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.

Ingredients

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.

 

Gratitude Season – OPEN Wednesday Nov 21st, 3pm

The epic rains of early November 2018 brought epic rainbows. In this case, leading to the arresting sculpture of Niarus Walker.

Halloween flew by like a tropical bat, Diwali brought us its hopeful message of good defeating evil, and the elongated election season is nearly over; it is time to turn our thoughts back to family, gratitude, the simple things.

We are thankful for the many dedicated customers who are eager for ARTfarm to reopen! And for eleven inches of rain that fell over the first two weeks of November, decisively ending our water shortage – but also destroying the first lettuce crop of the season and creating some other setbacks. (We’re seeing major damage to melon vines and papaya trees and possible crop failures on ginger and some of our tomatoes.) But staying grateful that some of our gardens are recovering from all of the drenching!

We will be open for a special holiday farmstand on Wednesday, November 21st, 3pm – 5:30pm with a bumper crop of beautiful cucumbers and smaller quantities of a few other things including a limited supply of salad greens. Here’s the full list:

  • Lemongrass, garlic chives, Italian basil, rosemary, spicy radishes, two types of cucumbers, some teen spicy greens, baby arugula, a few bags of sweet mix, green papaya, wild cucumbers, some small bulb onions with large green tops (use like scallions), a few marigold and zinnia flowers. And ARTfarm turkey and chicken eggs! Super fresh!
  • Need a thoughtful gift for the holiday? This is a great time of year to get plants in the ground. We’ve got pineapple slips, fig trees, and native drought resistant shade tree saplings available for sale!
  • Tomatoes will come in around December 15th.
  • Grandma’s Fabulous Cucumber Salad that Luca loves (as told to Christina)

    There is no recipe for this.

    First of all don’t measure anything.

    Mandolin a cucumber into thin slices and thinner than anything you’ve ever experienced in your life. Paper thin. Then cover them in water and add an unspecified amount of too much salt. Then go away and do other stuff. Come back in a couple of hours.

    Rinse the heck out of them when you come back from your other activities and make sure they’re not too salty.

    Rinse them again and again and squeeze them to get the salty water out.

    Let them drain in a colander for even longer. Do other things.

    Chop up a couple of scallions.

    Add a big spoonful of mayo per cuke. Dress with vinegar and basil. Toss.

    So just make sure you have:

    • Maybe about half a cucumber per person
    • A bunch of scallions (green onion tops or garlic chives work too)
    • A generous handful of salt
    • A few spoonfuls of mayo
    • A little basil (could be dried if you don’t have fresh)
    • A little vinegar
    • Fun people to share it with!
    We finally got one of our chicken tractors rebuilt after the hurricane. The hens are thrilled with their more comfortable quarters.
    Bok. Bok.

    ARTfarm Winter Roots Saturday! 10am – 12noon

    This Saturday we’re open 10am – 12 noon. We have lots of beautiful root vegetables, herbs, cooking greens and pumpkins for your winter menu; with refreshing, juicy summery watermelon, ripe tomatoes and baby salad greens just to remind you you’re in the tropics! Here’s the full list (and a yummy drink idea from a friend at the end):

    Starting at 10am down the South Shore we’ll have lots of tomatoes, lots and lots of cherry tomatoes, teen spicy salad mix, teen arugula, sweet salad mix, lots of various lettuce heads including large romaine type, just a few cucumbers, seasoning peppers, green bell peppers, a few Serano peppers, red and yellow-fleshed watermelons, lots of winter squash, various varieties. Farmer Luca’s favorite Tahitian pumpkin is now ready, also lots of large butternut winter squash sliced in smaller portions.

    Baby carrots, onions, radishes, beets, lots of various cooking greens including three kinds of kales, dandelion greens, cilantro, dill, parsley, Italian basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, holy basil, sage, thyme, lemongrass, lots of baby ginger, lots of baby turmeric (which freezes beautifully and then is handy and easy to microplane into whatever dish you’re cooking), lots of colorful zinnia flowers, and fresh figs. We will have two cash registers set up for speedier service!

    Amaranta’s Winter Anti-Ick Herbal Tea

    Are you feeling icky and jacked? This rooty brew will soothe the savage icky beast within. (Probably can’t say the same for the ones without.)

    A thumb or more fresh grated turmeric

    A thumb or more fresh grated ginger

    Couple pinches black pepper (activates beneficial things in turmeric)

    Three quarts water

    A splash of 1/2 & 1/2 (or non-dairy substitute)

    2 tsp honey

    Bring water to a boil. Add ginger and turmeric. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into cup(s), add 1/2 & 1/2 or whatever non-dairy thing you want, and honey. Stir. Sip. Be happier than you were 20 minutes prior.

    ARTfarmers make this adding a bunch of fresh lemongrass in the water. Heavenly warm or cold. And makes your house smell amazing, this.

    ARTfarm Saturday Slaw-Breakers

    Summertime is time to make slaw. Here is our list for Saturday’s stand, recipe follows! 

    10 AM to 12 noon: Bunched sweet potato greens, red and yellow seasoning peppers, garlic chives, recao, basil, rosemary, loads of sweet potatoes in all sizes, sweet red pumpkin. Julie mangoes, Haitian Kidney mangoes, Viequen Butterball mangoes, plus lots of dragonfruit and sweet papaya, a few pineapples and passionfruit. Bethany’s amazing goat cheese, super fresh!

    A sweet and sour raw Asian slaw salad of refreshing green fruits cools and delights the palate and is a great complementary foil for barbecued or grilled meats or other salty foods. 

    Here’s Christina’s all-ARTfarm recipe:

    Law-Breakin’ Slaw

    2 green mangoes, peeled

    3-4 large green papayas, peeled and seeds removed

    1 lb. raw sweet pumpkin (yes, Yvette Browne!)

    2–3 small red onions

    Quarter cup or so of fresh raw peanuts, chopped and dry roasted with salt (yes, we have been experimenting with peanuts!)

    Dressing:

    Three small limes, juiced into a bowl

    2 Tablespoons honey. Dissolve in lime juice

    Few drops of potent pepper sauce or half a fresh chili pepper, diced

    DIRECTIONS:

    Grate the mango, papaya and pumpkin on a box grater (great upper arm workout) or using a food processor. Slice the red onions thin. Toss all together in a large bowl.

    Mix together the dressing. Pour over and toss. Refrigerate. 

    Roast the peanuts and sprinkle over top or reserve on side for garnish. 

    Can also add blanched green beans, cucumber slices, a few cherry tomatoes. Or, in season right now, a bit of cubed mango or other sweet ripe fruits. 

    Look for Luca at Mango Melee on Sunday! In the new farmer section!