We were caught in a January Polar Vortex with temperatures in the minus range and I needed to drive Natalie to work since her car wouldn’t start. I knew I had part of a loaf of multigrain bread left for a quick breakfast of toast and coffee. I went to slice the bread, but mold had beat me to it. Panic! I looked in the refrigerator and the closest thing I had to bread was a package of corn tortillas, but toasted tortillas wouldn’t cut it for breakfast. So. in a few minutes, this is what I came up with. Usually desperation cooking produces OK results, this one turned out superb, so it made the website. Unfortunately, my Spanish vocabulary is very limited.
Dried Plum Tomatoes are absolutely luscious. The drying process intensifies the flavor and sweetness. These dried tomatoes freeze well and pulling out a package in the dead of winter, returns you instantly to the taste of fresh tomatoes from the garden. They are great in salads and can be used wherever sun-dried tomatoes are called for. It’s also an easier process than canning, and when the peak yield of tomatoes hits in late summer, this is a way to enjoy the crop later in the year, long after the tomato plants have been pulled up
I created this recipe a number of years ago for Natalie when she was suffering from a bit of a cold since she is a big fan of ginger, garlic, and hot peppers. It provided some relief and we’ve been making it ever since, whether we need it for its curative properties or not. Despite the fresh vegetables, we usually eat it in the fall and winter, as it is soothing for stuffed up noses and sore throats. Of course, spicy soup is always comforting in cold weather.
This recipe can be very flexible and you can adjust the amounts to your taste and by what vegetables are available. However, the key ingredients are lots of ginger and garlic, and some type of hot pepper. Miri, Soy Sauce and Star Anise also help give the broth it’s characteristic flavor, so don’t omit or skimp on these items. You can leave the soup with just vegetables — I sometimes add shrimp but cooked pork or chicken would probably be good, or tofu to keep it vegan or vegetarian. If your head is really stuffed up, increase the amounts of ginger, garlic, and hot pepper. You have my word that you’ll feel a lot better after a hot bowl of this soup.
Since I’ve been growing Tomatillos in the garden, I’ve been looking for new recipes to use them in. I found a couple interesting recipes on the web and adapted them to my own tastes and came up with this one. Grilling the Tomatillos, onions and peppers adds a delightful smokiness to the salsa, so you really need to make an effort to grill them. I made this recipe for our annual trip to the Vintage Illinois wine festival at Mattheissen state park and it disappeared quickly even with a lot of other food around, which let me know it was a hit. This is an interesting alternative to Guacamole, and a nice change when Tomatillos are in abundance.