I’ve only spent 2 New Year’s away from my parents and siblings. This last year (VIETNAM!!) and in 2009. We rang in 2009 with our friends David and Olivia in Prague, Czech Republic. With a couple of their friends, my husband’s cousin Randa and our family laughed, ate, and drank all night. Olivia is a vegetarian so you can always expect a killer veggie dish on her menu. This is the same gal who introduced me to Vietnamese food so when it comes to recipes from Southeast Asia, I trust her taste.
Well on the cold night in Prague as we waited for the proverbial ball to drop, Olivia served us a lovely Thai dinner. Two dishes really stuck out… Thai Soup and Beef Skewers with a Peanut Sauce. Both dishes were out of this world! The soup warmed us up after a day of walking through the streets of Prague.
Today is the coldest day in Shanghai in the last 30 years. It feels as cold as that memorable 2009 New Year’s Night. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived in colder cities… I mean hello, Toledo, OHIO! Wintertime is ridiculously cold there but you really don’t feel it in your cozy home, or in your preheated car lol! Here in China though, the walls are less insulated than you would get in the USA. The window and door seals are shit. So even though our heat is going at full blast, there’s definitely a chill in the air.
Makes me think of the good times we had in Europe. I was feeling smitten enough that I actually went out in the cold to get basil… the only ingredient I didn’t have for the soup. It was so worth the walk frigid walk. The soup was lovely. Once again, in order to keep the calorie count low, I didn’t use the creme fraiche. It was still delicious so don’t feel bad if you skip it. Now if you are naturally thin and beautiful like Olivia, then go ahead and stir it in!
Enjoy and stay warm Shanghai!
Thai Vegetable Soup
- 3T Butter
- 1 Onion, quartered
- 1 Garlic Clove, cut in half
- 3 Sticks of Carrots, cut in 1/2″ round slices
- 4 Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 Potato, peeled and chopped
- 6 Cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 Lemons, juiced
- 1 cup Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream, if using
- 2 bunches of Basil, sliced thin
- 1 Lemon, peel shredded, for Garnish
- Tabasco Sauce
- Basil Leaves, for garnish
- In a large stockpot, saute the vegetables in butter until softened.
- Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and bring the soup to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.
- Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- With an Immersion Blender or regular blender, puree the soup until smooth.
- Add the juice of two lemons and the basil. Stir well.
- At this point you can add the creme fraiche or sour cream if you’re using it.
- Ladle into individual bowls and spice it up with Tabasco Sauce, basil leaves and shredded lemon peel.