Snow Day

11. 12. 2014

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Why do I wake up early on snow days? Like really early, like 5:34 AM early?? We decided that Wednesday would be a ‘Dougherty Day’ regardless of what the Washburn School District had to say about the weather. I should have been sleeping like a baby at 5:34 but instead, I was up, checking my email and the NOAA weather alerts. By the time the sun rose, I was ready for an adventure. I found my mukluks, gloves and hopped in the car for an early morning, solo photo safari. I can’t wait for Will to come home, I miss my safari companion.

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From the looks of it, winter is here to stay. It’s still snowing and the temperatures are going to stay in the freezing, ‘better start wearing socks’ territory for the foreseeable future. It’s all good, as far as I’m concerned. Summer is always fun but there’s nothing like standing in my warm kitchen, looking out at the snow-covered pines trees—  I feel tucked in and safe. And that’s always a good thing.

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Winter is here, the kids had their first snow day and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been snowing since yesterday and I think we have about 15 inches on the ground, and it’s still falling. I had forgotten the thrill of seeing a Winter Storm Warning pop up on my phone, it brought me right back to last May (when we were the lucky recipients of 20 inches of snow on May 3rd).

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On top of the thrill of a snowstorm, the kids have had a cold for a couple of weeks and soup seemed like the right choice for dinner. I went to the freezer to assess what building blocks I had to work with and found homemade chicken stock, egg roll wrappers and some ground pork. Earlier in the week, I unearthed a bottle of Black Vinegar and bamboo shoots from the pantry (the Asian food always gets pushed to the back in the summer, for some reason) and bingo, Hot and Sour soup was on the menu for a cold and snowy night.

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Hot and Sour Soup with Fried Wonton Strips

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
6 green onions (white and green parts), chopped, plus more for garnish
8 ounces ground pork
6 cups chicken stock, home-made or low-sodium
1 package (8 ounces) white button mushrooms, sliced
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2/3 cup black vinegar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cooking sake
1 1/2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon black pepper
Cilantro,chopped, for garnish

Fried Wonton Strips

1/2 package of egg roll wrappers
3 cups of vegetable oil

Soup Preparation
Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan until it’s hot. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions and pork, cook, stirring and breaking the pork into smaller pieces, for about 10 minutes or until the pork is cooked thoroughly. Add the stock, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sake, chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil and Sriracha. Simmer the soup for about 30 minutes and taste for seasonings. Add more chili-garlic if you want it hotter; add more vinegar if you want it more sour. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and add them to the soup in a steady stream, stirring continuously while you are adding the eggs. Serve immediately with the fried wonton strips, cilantro and green onions.

Wonton Preparation
Slice egg roll wrappers into 3/4 inch-wide strips. Heat vegetable oil to an even simmer over medium high heat. Try not to overcrowd the pan and watch them carefully, they burn very quickly. Remove from oil when the strips are a golden brown and drain on paper towels.

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