10-minute soup

I spontaneously found a way to use up several of our odder ingredients at once last night, in a way that pleasantly accentuates their flavors.  The shungiku and amaranth greens really shine through in something this simple.  This was partly dependent on ingredients I keep in my cupboard, namely Udon noodles (a thick Japanese noodle, but you could sub egg noodles) and Tsuyu soup base (a starter broth for Japanese noodle soups, called hontsuyu or mentsuyu – basically soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar — you could sub any chicken, fish, or vegetable stock with comparable results).  And I realize this is a warm dish in our warm weather, but it was perfect yesterday when I came in from cutting grass and was sitting near the swamp cooler.

10-minute soup
about 5 cups water or stock
3-4 tablespoons soup base
two shallot scapes, chopped
one handful shungiku greens, chopped
one handful amaranth greens, chopped
two bundles udon noodles
white (or black) pepper to garnish

Start the water to boil and add your stock flavoring.  As it heats, throw in the scapes and greens.  About the time it comes to a boil, add the noodles.  Udon cook quickly (<5 minutes) so you won’t have to wait long.  Turn off heat, serve, and sprinkle with white pepper.

More Than Flowers

The great thing about subscribing to Zoe’s is the immense variety, influenced from all over the world, we see when we open our share boxes. I also love learning what other parts of the plants are edible.  Last year’s bountiful onion scapes proved to be my favorite.  Shungiku (Chrisanthemum leaves) were included in this last week’s large share.  Sometimes finding uses for unfamiliar ingredients may seem daunting, but the internet is a great resource.

While Chrysanthemum flowers are used mostly in Asia for tea, the leaves are often added to a soup at the last minute (as they will turn bitter with too much cooking) and smaller, more tender leaves tossed in salads.  Treat them as you would spinach.  A simple weeknight meal of chicken soup can be made with a store bought chicken or leftovers from a weekend roast chicken.  Adding ginger, soy sauce, and Shungiku changes up the common favorite.
I have several Korean cook books, one truly authentic one that use Shungiku on almost every page, again, in soups.  If you’re adventurous, give the following recipe a try, not forgetting to add the Shungiku and bean sprouts from your share at the end.


Another use is to add at the end to a stir fry or chop suey, served over rice or noodles. 
As a unique appetizer, leaves can be tempura battered and fried as is done in Japan. 
Hope you enjoy cooking with them and let us know how things turn out.

Fastest soup in the West — from the East

From the kitchen of Alissa, our illustrious CSA manager, comes a fast and easy way to use up your greens.

Miso Soup with Greens and shaved Meat
You can use any kind of miso, any kind of greens, and any kind of meat (or no meat)
I chose to use:
– Dandelion Leek Miso from South River Miso (you can order online)  OR pick up any miso paste you like at the store
– baby bok choy, chinese broccoli, shungiku, mizuna
– I added ginger, but you don’t need to.  I added chopped garlic and onion scapes the other day I made it.  They’re good too.  I was just lazy today.
– Shaved ground chunk (from Zoe’s Garden of course ; )
1) Take meat out of freezer
1) Boil Water in a tea kettle (I like to stop it just before boiling)
2) As water is heating, chop greens & put them in your soup bowl(s)
3) Add miso to the soup bowl(s) (follow recommendations on package as to how much)
4) Use a really sharp knife to shave really thin slices of the frozen meat. Set aside.
5) Pour hot (just before boiling) water in your bowl & mix until miso is dissolved
6) Add meat (the hot water will cook it)
7) Eat
Yum!