October 3rd, 2019


The Hunt for Galangal

Interesting day. Stayed in bed till 10, Spook started the night next to me but moved into the closet sometime early morning. She spent a lot of the day there, the jack hammering and big trucks across the street stressed her out. Fireworks she has no problem with - they are shiny and the noise is muffled and far away.

I did not get around to any of the garden related to-dos. #1 priority was to make Tom Kha Gai - Thai chicken coconut soup. There are a lot of ingredients I have not kept on hand for a while. Yesterday I got most of them, and I thought I found some galangal** in the fridge freezer but it might have been ginger and at any rate was not nearly enough. Also wanted oyster mushrooms (I have straw and shitake but they are not the right texture). And I'm out of bedtime chocolate.

I drove up 237 and beyond to the 99 Ranch Chinese supermarket which is next to a Nob Hill supermarket. 99 for the Asian stuff and Nob Hill for Scharffen-Berger 82% chocolate bars and frozen matzo balls.

99 did not have galangal, but it did have the mushrooms and sesame balls (a treat for me) and lamyay (aka longans). Nob Hill had only 7 of those chocolate bars left, but they were about $2 off each so I bought them all. They no longer stock the matzo balls, but they did have some lunchable frozen meals on sale so I got 4 of those. Plus a dozen HB eggs. 

Home, had lunch, somehow my Hgl dropped and by the time I was done watching the daily drive home on Twitch, I was falling out of my chair, so I took a nap. Spook did not join me until I got up. She was in the closet.

5:30, Got organized to make the soup. It calls for 1 lb of chicken and I had almost 4 lbs so I quadrupled the recipe. Used my huge almost-a-wok bowl. The last step was to add the chicken, but much to my surprise it had not been cut up yet. Not enough time to do that, so I put the meat back in the fridge and did my usual stream. Not a lot of viewers. Finished at 7.

Still obsessed with galagal, at 7:30 I drove to the 99 Ranch on the other side of the bay, took half an hour to get there with 10 mph traffic. I didn't find galangal right away, it wasn't in its usual place. I did get more lemongrass. After looking around the store for other things (was saved from over-spending by the dim sum and duck/BBQ pork stands being closed). back to the veggie section and someone had put two packages with 2 pieces each of galangal on top of the Mexican chillies. I bought them both (only needed one) but it also confirmed that what I had found in the fridge was galangal. Also bought two cans of a new brand of Thai tea.

Home took 10 minutes.

Cut the galangal into slices, same with the lemongrass. Also cut up the cilantro and some red chili peppers. Ground up a palm sugar lump and added some to the soup. Fish sauce, juice from a whole lime and sliced up a carrot. I forgot about green peas, no room for them anyway.

It took half an hour to debone and cut up the chicken thighs. Lit the burner, set it on low and added the meat.

The original 1/4 size calls for 45 minutes to cook, so I gave it 2 hours on minimal heat. It bubbled in the middle and needed to be stirred regularly.

Watched Dating No Filter and PTI. Once again the dating show chose thoroughly disgusting gay men but this time they also had a bad mis-match for the hetero couple.

Salad and then a baloney and cheese on wheat sandwich for dinner. Ngaw and a sesame ball for dessert.

Soup is done, but it needs to cool before I ladle it into containers for the freezer.

Emailed my realtor letting her know I had fixed the oven hood filter, and that the house across the street was towed, and hey, are we having an open house?

Delivered was the stuffed dolphin in a too small Amazon box. I'll open it when I'm done here. Karaoke meetup is scheduled for 10/19. Looks like I'll still be here.

Plans for tomorrow:
Flu shot & drop off my full sharps container & buy a replacement.
Tom kha gai for lunch
Throw out the kitchen hanging plants
Trim the last two sage branches

**galangal aka galanga is a rhizome, a type of underground creeping stem of a plant that sends out shoots to create new plants. It is closely related to ginger but instead of the spicy bite, it tastes like wood - pine - and a hint of lemon. Unlike ginger, it is not edible. Neither are lemongrass or Thai lime leaves, also ingredients in the soup. Thais are used to plucking those out as they eat.

Soup's on, so is the open house

Another late day, 11 am this time, AG phoned at 10. Realtor emailed that she wanted a photographer to take pictures in the house for her to set the stage for the open house, and I initially agreed, but it meant another week's delay, so I nixed it and we set Saturday at 2-4 pm. And possibly the following weekend 1-4.

Stuff I got done:
Mountain View clinic, got my flu shot but forgot to bring the sharps. And they didn't have any in the pharmacy
Neither did CVS
Ordered a sharps box from Amazon
Watched the daily drive home
Clipped a lot more of the gone to seed and deadwood from the giant sage.
Tossed all the kitchen hanging plants into recycle and stacked the pots outside
Swept the leaves from the kitchen floor
Pulled out the kitchen table and swiffered behind it
Talked to LV manager, we agreed on what to ask the owner to look into re: the inspection report
Cleared all the books from the front of the piano so people can see the ornate-ness

Old photo - the bench isn't taped anymore, and there are different items on the top. And no shoes.

No breakfast or lunch. Kind bars and chocolate chip cookies.

By mistake stopped the football game from recording. Watched the 4th quarter, aka the Seahawks trying their best to lose. A missed field goal at the end is how they won by 1 point. It was like watching SF Giants baseball.

Tom Ka Gai for dinner. Started (as usual) by picking the inedible bits out. Lemongrass, Thai lime leaves & galangal.

It tasted perfect. Just the right amount of everything.

Most of the dishes and cans are in the dishwasher. Much to recycle.

Last night I unpacked the plush dolphin bolster. Put it on the bed, Spook stared at it for a minute then curled up next to it on the other side  from me. She stayed most of the night. I may have pushed her off when I rolled over. Oops.

Plans for tomorrow:
Laundry - shirts and then kitchen curtains & towel (which need bleach)
Move the cart with the sewing machine to the shed. Or a closet.
Target - more baskets & drawers to hide stuff in
Clean the kitchen window sills
Put as much more stuff out of sight as possible