And may I just point for a moment to the totally obvious? When we have rain, the Sierras are getting a well-needed dump of snow. That's right, SNOW: used for skiing and a source of water in a dought-striken state through the summer. So I wish everyone (except people driven from their homes by mud slides and floods) would just shut up and stop complaining. And enjoy the round of rain on their window. And perhaps the smell of soup simmering on their stove.
On a cold, windy, rainy night at our house, soup is required. I wanted something warm, rich, and a little spicy. Tom kha gai, Thai chicken coconut soup, fit the bill perfectly.
I make it by combining the following ingredients, give or take some, in quantities varying according to taste (read: I just mess around with it until it tastes right):
canned coconut milk (always plenty of this in my cupboard) chicken stock (usually plenty of this in the freezer; we roast a lot of chickens around here) canned straw mushrooms (or fresh or dried) minced fresh ginger (or ginger powder if necessary) kaffir lime leaves (purchase from a Thai grocery; these keep well in the freezer) minced lemongrass bulb fish sauce (Thai not Philippine brand) fresh squeezed lime juice (thank goodness for my gin and toniclime tree palm sugar (can use regular white in a pinch) chopped green onion little canned corn (Sophie loves these, and they add some nice color; remember Tom Hanks eating these in Big?) thinly sliced chicken breast (add at the penultimate moment) chopped prawns (the frozen ones from Trader Joe's work just fine; thaw in cold water; add at the final moment)
With this batch, I threw in some fresh spinach I had in the fridge that needed to be used. I've done the same with various other greens as well. We garish with fresh cilantro and Thai chili sauce (Sophie is sensitive to too much heat) and serve over steamed rice, followed, of course, by a green salad.
Stay warm, stay dry, and enjoy.