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October 2, ‘09

Island Epicure

S u m m e r s G o n e , Soup s On

by Marj Watkins

The Indian-gift of September’s summer is history. Cooler, shorter days with gray skies increase. But why borrow gloom? These are days when we can treat our souls and bodies to hot soups or to bowls of simmered chicken stew finished off with fluffy eggy dumplings.

These are the days when the heat from an oven and the enticing aroma of home-baked bread warm and cheer the kitchen and the cook. Root vegetables are in. Applesauce, and apple pie from fall’s sweet abundance grace our tables. Our Jonagold tree’s fruit this year is so large and sweet that three or four of the biggest apples make a pie without added sugar. The fridge is stocked with a large jar of applesauce spiced and preserved with cinnamon and cloves.

Our Chinese daughter-in-law left us a parting gift of a large packet of dried brown-capped Chinese mushrooms among other edibles. She said to soak the mushrooms overnight. That seemed like an excessively long soak, but I did as she directed and they fattened and softened nicely. I don’t know that I, or you, will ever be able to quite reproduce this soup. The packet label had only Chinese characters on it, so I can’t tell you for sure the name of these very mushrooms, but the resulting soup tasted a lot like shiitake, though these were chubbier than the dried shiitake I’ve occasionally been able to find at Oriental stores in Seattle and Tacoma.

Here’s what was in that delightful bowlful. I adapted a Thai recipe using ingredients readily available on the Island. Feel free to tinker with the recipe. Slivered pea pods could be added or substituted for the water chestnuts. You could use fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried ones.

THAI CHINESE MUSHROOM SWEET & SOUR SOUP Makes 2 main dish servings Or 4 starter servings 5 dried mushroom caps soaked

overnight or all day 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock ½ chicken breast cut in thin strips 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced About 1 ½ inches of peeled

cucumber, diced ½ can sliced water chestnuts Dash red pepper or red pepper

flakes (to taste) 2 teaspoons Rice vinegar, or to

taste

Black pepper to taste 1 or 2 green onions, thinly sliced 2 Tablespoons minced fresh

parsley or cilantro or 2 teaspoons dried parsley

Slice the mushrooms, removing the tough stems. Put all the ingredients except the onion green part slices and the minced parsley into a saucepan. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer a few minutes, until the chicken is opaque clear through. Add the green onion leaf slices and parsley. Stir.

Serve hot.

A hearty stew with dumpling puffs like thistledown CHICKEN & DUMPLING STEW 4 to 6 servings Bring to a boil in a 6-cup saucepan: 4 cups chicken broth 1 small onion, chopped 1 celery rib, chopped 1 carrot, chopped 1 red potato, chopped 1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

Reduce heat to medium low. Cook 20 minutes (until vegetables are nearly done.). Add: ¾ cup diced or thinly slivered raw chicken breast Soy sauce to taste Dumplings (recipe follows)

While the vegetables and chicken cook, mix the dumpling dough below. Bring broth back to boiling. Add big spoonfuls of dumpling dough. Cover, but leave the lid a bit ajar so it won’t boil over. How long the dumplings need to cook depends on the size of the dough gobs you put in.

FLUFFY DUMPLINGS 1 cup sifted flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder 2 Tablespoons butter cut in bits Dash salt, optional 1 egg, beaten in 3/8 cup milk 2 Tablespoons snipped chives or green onion tops, optional

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt if using, into a small mixing bowl.

Cut in butter, or mix it in with clean fingers.

Stir in the mixed egg and milk. Drop by spoonfuls into the boiling stew. Try to place them on solid parts. Cook 5 or 6 minutes, or until a fork-split dumpling looks cooked all the way through.

Find the Loop on-line at www.vashonloop.com.

Eat at the...

The Vashon Loop, p. 7

Express Menu (Available only to go)

Tacos - Assorted delicious tacos, 2 for $2.99

Tortas - A traditional Mexican sandwich made with your choice of filling for $4.99

Burritos - Flour tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese and chicken, ground beef or picadillo Three sizes to fit your appetite! Pequeno (8 inch) $1.99 Grande (10 inch) $4.99 El Muy Grande (12 inch) $6.99

Chips and salsa $1.99

Girls Go to State

Continued from page 1

Our kids entered the iron sights only portion of the competition, which included four matches. The competition was a 1600 point aggregate match, made up of 4 matches with two stages to each match. Each stage was worth 200 points. Match #1 consisted of 2 stages of shooting at 50 yards. Match #2 was a Dewar match, which is one stage at 50 yards and the second stage at 100 yards. Match #3 consisted of two stages at 100 yards. The final match was two stages at 50 meters.

during the second match, and Marisca surged ahead of Katelyn by 12 points at the end of the 3rd match. The final match at 50 meters decided the competition between the girls. Katelyn put together a string of tight groups around the 10 ring and surged ahead by 13 points. Maricsa finished the day with a score of 1439-20x and Katelyn finished with 1452-23xIt was a great day for both girls. Both showed marked improvement and set personal best scores.

The match turned into an all day affair, with two relays of shooters for each match. The competition started at 9am. Each relay took about an hour to complete a match. Each relay started with a 10 minute setup time, where competitors got their gear on the line, and got their 1st targets in position. Another 3 minutes was given to allow adjustments to scopes and sights. After the preparation time was complete, the participants were given 20 minutes to shoot 20 shots into the designated scoring targets. When the 1st stage was complete, the second stage targets were put in place, and another 20 minutes was given to shoot the second stage.

Loopy sez: Deadline for the next edition of The Loop is

Friday, Oct. 9.

The girls started out shooting very well in the 1st match, with Katelyn placing 5th in the 50 yd match with a score of 381-5x with Marisca not too far behind. The girls were very competitive with each other throughout the course of the day. Marisca closed on Katelyn

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