Thai food is THE best: Tom Yum Guy soup

We are deliciously full after our first attempt at making Tom Yum Guy, a northern spicy Thai soup. I liked it so much that I’ve included the recipe for you :).

This version of Tom Yum soup is eaten in the North of Thailand and is made with chicken rather than the shrimp (tom yum gung) eaten in the south and coastal areas.

500 gms Chicken breast
15 gms Minced Fresh Ginger
2 Garlic Cloves
20 gms Lemongrass (2″ pieces)
4 Kaffir Citrus Leaves, torn
875 ml Coconut Milk (I used the light)
1 cup Chicken stock
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 tablspoons Tamarind Water
1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Sambal Olek
1 tablespoon Coriander Leaves
1 cup Straw Mushrooms

1. Put chicken stock and coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
2. Chop the lemon grass into 3cm lengths and add to the pot with the ginger and kaffir leaves, making a soup base.
3. Pound the garlic and add into the soup.
4. Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces, saute in a pan until cooked through and then add to the soup.
5. Cut the straw mushrooms into half and add to the soup.
6. Add the fish sauce, sugar, tamarind juice, lime juice, salt to taste and sambal olek into the soup and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

The Red C

Okay, okay, I must admit, although somewhat shamefully, I am not a huge hockey fan, even though my partner is, and I am CanadiaN. I enjoy seeing the big games (i.e. the Playoffs) or anything live in person, but watching hockey on TV is like watching golf on TV. Just no interest whatsoever. However, yesterday was a bit different …

The Calgary FlamesIt’s incredible to see the fans come out of the woodwork when any hockey team (or any sport, I’m sure, for that matter) plays in their hometown. Such has been the fervor over the past few weeks in Calgary over the Calgary Flames hockey team. 17th Avenue (just one street north of where we live) runs into the Calgary Stampede grounds, where the Flames play their games, at the Saddledome. For several years now, 17th Avenue has been known as the ‘Red Mile’ because whenever the flames play in the Playoffs, 17th Avenue fills up with the Flames fans who are wearing the team’s flaming red jerseys. The noise levels are astounding and the ensuing entertainment is quite fascinating to watch (for a short time, anyway). The police patrol in 2s on every corner. This is due to the notoriety of this infamous Mile several years ago, when there was a lot of violence during the Playoffs on 17th and the crowds got out of hand. To see the Police presence is quite formidable and comforting.

Sunday’s game was ‘do or die’ for the Flames. They were playing Detroit and vying for their survival within the series. If they lost, the Flames were out. So the pressure was on and the fans were at a fever-pitch frenzy of support. Slade and I decided to go to the bar called ‘Flame Central’. It’s not just any bar … it used to be a huge theatre before they completely overhauled it into a media emporium of sight, sound and sensory overload. There must have been at least 30 flat screen TVs and a giant projection screen … it made for an impressive surround sound event with fans cheerleading beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. When the teams went into overtime tied 1-1, I was ready to head home. I didn’t need to wait it out to see who would win. I was actually pretty certain that Detroit would come out ahead, leaving the Flames nursing their wounds until next years playoffs.

I predicted correctly the somber outcome, and the red mile was quiet and colourless on the Sunday evening Detroit extinguished the flames over Calgary.

Tough to swallow

The Organic Consumers Association believes

With consumer demand for organic products continuing to grow, more large corporations are entering the organic market. To maximize profits, some of these companies don’t follow organic standards but still label products as organic. For example, Horizon Organic and Aurora Organic, sold by Wal-Mart and other retailers, continue to produce “organic” milk under factory-farm conditions that few reasonable people would consider truly organic.

I’ve been thinking about starting to drink milk again, but of course, I have my concerns about which source to buy from … should I go the pasteurized route or venture into the raw unknown? After reading about Horizon and Aurora’s alleged ethics (I’ve read this factual info in several different arenas), I question to whole Organic subculture and the stability / quality of our food sources. Speaking of our sustenance, as an aside, think of all the bees that are dying around the world.

Honeybees are vanishing at an alarming rate from 24 US states, threatening the production of numerous crops. The cause of the losses, which range from 30% to more than 70%, is a mystery

With such a growing mortality rate, the bees’ demise will no doubt have a startling effect on our food supplies as we know it!

Important issues to ponder, methinks …. Any thoughts?

A long weekend beginning

Yeah it’s Friday!
I must say, ‘Good Friday’ is an aptly well-named holiday 🙂 Any three day weekend is a welcome reprieve from the grind, especially when one gets paid for it.

It’s kinda interesting working for a whole whack of Dental Hygienists around Easter time. I wasn’t sure if I’d be getting mini-lectures on not eating too many sweets and about proper dental etiquette, over this weekend of typical sugar gluttony. However, I was the one making jokes upon leaving the office. A bit of a dry crowd, I must admit.

It’s always amazing to wake up naturally, in the arms of my beloved. No alarm clocks or places to be. Only a luxurious day of planned nothingness. Bliss absolute. In trying to decide what to do over the next 3 days, slaDE expressed an interest in skiing. I must admit, I am a supreme chicken when it comes to the potential of shoulder dislocation. This is the main reason behind why I haven’t jumped over the past few years. With the mention of hurling oneself down the side of a mountain on skis came the uneasy queasiness that I feel when thinking about re-injuring myself. Not a fun thought, to be honest (go figure!). So in deciding to head to the mountain for the next few days, I opted for the idea of cross-country skiing whilst slaDE was going to fine-tune his snowboarding skills (his 2nd time). With a plan to go to Lake Louise, we called up my step-sister Lindsey, in Banff, and asked her for some advice on making the most of our two available mountain days. She was more than gracious in her offer for us to stay at her place whilst she was housesitting for her Karate instructor. Wicked! Gotta love a place to call home, even if for a short while, in the midst of breathtaking beauty and grandeur.

We savoured our sumptuously lazy day before heading to the mountains …

Once arriving in Banff, it was our intention: to pick up a key from Lindsey at one of her favourite haunting grounds; the reality: started drinking like a fish, exchanging stories with her wild co-workers Freddie (from Quebec, with heavy accent to boot) and Mark (from Switzerland). We had a rIOT! It was most amazing to hear Mark’s famous story of falling off one of the local mountains a year ago (tripping on 100 metres of climbing rope) where he was rescued by helicopter, with a crushed leg, 36 hours later. The human spirit in times of great duress and adversity is quite phenomenal. After hearing Mrk’s remarkable story of risk and survival, I decided to take the risk with opting to alpine ski rather than cross-country ski …. the forecast for Saturday was divine, and I wanted to experience the mountains in all their spring-skiing glory.

After moving to another watering-hole, we immediately pounded back an uncanny mix of cocktails and shooters. Anyone that knows me realizes how totally out-of-character this is of me to drink, let alone drink with wild abandon! However, with an ever-persuasive Freddie at the ordering helm, I kinda just went with the flow. But thankfully, I knew my limit and stopped accordingly. Several hours later, after much laughter and rambunctious dancing, slaDE and I made a silent departure, wanting to get a fairly good night’s sleep in for our day of skiing at Sunshine.