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Ground Breaking

Reuse, recycle, reduce. We hear these ideas all the time and I tend to think they are good ones. It comes in especially great when someone gives me an old kiln.  That is exactly what happened when the electric kiln that we used for cone 6 glaze firing gave up the ghost at Callanwolde. It’s a good size kiln, much bigger than my electric kiln but I’m not interested in rewiring this one. You may remember I did that with my electric kiln when I installed the kiln sitter (you can read about that here) which I got from another free kiln.

My plan for this kiln is to make it a reduction kiln since that is the look I like best for my pots. I am even considering adding a stoke hole so I can feed some small piece of wood into the kiln for some ash and wood effects.

Before I can start converting it into a gas kiln I need to build a kiln shed. My current kiln room is fine for the electric kiln but it’s too crowded to add flame to the mix. I’m designing a simple lean-to type shed that will have a m…

Hot and Sour Soup

This is a cool weather favorite, especially if you have a cold.  The heat from the soup and the spices really help you to breathe when you're a little stuffy.  The soup also tastes great.  It's traditionally a starter at Chinese restaurants but that doesn't mean that you can't make a meal out of it.  This recipe is full of stuff to make it a complete meal, plus it's a bit thicker that what I have found at restaurants.

I used organic, whole wheat asian noodles but I'm sure what ever you prefer would be fine.  Gluten free noodles should work well.  This recipe is vegan so all the animals are happy with it.

  • 8-oz package of Asian noodles cooked according to instructions
  • 1 tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced or grated on a grate plate
  • 1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes (more if you want it hotter)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely minced or grated on a grate plate 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper 
  • 2 tbsp. chinese black vinegar (available at your local Asian markets)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil 
  • 1/4 cup nappa cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, with hard stems removed
  • 1 carrot, sliced or julienned 
  • 2 medium green onions, finely chopped into rounds
  • 3-oz. tofu diced into 1/2-inch cubes, pressed (about 4-6 hours)
  • 3 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, rinsed, dried, leaves removed and chopped for garnish


Boil the Asian noodles. After they are cooked, remove the noodles from the pot immediately and place them in a tray full of cold water and set aside.

In a large stock pot, heat oil, and sauté ginger & garlic on medium heat until fragrant. Add dried chili flakes. Add broth. Add pepper, Chinese black vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce in it then heat stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes. Add all vegetables & tofu until vegetables are tender (usually about 8-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve starch in 1/2 cup cold water and then add it to the soup while it is boiling. Stir continually to avoid lumps. Add bean sprouts. Stir and let it cook for about few minutes.

Place some cooked noodles in serving bowls. Add the soup and garnish with green onions and cilantro.

If you have any leftovers the noodles should be stored in a separate container from the soup or they will absorb all or most of the liquid.

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  1. Hot and sour soup is one of my favorite asian soups. Jeff isn't a fan but I bet if it was made at home he would like it.

    1. Since this has a richer taste than the restaurant version Jeff just may like it, or you'll have more for yourself.

  2. OK, I'm making this for dinner tonight.

    1. Cool Liz, let me know how you like it.

  3. every time I eat hot and sour soup I get the hiccups I wonder if I still do might be worth a try with yours which sounds delicious

    1. Hi Linda, that's an odd thing, maybe you have an allergy to something in the soup.


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