Sinuses on Fire

Our collection of holiday gifts is growing by the minute. We’ve run out of wrapping paper and tape, and many more boxes are on the way [the beauty of online shopping].

holiday tree!

yes, there's stuff hiding behind the chair, too.

Our biggest concern at this point is fitting it all in the car. Do you remember David Letterman’s “Will it Float?” bits? We’ll be performing our spin-off, “Will it Fit?” on December 21 as we attempt to put ourselves, a giant dog, two weeks worth of essentials and 5,000,000 holiday presents into my teeny car.

Last night’s “last dinner”* at Bang! sparked a spicy food craving in me like no other. Their tapas, although delicious, were not as “spicy” as the descriptions made them sound, so there was a spicy hole in my life. Because Shaun also missed tonight’s Handsome Boy Noodles pop-up restaurant at Ten [because he wouldn’t go without me and there was about a 0% chance that Pho would be vegetarian],** I thought a spicy noodle soup would be the perfect way to satisfy our two cravings.

I tackled Girl Cooks World‘s Vegan Thai Vegetable Soup [with some modifications, see below]. The soup is packed full of vegetables and has an awesome broth made with soaked shitake mushrooms. This dish was full of firsts for me: I’ve never used coconut milk, cooked bok choy, or cooked tofu shiratake noodles. It’s not a lie, they do kind of smell funny. But they’re delicious.

steaming hot and spicy hot.


When Shaun returned from the store with the bok choy we had forgotten earlier, he found me clawing at my sinuses in a kitchen that reeked of chili pepper flakes. You could smell the spiciness in the air. Probably because I upped the flakes from the recipe’s suggestion, but literally only by a pinch. That pinch was enough to set this soup on fire.

When all was said and done, I had used four napkins to blow my nose again and again and was so full because I chugged glass after glass of water [could be worse, I guess]. We’re now both sitting here uncomfortably full, but savoring the last of the burning sensation. I love heat. Same for Shaun. I bet he would have poured sriracha into this soup if he had thought of it. I definitely recommend this one.

Also, this might be of interest – a new restaurant rating system based on employee treatment. I’m sure I’ll get around to writing about my experiences in the restaurant industry one day, but suffice it to say these scores are sad, yet unsurprising. It’s a good guide for people looking to patronize restaurants that extend their ethics from their food to their employees.

Vegan Thai Vegetable Soup (Vegan, Vegetarian)

  • My Modifications: I used “light” coconut milk rather than regular [and was still shocked at the calories, dang], I upped the chili pepper flakes, and I added tofu shiratake noodles at the end. You have to drain them, rinse them, microwave them for one minute, pat them dry, and then throw them into the pot for the final 3-4 minutes. They add a tad bit of protein and a ton of texture.

* Your final dinner that lasts longer than 15 minutes and doesn’t involve inhaling Panera until the end of exam period. Believe me, we milked it.

** Shaun just grunted from his computer while looking [longingly] at the menu, “Yeah, everything’s got meat in it.”



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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  1. Exam Fuel: What We Ate [Week 1] | Ryes and 'Shine - December 10, 2011

    […] mom’s canned tomatoes. What’s with us and spicy foods this week [see also: here]? I can’t get enough. even more spice. it helps us feel […]

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