For Christmas this year, our son and his family gave us two tickets to Cirque du Soleil. The catch was that we had to travel to Dallas to collect our present, which we did early in February, when the ‘Corteo’ show happened to be there the same weekend as our younger grandson’s 5th birthday party.
The performance was awesome in the true sense the word had before it got co-opted and devalued by teenspeak. If you’ve never seen a Cirque performance, and, like me, love to be amazed by the apparent effortlessness of acrobatic superhuman abilities, you owe it to yourself to see one.
The other half of our present was dinner before the show at The Grape, a venerable Dallas bistro. [Now closed]
From start to finish the food was quite good, but the service was so slow and monochronic that we were forced to make a mad dash across Dallas to make it to our seats at Corteo before they shut the doors, or rather the tent flaps, in our faces! The highlight of the meal, for me at any rate, wasn’t the succulent meat or even the wine, both of which were delicious. It was the tomato soup. I would have gladly traded in my entree for another bowl of soup.
I’ve never met a tomato soup I didn’t like; I’m a total sucker for it on a restaurant menu. But this one had an unusual flair, a little something in there to make your tastebuds sit up and wonder “Hmmm. What is that flavor? ” I didn’t ask, but my palate speculated that it was made with some coconut milk and a touch of fresh ginger and maybe a bit of something even a little hotter. Although fresh ginger’s got a little heat of its own, the hotness said ‘chile’ to me, so maybe a little fresh serrano or a dash of Tabasco. Whatever was in it, it was divine. If I could have done so without making a spectacle of myself, I’d have licked the bowl.
So I came home to experiment and here’s the (very tasty, if I do say so myself) result:
Thai Tomato-Ginger Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
½ Serrano pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated (peeled) fresh ginger
½ teaspoon coarse salt (preferable unrefined sea salt)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can (14-ounce) premium coconut milk
1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable stock
1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil gently over medium heat; sauté garlic, ginger, basil, Serrano pepper, salt and black pepper to wilt herbs and infuse oil with all flavors. Do not brown.
2. Add tomato sauce, coconut milk and whisk to combine thoroughly.
3. Stir in the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Serve hot, garnished with a couple of fresh basil leaves.
Protein per serving: 4.3 grams
Effective carb per serving: 11.3 grams