March 8, 2010

The Art of Persuasion

Red Curry Rhetorically Dominating the Shitake Masses

When a friend emails you a recipe, sometimes you pay attention, and sometimes you don't. After all, life is short; if a recipe presents itself to us wearing anything but a tight red dress and stilleto heels, what's to keep us from looking for newer, sexier, more scantily clad recipes? Answer: Nothing.

However, when a friend emails you a killer recipe, in addition to a stunning photograph of the dish in question, in addition to the rhetorically effective message below, chances are you might pay attention:

"Make this. It is totally a delicious noms."

I received this very message from a friend of mine, Matthew, last fall. This message--in addition to the delicious-sounding recipe & delicious-looking photograph--grabbed my attention by the balls and forced it to listen. I could not resist such artful use of rhetoric--the imperative "make this" followed by the playfulness of "totally a delicious noms." This was not a message I would soon forget. Like a tight red dress at a business meeting, this message/recipe was at once sexy and commanding, with a hint of fun woven into the threads.

If it weren't for my aversion to the idea of soup, I probably would have made Matthew's Curried Coconut Soup with Lemongrass immediately. Instead, I kept it safe in my inbox, knowing that one day--one day soon, when I felt cold and desperate enough to stoop to the prissy level of soup--I would break it out and be made whole again with its spice, its sexiness.

That day came at the end of February when, driven to the igloos of my wintery insanity, I needed to reignite the fire inside. It was there, that space between near-frostbite and frostbite, that I remembered Matthew's words: Make this. Make this. Make this. In moments of icy despair, one submits gladly to dictatorial commands. So, I heeded to Matthew's evangelism, gathered the necessary ingredients, and, with a cold & februaried brain, somehow managed to fumble through the soup-making process.

Prepping the Ingredients

Let me tell you, this soup will knock the icicles off your socks! It is everything at once: rustic, creamy, delicate, manly, spicy, acidic, pillowy, and woodsy. Just when you thought you couldn't handle another flat & icy minute of winter, this soup comes along and complicates the hell out of winter's one dimensional lameness.

Thank you, Matthew, for forcing my taste buds into soupy submission. Your message, albeit two measly sentences, resurrected the tired animal inside of me.

And now, for all of you, I have only one message: MAKE THIS.

A Very Persuasive Bowl of Soup: photo via Matthew

Curried Coconut and Lemongrass Soup
(From Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, with adaptations below. Thanks, Matthew, for the recipe images!)

Since my lemongrass was a little old (and, hence, tough), I decided not to mince & blend. Instead, I opted to infuse the soup with the halved stalks and removed them before serving.

Also, I added Thai rice noodles and 1 lb. of extra firm tofu to this recipe. The tofu was added at the same time as the stock, and the noodles were added with the coconut milk. I'm sure chicken, shrimp, or rice would be just as tasty!


Breedale said...

Nums is right! That looks amazing. I will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing~!

Hadley Gets Crafty said...

"Since my lemongrass was a little old." Ha! You're a funny lady.

Looks so good. I have bad luck with shitakes. They always get slimy on me. Ideas? Suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I just love Thai flavors but my fiance does not like to eat shrooms. Any suggestions for a substitute? Chicken?

Your Eurotrash Baby

Jada Ach said...

Bridget: Thanks! I had such a good time making food with you last week. We'll have to do it again soon.

Hadley: These shitakes didn't get too slimy, probably because I sauteed the hell out of them first. You could probably do without them, though--just add some tofu to make up for the lost texture!

Eurotrash Baby: Chicken, I imagine, would be lovely. As would shrimp. Or beef. Or duck. Or meat-anything.

Paul Allor said...

Oh, how I love Mark Bittman.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian = Greatest. Cookbook. Ever.

Jada Ach said...

Yes, Paul--I need to get my hands on this book!

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