Sorry for the late post today; recently I’ve been writing them during my office hour at school. But get this–today a student actually came to office hour to learn something. The nerve!
30-Day Challenge Check-In
It has been 28 complete days since I last drank caffeinated coffee, the wonder drug that makes me extremely happy for no good reason. Even though it was caffeinated coffee that I gave up–not caffeine–I’ve actually stopped drinking caffeine as well. True, there’s a tiny amount in decaf coffee, which I drink a few times a week, but not nearly the amount that you’ll find in black or even green tea. I drank tea for a few days, but it just didn’t do it for me.
But I’m unequivocally looking forward to drinking real coffee again. I’ve proven to myself that I don’t need it. Erin doesn’t seem too impressed by this; she says that if I still want it, it just means 30 days wasn’t a long enough commitment. But my intention, I remind her, was not to never drink coffee again. Those kinds of commitments never seem to last. The point of 30 days is that it’s enough to break the habit so that you can reevaluate your priorities at the end of it. That’s what I’m doing, and I really think a little bit of coffee in my life is a net good. What do you think; if I start drinking coffee again, will the challenge have been a failure? If you took a 30-day challenge with me, how’s it going? How strictly are you going to stick with your change after the 30 days are up?
Thai Lemongrass Soup
A few months ago, I went to a Thai restaurant with Erin and my sister. It was one of the first times I’d eaten out since going vegetarian, and I was so excited when I realized how many wonderful food options there are that I didn’t even consider before. The highlight of the meal (other than the company, of course) was a lemongrass soup with mushrooms, unlike anything I’d ever eaten before and something I just had to try at home.
I did a Google search for “Thai lemongrass soup vegetarian” and came up with this recipe. And last night I finally made it, having fruitlessly visited three grocery stores before Erin was able to find some lemongrass at Whole Foods.
The recipe is a good bit different from the soup that I enjoyed so much, but the flavor is very similar. Whereas the other was only broth and mushrooms, this one includes red and green bell pepper, tomatoes, and tofu. More suitable for dinner perhaps, but I think having all that stuff in there takes away from the soup a little bit.
I had never cooked with lemongrass before, here’s what it looks like:
A few other notes about the recipe:
- There’s a link on the recipe for how to prepare lemongrass; it involves chopping it and processing it to make the pieces small enough to become edible after some time in the boiling soup. Still, I think the soup would benefit from straining the lemongrass pieces out of the soup after an initial 10-15 minutes of boiling. They’re just too tough.
- I didn’t use the optional coconut milk; that flavor was definitely not in the soup I was hoping to replicate.
- I didn’t use the kaffir lime leaves; I just threw in some extra lemongrass.
- The recipe calls for 1-2 red chili peppers. I used one green jalapeno, and actually only needed three-quarters of it. There’s a chance midway through the recipe to test the soup for spiciness, so use less than you think at first and add more at this point if needed.
I really enjoyed the flavor of this soup; it was very much what I had been craving. But really I think it’s best suited as a simple broth with mushrooms, as an appetizer. Erin wasn’t a big fan. She thought there was a lot of spice and lemony flavor but not enough other flavors. So we can only give it three cows out of five. Average, in many ways. Anyone have a recipe for this soup that they really like?
That’s all for today! I have a track workout tonight that seems easier than the previous: four 800-meter repeats at 2:52 with a two-minute rest after each. Sounds pretty doable, but I believe I struggled with this one earlier in year. That was, of course, before I was veggie-powered!