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Blog-checking lines:  Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s  September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”.  We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we  so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

For this month’s challenge, I liked to make The Japanese Clear Soup, since there is no recipe for it, it’s inspired  from the soup served in the Japanese Restaurant that me and my family liked and always order,  it’s a clear soup with intensive ginger flavor, with a hint of soya, and a small slices of mushroom, scallion, and toasted browned onions, yummy…very delicious, the onion is the star in this soup, it gives the soup the sweet flavor with a little smokey flavor.

A long with the Japanese Soup, what’s better than a side of sushi, so I tried to make the California rolls, and I can’t believe it how gorgeous they are. This is my first time I make sushi, and it turned in very good. I used the toasted seaweed sheets (you can find it in a neighbor food store, I find in Wal-Mart from the oriental section), just drop it in warm water and lift it quickly without soaking it, it will become soft and you can use it immediately.

For the soup, I make a stock of chicken and vegetables the day before, the next day did the consomme`with the egg white raft, then continuo with the soup.

For the protein raft filtration here are some outline and tips from Peta:

To get most of the fat out of a stock, you can simply chill it. The fat will harden and float on top of the stock where it can be scooped off easily. A fat separator, which looks like a big measuring cup with a spout at the bottom, allows you to pour the stock out while trapping the fat. Or you can carefully drag a piece of really top quality paper towel over the top of the stock.
To completely clarify stock, use the following method:
• Prepare your extra meat, vegetables and flavourings as per the recipe.
• Beat egg whites to soft peaks, one for each litre/quart of stock. Combine with your flavourings.
• A pot that is higher than it is round improves your results, because the consommé percolates through the raft in a more efficient way.
• Stir the mixture into the hot stock and bring it back to a bare simmer, do not let it boil. The egg-whites will coagulate, rise, and take any particles and cloudiness out of the stock.
• Keep a close eye on the consommé (push the coagulated egg whites to the side a bit to see) let it simmer 10 to 45 minutes.
• The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn’t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you’ll have to strain it and start again with just the egg whites.). You want to bring the liquid up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn’t already one.
• As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam come up through your hole. Skim it off and discard. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you’re ready to take it out.
• Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
• Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for another ten minutes.
• Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. Once you’ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft (you cannot use for another purpose). You could try siphoning it out. Some chef’s say this is possible but they are using great big pots or steam kettles. I haven’t tried this so good luck and let me know if you do it and it works.

Japanese Ginger Soya Clear Soup

First step (The chicken vegetable stock)

1\2 a chicken cut into pieces
2 carrots chopped
2 stick celery chopped
1 stick leek chopped
1\2 onion chopped
4-5 slices of fresh ginger
stack of fresh parsley

In a large pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the chicken pieces and roast on all sides with the oil, the skin will turn golden brown ( if you want the soup color to be lighter,  just toast the chicken a little bit less without browning), add the other ingredients, cover with cold water and this will give it more intense flavor than when you put a hot water (thanks you peta for the tip), don’t cover and let the stock simmer on a medium low heat untill the chicken cooked well.
Sieve the chicken and vegetable, discard the vegetable and keep the chicken for another use.
At this point you can continue with the recipe or you may cover the stock and keep it in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months in a tight container.

To continue with the consomme`:

4 cups stock
1 egg white
1\4 cup onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped

To the soup:

sliced fresh ginger
thinly sliced mushrooms
sliced scallions
2 tablespoon soya sauce reduced sodium
thinly sliced onion roasted to brownish

Whisk 1 egg to soft peak, add some chopped onions, garlic and fresh ginger, as a flavoring elements, add some chopped ice, whisk then add it to the stock.
Let simmer in medium low, try not to boil, just a very small bubble is ok. Make a hole to check if it reach the clarity you wants, if it reached, with a small ladle, carefully scoop the consomme` into another pot.

Add salt, very thinly sliced mushroom, sliced scallions, roasted to brownish sliced onions, and the soya. Bring to boil again, then it will be ready to serve.

From the sushi bar, my first try, California Rolls:

roasted seaweed sheets
japanese short grain rice
sliced cucumber
shrimp cooked
avocado sliced
soya sauce reduced sodium

Cook the rice with water (don’t add any oil, this will get the rice more sticky), add a little salt, cover and let simmer on very low heat, then cool.
Drop the toasted seaweed sheets in warm water, and left it quickly, it will soften immediately, lay on your work surface, arrange a layer of cooked rice on the half of the sheet, then add the sliced cucumber, avocado, and cooked shrimp, roll the sheet over the stuffing carefully because it’s delicate and can be tear easily, cut to your favourite size slices, enjoy with some soya sauce as dip.