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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Saturday, June 11

Hot and Sour Soup

I don't like cooking much on a day-to-day basis, but I love trying to duplicate my favorite restaurant foods. I don't always get it exactly the same, but I often manage to come up with something I really enjoy. Sometimes, I think I even like my verson better.

Hot and sour soup is one of my favorite foods although I don't get it very often. I attempted making it tonight for the first time in a long while. Usually, I put in chicken, broth, soy sauce, vinegar, corn starch, sesame oil, salt, msg, and egg. I don't really care for mushrooms, seaweed, or the bamboo shoots that usually go in it, so I leave them out. (I'll eat the seaweed and bamboo shoots if there in the soup already, but why buy expensive ingredients that you don't really like?)

This time, I tried adding a few things that I don't usually bother with - tofu, green onions, and cracked red pepper. I like the texture of tofu from the restaurant soups I've had, and it's nearly flavorless except for the bit of broth it absorbs. It was much easier to prepare than I expected (just cut it up and add it in when the soup's almost ready). I quite enjoyed it. The chicken and egg get a bit boring without some other texture, and the tofu seemed just right for it. As for the onions, I love them, but not everyone in my family does, so I often leave them out. I just put a few in, so they could easily be picked out and left the rest aside as a garnish just for me. It really added a nice something extra to the flavor and texture. I think the pepper made a difference too. The soup was just a little spicy. I wouldn't mind more spice, but, again, not everyone in my family appreciates spice. I'd like to try red wine vinegar sometime.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the product, and it was fairly easy to make. It's got me inspired enough that now I'm thinking I might have to attempt Chicken Alfredo again. I love the Alfredo sauce from the Olive Garden (they use cream cheese), but I don't like how much fat it has, so I make a different version with a little butter and lowfat milk. Maybe I could try lowfat cream cheese next time...

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