Friday, September 19, 2008

Back from Vacation with Coconut Curry Soup

Do you remember me? The girl who likes to cook and eat a lot of desserts?

Hubby & I just returned from our glorious road trip around the nation's Southwest. I haven't posted in a week, but it seems like ages now! I have been catching up on all of my emails and comments, so thanks for stopping by while I was gone. There were a few requests for the Coconut Curry dish I made last week, so I posted the recipe & photos following the cheesy vacation pics.

We started off our trek with a long drive out to the Grand Canyon for some hiking & camping. The views are simply breathtaking and it's quite peaceful if you can drown out all the tourists.

The picture below is the view from the top. See the green area to the left of me? The one with the line going right through it? Oh, little did I know I'd be standing there the next day after hours of hiking. My smile wasn't so big, then :)
After checking out the sights, we settled into our campground for the night to fuel up and rest for our big hike the next day. Saigon Noodles with Sweet Chili Sauce: the meal of champions. No recipe here, folks. This is camping's finest freeze dried food.

The view from below isn't too shabby either, though the outdoor thermometer read 111 degrees. Not sure how we made it out of there alive.

The next day we headed to Zion National Park in Utah. I have seen a lot of amazing things in life, but few places are as beautiful and breathaking as Zion. We hiked both the Angel's Landing and Observation Point trails, providing stunning views of the sandstone cliffs and a little bit of an adrenaline rush.

After all this healthy living, we headed to Vegas to reward ourselves with hotel rooms and showers. Oh, and some Vegas fun, of course. The vacation pictures end here! :) Throughout the duration of the trip, we had minimal cell phone service and no access to emails or a Blackberry. I think it's the longest I've gone "unplugged" and I highly recommend it for a stress-free getaway.

Now, on to the good stuff. If you're still with me, this Coconut Curry Shrimp & Chicken Soup is simply divine. Hubby proclaimed it one of the best things I've made and I had to agree. Best of all, it's pretty simple to make and you can vary it by adding a starch to soak up the broth such as glass vermicelli noodles. Next time, we're going to try coconut rice! I couldn't get a decent photo because we were too hungry to wait and of course, no leftovers. I found this in O, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook.

Thai Coconut Curry Chicken & Shrimp Soup
(adapted from Oprah's Cookbook)
4 cups chicken stock
5 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into chunks
½ tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp. Thai green curry paste
2 tsp whole coriander seeds (I used ½ tsp ground coriander)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
¾ c loosely packed cilantro leaves and stems, plus additional ½ cup for garnish, chopped
2 rounds vermicelli glass noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup chopped green onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 large chicken breast, cut into ¼ inch strips
½ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla)
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp chili and garlic sauce

1. In a large pot over high heat, combine chicken stock, garlic, ginger, curry paste, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, and cilantro. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Strain broth through a fine sieve over a bowl and discard solids. Return broth to pot and add coconut milk, ¼ cup of green onions, mushrooms, and chicken.
3. Return to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Add shrimp and allow to simmer until no longer pink.
4. In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and chili sauce. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add to soup. Garnish with remaining cilantro & green onion. Serve with glass noodles & allow guests to add noodles to soup as desired.


Clumbsy Cookie said...

Hi Sharon, glad to have you back to the "plugged" world! Thanks for sharing the gorgeous pictures, such nice places!!! Very nice!
That soup is all good!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Wow, looks like a great vacation! This does not look like my husband's ideal vacation, all that hiking! Great exercise though. :) I guess I'm not really one for roughing it either. The noodles look pretty good, actually!

The curry recipe is wonderful! I'm definitely going to try it out - we love anything curry!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Welcome back!!!! My oh my, what a fabulous trip you had!! Gorgeous photographs.

Unknown said...

That looks fantastic, as does your vacation!!!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing trip, the pics are beautiful!

The soup looks good too!

kat said...

Your trip looks wonderful & your timing is so perfect with this soup. I've got a bad cold & this is exactly what I told my husband I want for dinner.

Mandy said...

Welcome home Sharon. I passed on an excellence award to you for your blog! You can see it on my blog. Enjoy!

That Girl said...

You guys are seeing the whole US this summer!

Anonymous said...

Those Saigon Noodles look so YUMMY!

MrOrph said...

Hey Sharon! Welcome back. What a nice and adventurous vacation. You know, Beck and I just went hiking too. We hiked to and from the car to oue seats in Turner field to watch my Phillies whip her Braves. It was exhausting!

The soup looks delish! You gotta love coconut and curry. Now that we're heading into fall, I think I may refer back to this for a good nite's dish.

Garrett said...

Yum! Definitely in a soupy mood since it's chilling down slightly in SD. I love the Grand Canyon area...though I haven't been in a long while. Have you ever had a chance to check out the Carlsbad Caverns?

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Hi, looks tasty. I'm heading that way in November. Your pics are great.

Jenny said...

Hi Sharon, how great that you were in the ol' southwest, my neck of the woods. Sad that I've been in AZ my whole life and have never visited the Grand Canyon! What's wrong with me?!!

Your pics and recipe are gorgeous, thanks for sharing with us!

grace said...

i'm so jealous of your trip--it looks like an amazing way to spend time. welcome home. :)

alexandra's kitchen said...

Oh wow, what a beautiful sites! Thanks so much for posting the recipe for the coconut curry soup. I am dying to try this!

Anonymous said...

what a great vacay. sounds u like u guys are doing a lot of traveling! do you know when ur back in DC?

I haven't had coco curry soup in a long so thanks for reminding me.. there's a really good Thai resto in town I haven't visited in a while so I'm there this week! Oh and I'll send your goodies tomorrow!

vanillasugarblog said...

Grand Canyon...a must see for me as I love the sun; lots of sun! Plus it's not humid there.
Love these pics.
I will try this soup for sure as I love curry and love coconut even more.
Is that Oprahs cookbook good? Filled with interesting recipes?

Emily said...

Welcome back! I was on vacation too. I'm so behind on stuff!
The pictures are gorgeous. What a beautiful area!

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

What beautiful pictures!No Vegas pictures? What happens there stays there? :)

I would love to try a bowl of that soup.

Sophie said...

Wow! I admire your hiking skills, especially in that heat! Glad to see you back and cookin' up more tasty dinners. I know I'd love this; my hubby made curry chicken when we were dating and I think that's what made me decide to marry him ;). This sounds really awesome, I love the addition of shrimp...and mushrooms too? Perfect!

RecipeGirl said...

That soup looks delicious!

What an amazing trip... I haven't done hiking kind of trips in quite some time. Hubby is more of a 4-Seasons kind of guy. Sometimes it's nice to just get completely unplugged from everything, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Amazing pictures Sharon!! Wow, what gorgeous views.

Leslie said...

Stunning photos!
I am glad you have a wonderful vacation!

Maria said...

What beautiful photos. Looks like a fun trip! Glad you are back and I love the looks of this soup!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had a good time. Zion is amazing, isn't it?
Did it feel like 111 degrees to you?

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had lots of fun on your vacation! welcome back:) The pictures are soo good. I love coconut curry soup!

tigerfish said...

I definitely miss Grand Canyon. Looks like you visited during good weather. You can even walk in tank top!
I had to put on a beanie then to keep myself warm from the head!

Unknown said...

Welcome back! Wow, what a great vacation and i am drooling all over the saigon noodles ^_^

Larissa said...

Welcome back, Sharon! The curry looks divine.

Prudy said...

We live only about 45 minutes from Zion so we go all the time and love it!

Anonymous said...

Superb recipe!!!!

Now the question I have - What KIND of mushrooms did you use there?

Don't tell me they were porcini!! They are impossible to be found on the American continent...


Anonymous said...

You are TOO cute!

Gotta tell you, I love this blog. Just stumbled on it tonight but added it to my faves. I'm a newlywed too.

Love your vaca pics and your recipes. Look forward to seeing more!


Sharon said...

garrett - no, but I'm going to go check them out now though!

mamaliga - I used cremini mushrooms, but I believe you can just use normal white sliced mushrooms as well!

dawn - the cookbook is Oprah's O Magazine cookbook. It's actually quite a good one!

Dink - thanks for stopping by!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon! Of course we remember you still, how can we forget! :)
Wow, your trip looks fantastic! What a wonderful romp through the Southwest, your pictures just take us right there. I love it and miss it so much. You're like a long lost sister: hiking and eating the noodle breakfast of champions!
But we demand some Vegas pics too! (I'm such a pervert). :D

test it comm said...

I looks like you had a good time on your vacation. The photos look great!

FROGGITY! said...

oh my GOODNESS! how FUN!