Longest blog title in history, perhaps?
I just find it fascinating the way recipes change hands, particularly since the rise of food blogs. Now don't get it twisted, I obsess over cookbooks and devour them in my daily life as much as one can [don't forget, I work on cookbooks at Wiley Publishing, Inc.]. But no matter how much I fawn over the glossy images and run my fingers along the smooth printed pages, I often end up snatching the majority of my recipes from the ever-untouchable internet.
This Thai-spiced tomato soup came my way through a class I took last week - "Finding Your Voice in Food Writing," taught by Shauna James Ahern (the Gluten-Free Girl), offered by David Leite's site, Leite's Culinaria. Having been a longtime fan of the Gluten-Free Girl blog and book, I was looking forward to gleaning writing advice from one of my favorite authors. As I rushed from an event in Manhattan back home to call into this over-the-phone workshop, I planned to grab a package of instant ramen noodles, but the printout of Luisa's [The Wednesday Chef] blog
entry (recommended reading from Shauna) changed my mind. The ingredients list included just 1 item I
didn't have at home: a lime. The instructions sounded super approachable and I knew that bowl of homemade goodness would nourish me on that chilly fall night the way a packaged, SuperHighSodium soup never could. I must add, it's easy to get swept away by Luisa's writing. Along with the easy recipe originally from Gourmet, she offered a touching peek into her past, and shared her pained feelings about losing the venerable magazine.
As I knew it would be, this soup was simple to make, but the taste surprised me with its layered-ness. During the class I described the soup as an Indian sari -- colorful, vibrant, bright, shiny -- and it still rings true. Its tingling spiciness drapes over you, the lemongrass, ginger, and spices taunt you with every sip.
And as I had expected, the 2-1/2 hour class was mega inspiring -- the other women on the line were animated and revealing, and Shauna was simply amazing. She was very smart, kind, comfortable, and generous. In fact, the class felt like a giant hug through the phone. One thing I really appreciated was that Shauna's advice wasn't directed only to writing (although it was the best writing class I've taken, including the long sessions at NYU and The New School); she spoke about life. She talked about taking time with your food, trying a bite and being reflective. Thinking what does this remind me of? She reminded me that food is transportive; it needn't be consumed in a rush, as I dash to make the next thing on my schedule. As her blog and spirit affirm, it's ever so important to take time with the pleasurable things in our daily lives. A great quote I read recently - "A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life."
Now, looking at the image of the soup and recalling its flavors, I can't help sharing something that's recently come into my possession of a similar hue and surprising quality, something big that's contributed to my string of happy moments.
In the park where Beach St. and Walker St. (our last names!) connect in Tribeca, lower Manhattan, my beloved Jef got down on one knee ("got the ol' knee dirty," as he put it) and asked me to marry him. The ring he slipped on my finger is something like that tomato soup [I realize only a food blogger would suggest her engagement ring shares qualities with tomato soup!]...unexpected, shiny, bright, magical, like a hug from the inside.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1/2 Tbsp green curry paste [I used the 2 curry pastes because it's what I had in the fridge and it worked great, although pretty fiery! Feel free to use 2 Tbsp red curry paste as the orig. recipe indicates]
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (14-oz) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 lime
1. Cook onion in oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add curry pastes and cumin and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
2. Add broth, tomatoes, brown sugar, and salt and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pot and reheat. You can also leave the soup in the pot and purée using an immersion blender. Stir in the lime juice and serve.