In my Becoming a Foodie origin story, I mentioned that my second ever cookbook was Eat, Shrink & Be Merry by Greta and Janet Podleski. I played varsity field hockey throughout university, during my undergrad in journalism at Carleton University and one year while doing my master’s at the University of Toronto.
In Ontario, the university field hockey season spans from September to early November with three or four games being played each weekend. In my first year at Carleton, our coach would award a “grinder of the week” – usually the person who showed the most grit on the turf in a given weekend. One fateful weekend, I was named grinder of the week and had the distinct privilege of wearing a giant furry, zebra-print hat for the duration of the bus ride from London to Ottawa and, more importantly, received a copy of Eat, Shrink & Be Merry.
You see, Janet Podleski was also a varsity athlete at Carleton during her time there and was a guest speaker at the university in my first year. She brought several copies of her cookbook when she came to speak and my coach got her hands on one.
I credit the Podleski sisters’ kitschy cookbook for helping me fall in love with cooking. Puns aside, Eat, Shrink & Be Merry really is a fantastic cookbook. The recipes are delicious and wholesome. I spent the better part of my undergraduate degree cooking my way through their book and have some favourites I still revisit regularly.
This sweet potato shrimp soup is one of my standbys. This Thai dish features an assortments of spices, fresh herbs, vegetables and classic Southeast Asian flavours like coconut, peanut and lime.
I love this soup because it takes no time to whip up, tastes great and leaves you enough for lunches.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup onions chopped
- 1 cup red pepper chopped
- 3/4 cup celery chopped
- 2 tsp garlic minced
- 4 cups sweet potato peeled and cubed
- 1 tbsp gingerroot grated
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- 2 tbsp light peanut butter
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 lb cooked medium shrimp, tails removed thaw if frozen
Heat butter in a large, non-stick soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, red pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Stir in sweet potatoes, ginger root, cumin, coriander, curry powder, and cinnamon. Cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add broth, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, just until sweet potatoes are tender.
Transfer half the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Return puréed soup to pot with remaining soup. Stir in cilantro, basil, peanut butter, brown sugar, and lime juice. Mix well. Add shrimp and heat for about 2 more minutes, just until shrimp is hot.
Recipe from: Podleski, Janet and Greta. Eat, Shrink & Be Merry. "Thai One On." Granet Publishing, 2005, pp. 52.