Hello, Blog

5 01 2011

Long time no see.  I’ve missed you, and I hope these loooong work days will become fewer and further between.  I’ve got some exciting news, though – you and your baby sister are both featured in the “Sites We Like” section of the new Pizza Quest website, headlined by none other than Peter Reinhart, the bread guru.

I’ve also got a picture for you.  It isn’t much, just what we had for dinner last night.  I’m thinking of making it a little feature called “One Meal, One Photo, One Sentence” for days (or weeks) when writing a whole post isn’t in the cards, but I’m still eating delicious things that I want to share with you.  It’s inspired in part by this post that Jenni recently wrote on Pastry Methods and Techniques, in particular this sentence:

We even decided that reading one of those ridiculously long-named menu items is often enough of a recipe, or at least a guideline so we can make a reasonable facsimile at home.

So here’s a picture, and a short description, just in case you want to make your own version.

Thai fish

Fillets of lieu noir (maybe pollock, at any rate a firm, flavorful white fish) with Thai flavors (tamarind, ginger, scallion, lime, fish sauce) baked in a banana leaf.  I served them with green curry rice, broccoli in a spicy peanut sauce, and a fabulous Australian-French white.

Happy New Year, and may 2011 be filled with good food and good friends!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.


California Green Curry

23 05 2008

Last January, before we left the U.S. for France, Nick and I did a “Farewell Tour” of the West coast, visiting friends and family in what was essentially a month-long road trip.  (Nothing like spending a month in a car with someone and then moving into a tiny Parisian apartment!)  On our night in San Diego, our friends took us to a little hole-in-the-wall Thai place in Pacific Beach.  The food was great, but one dish stood out: the green curry with avocado.  Now, I highly doubt that avocado is a traditional Thai ingredient (correct me if I’m wrong), but given the avocado’s popularity in Southern California, they incorporated it into their menu.  And with excellent results.  The creaminess of the avocado worked really well with the heat of the chilies and the sweetness of the coconut milk.  The idea stuck with me, so when I found some Thai green curry paste a few weeks ago, I vowed to give it a shot.  (For some reason, avocados are exceptionally cheap here.  I don’t know why.  But when I can buy 6 avocados for 2 euros, I don’t ask questions.)

At any rate, the other day I realized that I had both avocados and green curry paste in my kitchen.  It’s go time.  I procured chicken, coconut milk, mint, and cilantro, and while I was at the Asian market I found these awesome long beans.

Thai long beans

They were labeled “Thai long beans.”  How, or if, they are different from Chinese long beans I don’t know.  The one time I have tasted Chinese long beans, I found them to be slightly bitter in flavor.  These had a pleasant vegetal aroma and a flavor that bordered on grassy.  Close enough to regular green beans so as to be accessible, but different enough to feel mildly exotic.  Anyway, I wanted them in the curry too, so I cut them into bite-size lengths and sautéed them in peanut oil over high heat.  When they had formed a few brown spots, I removed them to a bowl and added coconut milk and green curry paste to the hot pan.  I whisked these together and seasoned the mixture with fish sauce and sugar.

Not-so-long beans

Once the mixture had thickened a bit, I stirred in thinly sliced chicken breast.  I let this simmer until the chicken was done, then I returned the beans to the pan along with thick slices of avocado.  When everything was warmed through I turned off the heat and added copious amounts of cilantro and mint leaves.  I adjusted the seasoning with lime juice, and served my California curry over brown rice.  Just the way the hippies like it!

Green Curry with Chicken, Long Beans, and Avocado

Chicken Noodle Soup, Thai Style

7 05 2008

I have always been a big fan of internationally-inspired cooking.  The various cuisines of Asia, aside from being exotically delicious, lend themselves particularly well to quick weeknight meals.  Fortunately, it is not at all difficult to find Asian specialty ingredients in Paris, making these some of the easier non-French cuisines for me to replicate at home.  Last night, despite the lovely mint tea respite, I still didn’t feel like cooking up a storm.  Considering what I had in the fridge (Thai red curry paste, lemongrass, chicken stock) and the pantry (Thai rice noodles, coconut milk, shallots), I decided a Thai-style chicken soup was in order.  Cilantro, broccoli and chicken breasts were procured on the way home, and Nick even did the necessary chopping and peeling for me.

 I started by sautéeing chopped lemongrass, shallots, and cilantro in peanut oil.  I seasoned the mixture with a little fish sauce and dumped in a block of frozen chicken stock and a can of coconut milk.

Building the flavor for my Thai Chicken Soup

But wait, there’s more…

Read the rest of this entry »

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