Perhaps nothing signals the last hurrah of autumn more than the remnants of a bumper crop of tomatoes and zucchini. Zucchini have a reputation for being one of those types of vegetables that, once they get going, it’s hard to stop them. With any luck you’ll be harvesting zucchini until the end of September. Zucchini itself is a great vegetable. As someone once said, “They are a vegetable that doesn’t get in the way.” (Serves 2-3)
2 cups water
½ medium zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
1 3.5 oz. package shimeji mushrooms
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
1 large egg
1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the zucchini. A minute later, add the mushrooms and chicken bouillon. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Turn off the heat. In a small cup, whisk the egg, and slowly pour into the hot broth without stirring. Let the egg set for a few seconds before stirring the broth. Serve and enjoy.
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In Japan, soups are more of an accompaniment, warming the body and helping to add a feeling of fullness to the other components of the meal. This simple soup utilizes daikon, carrot, and cabbage. We gently boil them until they are just cooked – so that they retain their freshness and vibrancy. Incidentally, the Japanese have a surprising love of bouillon cubes – as cans of broth are usually not cheaply or readily available in the grocery market. I suggest using good-quality bouillon, as the flavors to this dish are so light and simple we do not want them ruined by poor-quality broth. These three vegetables work well together, and are good for a warm pick-me-up on a cool day. (Serves 2-3)
3 inch piece of daikon, peeled, and thinly sliced into quarter rounds
1 carrot, peeled, and thinly sliced into quarter rounds
¼ (or less) green cabbage, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 heaping tablespoon bouillon paste, or 2 bouillon cubes
Green onions to garnish (recommended)
1. Add all ingredients to the saucepan, and bring to a boil with 2 cups of water. Skim off any scum that may appear on the surface. Simmer until daikon, and carrot are just cooked and the color of the cabbage has not faded.
2. Serve with a generous portion of green onions.
*Serving suggestion: This soup is eaten more easily with chopsticks – pick out the vegetables and sip the broth.