Sunday, May 8, 2011

Looking For A Little Spice In Your Life?

Sorry, I'm not going to write about that sort of spice--this blog is rated G. But I am going to tell you something that happens with regularity in our household because I'm wondering if any of you can relate. As for the spice? I mentioned in my previous post that Larry and I made a delicious Thai pumpkin soup on Mother's Day. So I've decided to share this piquant recipe and tell you a little about my culinary life with Larry. Ooo La La!

When I am trying an unusual recipe for the first time I work on it by myself. I hide the ingredients list from Larry and I refrain from asking his advice. Otherwise he might decide he doesn't like what I'm making even before he tries it. Sometimes his food taste is just a bit limited and it is not uncommon for him to say, "don't tell me what's in it". Once in awhile he will tell me that what I'm making doesn't sound good. And once in awhile that makes me grouchy. I try to laugh this off and carry on but on occasion my touchy alter ego gets the upper hand and bad karma begins to hover above the kitchen. Believe me, no one wants to be around a good cook with a bad attitude.

When we made this Thai soup together we had a nice time. There was no way for me to sneak around since he was stationed there next to me slicing and dicing. (I've never met anyone that dices with more precision than Larry). Anyway, even though Larry was part of the process, keenly aware of anything entering the stock pot, he thoughtfully refrained from questions and comments. It was great fun working side by side on a sunny Mother's Day morning.

Upon returning from church I set the table in our sun room and Larry joined me for lunch. Much to my delight, Larry attacked his with a great deal of zeal. There was nothing tentative about his approach, but rather a robust vigor! He made short work of that soup. When he finished he said he had something to tell me. "I didn't think I was going to like this", he said. "I was totally against it... but it was really good!" I had to laugh. This happens all the time. Why, I wonder, do I ever waste time on a bad mood?

Recently I made a grain and flour free chocolate cake. Does this remind you of the war-time cakes described by your mother or grandmother? Let's see-- no eggs, no sugar, no butter, no flour, no taste. Surprise! This cake was probably the most delicious chocolate cake ever created. I don't love chocolate but I loved this. This was not your 'just desserts'--I'm talking cake heaven. I asked Larry if he would like to know how I baked such a decadent creation; something so truly gratifying and possibly even sinful without so much as a tablespoon of flour. No, he said, don't tell me. You see, for Larry knowledge diminishes pleasure. That is to say, ignorance is bliss. If I tell him what went into this cake he might not like it as much. Sometimes this makes me crazy. I just don't get it. If you truly like something why would knowing how it's made change your opinion? I have lived with Larry a very long time and I don't think I will ever figure this out. I guess I'm not supposed to.

Now, about the soup. I'll tell you up front it has coconut milk in it. I hope this doesn't discourage you. Guess what? Larry strongly objects to anything coconut! But as I mentioned above, he sincerely enjoyed this soup. So here you are. I hope if you make it you will post a note about your experience and any tips you might have. I always enjoy comments. Do you cook for someone whose taste parameters are somewhat narrow? I would enjoy hearing about that too. By the way, it might be nice to serve the soup with jasmine rice. Since I am avoiding most grains I served ours with a generous side of broccoli slaw sauteed with red bell pepper. Larry enjoyed his with soy sauce. Dang! This can make me grouchy too. But since I'm still on a Mother's Day high I'll talk about soy sauce another time.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

1 Box Organic Vegetable Broth
1 Can Organic Coconut Milk
2 Cans Organic Pumpkin (Make sure you don't buy Pumpkin Pie Filling)
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, diced
1/2 Large Onion, diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Diced Jalapeno Chili
2 Tablespoons Diced Fresh Ginger
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice (Fresh is best)

  • Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients except for the Coconut milk. Stir to blend. Heat to almost boiling and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn the burner to the lowest setting or if you are not planning to serve right away turn it off.
  • Just before serving whisk in the coconut milk.
  • Heat, serve and enjoy!
This soup was actually better the next day. It thickened a little more and the flavors were a great mesh.


  1. Dana, your soup sounds wonderful. Nice photos, too.

  2. I'm going to give this soup a try - it sounds wonderful. The salad looks good, too. What is the green...zucchini?

  3. Hey there. The salad is actually broccoli slaw sauteed with green onion and red bell pepper. I used olive oil and a good quality Celtic sea salt. This is a first-rate side dish for this soup. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Hi Dana...I'm going to be forwarding these entries to my wife Judy. She's a tremendous cook, and I'm sure she'll be totally interested. Thanks for sending them, and tell Larry I'm looking forward to visiting one of these days. Probably not this summer, but next summer is a distinct possibility.
    Dave White