Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Posts Tagged ‘quick dinners’

Hot and Sour Soup

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 17, 2015


This hot and sour soup by Boston chef Joanne Chang is the best I have had  It is super quick and a very good weeknight meal.  I made some changes to it, mainly because of what I had on hand.  The only major changes I made were to increase the garlic, add sautéed cabbage, reduce the vinegar and omit the salt.



  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for garnish (I omitted because I did not have it on hand)
  • 8 ounces ground pork  (you can use ground chicken or omit entirely)
  • 4-5 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth (I used Better than bullion).
  • 1 pound firm tofu cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Half a head of cabbage shredded finely (the original recipe calls for 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I omitted, seems unnecessary)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar, or to taste  (the original recipe calls for 2/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • White or black pepper for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish



  • In a saucepan, heat 1 tbs of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally till the pork is browned. Break up the pork as you stir.
  • Remove the pork etc from the pan.  Add the remaining vegetable oil to the sauce pan and heat up.  Saute the cabbage with a bit of salt at high heat, 3-4 min. till cabbage wilts and browns.  Do not add too much water into the pan along with the cabbage or the cabbage will steam and taste mushy.
  • Add the stock  to the cabbage, then add the tofu and pork along with the garlic, ginger and scallions.


  • In a small bowl, mix sugar (if using), vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and add to the soup.
  •  Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup and adjust the flavors.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Ladle into bowls and garnish with scallion and cilantro.  For a more substantial meal,  serve on rice.
  • Instead of adding the cabbage to the soup,  I think it would work really well as a garnish.



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Peapods with poppy seed dressing

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 2, 2014

photo 1

Poppy Seed Dressing This poppy seed dressing (from Saveur via the cookbook author Helen Corbitt) is one of the best I have ever had and it goes well with everything from peaches and strawberries, to salads to pea pods.   I made the following changes to the original recipe.  I substituted the grated onion for 1 tsp of powdered onion, since I did not see myself grating an onion by hand (do not grate with a food processor, the onion and juice will be bitter).  I figured this would also give the dressing greater shelf-life.  I also skipped the canola oil and went with all olive oil, but I don’t think it makes a big difference here. Do not omit the onion or the mustard,  these are key ingredients.  If you want a well-emulsified dressing,  you are going to have to make it in a bottle and shake it like the devil.  Or you could whisk it.  Even if you don’t do either, the dressing will taste divine.  MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

photo 2


2 tbsp. poppy seeds

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 tsp. dry mustard powder

2 tsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal.  Adjust to taste for all other salts).

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp powdered onion  (the original recipe calls for 1 small yellow onion, finely grated, juice reserved)

3/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup olive oil

Method: 1. Lightly toast the poppy seeds, swirling pan constantly, about 3 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and onion powder, and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Add oil, and blend until smooth.  Keep refrigerated. I have no idea how long it will last in the fridge,  but I have been using it for 3 weeks.

photo 3

Pea pods 


2 tbs. oil



Poppy seed dressing


1. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a heavy (cast-iron) pan.

2.  Add the pea pods in one layer to the pan.

3. Wait to stir for a couple of min till one side develops flecks of brown.

4. Now turn over and cook for a few minutes till browned to your liking.

5. Remove from heat and add the desired amount dressing.  Adjust the salt to your taste.

Posted in condiments, salads, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Curried Tofu Salad

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 17, 2012

There are those who eat tofu as a meat substitute.  I think it is a mediocre meat substitute, but is really good on its own, particularly because it can take on any flavor you ask it to.   Take for instance the red curry tofu salad our local co-op sells. It has Indian curry powder and some cajun spices in it and it tastes like a wonderful blend of the two.  Whoda thunk? Its delicious, but expensive.  You shouldn’t  pay 7.99/lb for a bit of tofu.  So I resolved to make it with the ingredients I had on hand.  My take on this salad is very close to the store bought version, its just slightly less greasy and certainly a lot cheaper.  This is definitely going to enter my lunch pantheon.  Try it and you might also get hooked to eating tofu as well.  It would also be wonderful with chicken: I will try that next.


1 pk extra firm tofu cut lengthwise into three slabs

2 tbs. vegetable oil, divided

2 tbs mayonnaise (the store sells a vegan version with vegennaise: no idea how this is made, but it tastes just fine)

1 tbs. apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)

1/2 tsp old bay seasoning (or any cajun seasoning, barbecue dry rub etc.  you have)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp curry pwd

pinch of cayenne (the hot stuff)

five grinds black pepper

salt to taste

1 large carrot, shredded in the food processor or on a grater

1 stalk celery finely diced or shredded in the food processor

2-3 tbs. finely diced onion (preferably a sweet variety, do not grate in food processor)

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro


The day before you will make your salad, drain the tofu brick on paper towels, taking as much moisture off as possible.  Leave uncovered in fridge overnight.

Heat 1/2 -1 tbs oil in a griddle or sauté pan (the amount will depend on the type of pan you use, you don’t want the tofu to stick and you don’t want it greasy).

When hot, turn the stove to medium high and place your tofu slabs in the pan and brown, about 4 min per side (provided the tofu was drained as outlined above).

Remove from the flame and let the tofu cool down to room temperature.

Meanwhile,  whisk the mayo, oil, vinegar, sugar and spices together and let the flavors blend.

Process your vegetables.

Cut the tofu into small cubes and mix together the vegetables, the dressing and the tofu.  Be gentle so you don’t break the tofu to bits.  Taste and adjust the salt, sugar and vinegar.

Let the salad sit for at least half an hour in the fridge before serving or consuming.

Posted in Asian, Brunch, Chinese, Main Dishes, salads, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Quick Cheese Bread

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 6, 2012

This is a wonderful cheese bread that tastes as good as a yeasted batter bread, but comes together  in a fraction of time.  Seriously.  You can make this loaf in the time it would take you to put together a batch of biscuits.  It tastes terribly good and very rich and would go with any meal: by itself at breakfast (no butter needed),  or with a soup or salad for lunch or dinner.  This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook.  I borrowed this from the library and absolutely love it.  If you are a reasonably good cook, this book could be your go to book. Everything I have made from it has been right on.  I tweaked this recipe a little.  I took out sour cream and replaced it with yogurt and the whole milk with 2% milk.  I also added the herbs de provence.  I did not have Parmesan, so I used a mix of asiago and cheddar.  When I make it again,  I will reduce the cheeses to make it less rich.


1 cup shredded parmesan cheese  (I used a mixture of cheddar and asiago, about half and half)

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 tbs. baking powder

1 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper, ground

1 tsp herbs de provence (you could use your favorite here: oregano,  sage, dill, marjoram)

1 cup asiago cheese, broken up into 1/4-1/2 inch bits (or use sharp cheddar)

1 1/4 cup milk (1 used 2%)

3 tbs butter, unsalted, melted

1 large egg

3/4 cup whole milk yoghurt (the original recipe calls for sour cream)


1.  Place a rack at the center of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.

2.  Grease an 8.5×4.5″  loaf pan and sprinkly 1/2 cup of grated cheese at the bottom (this forms a nice crust on the bottom, you want this).

3. In a large bowl,  mix together flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the cubed cheese and mix.

4.  In a medium sized bowl,  mix together, milk, egg, yogurt, melted butter.

5.  Mix the dry and wet ingredient until just combined.  The mixture will be thick.

6.  Transfer mixture into the prepared loaf pan.  Use a spatula to even out the top.

7.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on the top.

8.  Bake for 45-50 min, until an inserted tester comes out clean.

9.  Let the bread sit in the pan for 5 min, then transfer to a wire rack or a metal plate to cool for 45 min.

10. Slice and eat.

Posted in baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dishes, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pistachio Pesto

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 27, 2012

This is a wonderful variation on pesto.  You can use your favorite pesto recipe and swap out the pine nuts for the pitsachio nuts.  Or use the one below.  I had cilantro, so I used cilantro.  Parsley would have been fine too.  You just can’t sub out the basil, is all.   The pesto will keep in the freezer and if you add a film of oil on top, it will also mostly retain its color.  The pesto is great with pasta, as a dip, as a flavoring agent for soup, smeared on bread, you name it. So it is a really versatile little condiment to have in your repertoire.


2 cups basil leaves (tender stems and all), rinsed and drained

1 cup cilantro leaves (tender stems and all), rinsed and drained

2 sprigs mint

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup good olive oil

1/2 cup pistachio nuts (I used toasted, salted and shelled)

juice from 1/2 a lime

salt, to taste (you won’t need much since the pistachio nuts are salted)


1. Place the leaves, nuts, salt, lime juice, garlic  in a food processor and pulse till a paste forms.

2. With the processor running, drizzle in the oil till a smooth pesto like paste forms. Depending on how tightly you have packed the leaves, the amount of oil will differ.

3. Taste and adjust the salt.

Posted in Brunch, condiments, Main Dishes, pasta, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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