Hot and Sour Soup (from The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller) 3-4 dried black mushrooms 1/4 pound lean pork 2 bean curd cakes (I use 8oz of extra firm) 1 scallion 1 egg 2 Tbsp. cornstarch 1/4 cup water 5 cups stock 1 cup mushroom soaking liquid 1 Tbsp. sherry 2 Tbsp. white vinegar 3/4 tsp. salt 1 tsp. soy sauce 1/4 tsp. pepper few drops of sesame oil 1. Soak dried mushrooms and reserve soaking liquid 2. Sliver mushrooms, pork and bean curd. Mince scallion. Bead egg lightly. Blend cornstarch and water to a paste. 3. Bring stock and mushroom liquid to a boil. Add pork and mushrooms an simmer, covered, 10 minutes. 4. Add bead curd and simmer, overed, another 3 minutes. 5. Stir in sherry, vinegar, salt, soy sauce and pepper. Thicken with cornstarch paste. 6. Slowly add beaten egg, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with sesame oil and minced scallion. Variations: + for the pork, use half white0meat chicken and half pork. + for white vinegar, substiture wine or cider vinegar, or lemon juice. + for sesame oil, substitute Tabasco sauce + in step 3 (in addition to pork and mushrooms), add 1/2 cup bamboo shoots, slivered; or 4 cloud ear mushroooms and 1/4 cup lily bud (both soaked and cut in half) + omit venegar and pepper (it's then called Mandarin soup)
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
-- Virginia Woolf