Sunday, July 31, 2022

Tofu Tom Kha Soup for Cook the Books June/July Selection: A Cook's Tour & Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Hello Friends! It's been a while again I am afraid. Still not doing much in the kitchen but, every now and then, I pop in and make something I am craving like this Tofu Tom Kha Soup inspired by Thailand and my book-inspired dish for Cook the Books and our June/July pick of A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines (or my e-book's subtitle: In Search of the Perfect Meal) by Anthony Bourdain, hosted by Claudia of Honey From Rock. (See her post here)

According to Goodreads (as I wasn't sure) I first read A Cook's Tour back in 2002. I was a bit shocked that it was 20 years ago, which made my reread of it almost like reading it for the first time. This time, having lost the great Anthony Bourdain in 2018, it was a very bittersweet journey through the pages. Also, although lapsed at times, my mostly vegetarian lifestyle probably led me to squirm a little more while reading it (poor little piggy, especially...) than when I was a full-blown carnivore. I was happy to revisit Bourdain's stellar food writing. Although he is rough around the edges, his love and respect for food and food traditions and his ability to make even the dubious to downright nasty sound anywhere from possibly edible to downright delicious are unmatched. I especially enjoyed his times in Asia--Vietnam and Cambodia where I have not journeyed yet to Tokyo where I spent a lot of time but not as adventurously as Bourdain. I really think you can't go wrong with any of Bourdain's books or shows, as sad as they are to read and watch with him gone. The world truly lost a talent and I appreciated getting him back for a bit with this book. 

For my dish inspiration, I was going to make a Vegetarian Pho Soup based on Bourdain's Vietnam travels. but at the last minute I was really craving Thai flavors and creamy coconut milk so I tossed together a Tofu Tom Kha Soup. It's not traditional and I took some shortcuts but it totally hit the spot. 

Quick and Easy Tofu Tom Kha Soup
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes About 4 Servings)

2 Tbsp peanut oil or other cooking oil
2 lemongrass stalks, peeled and bruised (or 1 Tbsp Gourmet Garden Lemon Grass Paste)
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated (or 2 cubes Dorot frozen crushed ginger)
1- 2 Tbsp Thai Yellow or Red Curry Paste
4 cup non-chicken/vegetable stock

4-5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 can baby corn
1 can straw mushrooms 
8-oz tofu pressed and cubed (or 1 package Nasoya Baked Sesame Ginger Tofu, 7 oz
1 pinch brown sugar

2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 can (400 ml) of coconut milk
400 ml canned coconut milk
fresh lime juice to taste
Thai basil to garnish

Add the peanut oil to a large pot over medium heat and add lemongrass stalks and ginger. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add curry paste and cook another minute or two. 
Pour the stock into the pot and add the kaffir lime leaves, carrots, baby corn, and mushrooms and bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the tofu, sugar, and soy sauce and cook another 5 minutes. 

Reduce heat add the coconut milk and stir for 2 minutes, not letting it boil. Add lime lime juice to taste. Serve with chopped Thai basil and enjoy!

Notes/Results: I love Thai soups--the blend of creamy and tangy with the lime leaves and juice so this was a great way to avoid takeout. The shortcuts came from the pantry--the curry paste, canned baby corn and straw mushrooms, and the freezer and fridge--lemon grass paste, cubes of frozen ginger and pre-marinated and baked tofu. All added lots of flavor. I am a mild spice person, especially lately since COVID and a newish asthma inhaler did a number on my taste buds, but you could certainly add more curry paste or a Thai chili or two if you want to up the spice level. I will make this again. 

Today (7/31/22) is the deadline for this round of Cook the Books and Claudia will be compiling all the entries on the Cook the Book site. If you missed this round and like food and books and foodie books, join us for August/September when we will be reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats

We have a few friends who have been waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen for quite a while now! Let's take a look!

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shared Coleslaw Macaroni Salad and said, "This salad combines two old fashioned picnic favorites: coleslaw and macaroni salad! Does it get better than that? ... Think of this salad for guests with special eating needs. It meets gluten-free, vegan, dairy -free and kosher-parve standards. It can be made quickly and stored in the refrigerator for at least 2 days."

Melynda of Scratch Made Food brought French Lentil Salad and says, "French Lentil Salad is a taste of springtime! Yes you read that right, this lentil salad with fresh vegetables and a light vinaigrette is light, delicious and the perfect salad to make right now!"

Debra of Eliot's Eats made Nicoise Style Chopped Salad, saying, "The farm bag delivery is the highlight of my Tuesdays. Most of the recipes that they feature are great. This one is pretty darn tasty (even though all the ingredients were not included in the bag). In hindsight, I should have thrown in the sliced mushrooms that came that week. (Please note the original recipe calls for Kalamata olives. Not having any, I left them out. I did add a few more capers to adjust.)"

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared Potato Salad Two Ways, saying, "This is a decent potato salad which is easy to prepare. Doug liked it (and he doesn't like potato salad) so I am going to call this a win. Here is a snap of the dish before the sour cream was added.  It could be served warm like this.Here it is chilled with the sour cream added.  Winner either way, just depends if you like a warm or chilled salad."

Thank you, Judee, Melynda, Debra and Tina for joining me and being patient while I got around to posting. 

If you'd like to join in Souper Sundays, I am opening up the below link for two weeks.

Anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the two weeks and I will post a recap of the entries on Sunday in two weeks.) 

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.  

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
8/14/22 Update! Extending one more week! Use this link and I'll combine both in a recap post. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of A Hundred Silent Ways by Mari Jojie, Served with 3 Dishes To Compliment the Reading

Happy Friday Eve! I am happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for a beautifully written debut novel, A Hundred Silent Ways by Mari Jojie. Accompanying my review are three recipes that pair well with the reading. 
Publisher's Blurb:
How do you trust and let yourself be comforted by the idea that the sun and the moon give out equal brilliance?
On the brink of a crumbling marriage, Kate Pineda-McDowell runs away from the only life she has ever known—straight into the heart of the Philippines where her estranged father lives. As she waits for her connecting flight from Tokyo to Manila, she meets Liam Walker, whose disquieting stares express deeper things than his reluctant words. Unbeknownst to both, their chance meeting circles back to a closely linked past that holds little hope for new beginnings.
Shortly after arriving in Manila, Kate finds herself drawn to seek out Liam. In a span of a few magical days, what began as a spark ignites into an electric affair that compels Liam to let someone into his silent world while Kate confronts her heartbreaking sorrows. But falling for each other means opening old wounds and revealing their most intimate yearnings.
Emotionally gripping and endearingly hopeful, A Hundred Silent Ways examines the many different paths people take to obtain a second chance at happiness while asking the most heartrending question of all: How much are we willing to endure to keep love alive?
Publisher: River Grove Books 
Paperback: 246 pages


My Review:

So happenstance, in a time when I have tried to stay away from "sad" books, I found myself reading two books centered around loss and grief, A Hundred Silent Ways by Mari Jojie and Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner at same time. I was trying to finish this book for my review and was on a "skip-the-line" week-long library loan for H-Mart and both were too engrossing and well-written to give up on. That means I am going to need to read a couple of murder-mysteries or cozies this weekend to recover for my emotional state. But I digress... I am here to talk about A Hundred Silent Ways which is surprisingly, for the author's skilled story telling and beautiful prose, a debut novel. 

Kate is recovering from the loss of her son and a request from her husband for a divorce by running away to visit her estranged father in the Philippines. Having kept herself distant from him when her parents marriage dissolved, she hopes to escape her broken heart by rebuliding their relationship. On the way via a delay at the Tokyo airport, she meets Liam, a deaf man and spends time with him as they both wait for flights to Manila. When things don't go as planned with her father, Kate seeks out Liam again and they begin an affair. There are secrets, twists and coincidences woven into the story that I won't spoil for future readers but this quiet little book touched my heart. It's made me sad at points but there is hope and love  in the pages and a chance for both Kate and Liam to move beyond grief and find a new path. I loved the visit to the Tokyo airport--having been stuck there a time or two myself (no Liams, sadly) and the time in Manila, Makati, and the Philippines, again places I visited myself for work many years ago. The author seems to be a foodie which I enjoyed and wove in clever chapter titles and book references throughout. It's a short 246 pages that flowed well and kept me turning the pages. Overall, a poignant read but a hopeful and good one.


Author Notes: Mari Jojie was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. It was home for half of her life. Married to a retired US Navy senior chief, she is grateful to have experienced living in other parts of the world, including these two very contrasting cities—the historic and authentic Napoli, and the forward-thinking and innovative Dubai. Currently, she resides in Oxnard, California, with her husband, daughter, and son.

A Hundred Silent Ways is her debut novel. And was for several years, just an imagined courage beyond her wishful thinking. 


What should you eat after reading it? Maybe one of these recipes?

Kate enjoys Shoe Ramen in the Tokyo airpot, try this Slightly Spicy (Vegan) Peanut Ramen Soup with Mushrooms and Veggies:

Kate's mother makes a vinegary adobo as comfort food. Back when I ate meat regularly, I made this Beef Adobo Salpicao and Garlic Fried Jasmine Rice: (Excuse the photo--it was from my first year in blogging in 2008)

Kate learns to bake/works at a bakery with cupcakes and muffins. Try these Banana Bread Muffins with Chocolate and Cinnamon Sugar:  


Note: A review copy of "A Hundred Silent Ways" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and learn what other reviewers thought about the book below.

Review Tour Stops:

Monday, June 13th: @jenniaahava

Wednesday, June 15th: @abbys_library3 on TikTok

Saturday, June 18th: IG: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie and TT: @welovebigbooks

Wednesday, June 22nd: @the.caffeinated.reader

Friday, June 24th: Girl Who Reads

Monday, June 27th: @chez_colline

Wednesday, June 29th: Books Cooks Looks

Friday, July 1st: Helen’s Book Blog

Wednesday, June 6th: @hoardingbooks.herdingcats

Thursday, July 7th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, July 11th: Subakka.bookstuff and @subakka.bookstuff