Weekly Food: Hot & Sour Soup and Mushroom Barley Pie

Back when Sara and I started school and found ourselves either rushing off to class or hunkering down with homework every night, we worked out a system to make sure that we still had some good meals on hand for lunch and dinner: Every Sunday, we cook two giant meals that we package up to eat throughout the week — not brilliant or revolutionary, but it works for us. Also, it means that we get to spend some time together on Sunday nights, and we try to do it when something good is on the radio.

This week was all about mushrooms and love songs.


The first recipe we used was a tried and true favorite: Hot & Sour soup from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Ingredient-wise, I always make several tweaks — specifically, adding a lot more of everything. We always like it a little more hot and a little more sour than it is when we follow the recipe, so I add a lot more rice vinegar (at least 2 or 3 times what the recipe calls for) and I substitute red pepper flakes for chili oil. I also add more tamari, nearly double the vegetables, use black pepper instead of white, cremini mushrooms instead of white and regular green cabbage instead of napa cabbage.

Soup Ingredients

I like to take liberties with this recipe is what I’m saying. See how it’s so full of stuff?

Hot & Sour Soup

Second up was a mushroom and barley pie from the Smitten Kitchen, which turned out to be much more high maintenance than I’d expected. I have a problem with not reading recipes ahead of time and being panicked when, say, things need to be chilled or cooled for a number of hours. It didn’t help that our city was apparently experiencing a great shortage of puff pastry sheets, and poor Sara had to shuttle glasses-less me to 4 different stores until we found some. It’s pretty good, but a little much for our weekly meals. Also, puff pastry is not so glamorous when reheated in the microwave.

Time: about 3 hours

Soundtrack: Love songs on the Current

3 comments to Weekly Food: Hot & Sour Soup and Mushroom Barley Pie

  • Sara

    You have the best food blog ever.

    But I’m biased.

  • Alexis Logsdon

    I have the same problem with not reading the recipe before starting. This is a particular problem when using Alice Waters’ recipes, because she is very freeform in her instructions. I kind of like that, but when you think you are whipping up a quick mac n’ cheese and then realize that, “Oh, duh, it’s a GRATIN, which means I now need to put it in the oven for 20 minutes” it can cause trouble!
    Also, I have encountered the same problem locating puff pastry in our fair hamlet. What’s up with that?

  • Megan

    Alexis: On more than one occasion I have not read a crucial instruction regarding something needing to be done a whole day before. This was a giant disaster with filo dough, but not a really problem with baked french toast.

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