Better than whatever drugs James Franco's on (allegedly).
Casa de Rich
Bill & Leslie (and Theodore & Liam), Ken, Josh, me
The old standby ginger fried rice
Baby heirloom tomato and cucumber salad
Coconut noodle soup
Some super good pumpernickel (doesn't really go with the theme, but good enough to mention)
Gelato from the glorious Dojo (Vietnamese coffee and Fior de Latte flavors. I die.)
The Oscars? Okay, I guess we shouldn't really call them entertaining. Wah waaaaaaaaaaaah. (Whatever, we all know they were bad, but I still love them for no justifiable reason. And James Franco. Leave James Franco ALONE, you guys! He's my imaginary BFF.)
Once again I had plans for today's soup. In honor of the Oscars, I was planning to make a Wolfgang Puck recipe so we could all pretend we were at the Governor's Ball. I unilaterally decided to cast that aside in favor of making a big bowl of precisely what I wanted.
Let's discuss a different Oscar instead, one who hasn't betrayed our trust so deeply and often:
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”
But, then, is that so bad? Allow me to posit that it's not, for—just like Oscar Wilde—“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”
Thankfully, I think the others agreed. Bill said "While you're eating it, you're thinking about your next bite," and Leslie proclaimed she could eat it every day. I tend to agree.
This soup was so creamy it made me feel like a total lush, in a good way. It was also herby and fresh and vaguely Southeast Asian, which is possibly my trifecta of food descriptors.
The vegetables here are infinitely adaptable. You could make it with pretty much whatever you'd like, or leave them out altogether (you know, if you don't like delicious things).
A brief note: I didn't have time to make my own seitan, but Upton's Naturals brand (available locally at Park + Vine) is so good that it doesn't matter too much. I highly recommend both their traditional style (which I used here) and their Italian sausage style (which I crave fortnightly).
When I make it again, which I will, as this soup just screams I'M WORTH IT at the top of its lungs, I'll add some more heat. Trusty old Saigon Market was out of my favorite little Thai bird chiles today, so I had to make do. I'd also make more broth. I underestimated the massive amount of noodlage I'd end up with, which—don't get me wrong—I was pretty okay with, but the broth turned out dang delicious. I kind of wanted to turn it into lotion and rub it into my skin (Oh, lord, this is getting bad. I'd better stop writing.).
Selfish CocoCoconut Noodle Soup
3 serrano chiles, seeded
3 cloves of garlic
a thumb-sized piece of ginger
3 stalks of lemongrass
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
a handful of cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
just a dash of olive oil
dash of wok oil
1 quart vegetable stock
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
1 package of medium rice noodles
4 heads baby bok choy
1 bunch of broccolini (or of chinese broccoli if you'd prefer)
two big handfuls of snow peas
1 package traditional style seitan
juice of 1 lime (or to taste)
Soy sauce to taste
Handful of mint leaves
Handful of cilantro leaves
Put all base ingredients in a small food processor (my beloved Magic Bullet works great for this) and whiz until smooth.
Place your soup pot on medium heat with a dash of wok oil. Add the paste and fry until it smells really super good, about a minute. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, prepare rice noodles by placing them in a pot, covering with boiling water, and letting them sit there until they're tender, then drain and shoot them with cold water to prevent them from overcooking. Rice noodles love sticking together, so make sure you move them around a lot while they're soaking.
Add vegetables to the broth, and crumble in the seitan. The vegetables don't really need to cook long--you want them still tasting nice and fresh. Add in the noodles, and punch up the broth to taste with lime juice and soy sauce. Serve immediately, sprinkled with mint and cilantro leaves. You could serve a lime wedge with it, as well, or add scallions. OR A POACHED EGG (Oh, man, I just blew my mind. I can't wait till next time!).