Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's for dinner this week?

Dinner this weekend will be Vietnamese Beef Soup, thanks to a recipe in the Jan.-Feb. 2005 issue of Diabetic Cooking: Slow Cooker Recipes - one of those pocket-sized booklet-type publications you find at the supermarket register. It's not hardly authentic, but it was pretty easy to put together, which is bonus for me on a weeknight. Overall it's not bad, nicely filling in a soup-y way and flavorful.

This week's meals also featured the Jamaican tempeh curry taco mix from a couple of weeks ago, and Thai glass noodle salad (from my favorite Thai cookbook, the name of which eludes me, of course ... sorry ... I'll update it as soon as I get back into the kitchen!). I also enjoyed a snack or two of a Middle Eastern lentil and rice dish topped with yogurt from Wake Robin Farm, eaten as a dip with a torn piece of whole wheat pita.

Snack time's important to me, and as much as I'd love to savor a single serving of dark chocolate from Aldi's, I have to stick with more healthful options (at least for the time being). So I've been savoring Empire apples, bananas and juicy, ripe mangoes dipped in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Another snack has been cheese curds that I also picked up Saturday from Wake Robin Farm - something new from Meg! What a wonderful surprise!

Over the weekend I have a baptism to attend (my third grandchild; she's adorable) and more meals to plan for the coming week.

Here's the recipe for Vietnamese Beef Soup:

3/4 lb. boneless beef (top sirloin or top round steak)
3 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz.) low-salt beef broth
1 can (10.5 oz.) condensed consommé
2 tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick, 3" long
4 oz. rice noodles, about 1/8" wide
1/2 cup thinly sliced or julienned carrots
2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1.5 cups chopped fresh basil
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced; or 1-3 tsp. Chinese chili sauce or paste (wear rubber gloves if you're using the peppers)

1. Place beef in freezer 45 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile, combine water, beef broth, consommé, soy sauce, ginger and cinnamon stick in large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, 20-30 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick; discard. Meanwhile, place rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with warm water; let stand until pliable, about 20 minutes.

2. Slice beef lengthwise in half, then crosswise into very thin strips. Drain noodles. Place noodles and carrots in simmering broth; cook 2-3 minutes or until noodles are tender. Add beef and bean sprouts; cook 1 minute or until beef is no longer pink.

3. Remove from heat; stir in red onion, cilantro, basil and jalapeño peppers or chili sauce/paste. To serve, life noodles from soup with fork and place in bowls. Ladle remaining ingredients and broth over noodles.

Makes 6 servings.