March 20, 2011
Thistles and Shamrocks, Sesame and Kale
1. The Thistle and Shamrock on NPR
2. Cheap, but decent, wine
3. Time alone in the kitchen
4. Thai food
5. The sounds of my husband and daughter playing in the other room while I partake in all of the above.
The kitchen has become somewhat of a haven for me, something I never thought would happen.
And, while I often complain that the kitchen in our little house is too small (it really is a one-butt kitchen and when we have company, I get isolated back there), the truth is I like the solitude it creates.
It's just me, NPR, a glass of wine, a sharp knife and a pile of good ingredients at my finger tips. It's my one bit of space during the day for creativity, quiet thought, my own music and a tangible sense of accomplishment and purpose.
Last night was just a regular Saturday night in our house, but for me, it was perfect.
And the food didn't turn out half bad either. Here are the recipes. (But keep in mind, they are only guaranteed if cooked with cheap wine and Irish music.)
Tom Yum Guy Soup
I miss quite a few things about city living, but the big one is food, Thai food to be specific.
When I lived in Missoula, the awesome Thai shop Sa Wa Dee used to get roughly 20 percent of every paycheck. I can't get enough of the stuff.
Out here, on the prairie, where your choices are beef and fries or fries and beef, I go through serious sour, sweet, spicy withdrawals.
So, whenever Jacob or I make a run to Missoula, we stop at the Good Food Store for three ingredients (for lots of other things too, but these are always on the list): Galangal, lemongrass and lime leaves.
From there, I can almost pretend on Saturday nights that we're sitting in a dark back booth at the Dizzle. The only thing missing is the company of our good friends and fellow Thai fanatics and Tao, the owner's daughter, who still knows just how spicy to order my basil chicken and how old our baby is.
I've played and played with this recipe to get it close to Sa Wa Dee's, but I'm still a ways out. Nevertheless, it's salty and spicy and sour and yummy.
Recipe adapted from this site.
2 chicken breasts
3 dried Chillies
4 Garlic Cloves
Two stalks Lemon Grass, cut two-inch pieces
1 good-sized Galagal root, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 Lime Leaves
2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
6 cups water or chicken broth
1. Put water or broth in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
2. Add lemongrass, galagal and lime leaves
3. Pound the garlic and bird chillies and add.
4. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces, then add to the soup and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Cut the straw mushrooms into half and add to the soup.
6. Add the fish sauce, salt and lime juice into the soup and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Serve over Jasmine rice and top generously with cilantro and chopped green onions.
Sesame Kale Salad
(From our friend, farmer and amazing cook Mandy)
Kale is a super food.
No, it's a super-dee-duper food.
But, it can be daunting to a novice. So, if you're looking for an easy, yummy and versatile recipe to try the stuff, here's a good one.
Our friend Mandy, who farms with us, brought this gem to our CSA member appreciation dinner last year. It was a huge hit, maybe even the star of the show (especially for all our members who were at that point, a little sick of Kale and looking for something new to try with the 10 pounds piling up in their fridges.)
1 bunch of greens of your choice, chopped - boiled until crisp tender
1/2 onion, chopped
1/8 c rice vinegar
1/8 c soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
1 t garlic chili paste
1 T sesame seeds toasted
Pull your greens out of the water and drain thoroughly. In a bowl big enough for the greens, mix your sauces together, and add the warm greens and onion. Toss. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and refrigerate.
Note from Mandy: I have been known to add roasted garlic to the sauce mixture and also sweet chili sauce.