Wellness Blast Thai-ish Soup Recipe

Being a season of viruses, we’ve definitely been cooking up some antiviral recipes lately that can be prepared with or without meat. Late spring is sort of the beginning of the winding down of our veggie season at ARTfarm, but ingredients can be sourced from other local farms or your own backyard Victory Garden. The recipe ingredients list seems long here, but in these days of social distancing we thought it best to give people lots of options and substitutions. It’s mostly a lot of chopping and preps quickly.

Our ginger and turmeric have such tender skins they don’t need peeling. Just wash, chop and go!

We will be presenting a series of articles on starting a small home garden for those of you who have been asking us what to plant and when. Stay tuned on our website, we’ll be offering some information and also soon put up a signup sheet if you’d like to attend a Zoom videoconference class with local experts from UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service to answer more of your questions on starting a home garden.

Tom Khing Michi-Gai Phak*

(Ginger Not-Chicken Coconut Soup)

Feeds about 3 hungry people who really love soup. We usually double it.
10 minutes prep time, 40 minutes cook/simmer time.

This is a garden veggie heavy/homemade sort of homage to one of ARTfarm family’s all time favorite Asian soups: Galangal Chef Kenneth Biggs’ Tom Kha Gai soup. We are substituting ginger and turmeric for Chef’s galangal root and adding more veggies.

The coconut is nourishing and anti-viral, the turmeric color is cheerful, the gingery warmth of the rich smooth broth and onions and chili peppers (if desired) help open the sinuses without acidity, the customizable, whatever-you’ve-got-available veggies make it hearty; it’s just soothing and lovely. The citrus tang and floating cherry tomatoes added at the end offer little pops of sweet vitamin blasts and the cilantro is cleansing to the body.

This recipe is verrry adjustable. You can make it with some, or all, or substitutions for, the various chopped vegetables and herbs in this recipe. Tiny white Japanese enoki or bonapi mushrooms are a fun texture in this if you can get them, but any (or no) mushrooms will do. (Mushrooms may have anti-viral qualities!) This is traditionally a chicken recipe and we’ve suggested tofu or a light milder fish like mahi or wahoo to substitute, but you can make it without – it still has such a rich broth and holds up well if you add other veg.


2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tough outer layers removed
1 one inch piece (a man thumb) baby ARTfarm ginger, grated, no peeling necessary
1 one inch piece (a man thumb) baby ARTfarm turmeric, grated, no peeling necessary
3 large kaffir lime leaves
1 – 2 sprigs Thai basil
1 sour orange or other large citrus: all the juice and a tiny bit of the skin oil or zest
6 cups broth – veggie or whatever you’ve got
1 lb. your favorite protein: a pack of firm tofu, cut into 1” or smaller pieces
– or – chicken (boneless breast or thigh), sliced into thin strips
– or – mahi or wahoo, cubed
1 large onion, sliced thin into crescent moons
8 oz. mushrooms (Japanese or whatever you’ve got)
1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk well shaken**
– or – make fresh coconut milk!!! (Crucian Contessa’s recipe)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
– or – a slurry of 2 Tbspn. miso paste dissolved in some of the broth
– or – 2 Tbsp. Bragg’s Aminos to taste

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1-4 finely chopped Thai chili peppers to taste
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves with tender stems
a few sour orange or lime wedges (for garnish, if you’re feeling fancy)

——–optional add-ins (we do all of them!!)——-
* 1 cup pumpkin, sliced thin then cubed into chunks
* 1/2  bunch cooking greens (radish tops, kale, chicory etc.), remove hard center ribs, cut leaves into 1″ pieces or julienned
* 4-5 seasoning peppers, seeded and sliced
* 1 bunch radishes or turnips, washed, root sliced into coins, use the tops as greens
* 2 medium bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

How to make it

  1. Using the back of a knife, lightly smash lemongrass; fold and bundle it up to about 4-5″ long, to fit in a large sauce pan. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors are melded, 8–10 minutes. Pull out the lemongrass with tongs and discard, and add microplaned/grated ginger and turmeric to the hot broth.
  2. Add tofu and your big pile of chopped onions, pumpkin, greens, (and seasoning pepper if desired), and return to a boil. Reduce heat, add mushrooms and citrus juice, and simmer, skimming occasionally, until cooked through and onions and pumpkin are soft, 20–25 minutes.
  3. For the last five minutes, turn the heat to low and add radish coins, bell peppers, (chicken/fish if applicable). Simmer until the protein is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Ladle some of the hot broth into a teacup and add your miso, stirring until liquified.
  4. Mix in coconut milk, your brown flavor sauce option (fish sauce/miso slurry/aminos), tiny leaves of Thai basil, and kaffir lime leaves. Heat through.
  5. Divide soup among bowls. Serve with garnishes: cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced pieces of thai chili peppers, cilantro, and citrus wedges. OMG it’s so good. If you have any hint of a cold this nutritious soup will blast it out of you!!


*thanks Google Translate. Apologies to Thai people. Hopefully we haven’t said something rude.

** Chef Ken’s coconut tip: if you purchase canned coconut milk, check the fat content (in grams per can, not the percentage). Look for something in the 10+ grams range. Less than that, it can come out too thin – and sometimes canned coconut milk contains emulsifiers that can give it a weird mouth feel.


Saturday ARTfarm Stand 10 AM – 12 noon!

Happy Saturday everyone! We are open regular hours today, 10 AM – 12 noon. Today’s harvest: Lots of salad greens! Sweet salad mix, lots of microgreens, arugula, teen arugula, spicy salad mix, cucumbers, onions, beets, carrots, watermelon radishes, the beginning of the end of the cherry tomatoes, medium sized tomatoes, a few pounds of baby sweet potatoes, radicchio, escarole, dandelion greens, sweet potato greens, ginger, Serrano chili peppers, Italian basil, Thai basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme,  zinnia flowers, and from our partners:  limes and sour oranges from Spring Gut Gardens, and I-Sha’s vegan fruit ice creams to cool you down during these hot, dry days before the rainy season.

"South Shore Dragon", 9 x 12" watercolor (c)2015 Luca Gasperi
“South Shore Dragon”, 9 x 12″ watercolor (c)2015 Luca Gasperi

Last night was the opening reception for “Men Of Industry”, a new art collection from Mike Walsh and Luca Gasperi at Walsh Metal Works Gallery here in St. Croix. So many of our wonderful farmstand customers and fellow artists came out to support Luca and Mike’s creative efforts, and we appreciate all of you who were able to make it last night! It was really packed!

If you missed it, or you’d like to go back and enjoy it without quite so many people there, the exhibition will run through May 9, 2015. Call the numbers listed below for exhibition open hours, or to make an appointment. For those of you off island who cannot attend in person you may view each piece through the link below! And if so inspired, purchase artwork by phone. The link is through the WalshMetalWorksVI.com website. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the information about the art exhibition and pieces for sale.


The phone numbers to call are:
Office: 340-773-8169
Barbara: 340-332-2504
Mike: 340-332-2682

Please note, all credit card purchases will have a 4% service fee added to the price listed with the work. Shipping arrangements can also be made with The Walsh Metal Works Gallery.

The muse for the painting. An outlier early-season dragonfruit ripens on the vine at ARTfarm.
The muse for the painting. An outlier early-season dragonfruit ripens on the vine at ARTfarm.


ARTfarm Open Saturday! Same Time Same Place!

Yes, it is Ag Fair weekend on St. Croix. Many of us will be headed over to the fairgrounds over the holiday for some fun and shopping.

In the interests of fuel (and human) efficiency, and as our staff has shrunk over the years, we have found that it is most manageable for us to stay open at our farm, instead of moving our operation to the Department of Agriculture for the weekend. So we will be open our usual time and place on South Shore Rd. from 10 AM to 12 noon tomorrow, Saturday.

You will see us later in the weekend, blending into the holiday crowds and enjoying all the sights and sounds and smells of our wonderful Agriculture and Food Fair! We particularly enjoy: sampling the callaloo soup, listening to some of our island’s musical groups, watching the quelbe dancers, getting a horseback ride, engaging with some of our agriculture researchers and educators in their various booths, taking note of interesting fashion choices that have clearly been custom-made for the weekend, exploring the 4H displays and petting zoo, seeing what the schools have been working on for the fair, catching up with our farming colleagues, and shopping for trinkets and handmade crafts and fruit trees!

Saturday’s farmstand: sweet salad mix, spicy salad mix, baby spicy salad mix, baby arugula, teen arugula, microgreens, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, radishes, kale, broccoli, bodhi beans, eggplant, sweet bell peppers, ginger, hot chili peppers, cilantro, recao, thyme, flat leaf parsley, mint, dill, Italian basil (limited amounts), lemon basil, thai basil, holy basil, lemongrass, figs, black sapote and fresh-cut zinnia flowers. And from a friend’s orchard, we’ll have key limes, kefir limes and leaves, sour oranges and more white star apple! We will also have I-Sha’s vegan coconut-based ice cream and bread from Tess. 20140214-163153.jpg