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  • David Gyscek

I am not making Tom Kha Gai

I am making a soup with a similar flavor profile and certain ingredients.

I have a beautiful chicken stock in the fridge from the carcass (and some meaty bits) of a pastured, fresh-killed chicken that I had then spatchcocked and grilled.

I have some poached chicken breast.

I have coconut milk.

I have mushrooms & green onions.

My Holy Basil is nearing its end and I want a good use for it.

I can harvest some lemon grass from my window ledge nursery.

I have Jasmin rice.

I like this soup to be colorful and full of veggies. Maybe I’ll add some fresh turmeric root (curcuma).

I don’t have tofu.

I have u8 prawns, but I don’t want to use them; I have four Caribbean lobster tails (colas de langostas) and I think I’ll use two of them!

I have fish sauce and soy sauce. I have garlic & ginger.

I just ran to Fruver (one of the many local produce markets nearby) and bought the rest of what I’ll need.

I got cilantro, zucchini, red bell pepper, and soy bean sprouts.

Here’s the plan (it’s now 11:06am):

  • Process and prepare all vegetables: wash and pluck cilantro, wash bean sprouts, mince garlic, mince ginger root, slice mushrooms, slice green onions, confetti chop red bell pepper, slice zucchini into half-moons. Cover all and/or refrigerate as necessary. But in reality, I’ll probably do much of the chopping closer to when they’ll be used. But everything will be washed and ready in advance.

  • Enrich stock with lemon grass, garlic, ginger root, cilantro stems, leek tops, lime zest, turmeric root, and shrimp shells that I have saved in the freezer.


Meanwhile, I have an excess of blueberries, so I’m also making Blueberry Cobbler (via NYTimes and thanks to Chez Panisse).

Scratch that. I thought I had cream, which is needed for the cobbler. I do not have cream.

So instead, I’m going to make a Blueberry Crisp using my Grandmother’s Apple Crisp recipe.

Maybe I’ll substitute cardamom for cinnamon and add some of the Holy Basil.


Update: It's now 2:45pm and stock is being enriched and flavored.


Update: 4:20, going to check on stock (and strain, if it is time) and start prepping veggies while watching my stories. After checking it a bit earlier, the smell was intoxicating. I removed about half of the shrimp shells (I didn't want them to overpower), which I think will have been a good decision.


Update: 5:25pm, with some thoughts on stock that I may share another time.


Update: 6:58pm, and the final assembly begins.

Pre-poached chicken breast (i.e. left-overs), shredded.

Mushrooms, sliced; peppers, diced; zucchini, sliced.


Update: 6:21: Starting to come together. Stock enriching more with lobster shells (my fish sauce was expired so I wanted to boost that flavor; probably should have left the shrimp shells in earlier). Those will be removed soon and everything else put in.

Rice is in progress.

Blueberry Crisp, done. (Forgot the basil.)


Update: Wednesday the 8th at 11:33am

It was like a elixer; it cleansed the senses.

Final steps after steeping the lobster shells in the final stained broth with garlic and ginger:

Add zucchini & mushrooms (pre-cooked independently), red bell peppers, shredded chicken, and bean sprouts.

Stir in cooked lobster meat and coconut milk. Lots of cilantro and basil. Finish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil & chile oil for heat. And a bit of hot sauce for good measure.

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