In Douglas Adams’ beloved sci-fi classic “The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, a drink called the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is introduced as follows:
“The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the effect of which is like having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.”
Basically, studying for the comps has a similar effect on the brain: smashed out and wrapped around a brick. Except the smash does not conserve energy and the brick is a relativistic brick, moving with some velocity v with respect to a reference rest frame.
So to start cooking dinner, I opened up a beer, because I started cooking at 9:00 P.M. after a full day of studying, and felt like I deserved a beer, at least.
Then I began the chopping craze. For this soup – oh shoot, I forgot to comment on the type of soup! Blue Apron sent me the stuff to make a Thai Coconut Lemongrass Curry Soup! I think they had a more succinct name for it, but I can’t remember that right now.
Begin by chopping up a ton of vegetables: 1 red bell pepper into bite sized pieces, 1 scallion into thin slices, mince 2 cloves garlic, 1 1″ piece of ginger, and lemongrass – but let’s talk about the lemongrass first:
Lemongrass is weird. So you have to start by cutting off the woody root at the bottom and the top. Then you score the stalk and peel off the outer later until you get to the core. Slice that in half, and take the half that was closer to the root and thinly slice. You’ll know you’re at the sweet spot if you have these purple rings in your slices:
Then take the other half of the core and beat it up – bruise with the back side of your knife, and just overall smash it. Then set it aside.
Also, cook some jasmine rice and set it aside! Woo!
Next, you’re going to sauté the aromatics – the garlic, ginger, and sliced lemongrass in 2 tspn of olive oil. Let these cook until they smell amazing, then add the bell peppers.
Next step is to add the red curry paste. Mix it in with the veg & aromatics and cook for a few minutes, until it smells nice. The recipe B.A. gave me says you can adjust how much curry you put it, but I thought, ‘screw it!’ and used the whole thing.
So, once that all cooks for a bit it’s time to actually add the liquids. Add 1 cup water, zest from one lime, 2 tspn coconut palm sugar, 1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk, and the smashed lemongrass cores. Then let this cook and mix nicely, but be careful: don’t let the soup boil. There’s coconut milk in there, you don’t want it to get all weird. Once everything is hot (but not boiling!), season with S+P diced chicken cubes and add them to your soup, along with juice from half the lime you zested earlier. B.A. recommends adding some chopped cilantro, but I really don’t like cilantro, so I just used it for garnish.
Let that simmer (remember, simmer! don’t boil!) until the chicken is cooked through. When it’s done, fish out the smashed lemongrass cores and toss them on your compost heap. Serve in a bowl with some jasmine rice, with green scallion slices and cilantro for garnish.
This soup was SO GOOD. And even though I’m not usually a fan of spicy, this had a great amount of kick to it. Plus, it made at least three servings – I popped it in a thermos and had it for lunch the next day.
It was such a nice, warm dish on that terrible, cold, icy Sunday. And really straight forward – the only difficult things about re-creating this would be where to buy coconut palm sugar and lemongrass (I already know the answer, and it’s most likely Whole Foods).
Anyway, I ought to get back to studying: I’m doing electrodynamics today, woohoo! I actually have a backlog of posting to do, and this is a nice thing to write in my moments of distraction, so, Ma, I’m really glad we’re sharing this blog (now don’t you think it’s your turn to update, too??)