipes (both vegetarian and not) for inspiration, I ended up putting together my own Creamy Gnocchi and Bean Soup

I used coconut milk to make it creamy as although there was Parmesan in my packaged gnocchi, I try to stay away from lots of dairy with my asthma. I added white beans to make it more substantial and topped it with some homemade spinach and basil pesto for an extra pop of flavor. The result is creamy and satisfying--a good soup for a rainy weekend.

Creamy Gnocchi and Bean Soup with Pesto Swirl
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6-8)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes and liquids
1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth or broth of choice (I used half homemade garlic broth & 1/2 non-chicken soup broth paste)
3 Tbsp cornstarch + # Tbsp cold water
1 can coconut milk or half-and-half
4 cups baby spinach, larger leaves chopped
1 lb gnocchi, fresh or frozen
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
pesto (recipe below) or fresh basil to serve

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions, carrot and celery and saute over medium heat about 5 to 6 minutes, until onions turn translucent and veggies begin to soften. Add garlic, thyme, bail and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant. 
Add tomatoes, beans, and broth and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer vegetables for about 10 minutes, until mostly softened. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl until completely smooth. Add to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk, spinach and gnocchi to the soup and simmer for about 5 to 6 minutes, until spinach is wilted and gnocchi cooked through.

Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Serve soup with a swirl of pesto on the top and enjoy. 


Spinach and Basil Pesto 
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 2 cups pesto)

2 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, washed and lightly drained
2 cup (packed) basil leaves, washed and lightly drained
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts and/or walnuts (I mixed them)
juice and zest of 1 lemon, or to taste
sea salt and black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper)
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Pulse all ingredients except olive oil in the bowl of a food processor until chunky--stopping and scraping sides of bowl as needed. With food processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil in through feed tube until pesto is blended and mostly smooth.   

Place leftover pesto in an airtight container and press a piece of plastic wrap on top before covering, store in fridge for up to 3 days, or place in ice cube trays and freeze, storing cubes in an airtight container in freezer.


Notes/Results: I like this soup a lot--both with and without stirring the pesto in. It's silky and rich with good flavor and gnocchi are like little dumplings. I included the recipe I used for my pesto but you could use your own or a store-bought version, or top the soup with some Parmesan and fresh basil instead. I would happily make this soup again.

We have some good friends and tasty dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Vicki of I'd Rather Be At The Beach shared a classic Southern stew and said, "My husband loved Sonny’s  and really loved their Brunswick Stew (not all Sonny’s have it). I never made it at home, but when I saw this quick and easy recipe I decided to make it. I can’t imagine any restaurant making it with just canned ingredients, but I like quick and easy. ... I was really surprised at how good it was. Even my son Anthony said it was pretty good, and he’s never been a fan of any kind of stew."

Debra of Eliot's Eats made Napa Cabbage Salad with Green Chili Vinaigrette and Pinion with ingredients picked up on a trip to Santa Fe. She said, "All the way home (to keep myself awake) I planned what kind of New Mexico inspired meals we would have with the bounty of produce and other items that we had purchased from the local vendors. Making these meals will also keep us in that New Mexico state of mind for a bit longer. ... I served this salad for lunch the day after we returned with a warm tortilla (also from the FM).

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen made a Halloween perfect Black Beans and Carrot "Pumpkin" Soup and said, "I had seen somewhere on blogosphere that someone had cut the carrots into pumpkin shapes, so I decided to have a go especially with Halloween just round the corner. ... It is essentially a Black Bean soup with carrots.  You can blend the black beans or keep it chunky, its up to you.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought Homemade Potato Soup and Croutons and said, ", I wanted to share a homemade potato soup and croutons. Perfect for cool weather, I highly recommend it. ... I made this from a recipe in the Cottage Cookbook, one I had just received in the mail. Of course I adapted it a bit, I always do.   It's a lovely book. I reviewed it at Novel Meals."

Linda of shared Green Pea Soup and said, "I’m a slow food lover and have been making different soups and stocking up the freezer. This recipe comes out just like a certain condensed pea soup and it was delicious but the best part is it doesn’t have all the added salt. The recipe was in The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook which I picked up for $2 at one of the local Seedy Saturdays I went to. The cost to make this green pea soup was just under $1.50 and it made 6 servings. It’s a split pea soup with a twist."

Finally, here at Kahakai Kitchen I made some adaptations to an Ina Garten recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh with Herbs & Feta inspired by a recent book tour review. The salad is full of flavor and I made Ina's recipe a bit healthier. I have been enjoying it all this week. If you live in the U.S. or Canada and like foodie novels, be sure to stop by my post to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman.

Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Welcome Home Diner" by Peggy Lampman, Served with Crispy Cornmeal Fried Fish and Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Herbs & Feta (and a Giveaway!)

What's a great way to get over the hump of a long week? Being a stop on the TLC Book Tour for The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman, a great foodie novel--full of delectable sounding dishes. It's even better when it's paired with some book-inspired food like Crispy Cornmeal Fried Fish and a Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Herbs & Feta. And finally, there's a giveaway at the end of the post to enter to win a copy of the book. 

Publisher's Blurb:

Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.
Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.
As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (October 10, 2017)

My Review:

Yes, I do love a good foodie novel and I was excited to get a chance to review The Welcome Home Diner about two cousins who buy and renovate an old urban diner, hoping to transform their neighborhood and help (and benefit from) the urban renewal happening in Detroit. I have my own a cafe fantasies. When I make something delicious in my kitchen I often think, "that's totally going on my cafe menu!" Having spent some time in and around the food business, a cafe is much more work and effort than I have to give at this point in my life but I can live vicariously (at least through the good moments) through Addie and Sam in this book. Their path to success and happiness isn't an easy one between their own personal dramas, a neighborhood and neighbors that are not very welcoming, and an online troll who seems bent on making things difficult for the cousins.

I've read a couple of books recently that have written about Detroit and efforts to rehabilitate and rebuild the city and The Welcome Home Diner does it so lovingly in the way Lampman describes the city and it's surrounding communities--it made me want to go take a look. I enjoyed the main characters and although Sam and Addie are cousins, they are as close as sisters and that relationship with it's high and low points, felt realistic. I loved the supporting characters, particularly the Welcome Home's staff. They were a group of colorful personalities, most overcoming personal challenges and situations, and I enjoyed seeing how they were rebuilding their lives and themselves as much as the diner, the neighborhood and their city. 

Almost as important to the story and the characters for me in a foodie novel is the description of the food. I liked the blend of southern favorites and Polish and other ethnic traditions with farm-to-table practices and the focus on local ingredients. The Welcome Home had the kind of menu that would thrill me as a patron and I like when an author truly appreciates food and the art of cooking--it's no surprise Lampman is a popular food blogger. This quote from Addie, sums it up nicely, "Recipes are much more than instruction manuals. They're stories, rich with history, connecting the dots between past and present." This is not a book to read on an empty stomach as you'll see from my list of its food inspiration below.

The Welcome Home Diner is about more than the food--it's about relationships, friends and family--both the one you are born into and the one you create, and it's about community and reinvention. I found it to be an enjoyable read and I would happily go back and visit with these characters in another book. I'll be adding it to my collection of foodie books--I'd probably put it on my shelves for the gorgeous cover alone, but the story earns it a firm place. 

If it sounds like a book you'd enjoy, make sure to enter the giveaway for a copy below.


Author Notes: Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications—summa cum laude—from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for a public-relations firm. When she returned to Ann Arbor, her college town, she opened a specialty foods store, the Back Alley Gourmet. Years later, she sold the store and started writing a weekly food column for the Ann Arbor News and MLive. Lampman’s first novel, The Promise Kitchen, published in 2016, garnered several awards and accolades. She is married and has two children. She also writes the popular blog

You can connect with Peggy via her website, blog, Facebook or Twitter


Food Inspiration: 

There is far too much food in The Welcome Home Diner for me to list all of it but here are the highlights—garden-grown lettuces, smoked pulled pork, biscuits, chess pie, greens (turnip, collards and mustard) and potlikker (the seasoned liquid left from boiling greens), corn pone, heirloom salad with blue cheese croutons, buttermilk pancakes with apple-maple syrup and walnuts, chocolate egg creams, lavender lime soda, spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, bacon and lemony dressing, hot sauce, kale smoothies, cornbread, sweet potato hash, giant chocolate cookies called “Heartbreakers,” asparagus salad, smoked chicken, patty pan squash, lamb burgers with beetroot salad and tzatziki, pickled carrots (and pickled eggplant, peppers, zucchini, okra and tomatoes), crispy corn trout, Heirloom tomatoes, lemonade with citrus and ginger, spicy Green Zebra Tomato Curry, eggs over easy with blue corn grits and red eye gravy, gazpacho, twice-stuffed potatoes, sponge cake, coconut pie, fennel dressing, wild mushroom pâté, sage-crusted pork chops with baked apples stuffed with orange-scented sweet potatoes, shaved Brussels sprouts salad, sugar cookies, Singapore Slings, chutney, cabbage rolls, Steak Diane with wild mushroom fettuccine, Polish Stuffed Easter Eggs (the author has a recipe on her blog), strawberry pies, spicy grilled wings, and root vegetable soup.

There were a few different recipes I wanted to recreate--the lavender-lime soda, maybe a meat-free potlikker, or the Green Zebra Tomato Curry. There were also a handful of recipes in the book (the pancakes and apple-maple syrup with walnuts, the greens with turnips and potlikker, the lamb burger sliders, the crispy corn trout, the Heartbreakers, Ginger-Molasses Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd, Babcia's Golbaki (cabbage rolls), white and dark chocolate-covered strawberries, and skillet-fried chicken). Most of the savory dishes included meat which I don't eat and I wasn't feeling like baking, making pancakes or eating something sweet. 

I have been craving tabbouleh and when I read the description of Sam and Uriah eating out at a Mediterranean restaurant and Sam noting the extra herbs (oregano and thyme) that popped up in the tabbouleh they ordered, I wanted to make the salad--even though it isn't a big part of the book. The heart wants what the heart wants. I had an Ina Garten recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta bookmarked to try that used mint and parsley and decided to add oregano and thyme to it and adapt it to my needs. I make tabbouleh fairly often and have made it with quinoa before (posted here) although I don't often think to change out the grain from the usual bulgur wheat. Qunioa is great if you need to avoid gluten or just want the protein and extra nutrition it provides.

To go with the salad I decided to do a spin on Paul's Great Lakes Crispy Corn Trout from Welcome Home's menu, only as good trout is hard to get here in Hawaii, I decided to use some local Monchong which has a firm, flaky texture and a moderate, buttery flavor. I think Sam and Addie would appreciate the use of locally-sourced ingredients. Since I used fillets rather than a whole fish, I worked a little dried sage into the coating rather than in the cavity of the fish. 

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Herbs & Feta
Adapted from Ina Garten, via Food
(Makes 6 Servings)

1 cup quinoa (I used sprouted quinoa)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I reduced to 1 tsp here)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil (I used about 3 Tbsp)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (5 scallions)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (2 bunches)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

(I used 3/4 cup parsley, 1/2 cup mint, 2/3 cup oregano, & 1/3 cup thyme)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and medium-diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem
2 cups medium-diced feta (8 oz) (I reduced to less than 4 oz)

Pour 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and 1 teaspoon of salt, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the grains are tender and open (they'll have little curly tails). Drain, place in a bowl and immediately add the lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste.

In a large bowl, combine the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Add the quinoa and mix well.

Carefully fold in the feta and taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold

Crispy Cornmeal Fried Fish (Machong)
Adapted from Paul's Great Lakes Crispy Corn Trout via The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman
(Serves 4)

4 whole trout, 10-12 oz each, boned
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
8 sprigs fresh sage
1/4 cup ground cornmeal 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Rinse the trout and pat dry. Season the cavity of each fish with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place 2 sage leaves in the cavity of each fish. Close the cavity by threading a wooden skewer or toothpick through the flaps.

In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal and flour. Dredge both sides of the trout in the mixture. 

Heat two large skillets over medium--high heat and divide the oil between them. When the fat simmers, add 2 fish to each skillet and fry until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the fish with a large, flat spatula. Continue to cook the fish on the other side until just cooked through an golden, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the fish to a platter and serve immediately with the lemon wedges.

Notes/Results: Let's start with the salad which was really tasty. I say add all the herbs to tabbouleh--don't limit yourself to just parsley and mint. I liked being able to get a bit of the oregano, thyme, mint and parsley in each bite. I did reduce the salt in this dish--with cooking the quinoa, the dressing and the veggie mix (Ina had anywhere from 1/2 tsp to 2 teaspoons salt in each step even before the feta is added, I just don't think it needs that much. There is a note in the recipe that Ina uses Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which is very coarse and to use less if you use a finer grain salt. I say taste and use your judgment and think of your heart! ;-) Speaking of feta, 8 ounces is WAY too much. I cut it down by less than half and it was plenty. I just don't think this salad needs as much cheese as it has quinoa in it. In fact next time I would reduce the cheese again, but double the quinoa to make it more grainy. (OK, seedy, quinoa is technically a seed.) But still, I really enjoyed the salad both with the fish and on its own--I will happily make it again. For the fish, I don't usually "fry" my fish and especially monchong but it worked quite well--crispy and slightly crackly from the cornmeal on the outside and tender and juicy inside. It was delicious indulgence. An excellent dinner. 

I'm sharing this post several different places including:

I Heart Cooking Clubs where it's Potluck week--our chance to make any recipe from our current IHCC chef (Ina Garten) or any of the previous IHCC chefs.

The Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

As my tenth entry for Foodie Reads 2017. You can check out the October Foodies Read linkup, hosted by Heather at Based on a True Story, to see what foodie book everyone is reading this month.

Finally there's Souper Sundays, hosted right here at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday we feature delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches from friends around the blogosphere--please join in if you have any to share. Here's this week's post and linkup


Note: A review copy of "The Welcome Home Diner" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

***Book Giveaway***
The publisher is generously providing a copy of The Welcome Home Diner to give away (U.S. & Canada addresses only, sorry) here at Kahakai Kitchen.

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, leave a comment (Because I like to read them!) ;-) and tell me about your favorite family recipe or favorite diner meal, or tell me why you'd like to win a copy of The Welcome Home Diner

There are a couple of other optional ways to get more entries to win: 1) Tweet about this giveaway or 2) follow me on Twitter (@DebinHawaii) and/or
author Peggy Lampman (@dinnerfeed). (Note: You can still get extra entries even if you already follow these accounts.)

Deadline for entry is midnight (EST) on Friday, November 3rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Vegan 'Wonton' Soup with "a Reasonable Broth to Wonton Ratio" for Food 'N Flix October Pick: Ghostbusters: Answer the Call & Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It's time for October's Food 'N' Flix monthly film event, where a group of bloggers watch a movie and head to our kitchens to create a dish inspired by it. This month our movie is Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (the 2016 woman-power version), hosted by Kimberly of Coffee and Casseroles (You can see her announcement post here.)

If you saw the original Ghostbusters, there's a similar plot with the main characters being female but still fighting ghosts in New York City without any respect or support. Melissa McCarthy is Abby Yates and Kristen Wigg is Erin Gilbert. The two physicists worked together and even wrote a book on the paranormal although Erin has disowned it to focus on her career as a professor at Columbia University and only seeks Abby out when she starts selling the book again. Abby is working at a technical college, still researching ghosts and working with Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) a wacky inventor/engineer. When Erin is fired after a video showing the three confronting a ghost  is aired, she joins forces with Abby and Jillian, as does subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Rounding out the team is hunky but dumb receptionist Kevin (Chris Hemsworth).

I saw the movie when it first came out on Netflix and although I think its at times a bit overdone in the acting and too slapstick for me, it does have its moments. Leslie Jones is the standout--funny in every scene she is in. Although I liked it, I was never a huge fan of the first Ghostbusters so I have no issue with a reboot and I'm always for a cast of strong females. It was interesting to watch it again, this time with my food googles on.

There is actually more food to be found in Ghostbusters 2016 that I thought there was including a mention of breakfast, wonton soup (more on that later), chips, Starbucks (bathroom), Chinese food--a restaurant and mention of hot and sour shrimp soup (with "one shrimp and I hope a water chestnut!"), coffee with sugar, mention of a cousin who will work for Vienna sausages, pizza, a room smelling like chicken frying, some diner shots, soup and salad being listed as "wonderful things to live for," sandwiches, tomatoes/tomatos, and beer. I am sure I missed a few things in there--sometimes I get distracted--and right after I saw the wonton soup and heard Abby's comments about it--I knew it was what I wanted to make.

It seems the Chinese food delivery guy (Ben, I think) brings Abby soup that's lacking:

Abby: "I got one wonton! I got a tub of soup and one split wonton!"
Erin: "I'm sorry you're having a soup crisis."
Abby: There isn't even any meat in there. That's just a carrot."

Then at the end of the film the delivery guy brings a tub stuffed full of wontons...

Abby: "I'm just looking for a reasonable ratio of wontons to soup, this is madness!"

How can a confirmed soup lover resist lines like those? I needed to make a Vegan Wonton Soup with "a Reasonable Broth to Wonton Ratio" as my movie-inspired dish.

I have to confess, I was feeling lazy and did not want to make my own wontons. Been there, done it, nothing to prove. It's not hard to make them but it just wasn't the weekend for it. I had intended to buy the Annie Chun brand mini vegetable wontons and of course, Whole Foods (who usually carries them) was completely out--as were the two natural food stores I drove into town for. If I ate meat I could have gotten the chicken ones, but I don't. Instead I bought the same company's vegan potstickers. Now I know that potstickers are different from wontons, but I decided to go with it. To round out the soup and make it more than just broth and wontons, I added carrots (of course), shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, and green onions in a garlic and ginger-spiked veggie broth. 

Unfortunately for me, I didn't think about how the difference between wontons and potstickers and the wrappers would impact the soup when I chose to not fry up the potstickers first and after just a few minutes, they swelled to epic proportions and many of them split--casting their filling into the soup. Heavy sigh. Luckily, I had another brand of vegetarian potstickers in my freezer (sometimes I need a potsticker dinner) and so I removed the offending potsticker skins from the soup with my slotted spoon, fried up my second batch of frozen potstickers and added them to the soup. Not my finest moment but it worked--although all things considered, it probably would have been less work just making the darn wontons. ;-) The soup's flavor was good and my young friend Zof (her lovely parents, my friends have been having me make double batches of my soups and buying them) apparently said, "These dumplings are my favorite. Yum, yum, yummy in my tum, tum tummy." I feel there can be no higher praise.

The "bad soup" before I decided I needed to go back and re-do my potstickers. Note the giant size of the potstickers--they look ready to take over New York City!

Vegan Wonton Soup with "a Reasonable Broth to Wonton Ratio"
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 6 Servings)
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced 

6 cups low-sodium good vegetable stock (I used not-chicken soup paste + homemade garlic broth)
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 carrot, thinly sliced, halved first if large
3 bunches baby bok choy or one large bunch bok choy, larger stem pieces sliced into 1/2-inch pieces & leaves & tender stem pieces sliced into 2-inch pieces & separated 
about 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned well, stems removed and sliced
12-16 oz frozen mini wontons or pot stickers 
3 green onions, green part only, thinly sliced
white peeper
chili oil and toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute garlic and ginger until softened and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar and bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile if using potstickers, fry them according to package instructions so they are nice and crispy on the bottom before adding to the soup. If using wontons, I recommend cooking them to package instructions before adding to the soup. 

Strain broth to remove ginger and garlic pieces (optional) and bring back to a simmer. Add carrot and bok choy stem pieces and simmer for another 10 minutes, until vegetables are mostly tender. Turn up heat to a gentle boil and add bok choy leaves and shitake mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in green onions, taste and season with additional soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil as needed, white pepper and chili oil if desired. (I serve it with chili oil on the side.

Add the potstickers or wontons to the cooked soup or place a few of them (using a reasonable broth to wonton ratio depending on your bowl size!) in the soup bowls before ladling in the soup.

Top bowls with toasted sesame seeds and chili oil if desired. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: Not my most perfect soup but not bad. I'll probably like it even better tomorrow when I am less angry with it and myself for the rookie move on the potstickers. The flavor was good--nice ginger and garlic flavor in the broth, I just wanted a clearer broth and the insides of the first set of potstickers that came apart gave the broth a thicker feel--it reminded me a bit of mapo tofu. Oh well! Jacqueline, Zof's mom, said she absolutely loved it like Zof did and enjoyed every bite and that the chili oil and sesame seeds were a perfect touch. I would make it again either using the wontons--which are better made for broths and soups or frying the potstickers/dumplings first.

The deadline for this round of Food 'N Flix is Monday October 30th 2017 and Kimberly will be rounding up the entries on her blog soon after. If you missed this round and love food, films and foodie films, join us for November when we'll be watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles, hosted by Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures

We have some tasty dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen said, "...this Cheesy Broccoli Beer Soup with Smoky Sunflower Chorizo Croutons was ridiculously flavourful, but in a very good way.  I especially loved the different levels of flavour from the topping the beer, the cheesiness from the nutritional yeas.  It was also very velvety.  Its definitely a soup that clings to the spoon."

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog made Roasted Acorn Squash and Pear Soup and said, "Fall has officially begun, so I say bring on all the wonderful fall produce!! You will love this flavorful soup made with roasted acorn squash and sweet yellow Bartlett pears. Winter squashes like acorn squash make wonderful fall soup that can be delicious warm or just as good chilled.

Linda of brought Leek and Potato Soup and said, "Leek and potato soup has to be one of my all time favourites.  I’ve shared this recipe before but have recently updated it a bit to include more accurate measurements.   I’m all into weighting the food we eat and recording it.  This is something my dietician recommended as a way to control portions."

Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!