I'm sure you are thinking, "hot soup in the summer?" But as Charles Grodin's character in the movie Midnight Run so famously proclaimed, " What the hell? What the hell?" I, too, ask the same.
Mother Nature Screwing Around
Title it however your heart desires, but the weather is playing havoc with my normal summer cooking patterns. One week it's so hot that the act of eating food is almost a chore, let alone preparing it. The next week is rainy, chilly and desperately screaming out for warm soup to thaw the soul. Lucky thing for me I had some items that produced the perfect remedy for the fickle temperature swings occurring in my zip code. Come to think of it, there are plenty of food items that can go from cold to warm food preparations with just a few adjustments.
If you are still in a time zone that offers true summer weather, God bless, and just push the pause button on this post and save it for a rainy day in your area code. Or you can make this as directed then let the soup come to room temperature and add a peanut sauce, for a cold noodle dish. Versatility is the name of this game and the items I purchase and keep stocked in my house better know that going in... Otherwise they are OUT.
Embarking on a food adventure to remove the chill from a rainy Monday put the something from nothing mantra to the test. I started out knowing I wanted to make soup. That usually cures any of my belly aching about the cold. I knew for sure I had:
Onions & Shallot (ever in abundance in my house)
Garlic scapes** (bought them at the farmer's market because they are only in season for about 2 weeks)
Ginger (because I've been making ginger mint tea to heal myself from sinusitis)
Rice Noodles (another staple in my pantry)
After I diced up, chopped and sliced up the aromatics (onion, shallot, ginger slices and garlic scapes), they all went into a pot to sauté with some sesame and olive oil. Whilst that was happening, I soaked the rice noodles.
As with any something from nothing escapade, I continue to think and build on an idea as I go. So while those were doing their thing, I starting rummaging through my fridge. Next set of items found and destined to be added:
After all those went into the pot with some water, salt and tumeric, I tasted it and felt it needed a bit more flavor. I decided to grate some of the items already present in the pot. (Cilantro would be a great addition but I was happy with just the kale.)
Grating can really intensify the flavor, so garlic scapes, ginger and even the onion got the rasping treatment. Flavor essence enhanced and into the soup. Then in went the noodles and just like that I had Asian Style Noodle soup.
As I mentioned, you can certainly enjoy this one hot, as I did. Any protein could be added to this. Think grilled shrimp, or chicken or steak even. But if it's not cold where you are and these flavors are calling out your name, add some peanut sauce and enjoy a cold noodle dish. This hot, steamy pot did more than just shoo the chills away, it soothed my soul.
Something from nothing is just that darn easy.
**Garlic scapes you ask? I am drawn to produce that looks different from the usual fair. So it should come as no shocker that I would grab these curly, wiry thangs. Garlic scapes are the actual flower bud of the garlic plant. They are only in season a short while in late June when the bud is removed to encourage the bulbs to thicken up. Scapes taste just like garlic, but I feel they are a bit milder.