Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup

Michel Richard's Asian Bistro Soup with Shrimp

Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup with Shrimp

Last month another world-class chef joined Escoffier in the Grand Kitchen up in Heaven. Legendary Chef Michel Richard was 68 years old. I was introduced to the Chef’s innovative style of cooking over lunch with my old colleagues at his restaurant Citrus in LA back in the late 1980s and have been an ardent fan ever since.

After hearing of his sudden passing last month, I immediately pulled Happy In The Kitchen from my bookshelf and spent a good part of the day re-reading his recipes and perspectives.

Before each recipe the Chef writes a paragraph or two about the dish – from where the inspiration came; what is important for the cook to note; or his keen observations on taste, texture, presentation, what-have-you. Yes, he is a most accomplished chef, but he is also a very effective teacher – employing humor and ingenuity as skillfully as he does the knife.

Thomas Keller wrote, “Michel did something that’s almost unheard of in the pastry world: he crossed over and became a chef, opening one of the best restaurants in the country, Citrus, in 1987. It’s difficult to overemphasize how unusual this is. Pastry chefs and savory chefs rely on a completely different set of skills and use their intellects in different ways. Pastry chefs are mathematicians. Savory chefs, we’re like free-thinkers. Michel, amazingly, has been able to combine the precision of the pastry chef’s mind with the freethinking nature of the savory chef in a way that no other chef in America has done.”

Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup Recipe

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Woodsy Shiitake & Black Kale Soup

shiitake soup
Shiitake, Black Kale, Tofu & Seaweed Soup
Sesame, Scallion, Sriracha Garnish

Woodsy. Earthy. Deep.
This is one intense vegan soup that offers full epicurean contentment.

Flavor profile:
meaty shiitake mushroom, robust kale, subtly sweet ocean-y wakame seaweed,
toasty sesame oil, tangy hot sriracha
Aroma profile:
heady, intense, wet forest, earthy
Texture profile:
steamy broth, chewy kale, silky shiitake, slippery wakame, spongy tofu, crunchy sesame seed
Color profile:
deep dark broth, midnight-green wakame and kale, spring-green scallion, electric red sriracha

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A Trip to Little Saigon & The NYE Repas du Soir

southeast asian table setting
A Trip to Little Saigon
The New Year’s Eve Repas du Soir
New Year’s Day Fabulous Leftovers Brunch

Best friends, great memories, stellar food – that’s how we celebrate the New Year! The old gang is together again, this time we take A Trip To Little Saigon & cook a NYE Repas du Soir together! My old dear friends, dating back to our restaurant days in the 80’s, are visiting for the holidays.

It was Tori’s idea to spend the day in Little Saigon. Eating lunch, laughing, taking photos, getting massages, and shopping. It was her idea that led to the inspiration to cook French/Vietnamese for dinner. We picked up authentic ingredients for our repas du soir and returned to my home in LA in the late afternoon to drink Champagne and create a six-course meal together.

southeast asian table setting

The dinner table was pre-set in a casually elegant Southeast Asian style with orchids, bamboo, and the color red to symbolize wealth and prosperity. We cranked up the holiday music and started cooking; everyone participated in the creation, photography, prep, and execution of the menu. We had a blast!

I had no intention of submitting this outing for the Foodbuzz 24X24 event until I read that the folks over at Foodbuzz were interested to see how Featured Publishers would be spending the last day of 2011. We had terrific culinary/cultural plans that turned out to be a fantastic way to ring in the New Year.

Extending a very special thank you to my friends FA, Al, Kirk, Tori, and Tom for your love & friendship and sense of humor & adventure! Thank you to Foodbuzz for choosing A Trip to Little Saigon & The NYE Repas du Soir as a participant in December’s 24×24 event. Foodbuzz 24×24 showcases posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, highlighting unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period.

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Curried Mung Bean Soup, Kimchi, Chili Oil

mung bean soup, kimchi

Curried Mung Bean Soup, Kimchi, Chili Oil
A Trip to The Dish Factory

Neither this soup nor a trip to The Dish Factory are for the faint of heart. Asian-fusion-style mung bean soup is flavored with hot muchi curry powder, garnished with pungent kimchi, and dotted with chili oil. Located in the center of Downtown LA, The Dish Factory is housed in an old four-story building with rickety flooring, steep stairwells, and dark hallways.

Carrying the largest china inventory in the Western US and all sorts of restaurant equipment with 60,000 sq. ft. of merchandise at heavily discounted prices, I was absolutely ecstatic when my dear friends and fabulous restaurateurs Scott & Gina Lee invited me to join them on a dish excursion. I had been lusting after top restaurants’ super-wide rimmed plates and bowls for a while, as the portion-size is petite but the presentation is dramatic. Perfect, in fact, for this vibrant soup.

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Aromatic Mahi Mahi & Pineapple Soup

Mahi Mahi Soup with Pineapple, Tomato, Bean Sprouts, and Bok Choy
flavored with
Lemongrass, Shallot, Vietnamese Fish Sauce, and Fresh Cayenne Pepper
garnished with
Cilantro, Mint, and Lime

Fish, fruit, vegetables and aromatic herbs combine to make this simultaneously spicy, sour, sweet, and savory soup. Mahi mahi (aka dorado and dolphinfish) has a mild flavor similar to swordfish and a firm meaty texture with large moist flakes. This recipe features wild-caught mahi mahi from the Pacific waters off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup (which is traditionally made with a whole catfish, including the head and bones) was the inspiration for this fast, easy, and heart healthy incarnation.

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