May 18, 2012

Colors from the week

Ephemera at the paper auction

I tried making Tom Ka Gai soup but it wasn't like the ones I've had at restaurants :(

Al + Tomoko sent us some okashi...

Our new neighbor

Billee and I made strawberry cobbler this Tuesday 

Rexy, Ted + Lisa's dog 

All the mini sketches I did for Free Comic Book Day at Friendly Neighborhood Comics May 2nd!


  1. On Tom Kha Gai, I've found that you can simplify the recipe a lot and use several substitutes, but the combo of palm sugar/galangal/kaffir lime leaves/lots of lime juice is super important! Here's a recipe for the best Tom Kha I've ever had:

    1 can coconut milk
    2-3 cups chicken stock (homemade is best, then the stuff in cartons; boullion cubes are a last resort.)
    pinch of salt
    1 teaspoon palm sugar (I usually substitute brown sugar)
    2 stalks fresh lemongrass, washed and choppped in chunks (dried lemongrass is far inferior - punch it up with extra lime juice and zest at the end if you're forced to go this route)
    3 red shallots, peeled and chunked (I often substitute 3 smashed cloves of garlic plus a bit of onion)
    2 coriander roots, scraped (I usually substitute a pinch of whole coriander seed plus a handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves)
    2 chili peppers, halved (pick your favorite type, and modify number to suit your spice taste)
    1.5 inch chunk of galanga root, chunked (ginger is in the same family, but tastes totally different - galanga TOTALLY makes the flavor of this dish. If you can't get this locally, travel to a nearby city and visit the asian markets or scour the internets, buy a pound, then freeze what you can't use now. It's a floral flavor that you'll definitely recognize if you've had tom kha gai before.)
    3 kaffir lime leaves, coarsely chopped (I have a kaffir lime tree in my yard, but you can substitute lime zest if necessary. It just won't be as fragrant and complex.)
    1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (optional, and kind of a cheat, but often good.) Nam prik phao? (roasted chili paste)

    1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut to 1" pieces (you can use breasts, but the thighs are moister and tastier)
    1 cup chopped mushrooms (your choice - mix it up)
    1-3 Tablespoons fish sauce (This stuff is pungent - if you're not familiar, add incrementally and taste before increasing. But don't be turned off by the smell. Definitely use some, as it's a key flavor that softens when you add it to the soup.)
    1 can baby corn, drained and chopped to 1/2" chunks (optional)

    1 Tablespoon lime juice (more if compensating - see notes above)
    1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
    1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved, or 2 plum tomatoes coarsely chopped (optional)

    Combine all broth ingredients (coconut milk, stock, salt, sugar, shallots/garlic, coriander, galanga, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chili sauce), bring to a low boil, and simmer for at least 15 minutes.

    Pour through a sieve/strainer to remove chunks, and return the broth to your big pot. You can rescue a few items from the strainer, mince them, and return them to the pot if you like - I usually don't bother.

    You can usually smoosh more tasty liquid out of the chunks if you try, so give them a stiff squeeze.

    Chop chicken, mushrooms, and baby corn and add to pot with broth. Add fish sauce, and lime zest if using. Simmer lightly until chicken is cooked.

    Add the cilantro, tomatoes, and lime juice. Taste - the soup should be fragrant, with a rich (read: nicely fatty) taste, and a mix of sweet/sour/salty flavors in the broth. You can tweak the latter with more sugar (sweet), lime juice (sour), or fish sauce (salty and tangy).

    Serve hot.

    This soup keeps beautifully, and will taste even better the next day after the flavors mingle overnight. You may want to hit it with a bit more fresh lime after reheating, though, just to keep it zippy.

    1. Thank you!! Printing this right now!

  2. those are beautiful sketches, i need to renew my love of josie and the pussycats D:

  3. I absolutely love this post! The pictures are so colorful! I quite enjoyed scrolling through this.