Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What's cooking: Really easy Thai something or other

I've long read and admired several food blogs, and my friend Gwendomama (queen of the bento box kid's lunch) recently sent me links to a few others of particular note. She even noted that one, use real butter, reminded her of me—a skiing Martha. Except NOT. This woman
1. can obviously shred on telemark skis, which hurt my knees just to watch people ski on them

2. can cook and bake really fancy stuff

3. can take amazing close-up pictures of said fancy stuff
Whereas I admire food blogs like this, they make me feel really inadequate. Like I have no business at all writing about food. Or even cooking dinner. But then I wonder, how many people look at these really slick food blogs and say "I can do that!" and then run off to whip up the recipe? I mean, seriously. The donut recipe on use real butter is pretty close to brain surgery. On the other hand, I can easily imagine people looking at my blog and saying "Well, damn! If that nitwit at Figs, Lavender, and Cheese can make this SO CAN I!" You think? Well, just try this. It's really easy. And I made up the recipe myself!


some kind of meat
whatever vegetables you've got on hand
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 of a 4-oz. can of Masaman curry paste
1 can of coconut milk
2 Tbl. palm sugar (or regular or brown sugar)
1/4 cup fish sauce
juice of one lime
2 tsp. vegetable oil

Here's how it goes.

What's great about this recipe is you can use any almost any kind of meat, poulty, or prawns. For this batch I used thinly sliced beef. And almost any vegetables you have on hand. Here's what I started with:

In addition to the required ingredients, I had a couple zucchini, a bag of spinach, a can of straw mushrooms, and a can of those funny little corns (I hate them, but Sophie loves them; fresh corn cut from the cob when it's in season is much better).

The magic ingredient here is the Masaman curry paste. It's got all the ingredients I love in Thai food: garlic, dried red chiles, tamarind juice, shallot, salt, lemon grass, Kaffir lime, and spices (coriander seed, cumin, cardamon, cinnamon, bay leaves, galanga, and clove). If you can't find it at a local Thai grocery, it's worth mail ordering. What's particularly nice is that it has a little zing but isn't too hot for a child's taste. Sophie is pretty sensitive to spicy food, and she eats this with no problem.

Heat about a teaspoon or so of oil in a wok. Saute the meat and the minced garlic until just barely done.

Transfer the meat to a bowl. Pour off any juices and wipe the wok with a paper towel.

Warm a teaspoon or so of oil in a wok. Add the curry paste and saute until fragrant.

Stir in coconut milk, one half can of water, palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. Simmer until gently bubbling. Add vegetables and cook until tender. Add meat back in and simmer.

Serve over steamed jasmine rice.

The leftover curry paste freezes well for another time.

Gwendo, thanks for the compliment. I'll try to take your advice to shut up and take it. But seriously—those donuts . . .


Anonymous said...

Is the baby corn local?

Cindy said...

Anonymous: Duh. What do you think?

Not smart enough to figure out how to sign a comment with your name either?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I was only wondering if they are local. You say you like to shop for local stuff and I would like to know where to find baby corn if you shopped for it locally.

My name is Rini, sorry, I hope that helps.

dmmlandcruiser said...

That looks delish! Great for a chilly night too.

Belle in Bloom said...

You crack me up AND inspire me to cook better meals. :)

Cindy said...

Rini: I'm so sorry. I read sarcasm into your comment that wasn't there. I've had a few snarky anonymous posts lately, and I guess I'm a little oversensitive.

No, these were just the little corns you buy in the Asian section of the grocery. I've only ever seen canned ones that are imported. I have a recipe for canning baby corn, and if I ever see them at my produce market, I'll do it. I think the canned ones I bought don't taste very good (nothing like corn, really), but every once in a while I buy them. Do you remember that scene in the movie Big where Tom Hanks eats one of these? I think it's a kid thing.

Again, I'm really sorry for being so bitchy.

Trish said...

Yummy recipe - I'm always up for easy Thai. But when it comes to Asian cooking I always seem to be out of an ingredient or three and end up making my own recipes. BTW, I'm Trish and found my way over here via Schoolbooks & Shoes.

Angelina said...

I think that considering your recent experience with that other anonymous commenter your assumptions were understandable. Frankly, I assumed it was another snarky one too. But I think Rini will see that you aren't really a bitchy person.

You are making me hungry for thai food.

I don't read a lot of the really slick food blogs but I do appreciate good pictures because they inspire me. I was attracted to your blog because you have a lot of personality and we share a lot of interests in common.

Anonymous said...

Hi! It's me your sister. I really don't know how to leave a message with my name! Call me every name in the book, but "anonymous" is the only way it seems to work. I'll ask Taylor when she gets home to show me. Just don't yell at me!
I'm not sure about that dinner, but I guess people think it looks good. I'm not sure what the heck half that stuff is on your counter.
We saw "Enchanted" and it's my new fav movie. Tell Stefan I want to sing and dance throught the streets. I just loved the whole thing. Kyle didn't. He thought their was too much kissing.
You should check out Perezhilton.com. It's not as good as your blog, but a real kick in the pants. Keep up your great work!
Love you!

Anonymous said...

I just checked out the link to her blog - my God those pictures are fabulous! I wonder what type of camera she is using?

Cindy said...

IP: Dunno. That's a good question. I can tell you what she's not using though!

Beth G. said...

That looks great! I'll have to try that recipe out this weekend. Hope you loved it.

gwendomama said...

there is the link to what kind of camera the amazing jen yu is using.

cindy - you are doing much better with the compliment. great job!
the anon exchange cracked me up.
we are human and ohso vulnerable.
good you!

gwendomama said...

a Nikon D200 - pretty pricey camera.

(guess i could have just said that in the first comment)

Jen Yu said...

Hi Cindy, your pal gwendomama pointed me to your blog. You're a freaking riot, lady. Do you guys ski Mammoth? It's a longer drive, but I love that mountain. Anyway, I have that weather checking problem too. In fact, we've been in CO for 2.5 years and I *still* check Eastern Sierra conditions in winter... or that could just be unemployment. Here's a good weather link that sometimes discusses Tahoe conditions (it gets geeky, but it's good):


Dr. Howard and the Dweebs are usually pretty on it.

Masaman curry is one of my favorites. Yours looks great.

Cindy said...

Jen: That Gwendomama is a minx, isn't she? Seriously, I bow down at your feet. You are amazing. And the fact that you're going through chemo. and this is merely a footnote to your blog blows me away. If I have a recurrence of my cancer, I'm dragging everyone into the chemo. room and showing alarming close-ups of my bald head. There's no chance I would take it on with the grace you show.

We generally stick to Tahoe since it's close, but my dad (who learned to ski at age 70) is advocating for a trip. That may be our end-of-the-season trip if the snow holds. Thanks for the weather link!

Heather at Grace303 said...

Yum, that sounds so good!

kay zee said...

baby corn on pizza.
you haven't lived until you've had it.

Anonymous said...

That look positively gross. I hope it tasted better than it looked.