Monday, January 18, 2016

Tom Kha Gai Thai Soup (and other yummy GF things)

Every year we have an annual Christmas Eve Soup night at our house. Each little group of family members brings a homemade soup and we spend the evening eating, playing ping-pong, and spending quality time with each other. It's one of my favorite days and I look forward to it each year. This wasn't always my holiday tradition, though, it belonged to The Fiance and his family, so when I joined the clan I felt some serious (self inflicted) pressure to come up with an awesome soup.

His family loves Thai food, so I thought I'd try and conquer the oh-so delicious Tom Kha Gai soup. However, this soup calls for some very special ingredients that are difficult to come by, so I ended up creating my own version without those items, all while crossing my fingers that it would still taste somewhat similar. I was worried (as one should be on such important occasions, clearly) but his dad LOVED it and, as everyone else tried it, it became a new favorite of the family.

Now, you guys have to understand, I'm giving you my ultimate-super-secret Thai soup recipe. This is a big deal, so you can't go posting it all over the Internet I'm doing. Because it's top secret, like I said...and, know, a secret.

Tom Kha Gai Thai Soup

Step 1 - Making the Broth
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups veggie broth
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 4-6 stalks lemongrass
- 6 red shallots, cut into large pieces (this is important for later)
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp chili pepper (This will make it pretty darn spicy. Only use 1/2 to 3/4 tsp if you want it less spicy. Remember, you can always add more later)
- 3 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp garlic seasoning
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric

Bring to low boil. The simmer for 15 mins. 

Step 2 - Strain the Broth
The easiest way to do this is to actually just spoon out all the lemongrass and shallot chunks as opposed to trying to pour the whole thing into another bowl, in which case you'll really just end up making a mess. Trust me on this.

Step 3 - Add the Good Stuff
 - 1pd chicken, or more if you're feeling wild and crazy

NOTE: For this, I totally cheat and buy a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. I prefer the Salt & Pepper seasoning one they do. You can, of course, make your own chicken at home. I just prefer the lazier easier way to do it. With the rotisserie chicken, I take the skin off and cut up as much as I feel like and drop it in. Like I said, lazy easy.

- 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
- 3 baby carrots, peeled and diced
- a handful of chopped cilantro

At this point I like to taste it. You're going for a sweet, somewhat spicy flavor that's good- really good. I always end up letting it sit for a little bit and then adding an additional 6 tsp of lime juice and 1/2 tsp brown sugar. This gets the soup exactly where I want it to be. 

This should make you a double batch, so if you want a smaller portion just cut everything in half. 

Mom's Mini Cherry Pies

I wrote about my moms cherry pie recipe here (scroll down past the top of the post) but this year I wanted to make it look a little different. So instead of making one big pie, I took cupcake tins and made a bunch of mini pies. I used all the same ingredients and the same amounts, I just dished it up differently. Personally, I think it was adorable. 

Pumpkin Bread

I used the Martha Stewart recipe for this, but modified it slightly. For my gluten free flour I used Cup 4 Cup and instead of white sugar I used brown sugar. Some of the reviews before had mentioned problems with it being doughy, but I didn't run into that. In fact, it turned out pretty darn perfect. It was incredibly moist and even the non-gluten free people really liked it (which is how you know it's really good).

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