The most important thing for me each morning is to make sure that I wake up a little early and put aside at least 10 minutes for me to sit down and have a cup of coffee. I don’t feel human without this ritual, and I’m a morning person anyway, so it’s never been too bothersome to me. I can’t just rush out of bed, throw my clothes on, and run down to the subway. I need a few minutes to goof around on my computer and finish my coffee. I know some people think that even two extra minutes of sleep is completely worth it, but I’m fine waking up at 5:30 AM if that means I get to do what I am doing right now, which is sitting comfortably on my couch curled up in the thick crocheted blanket that my mom made for me when we first moved to New York, and sipping on some coffee in my favorite Stumptown mug (I don’t know what it is about their mugs, but they have the perfect weight and minimalistic design that just puts me in a good mood in the morning). I will admit, I do set my alarm for 5 AM initially, because hitting snooze is absolutely necessary. If you don’t hit snooze at least once each morning when you wake up, I may suspect that you are some kind of robot. Eventually, though, I roll out, turn the heat on, and make myself coffee (pour over, of course, because I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and therefore must perpetuate every stereotype that comes along with that). I’m not really a coffee snob, though. We get our coffee from the coffee shop next to our building, which is $13 for a pound of fairly fresh beans and actually pretty damn delicious. Kramer is more of a coffee aficionado, and he’ll buy Stumptown or Blue Bottle if given the chance, but I feel like those two places are in a competition with one another to see who can burn away what’s left of my stomach lining first. If I want fancy coffee, I love Toby’s Estate, where their brew is a bit more mellow, or MyWayCup, which is in Manhattan and run by the nicest Israeli boys ever (they always say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to every customer; people notice that kind of thing!), but at home, I’m good with my neighborhood beans and my mom’s blanket.
One thing I do plan ahead for, though, are dinners. As I mentioned, I am just dead tired after getting home from work, so I don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen. I made this Thai shrimp soup on Sunday afternoon, then Kramer and I ate it for dinner on Monday and Tuesday night, plus I froze some to eat on a night where Kramer has class. I love Thai soups. The richness of the coconut milk and cleanness of the ginger cuts through the heat of the peppers and spices, while the shrimp and rice make it hearty and satisfying. I remember when I first moved here, I thought that shrimp in soup was weird – I had never had it before and it was an odd combination to me. Now, though, my love for shrimp is unwavering and if you can add it to soup, all the better. Your house will smell absolutely lovely as all of the aromatics waft through the air while this soup cooks. I do recommend adding just a tiny bit of fish sauce for depth of flavor, but again, if you’re like me five or six years ago and you don’t think that fish sauce is for you, feel free to omit it…but give it a try if you’re adventurous! A little goes a long way and it definitely makes the dish more authentic. You can obviously substitute chicken for the shrimp, or add more veggies to make it vegetarian. This soup is versatile and can be made to suit just about anybody’s tastes, and it makes a lot, so invite some friends over to share in this tasty Thai creation.
There’s always a billion cabs when you don’t need one.
Alright, now on to soup. Chop up your bell pepper (use yellow, red, or orange – green has no flavor).
Then thinly slice your leeks.
Then your jalapeño pepper and garlic.
And grab your tomatoes!
Mix it all up, simmer, and add your shrimp. Boom, soup!
It’s a perfect soup for your soup group.
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 3 leeks, thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, finely minced
- 1 small cube of ginger, finely minced
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 20 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups basmati rice
- 1 12-ounce can light coconut milk
- 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut in half
- Heat your olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add in your bell peppers and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes, then add in the leeks and cook for another 5 minutes. Add in the minced jalapeños, cook for 2 minutes, then add in the ginger and stir to combine, cooking for only 1 minute or so.
- Add in the stock, tomatoes, curry powder, salt, fish sauce, and spices, then add in the rice. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until the rice is tender, and be sure to stir every so often so the rice doesn't burn to the bottom.
- Stir in the coconut milk, then the shrimp. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Taste, adjust seasonings as necessary, and serve. This will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.