Coconut Curry Vegetable Soup

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It’s been cold here in Chicago. Like really cold. We have had snow on the ground at varying amounts since early December. At most we have had two feet and on average about four to six inches. While I know the Polar Vortex has been affecting large parts of the United States, it does seem as though it has not let up on Chicago and Illinois’s neighboring states, for even a day.

This is my second winter here but it was this year that I witnessed some really interesting phenomena like “dibs”. Dibs is when you take the time to shovel “your” parking spot on the street and then use a plastic m

ilk crate, folding chair, trash can, bucket, broom, or even empty Fruit-Loops boxes to save that spot so that no one can park in it while you are away. You shoveled, so therefore it is yours and no one else should have the chance to park in that spot, on the public street, but you.

Also fantastic is the natural wonders that Lake Michigan creates–steam rising from the lake while large chunks of ice float on the gelatinous slithering body of water. The sunrises seen during my morning commute along Lake Shore Drive have been beautiful and somewhat surreal.

This weather, of course, really puts a damper on motivation to train–or even the ability to train. Enter the Computrainer studio. Chicago is filled with them. Gyms with a eight to twenty units that enable you to feel like you are riding outside without actually going anywhere. It was novel and fun for the first winter and now it’s just what you have to do to keep from going insane. Poor JB has been riding the trainer 20 hours a week for the last two months. He is mentally stronger than me! I can’t stand to be on the trainer for longer than two hours at a time so I’m stuck with two-a-days and lots of cross training.

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Yep. It can be depressing if you let it get to you. I try not to think about it too much. It certainly has made recovering after a hard workout easier. All I want to do is lay on the couch under a heap of fleece throws with a bottomless mug of hot tea!

We’ve been eating a lot of soup lately because it’s easy to make and the warmth feels so good when the wind chill is -30*. This recipe was introduced to me via the uber popular and award winning, Super Natural Every Day cookbook, Weeknight Curry. I made it a couple of times but the original is a true curry and I realized what I was really craving was a curry-flavored soup. I also added some protein (author Heidi Swanson is a vegetarian), the first time with some leftover chicken, the second time with some shrimp. Between you and me, it’s better with shrimp.

Only two to three more months of winter! Stay warm, people.

Coconut Curry Vegetable Soup

Serves Four

Gather:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
One stalk lemongrass, dry outer sheath removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
One yellow onion, diced
One head of cauliflower, cut into florets
One large zucchini, cut into half-moons
One bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 Tbsp. red curry paste
One 14 oz can lite coconut milk
4 c. vegetable stock
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (or cooked chicken, tofu)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Method:

In medium bowl, whisk together curry paste, red pepper flakes and coconut milk until combined. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion and lemongrass and cook until onion is translucent, about two to three minutes. Toss cauliflower into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the florets brown and caramelized. Add zucchini and asparagus and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

Pour the curry mixture and vegetable stock into the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and add shrimp. Continue to cook until shrimp is done. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Tip:  the curry flavors will become more complex the longer it sits so season lightly.