Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Wrap-Up

A few notes on this year:
  • 30 soups in 27 days, with one day taken over by guest souper Aron
  • 156 bowls of soup served (not counting seconds!), plus 10 more at Aron's (159 in 2009)
  • 64 individual soup-eaters (up from 54 last year)
  • 25 brand new soup-eaters (attendees who didn't come last year)
  • Only 2 temporary, stress/exhaustion-induced breakdowns!
  • The spread of Soupruary—Congrats to Mick for his month of gorgeous soups in North Carolina! You did it, man! Can't wait to try some of his recipes, and he's inspired me to start baking more breads (Starch March anyone?).
Thanks so much to everyone who participated in Soupruary II, and thanks especially to Josh for being so supportive and helpful throughout. Being able to spend so much time with friends is a true joy, and the memories we made this month will live on far longer than any of the leftovers in my fridge or even stains in my aprons. Thanks for letting me experiment on y'all, brave souls; I hope you had as much fun as I did. Nothin' but love.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a glass of wine and an overwhelmingly be-bubbled bathtub that will not wait any longer.

Tom Yum Goong and Thai-spiced Butternut Squash

Last night of Soupruary...etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!

Location:The Rich Ranch

Bill, Leslie, Ashley, Joshua, Brent, Laura, Erin, Jeff, Julie, Aron, me

Menu:Spinach and artichoke wontons (Bill & Leslie)
Veggie egg rolls (Bill & Leslie)
Veggie spring rolls (Brent & Laura)
Pan-fried plantains (Aron)
Tom yum goong
Thai-spiced butternut squash soup
Mango sticky rice
Tamarind candies because Josh loooooves them (Jeff & Julie)
And the themed drinks of the evening: Little Kings, and the Siam-ease (Bill)

Entertainment:The King & I, complete with Yul Brenner's square torso (a.k.a. blockso, a.k.a. Lego with nipples (© Jellyrod))

The Soup:
I managed to find some gorgeous Ugly Ripe tomatoes at Findlay market today:

Can you believe it? Tomatoes that great in February! That kind of made my afternoon. That and the smell of butternut squash roasting away for an hour:

And here's what made my night:

Bill and Leslie got me flowers and had a champagne toast to mark the end of the month—So very sweet!

Plus, look at all these beautiful people:

I can't imagine being surrounded by these precious folks and not feeling wonderful about life.

And it doesn't hurt that the soups were darn good.

The Tom Yum definitely had a kick to it, but it lived up to the YUM part for me. Josh and Bill each sampled both soups, with differing results: Josh preferred the Tom Yum and Bill was very happy about the squash. As for me, I'd make them both again. Like, tomorrow.

In case you haven't used it before, here's what galangal looks like:

It looks a bit like ginger, but it doesn't smell or taste like it. It's a little citrusy and earthy. Oh, and it's way harder constitutionally than ginger, so you'll need a pretty sharp knife to do anything with it.

One awesome thing about the Tom Yum, boy does it come together fast. Start to finish in about 25 minutes with Josh's much-appreciated deveining assistance.

The squash soup takes a little longer, but once that squash is roasted it's easy as pie (scratch that—way easier than pie) and I highly doubt it's possible to screw it up.

So with this, I've reached the finish line, and can stop bothering you all with my blogs and status updates and one-track mind (except for maybe some kind of wrap-up entry. Maybe.). Until next year, happy Soupruary, lovelies.

Tom Yum Goong
Adapted from

8 cups Asian vegetable broth (made from bouillon from Asian market)
2 fresh lemongrass stems, cut into 1–2" pieces and bashed up a bit
4 big slices of peeled galangal
2 or 3 hot peppers, sliced thin
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
2 cans straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
4 tomatoes, cut into manageable sections
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
juice from 3 limes
leaves from 1 bunch of fresh cilantro

Heat broth over medium with lemongrass, galangal, peppers, fish sauce, and mushrooms. When hot (but not boiling), add tomatoes, shrimp, and lime juice. Cook until shrimp is cooked through—about 3 minutes. Be careful not to boil, or the lime juice will lose its zing. Add cilantro and serve, telling guests to be careful not to eat the big chunks of galangal and lemongrass.

Thai-spiced Butternut Squash
Adapted from

Note: I doubled this recipe to have enough for a crowd.

2 small butternut squash, halved, and seeds scooped out
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
sea salt
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place squash skin-side down on a baking sheet, spread butter evenly on exposed flesh and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 1 hour.

Scoop squash flesh out of skin and into a soup pot. Add coconut milk and curry, then either transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Heat the puree over medium heat, and add water to thin it to the desired consistency. Add salt to taste, and more curry paste if desired (I wanted to keep mine mild, so I used just over a tablespoon per batch).