Monday, February 23, 2015


I can't tell you how giddy being able to post this badge on my blog makes me!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Forget The Takeout - Hot And Sour Soup

I am a sucker for Chinese takeout, and when the temperatures dip, there is nothing like a hearty bowl of hot and sour soup to warm you up. The problem is, the local takeout place uses more cornstarch than I like. My friend TJ recently posted a picture of hot and sour soup that she made in her pressure cooker. What a perfect time to try to make my own batch. Now before you say that this isn't authentic hot and sour soup because it doesn't have the funky mushrooms, or the exotic flower buds, I will that you are correct, it isn't authentic. But it is accessible to most people with an Asian section in their grocery store.

Hot And Sour Soup

1 T sesame oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces white mushrooms, quartered
2 dried shitake mushrooms, broken into little pieces
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar (not flavored)
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t fried chili crisp (optional, I have it in my pantry and it adds a spicy smoky taste)
6 cups chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
1 T cornstarch mixed with water
1 package extra firm tofu, cut in to thin strips
1 green scallion, thinly sliced (optional garnish)

Heat the sesame oil and onion on the Brown setting of your cooker and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.  Add the white mushrooms, the shitake mushroom pieces, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, soy sauce, vinegar and the hot pepper. Cover and lock the cooker. Set for high pressure for 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes has ended, release the pressure using the quick release method. Quickly pour in the beaten eggs, whisking them in with a fork, making wisps of egg while they cook. Next, add the tofu strips, folding them in to the soup. Finally, add the cornstarch slurry and mix for a minute or so, letting the soup thicken. Ladle soup in to bowls and garnish with scallion slices.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

If Money Were No Object

The Aussie and I like to dream about what we would do if we won a big*ss lottery. All of our basic needs and quite a number of luxuries have already been met, so we are quite blessed. There are a few things, however, that I would love to do, if we had millions and millions to spend. Most of them are practical, with a side of frivolity.

1- Fence the immediate yard at the ranch so that the doggies could roam around safely. There are all manner of dangerous wild critters in the area, as well as local dogs that roam. I'd prefer it if they didn't have access to our property.

2 - Get the pond fixed. If you are going to build a pond in an area with really sandy soil, LINE IT WITH CLAY BEFORE YOU FILL IT!

3 - Renovate the house at the ranch. It boggles my mind that the previous owners built a house in the middle of the woods with a gas only fireplace. There isn't even a chimney. The amount of firewood we potentially have from trees that fell in storms is ridiculous. The fact that I can't have a proper wood fire in my fireplace makes me sad. I want to build an addition with large windows, a fireplace, another bathroom, install solar panels, convert the kitchen to gas, and install a tankless hot water system. Oh, and re-do the landscaping around the house with some sort of metal mesh under the lawn to prevent the gophers from digging up the yard.

4 - Because every dog deserves a furever sofa, I would really, really love to give a lot of money to charities that I support. My favorite charity, Galgos Del Sol, is raising funds to build a center. They rescue abandoned and injured Spanish Galgos, a dog similar to a Greyhound, rehabilitate them and find them homes. The new center will have an on-site vet, kennels and enclosures for the rescued dogs, an educational center. They will be able to help so many more of these beautiful dogs.  I would also love to make significant donations to Ibizan Hound Rescue to support their rescue work and to help cover the costs for medical attention and fostering the dogs.

5 - The Aussie is a pack rat. I would dearly love a clean, organized house. I'm not sure even millions could accomplish that, though.