It's amazing what a half-empty refrigerator (and two-thirds-empty pantry) can do for the old creativity.
No meat (except bacon). Just a few fresh veggies. Half a package of tofu. Oh... wait... um... score! Peanut butter! And some frozen shrimp! And a couple of bell peppers!
The result: a globe-trotting meal, indeed. In an effort to provide Vernie with something more than just another bowl of soup, I made Senegalese Peanut Soup as a first course. (In retrospect, it would have been just fine as a main course. It was pretty darn hearty.)
Then, inspired by this delicious-sounding recipe, I attempted some Chinese red-cooked tofu. Of course, we only had half a package of tofu, so the dish morphed into red-cooked-ish tofu, peppers and zucchini. And we didn't have hoisin sauce (how did that happen? I love hoisin sauce! This omission must be remedied ASAP), nor did we have celery or carrots. So it wasn't exactly the same sort of thing, but everyone seemed fairly appreciative anyway.
Leftover soup: currently simmering on the stove, morphing into lunch. Smells delicious. GTG.
Senegalese Peanut Soup with Shrimp
Adapted from Splendid Soups:
Serves six-ish to eight-ish
2 Tbsp peanut or other vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (or more or less, to taste) cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp garam masala or other sweet-style curry powder (seriously, go for the garam masala)
3 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
10 fresh tomatoes, peeled/seeded/chopped, or 5 cups (basically, two large cans) peeled tomatoes, drained/seeded/chopped
1 cup coconut milk
12 ounces or so (a small bag) frozen small shrimp (optional, but yummy; you'll probably want to salt the soup lightly if you don't use the shrimp)
2/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
Lime slices for serving
Heat peanut oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about ten minutes. Add garam masala and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.
Add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
Whisk in coconut milk; gently stir in shrimp; return to a simmer and cook until shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in peanut butter. Taste for salt (you probably won't need any) and serve, poured over steamed brown rice if you like, adorned with lime slices.