How to Regrow Green Onions

A few weeks ago we had friends come stay with us and one of them stopped me to ask what I had in the odd assortment of glass jars that line my kitchen counter. Any time I empty out a jam jar I repurpose it to regrow things like leeks and green onions from the scraps I have leftover. It cuts down on the grocery bill and ensures I always have them on hand to add a little extra flavor to my dishes. I can only imagine how odd my kitchen seems to most of my friends, some of whom can barely boil a pot of water, but to me it's just the way things have always been done. You save your bacon fat for frying, grow your own herbs in the windowsill, and stretch out the little odds and ends as long as possible.

But I can't take credit for these little things I do, most of my tips come from watching not just my grandparents, but others from the generation who grew up during the depression. They lived during a time where everyone grew their own food (or bartered for what they couldn't grow) and there was no choice but to be economical in the kitchen. Learning to make something from nothing wasn't an option, if you couldn't figure it out you and often your family starved.

Not a pretty picture, but true none the less.

Today things are quite different for most of us. When we want something to eat we can go out to a restaurant or pop into a grocery store and pick up the ingredients we need to make a meal fit for a king. If we don't know how to cook then there is someone on the internet willing to show us how. Technology has made it easier than ever for us to learn all sorts of things, but somewhere along the way we've forgotten to pass on some very basic lessons to our children.

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One of those lessons is how to be thrifty, both in and out of the kitchen.

I was talking with the friend who had noticed my glass jars and he mentioned that he wanted to learn how to cook "my way." By my way, he meant more economically, so I gave him lesson number one:

How to regrow green onions

  • Buy a bunch of green onions, snip off the green tips and use them in a meal (like loaded potato soup or taco dip), place the roots and white stalk in a glass or old jar, fill it with enough water to cover the roots.
  • Change the water out every few days, otherwise the water gets slimy and starts to smell.
  • As you need green onions, snip away at the green tops. If you notice the outsides of the onions drying out, carefully trim them off, making sure not to damage the root of the onion as you do.

Notes

The onions won't regrow indefinitely, unless you plant them in soil, but they will last for months on the counter—as long as you remember to change the water frequently.

If you have forgotten to change the water and notice the roots are getting slimy, just rinse them off carefully under cold water.

 

Egg Drop Soup

Ahhh, Chinese food, I get hungry just thinking about you.  

If you couldn't tell, I'm a Chinese food addict and many of my favorite memories happen to coincide with a meal of Chinese takeout. I almost always start with a bowl of Egg Drop soup. When I was in college I was a Wednesday night regular at the Chinese buffet near school. I would sit around with friends studying for my 7pm graphic design class, stuffing myself silly and cramming for those pop quizzes Matt (my professor) was always fond of having. We had a lot of fun in those days, until the great ice storm of aught-six caused the roof to collapse. Sadly, they never reopened after that, but parts of the St. Louis area, including the University, were without power for several weeks due to the severity of the storm.

To this day I miss that restaurant, they had the best wait-staff I've ever encountered. They knew their regulars by name and always remembered what they preferred to drink. Before I managed to fill a plate my waitress had my drink of choice ready and waiting for me at the table. After my first few visits she didn't have to ask me what I wanted, she just knew.

That my friends is the sign of a good waitress.

My fond memories of Egg Drop soup actually go back quite a bit farther than my college days, all the way back to kindergarten. My teacher Mrs. K let us make it in class one day (it's a shame they don't let teachers do things like that anymore because that is one of my most vivid memories of school.) I don't remember why we were making it, but to 5 year old me it was absolutely fascinating to sit on the carpet watching her spoon long ribbons of egg into the pot. This is why it will be one of the first recipes I teach my son how to make. Since Chinese New Year is coming up later this month I thought I would share this comforting classic with you. It is especially tasty when you're sick or on a cold winter day when you need to warm up.

In other words, it is perfect for this unusually cold January weather we're having this year.

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Egg Drop Soup
makes approximately 2-3 servings

Ingredients

2 large eggs
16 oz chicken stock
⅛ teaspoon ginger
⅛ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon salt (if you are using commercially prepared stock, omit this since it already has salt in it)

Garnish:

green onions
black pepper 

Directions

  • In a sauce pan combine chicken stock, ginger, white pepper and salt, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • While waiting for stock to boil, slice green onions and set aside. 
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs until whites and yolks are well combines and set aside.
  • Once soup has begun to boil, turn heat to low. 

Don't add eggs while the broth is boiling, it will cause the ribbons to break up, leaving you with clumps of scrambled eggs instead.

  • Using a fork or slotted spoon, slowly drizzle egg into the broth making a circular motion above the pot.

If you are having trouble making the ribbons with a fork, try using a mesh strainer. It will allow the eggs to pass through slowly, ensuring your ribbons remain delicate. 

  • Garnish with black pepper and sliced green onions, then serve immediately.

This soup is best when served warm, as it cools the egg ribbons have a tendency to sink to the bottom.