Today I was taking a que from Sally Schneider, ICAP Cookbook Award Winner, and author of The Improvisational Cook. Oprah calls her book “Innovative…A delicious revelation.” After being in Pensacola on assignment this week and eating some fine food at Jackson’s, I decided to get back on track by visiting For The Health Of It located in beautiful Blue Mountain Beach for groceries.
The plan: Improvisational Soup!
For The Health Of It has been serving 30A and the surrounding areas of South Walton, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach and Panama City since 1995. They are your go to place for organic & natural food needs, massage therapy services and information about healthy choices in North West Florida.
I was hungry which is not a good thing to be when grocery shopping, so I picked up pre-made spring rolls with peanut/almond dipping sauce in the cooler section. They were made by Jen at Raw & Juicy, who also has an airstream in Seaside. The Spring Rolls were amazing, and the sauce was flavorful and refreshing. I could eat it on everything.
I wanted to make an Asian soup, kind of like Pho, but without the noodles, so I purchased pea sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, tofu and chicken broth. When Chef Adam Feinberg sent me his Feiny’s Five Spice Rub to sample, the packages said “Great with tofu”, so I knew where the rub was headed.
Pages 103-105 in The Improvisational Cook followed my inspiration, as the author writes “In New York’s Chinatown, I was served a large bowl of chicken broth with a bunch of fresh watercress lightly wilted, and a perfectly cooked egg plunked in the center…soup that can be made for one or many… it is the jumping-off point for many impromptu meals.”
Spinach Soup with Braised Tofu, Ginger and Pea Shoot Garnish
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
6 to 8 cups canned low–sodium chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced
1-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled
1 pack firm tofu drained, cubed, and sprinkled with Feiny’s Veggie Rub
1 package mushrooms, cleaned and roughly quartered
1 bunches fresh spinach leaves, tough stems removed, rinsed and shaken dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roasted sesame oil
In a medium saucepan, combine garlic, onion, mushroom and a drizzle of good olive oil. Saute for about 2 minutes and add chicken broth. Simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the ginger lengthwise as thin as possible. Stack the slices and cut them lengthwise into thin slivers. Add the ginger and simmer 5 minutes longer.
In a heavy skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil and saute the tofu being careful not to let it stick. Once slightly brown, about 3-4 minutes cover and turn off the heat.
Add spinach to soup mixture, add salt and pepper to taste. Assemble the soup in the bowls. With a slotted spoon, arrange tofu in the bowls, pour the broth over, and top with pea shoots. If desired, drizzle some sesame oil over the soup. Serve at once.
Thanks to my friends at Morrow Cookbooks, I have a copy of The Improvisational Cook to give away!
Entering is simple.
- Leave a comment below telling me your favorite dish you often improvise on… like turning Mac & Cheese into a gourmet meal by adding Lobster and Gruyere.
For additional entries:
2. Follow 30AEATS on Instagram and leave your Instagram address in the comments
You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter. Contest begins today, Sunday April 14, 2013 and will end Friday April 19 at 10pm Central. Winner will be selected by random.org, and must respond within 48 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be selected.