Feeling like Spring

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Back in America, Panera used to be one of my favorite “restaurants.” I loved their “You-Pick-Two” deals, and the freshness of their bread, and the variety of their sandwiches. So I was very happy to find Singapore’s own version of Panera in the form of The Soup Spoon.

We met up for lunch again yesterday, and this time she wanted to eat at someplace other than our usual Shokudo, so we chose The Soup Spoon for lunch that day. The menu isn’t as extensive as Panera’s but all the choices were appealing enough. They also had a soup + half-sandwich deal like Panera.

I wasn’t feeling for soup, so I just got the full Tikka Chicken Wrap:

“Tandoori Chicken, Mango Chutney, Mint, Cucumber, Red Onion, Romaine Lettuce”

To tell you the truth, I never really liked wraps before…because I didn’t think they were “filling” enough. I’m a carb-fiend, so a flattened piece of dough did not appeal to me. But after my delicious experience with crepes and reading all about the different yummy-looking wraps you food-bloggers have made, I was suddenly craving for one myself.

And I’m glad I did, because this wrap was a-mazing. The chicken was marinated in a myriad of spices, and I absolutely loved the smoky, spicy sweetness of the mango chutney.

The coleslaw that came with this was also really good. It was fresh, vibrant, and crunchy, with a spicy after note that made my nostrils flare, in a good way. I stole all of her coleslaw as well. >___< She ordered the soup-and-sandwich combo. She got a bowl of Velvety Mushroom Stroganoff: …and half a Tuna Mayo Sandwich: “Tuna Mayo, Red Onion, Green Salad, Honey Mustard Mayo” All I can say about this sandwich is, we both agreed my Tikka Chicken wrap was much, much better. 🙂 The soup was very, very thick with lots of mushrooms and cream. It was aptly named, as each mouthful glided down my throat, chock-full of smooth, fresh mushrooms. As a mushroom-lover, I thought it was really very good, but she did not like it so much. She found it too thick and “stewy.” I gladly helped her with her portion, dipping pieces of my wrap into it. By the way, I was wrong. Wraps are really filling. I was stuffed after finishing mine, and couldn’t even help her finish her soup! I’m definitely going to try many more wraps in the future…Meanwhile, I better brainstorm on some great fillings! Speaking of brainstorming, I got to try out another one of my “Mix-it-up” bowl brainstorms for lunch today! This dish was really interesting because it was inspired by just one thing: GREEN. As many of you already know, I love funky green foods. So I’ve been meaning to make a green dish for quite some time now. I remember I once saw a picture of a bowl of green rice. Now you know I hate rice, but that picture made me want to lick the paper, so appealing was its greenness! But that was awhile ago and I had no idea what it was that made it green. Anyway, I did not really care if I made a dish totally different from that one in the picture so long as it looked as green as it. My first thought to recreate that greenness was pesto. But I couldn’t find any basil in my local grocery store, so I picked cilantro instead. Again, I was too lazy to consult to any recipe but just threw a whole bunch of ingredients together into the blender: Cilantro “Pesto” Sauce about 3/4 cup cilantro one heaping tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese one spoonful of pine nuts one stalk green onion, chopped one big garlic clove splash of vinegar splash of almond milk pinch of salt squeeze of lime juice I just combined and blended them all together until liquefied into a nice, thick puree. I then prepared my “Mix-it-up” bowl with these components: Green Pilaf The base: 1 cup cooked pearl barley, 1/4 cup black beans and 1/2 cup chopped roasted winter squash The mix-ins: 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper and shitake mushrooms The dressing: few tablespoons of chicken broth and a bit of lime juice The topping: tablespoonfuls of Parmesan cheese, the cilantro “pesto” sauce, and a soft-boiled egg What can I say? I’m a freaking genius. Everything worked well perfectly together. I did not need another special dressing other than a bit of chicken broth to moisten the grains, as I really wanted my green sauce to shine in this dish. The cilantro “pesto” sauce was an exploding firework of flavors. The cilantro in it was bright and popping with its fresh herby fragrance, the Parmesan cheese added a lovely tang and sharpness, and the pine nuts gave the sauce depth in richness and creaminess. I’m glad I decided to top this with a soft-boiled egg rather than my usual fried egg. Somehow it made this dish seem much more impressive, and the smoothness and plumpness of the boiled egg whites was a nice change, especially together with the sauce. And of course I couldn’t resist sprinkling even more Parmesan cheese on top. You just can’t have too much cheese. I think this dish is a great way to welcome spring. I actually ate this sweating like a horse in the sweltering Singapore weather, but each bite let me imagine the fresh budding grass of spring, the new fragrance of blooming plants and flowers in the air… It’s just too bad that I miss spring this year. 🙁 But on a happier note, I received more questions! These are kind of late (I asked for questions on the last, last post!), but I’m still really happy to answer all of them…So here’s another (tardy) round of… Q & A TIME! “I have a question for you…where is the link to the original soufflé omelet recipe? Those look so MARVELOUS and creative. I want to try it. I’m very lazy though…so a link would be great 🙂 It’s probably like 3 blog posts down on your page, huh? I know, I’m lazy. Whatever, I can’t feel my toe. Have some sympathy 😉 ” My answer: “YAY! I’m so excited you’re gonna try making souffle omelets! Here’s the link to the the first time I made it, where you will find the basic steps. Let me know if you have any more questions about it. Meanwhile, have fun, enjoy, and promise me you’ll let me know how you like it! I’ll give you a nice shout-out 😉 ” “So I have a question, – do you live in Singapore with your parents? Or do they reside elsewhere? Have you got any siblings? Okay, more than one question but hey 🙂 ” My answer: “Tsk, tsk. Greedy, my dear, greedy. Three questions altogether at once! But that’s okay, it gives me the chance to talk about myself some more, so thanks for asking! (Hee) My parents are not in Singapore right now, they’re back home in America, missing me like crazy. But I’ll be seeing them again in just a month when return back to the States. Meanwhile, I’m staying at families house. They’re family/church friends and have been the most marvelous hosts. And yes, I do have a sibling…a brother, two years younger than me. He has the complete opposite personality from me (he’s mild, gentle, patient, good-natured), which is good because he can tolerate my crazy temper. I used to bully him all the time when we were younger, but now he’s all grown up…into a handsome, well-built young man, so I find myself bullying those annoying, flirtatious girls around him instead to protect him! Here’s a picture of my lovely brother: bro I love him so much, especially since he’s been so understanding and patient with me through my ED days…” “If there was just ONE food you could eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?” My answer: "Whoa! That’s a toughie. I have too many foods I love! But if there is ONE food I just cannot live without, it will have to be oatmeal…Or sweet potato. Or pumpkin. Or eggs…GAH! This is impossible!!” “What’s pistachio cheese? Is it like pistachio-flavored cheese or a cheese-y substance made out of pistachios? Either way sounds yummy.” My answer: “For those of you confused out there, Emily is referring to the pistachio cheese I had in my Norwegian Salmon crepe I had here. I’m not so sure, but I am very sure it wasn’t something made out of pistachios only. It definitely had that tang of a brie or cream cheese, and wasn’t green or sweet enough to be made entirely out of pistachios. I’m guessing it’s some kind of really creamy, rich cheese blended with pistachios. Either way, it was freaking delicious and I wis h I knew the exact ingredients and measurements so that I can have it again and again. Anybody feel like experimenting for me?” —————————————————————————————– Okay, I’ve just polished off two tuna and cheese Mr Bean pancakes (which are also GREEN!!) and a purple sweet potato for a “snack”… and now I think a nice nap is much needed…just before I move on to dinner. Sleep…eat…sleep…poop…eat… You know, minus the mental issues, recovery from ED can be quite pleasurable… So I bid you adieu with this question of the day: What is your favorite type of sandwich bread? Wraps? Pitas? Wonder bread (God forbid)? Toasts? Rolls? Hamburger buns? Bagels? Baguette? Ciabatta? Mine is a good, crusty whole grain artisan bread, preferably pressed with those lovely grill marks…mmmmmm…Carbs……