This Monday update involves new ingredients and new recipes.

Thai cucumber soup. I found a use for some of last week’s vegetable stock while thumbing through a soup cookbook I bought for my parents over a decade ago on a trip to London. My mom is shedding belongings in anticipation of someday moving somewhere smaller, so I nabbed this cookbook. This simple, fast, delicious soup used cilantro, lime leaves, and lemon grass to enrich the vegetable stock. Then added julienne cucumber and some chopped scallion and herbs as garnish. The soup served as an appetizer for:

Thai-style beef salad. When he arrived home, theCultFigure said, “It smells like Thai food in here!” No doubt it was the fish sauce in the marinade/dressing for this flank steak-based salad. It was great paired with the above soup, and conveniently used the other half of the cucumber that went in the soup. I love it when things work out like that!

Barley risotto. We rarely ever eat any refined grains anymore (um except when we order Indian food – yummy basmati rice!!), so I was excited to try barley-based risotto. It was a big hit. Hey, when you’re using parmesan cheese and homemade chicken stock in something, it’s going to taste good. I’ve previously substituted pearled barley successfully for white rice in a rice salad recipe so I figured this would work and it did.

Sauerkraut pierogies. Pierogies aren’t new to me, but I tried a new recipe and method for making the dough. Usually I just slap water and flour together on the counter until it forms a ball, and roll it out. But lots of recipes call for egg in the dough to give it structure. Yep, it works. My mom handed down her old food processor (in addition to her soup cookbook) so I made the dough in there. And learned a valuable lesson: don’t use the cutting blade, use the plastic dough blade. Whoops. The first batch of dough was tough and grouchy. The second batch was tender and stretchy. Yes!!