A series of events led me to make this dish.
1) My parents met at Milligan College round about 1956. Round about 1967, they returned to Milligan where my dad became a history professor.
2) One of the other teachers at Milligan met 4 year old me. His name was Guy Mauldin, and he stooped down to say, "I have a little girl the same age as you."
3) Skip forward many more years to 2012, when my mother died and Guy and Deanna Mauldin took my brother and me to lunch. We talked food, and I mentioned that I like to make Thai food but don't know where to get lemongrass. Several days later, Guy gave me bunches and bunches of lemongrass.
5) One of those friends was my husband, who became friends with another one of those friends, who happens to be an excellent gardener from whom I have received free basil, both thai and genovese.
The conditions under which this dish came to be would be hard to replicate, but the ingredients aren't THAT rare.
Thai Green Curry Paste
1 stalk of lemon grass, chopped into smallish pieces
a big handful of Thai basil
1 T. olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 hunk of ginger, thumb-sized or to your liking
a big handful of cilantro, leaves and stems
1/2 t. cumin or 1 t. cumin seeds
1/2 t. coriander seeds or 1 t. coriander
a pinch of cayenne (or fresh chile if you have it)
3 T. fish sauce (or soy sauce)
a third of a can of coconut milk
Whir all that up in a food processor or blender until its very smooth. Add a little more coconut milk if it gets to too thick and sticks to the sides of the bowl.
To make the curry, simmer the curry paste for a few minutes, then add chicken, shrimp, or tofu and the rest of the can of coconut milk. Simmer until your protein of choice is cooked, then add vegies of your choice. I used red bell pepper for contrast, along with sugar snap peas and asparagus. I served it on black rice, which is known for having more protein than other rices. The individual grains have the unfortunate appearance of rat poop, especially when uncooked. This is disconcerting when you find them on the counter, until you remember what they really are.